10 Under-the-Radar Design Hotspots to See in Rome, Inspired by Harry Styles' Roman Escape

The singer has been roaming the Eternal City like a real local lately. We follow in his footsteps to unveil what the style icon has uncovered — from inspiringly designed restaurants to the antiques markets he's visited

In a split-into-two image, a young man wearing matching black leather jacket and trousers with a green, fluffy scarf poses in front of flowery wallpaper. On the left, the table of a flea market is covered in pottery, glasses and tableware.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Few celebrities scream trend-setter like singer and Gucci muse Harry Styles, so why should we be surprised by the virality of his recent Roman stay? Since May, videos and photos of the British pop star’s holiday in the Italian capital have been flooding the internet, giving everyone yet another reason to consider traveling to the city this summer.

With his dandy-esque wardrobe, Styles has become the embodiment of the pearls-and-bows maximalist extravaganza firmly endorsed by his friend and long-term collaborator Alessandro Michele. But, if the star’s recent appearances seem to hint at a transition into a less-extravagant, casual-chic chapter, his approach to discovering Rome too favors tasteful authenticity over pompousness. Styles, who has allegedly bought a house in the sparsely populated, postcard-like hilltop town of Civita di Bagnoregio, located 75 miles north of Rome, has made time to soak up the frenetic atmosphere of the Eternal City like only Romans would do. So far, he has been seen hopping on a bike to avoid Friday evening traffic jams, shopping for groceries at supermarkets, and even going so far as to argue with a driver at the traffic lights — the latter of which is enough to call him a true local.

Whether testing his luck for gems at local flea markets, savoring the taste of the Italian tradition at high-end restaurants, or upping his homewares at independent shops, Styles’ happy-go-lucky itinerary has the potential to inspire an unconventional ‘Roman Holiday’. Combining the locations of the singer-cum-actor’s viral sightings with my inner knowledge of nearby art and design-imbued hotspots, I have created a map fit for both the audacious travelers and the style-obsessed eager to make the most of their reservation at one of the best hotels in Rome. Ready to explore? Let’s dive in.

1. Dine at Il Pagliaccio

Two wooden tables, each with a minimalist floral centerpiece, stand underneath two black mirrors in a dimly lit restaurant.

(Image credit: Il Pagliaccio)

In May, Styles was spotted leaving this chic, bare-brick restaurant situated in the heart of Rome’s city center while rocking matching ‘finance bro’ outfits with fashion collaborator Michele — the maximalist genius who drove Gucci into its most daring chapter yet as the house’s creative director between 2015 and 2022, and is now at the helm of Maison Valentino. Standing out for its dimly lit, intimate ambiance and for a sophisticated take on the evergreen staples of Mediterranean cuisine, Il Pagliaccio caters to food lovers looking to taste the best of Italian fine dining undisturbed by the city’s chaos. It does so through a warm, exclusive modern industrial setting designed to heighten connection and conviviality.

The first Roman establishment to hold two Michelin Stars, only recently joined by Acquolina and Enoteca La Torre, the restaurant, which opened in 2003, is the reign of Italian-French chef Anthony Genovese, who has since been steering it towards global recognition. Offering a range of ‘giftable’ food experiences, it was praised by prestigious eating and drinking guides including Les Grandes Tables du Monde, Wine Spectator, and 50 Best Discovery, a database shortlisting the 50 best restaurants across the world.

2. Get inspired at Spazio Giallo

A brightly colored concept-store with yellow walls and pink-shaded furniture displays a selection of table ceramics, sculptures and paintings.

(Image credit: Simon de Exéa)

Styles may or may not have spotted this design wonder adjacent to his dining spot, but design lab and gallery Spazio Giallo finds its home in a deconsecrated church — the tiniest one in the whole of Rome — only two minutes’ walk down South from Il Pagliaccio on Piazza dé Ricci 126.

