ask Valentina about
Upscale restaurants • Michelin Star restaurants • Dessert • Pizza • Trattoria • Museums • Gourmet coffee • Cultural heritage sites • Spas
What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm an art historian, art advisor and Rome tour guide (check out my website https://www.vavitour.com/). I recently started a new adventure as blogger: I write about art, culture, lifestyle and travel. I always had a passion for art and I had the privilege to study what I loved. Now I have the privilege to work with what I love and I'm doing it with all my enthusiasm.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?
When I was young, I worked as a promoter in commercial malls and it was the most annoying experience in my life. It's too unpleasant to promote things you don't care about!
Were you born and raised in Rome? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to Rome?
I grew up in Pescara, a small city on the east coast of Italy. My University studies and my passion for art brought me to Rome and convinced me to stay.
What’s your current hood in Rome and what’s the best/worst thing about it?
I live in the hood called "Trieste", a very nice residential area not far from the city center. I can use my bicycle to go pretty much everywhere and I reach the center in a few minutes. I love the early 1900s buildings in this area, I find them very elegant and the green parks surrounding them are so decorative!
What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?
I love rock music, especially classic rock from the 1970s. I love classic music too when I need to relax and release all the bad thoughts. I hate rap, I cannot stand it.
You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?
All the romantic love songs we've been obsessed with, from the 1980s on, since we were little girls. I'm speaking from a feminine point of you, because I think every broken hearted girl would need them in certain moments. I don't know about men's feelings, but girls usually tend to move towards depression in those moments!
Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?
Beverly Hills 90210: it literally left a mark on my generation of young teenagers back then. As opposite to today's reality shows, it made us dream and not see how small and bad humans can be. Sex an the City is the other all time keystone: New York lifestyle and its freedom were a dream for all the Italian girls!
Name some spots in Rome that are good for a Tinder date.
Villa Borghese park: a "comfort zone" for an easy and relaxing first time approach with someone. Santa Maria in Trastevere square, sitting on the steps of its beautiful fountain to be at ease in conversation.
Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”? (every public figure is fair game).
I would love to see Berlusconi (our world famous ex- prime minister) being roasted on the public square, specifically in Campo de' Fiori where in the past they really used to "roast" people for being considered heretics. Even Trump would be a funny show!
Who’s your hero and where in Rome would you take them out for a serious hang?
I have several heroes, most of them are artists, poets or musicians. If I have to mention just one, let's say Caravaggio: I would take him for a drink in San Lorenzo, since it's one of the most interesting "artistic districts" of today's Rome. I would try to get him drunk to make him explain how he reached such a modern feeling of light in his paintings.
Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?
Well, the Monti hood always has some good, unusual shops to explore, especially the vintage ones. There are some nice alternative brands and small boutiques near Piazza Navona too, all spread along the narrow streets around the area.
What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?
The Tiber river banks, at certain dirty and smelly edges, which unfortunately are almost abandoned and negligence took over.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?
I love to stroll alone along the most hidden and unknown streets of Rome, when no one is there, at sunset or early morning, when the light is incredible! I love the smell of the bread coming out the old fashion bakeries or the coffee roasting in the cafés. I love the swallow sounds during the spring/summer late afternoons.
Where do you go in Rome for a casual night out?
Generally Monti is my favorite place by night for a casual drink. Otherwise I still love Piazza del Fico as I always have.
Where would you go in Rome to celebrate some freaking good news?
I would pick a very good seafood restaurant, maybe romantic or somehow unique, and I would order the best seafood, a good bottle of wine and, at the end, the best dessert available. I love cakes!
What’s your choice of transportation in Rome and why?
I'd rather walk then use the public transportation, which is awful in Rome. Sometimes, when I need to be quick, I ride my vintage blue bicycle to avoid the terrible traffic and I'm so proud of it!
What are the Rome spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?
I guess a first-time visitor cannot really avoid certain classical sites like the Colosseum and the Vatican. No doubt they are the most precious and important places. Anyway, I definitely recommend to not skip the Pantheon, which is a miraculous building and the Campidoglio Square designed by Michalengelo, which is a masterpiece of pure harmony.
What are the Rome spots tourists should run from screaming?
The fake guides and fake vendors all over the streets in the main touristy sites: it's repugnant the way they invade the space around us and how annoying they are. They are ruining the city atmosphere!
Tomorrow’s your last day in Rome. How do you spend it?
I would have a stroll, as usual, to have a last look at my favorite spots, enjoying the beauty around me at every single corner. I would eat my favorite gelato and after all I would probably feel satisfied.
What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?
New York: you never stop enjoying and exploring. Each time there is something different to do!