Eating in via Veneto in Rome, the most famous street in the capital, was not easy. But something is changing. Because via Veneto is being reborn after years of oblivion and it is doing so starting from the kitchen. Roman and Italian-American.
The first scandalous striptease
It all began, officially, on 5 November 1958, with the party for the twenty-fourth birthday of Countess Olghina di Robilant at the Rugantino in Trastevere: here the Turkish-Armenian dancer Aïché Nana performed the famous striptease, ending up half naked in all the newspapers of the time. Rome had become the international capital of entertainment and social life, and its epicenter was Via Veneto. Due to the presence of the most luxurious hotels and clubs open until dawn, Via Veneto has been the meeting point for VIPs, actors, night owls and paparazzi for twenty years. Here they stayed and spent their evenings, among the bars, lobbies and hotel rooms that made the history of the street. AtHarry’s Bar Frank Sinatra played the piano and even today in the evening we dine with the background of the piano bar. Since 1962 he has animated Rome by Night and hosted Hollywood actors visiting the capital, but it has nothing to do with Venice, so there’s no point in looking for a plate of carpaccio.
The great beauty: a construction site
In 2013 it was the set of The great beauty by Paolo Sorrentino, a film that photographed the upper class of Roman salons, good and even decadent. «The great beauty It is to The sweet life like the Via Veneto of today is the Via Veneto of 1959. Now it is just a street of luxury hotels where it is in vain to seek the nocturnal atmosphere of the past” wrote Alessandra Levantesi Kezich, film critic for “La Stampa”, on the occasion of the his exit. Well yes, because it really is it is useless to come to via Veneto in search of cafés crowded with artists, intellectuals, stars and photographers. Over the years, other neighborhoods have made their way into the preferences of Romans and tourists and Via Veneto has remained comfortable on its laurels. Today Via Veneto is a construction site.
Between public and private, there is the project (already started) of redevelop the urban planning aspect and to relaunch the historic premises to bring back Via Veneto great again. Many prestigious hotels are currently closed or under renovation: the first hotel on via Veneto, the Hotel Majestic, inaugurated in 1889 and designed by the architect Gaetano Koch, author among others of the nearby American embassy building and the Bank of Italy building (Palazzo Koch), has closed its doors and has been acquired by Boscalt Hospitality (Rothschild) and will be renovated. The Westin Excelsior Rome, designed by architect Otto Mariani in the early twentieth century in neo-baroque style, has been bought and will close shortly for renovations. The Grand Hotel Via Veneto will be transformed into a Nobu Hotel and Restaurant, although it is not yet known when. Not far away, in via Boncompagni, work has begun on the new Mandarin Oriental. The only discordant note, for the Cafè de Paris, however, after the seizure and ten years of closure, the shutter still remains lowered and everything is silent. The street is still divided in two, to the south apart Signorvino it’s still all a construction site or bars serving American Breakfast for a few euros, whereas towards the north the rebirth has already begun.
Make Dolce Vita Great Again
First to lead the rebirth consortium, the InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace, named in honor of the nearby American embassy. Built as the ambassador’s residence, then transformed into a library, it is the first five-star hotel to inaugurate the new course of the most famous street in the capital. One hundred and sixty rooms with a pure leisure vocation, a design that takes inspiration from the Roman style, a rooftop with a view and a restaurant NYC shoe which attracts an audience of American and local tourists; which in via Veneto still means Americans. Scarpetta NYC is a short circuit: a restaurant serving Italian-American cuisinewanted by a New Yorker, inspired by the concept of The sweet life, hence the name of the LDV Hospitality group. A foreign format that embodies Italianness abroad, and not an attempt to bastardize Italian cuisine to meet the tastes of others. Homemade pasta and bread, spaghetti with tomato sauce (and butter, very creamy) and steak house menus, just like in the United States. Much loved by expats, diplomats, American citizens of Rome and even traveling tourists who thus rediscover the flavors of home and a place where they feel transported to New York. Via Veneto is in fact an American outpost in Italy, it is no coincidence that the first Italian Hard Rock Cafe opened here, way back in 1998, and one of the most famous nightclubs in the capital (opened in 1972) is right in the area and is called Jackie O’ , named after the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy, JFK’s widow, who became Mrs. Onassis in 1968.