The brainchild of Carolina Levi, who founded it in 2022, when the original location opened on Via dei Riari 78 in Trastevere, today Spazio Giallo is a one-of-a-kind, joyful haven for all design, art and decor addicts. Thriving off its multidisciplinary vision, this striking exhibition space and concept store gathers an ever-evolving curated collection of sculptural ceramics, table sets, paintings, prints, handmade fashion accessories, designer furniture pieces, and more, rigorously sourced from the best names in the contemporary art and design scene.

Something of a discovery in itself thanks to its extravagant, dreamy setting, Spazio Giallo is even more unmissable for the creatives it champions during its public initiatives, which span the full culture gamut. Its relocation to Piazza dé Ricci, nestled in the scenic Campo de’ Fiori, saw dance and music performances as well as DJ sets take over the square for two nights of pure inspiration in June. Whether it is thought-provoking roundtables you're after or a pottery and tarot cards workshop courtesy of Italian interior designer Ilaria Bianchi, they have got you covered.

3. Thrift at Porta Portese

A number of gold and turquoise-decorated ceramic mugs and teapots, silver mugs and other sculptural home accessories sit on a table covered with a chequered throw at a flea market.

(Image credit: Pino Pacifico. REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Forget unaffordable furniture shops: Styles’ recent visit to Porta Portese, Rome’s largest flea market proves no one is too famous to forgo the excitement that comes with a good deal. Taking place every Sunday in Rione Trastevere — one of the city’s most vibrant, buzzy neighborhoods — this market sells anything from rare objects, antiques and home accessories to ephemera, jewelry, clothes, books, electronics, records and food. In Styles’ case, it was the vast selection of shoes available at a bargain price to attract the music sensation to its stalls.

But there is more to Porta Portese than its inexpensiveness: dating from 1945, the busy outdoors market has previously appeared in directors Pier Paolo Pasolini’s and Vittorio De Sica’s masterpieces Mamma Roma (1962) and Bicycle Thieves (1948) respectively, and inspired the lines of local poets and singer-songwriters. Nestled at the western end of the Sublicio Bridge, which connects Rome’s city center to the Trastevere district, its central location makes it a crossroads of cultures. A must-see attraction for locals and tourists alike, it bears unexpected surprises.

4. Stay at The Style

In a hotel, tables are ready for guests to enjoy breakfast in a room with wooden walls and flooring.

(Image credit: The Style)

In one of his latest Italian appearances, Styles zipped through the streets of Rome on a Lime bike wearing a gray Blur long-sleeve shirt, a pair of black vans and sunglasses. More precisely, he was photographed under the sign of The Style Hotel on Via dei Due Macelli. And while the world-famous music artist hasn’t stayed there, we have good reasons to think you might enjoy this great Italian hotel. A four-star superior boutique hotel, The Style is only steps away from some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.

The fact that it sits close to many Roman monuments doesn’t mean its interiors should be overlooked: housed within an early 20th-century building, the hotel takes the long-standing legacy of its monumental frame into the present thanks to contemporary furnishings conveying a sense of elegant opulence. With hallways brought to life by mid-century Murano glass chandeliers, neutral hues and textured marble and wooden surfaces, and a series of affiliated breath-taking terraces to enjoy the golden hour from, The Style promises an unforgettable Roman experience, in and outside of its design grandeur.

5. Browse home and kitchenware at c.u.c.i.n.a.

Different kitchen utensils, most of which with chrome linings, appear numbered from 1 to 10 against a white background. On top of the image, we read "c.u.c.i.n.a.".

(Image credit: c.u.c.i.n.a.)

Those who think that pop stars don’t care about kitchen utensils clearly haven’t come across the snapshots and videos of Styles shopping for a new pot at Roman independent store c.u.c.i.n.a.

With two different locations in the city, the shop is a kitchenware aficionados’ paradise stocking a wide variety of high-quality home appliances, coffee pots, pans, and table accessories with beautifully crafted, vintage-inspired chrome linings that lend themselves to a chef-style or industrial kitchens perfectly.

Characterized by a minimalist, linear design, c.u.c.i.n.a.’s pieces merge style and functionality into an optimal, trend-setting, and Styles-endorsed cooking experience. Find them on Via Mario de’ Fiori, near the hyper-central Spagna underground station, or head North to their Piazza Euclide store for a quieter browsing session.

6. Explore Trastevere and uncover a tucked-away design gem

The rustic interiors of a modern apartment feature a cherry-shaded wall mirror, a grey couch and three paintings placed next to each other.

(Image credit: Serena Eller Vainicher. Design: STUDIOTAMAT)

That Styles has gotten into a road spat with a Roman driver while wandering around Trastevere doesn’t surprise me. After all, this is one of the most sought-after areas of the city, teeming with visitors all year thanks to the restaurants constellating its ivy-clad lanes. It can make it a little difficult for locals to show their hospitable side. Trastevere isn’t all about food though, not exclusively anyway. The key to making the most of the leafy Roman neighborhood lies in burning off the local delicacies served at the esteemed Nannarella, Trattoria da Enzo al 29, Tonnarello, and La Tavernetta 29 with a good dose of sightseeing.

For starters, follow through Via di S. Francesco to Piazza S. Callisto, where Piazza di Santa Maria will open up before you. First, have a drink on the steps of its 8th century fountain — possibly the oldest in Rome, designed by Italian architect and painter Donato Bramante with later interventions by Baroque sculpture godfather Gian Lorenzo Bernini and architect Carlo Fontana. Then, venture into the mosaic masterpiece that is the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, considered the first official site of Christian worship in Rome. Make time to check the Basilica di Santa Cecilia too, which features immersive frescoed walls, a florally decorated crypt and a sublime marble statue of the Saint by Stefano Maderno.

In love with the district? Consider staying at Casa Totem, an eclectic small apartment hosted in a heritage-listed building, designed by the Italian house STUDIOTAMAT. With its modern rustic, glamorous style reinterpreting Rome’s heritage through a forward-thinking lens, it is the perfect starting point for those seeking to immerse themselves in the creative buzz of the Italian capital.

7. Enjoy alfresco music at Auditorium Parco della Musica

A flowery garden sits underneath a futuristic, silvery building.

(Image credit: Auditorium Parco della Musica)

If Styles and Michele recently made their way up to the Flaminio hill to see Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead perform alongside Tom Skinner at The Smile at Auditorium Parco della Musica, I don’t see why you shouldn’t include it in your itinerary. Designed by pioneering Italian architect Renzo Piano and inaugurated in 2022, with its 30,000 square foot surface over two levels, this complex is the largest multifunctional entertainment venue in Europe. In 2014 alone, it welcomed more than two million visitors, becoming the second-most-visited cultural institution in the world after New York’s Lincoln Center.

Now home to Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, one of the longest-standing musical schools across the globe, Auditorium Parco della Musica comprises multiple concert halls, museums and meeting rooms, as well as hanging gardens and an urban hortus conceived by landscape architect Franco Zagari. Its year-round program is filled with concerts, prestigious film festivals, and cultural as well as community-building activities tailored to all types of audiences.

8. Recharge at Antico Caffè Greco

The outdoors of an historical cafe features a white curtain with belle époque font reading "Caffe Greco" in black on a wooden door showing the inside of a warmly lit room. Next to it is a window reading "TEA ROOM" and "CAFFE 1760 GRECO" in golden, upper-cases characters.

(Image credit: Robert Roberson via Getty Images)

Cycling towards Michele’s new office — Valentino’s studio in the quintessentially Italian Palazzo Mignanelli — Styles might have sped past Antico Caffè Greco without even noticing it, but it won’t take you long to understand why this 18th-century cafe is worth taking a break at. First established in 1760, this stuck-in-time, art-plastered bar is the oldest one in Rome and the second oldest in the whole of Italy, only preceded by the Venetian Caffè Florian. Deriving its name from the Anatolian roots of his founder Nicola di Madalena, in nearly 300 years of activity, Antico Caffè Greco has fixed coffee, tea, and afternoon treats for anyone from Charles Dickens and John Keats to cinema legends Orson Wells, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor.

Its Baroque, red-and-gold interiors and sumptuous decor are enough to have you time travel. Similarly, the familiar faces standing behind its counters — many of whom have worked there for decades — embody the values of outstanding hospitality, trust and eye for detail Italy is known for globally. Attracting both travelers, Romans and foreigners who have settled in the city, Antico Caffè Greco is the kind of place that makes people tear up as they reminisce about the moments spent there during their youth… or at least that was the case with my own dad.

9. Get ready to mingle at Edicola Erno

The outdoors of a newsstand features blue and white deck chairs, wooden tables, and swimming trunks, standing against brick-shaded tall buildings.

(Image credit: RIPA-RIPA pop-up at Edicola Erno. Edicola Erno)

While not featuring in Styles’ Italian adventures, Edicola Erno should be in the travel bucket list of any design and fashion-obsessed Rome explorer. Founded in March 2019 in the Prati neighborhood, roughly 15 minutes away from Vatican City, it presents itself as a “non-ordinary Roman newsstand” striving to revitalize the cultural heritage of the Italian edicole for the cosmopolitan and style-driven citizen.

Besides stocking the very best from today’s art, fashion, design, photography, architecture, and lifestyle magazines, including many niche publications, from time to time its storefronts act as gallery windows spotlighting temporary displays of works developed in collaboration with independent boutiques and world-renowned brands as well as artists, type, interior or fashion designers.

Leveraging the power of creativity to bring people closer together, Edicola Erno fosters community through pop-up events that facilitate interdisciplinary connections while simultaneously cementing Rome’s role as a changemaker in contemporary culture.

10. Take a day trip to Civita di Bagnoregio

A hilltop village immersed in vegetation is captured from afar at golden hour.

(Image credit: Gimmi/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

You shouldn’t leave Lazio without taking a trip to Civita di Bagnoregio, the postcard-like, hilltop village Styles is believed to have bought property in. Situated at 4,700 feet above sea level in the province of Viterbo, nearly two hours North of Rome, this town counts a population of 11 inhabitants; an unusual fact which, together with the slowly-eroding nature of the hillside it rests on, has earned Civita di Bagnoregio the moniker of ‘the dying city’. Its clay and sand foundation, constantly remodeled by strong winds and weather changes, is both a blessing and a curse: despite being at risk of collapse, the village is imbued with unparalleled beauty and fully absorbed in the region’s dense vegetation.

Long before casting its spell on the British singer, the wonders of Civita di Bagnoregio were already celebrated by Italian and international intellectuals alike: on top of offering a picturesque backdrop to scenes from Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1983 film Nostalghia, the city was also Hayao Miyazaki’s main architectural inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s animated movie Castle in the Sky (1986).

Let me get this straight: no inside guide to Rome will ever do justice to the contagious energy of such a timeless city. While you might have visited it before, upon arriving in the Italian capital you will find a destination abuzz with excitement — a never-ending viavai of people enough to grant you a different experience every time.

Ultimately, uncovering the real Rome means readapting to the rhythm of its busy streets, blending in with and learning from those who inhabit them all year long. Or as the saying goes, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’. If Styles has done it, why don’t you?

Gilda Bruno
Lifestyle Editor

Gilda Bruno is Livingetc's Lifestyle Editor. Before joining the team, she worked as an Editorial Assistant on the print edition of AnOther Magazine and as a freelance Sub-Editor on the Life & Arts desk of the Financial Times. Gilda's arts and culture writing has appeared in a number of publications including AnOther, Apartamento, The British Journal of Photography, DAZED, Document Journal, The Face, Family Style, Financial Times, Foam, HUCK, Hunger, i-D, PAPER, Re-Edition, VICE, Vogue Italia, and WePresent. When off work, she loves testing her luck at flea markets and antiques shops — her go-to destinations for ceramics, quirky collectibles, and furniture.