The Best Birthday Ideas Rome Has to Offer
We’ve taken away the hassle of planning a Roman birthday by doing it all for you. You’re welcome.
Ahh bella Roma, the eternal city. If you absolutely insist on continuing to get old, this is possibly the best place to usher in another year. The wine flows abundantly and the spaghetti is al dente. Culture seems to inhabit the very air you breathe here and thanks to the buildings being positively ancient, you can get by feeling relatively young (at least until you try to get out of your Plum Guide bed tomorrow with that hangover). Thanks to these expertly curated birthday ideas, Rome will certainly be the perfect setting for a celebration.
Start the day the Italian way
Buongiorno e buon compleanno (or for those who didn’t pay attention in Italian class, good morning and happy birthday). Drink an espresso at your Plum Guide Rome penthouse as you take in the scenery before heading out for a traditional Italian breakfast.
Your first stop of the day is the world-famous Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè. Known for the best coffee in Rome - home-roasted beans, blended with water from an ancient aqueduct - this tiny neighbourhood cafe has been open since 1938. Dunk your preferred pastry in your cappuccino or try their house special ‘gran caffè speciale’. You’ll be incredibly well caffeinated and ready for the rest of today’s celebrations.
Self-gifting is the best gifting
If there’s anything adulthood has taught you, it’s that self presents are the best presents, so make the short stroll to Piazza di Spagna and get your credit card ready because we’re going shopping and we’re not playing around.
Practically every designer boutique in Rome is based just off the square on the Via Condotti so don’t rush your year-older self - you deserve this. And in case you need another coffee to get you in serious shopper mode, try Antico Caffè Greco, an 18th century cafe where Keats and Byron are said to have enjoyed their coffee back in the day.
If you’re feeling like a more traditionally Roman type of shopping, try Campo dei Fiori, which translates as field of flowers. You’ll find fruit, vegetables, pasta, cheese, pottery, mementos and of course, flowers galore at this bustling open-air market.
Soak up some unique culture
No list of birthday ideas in Rome could possibly exclude some sort of museum or cultural excursion, but we want your birthday to be special - just like you - so we’re going to avoid the
tourist traps obvious ones.
Are you a literature buff? Wander back to the Piazza di Spagna and visit the Keats–Shelley Memorial House, once the Roman residence of Romantic poet John Keats. The apartment commemorates Keats as well as his friend and fellow writer Percy Bysshe Shelley and will take you on a poetic journey to the 1800s. Consider visiting the Protestant Cemetery or cimitero acattolico in the Testaccio neighbourhood next. Both Keats and Shelley are buried there and it’s a hauntingly beautiful spot to spend an afternoon (it’s probably about time you start getting comfortable in a cemetery - you did just turn a year older after all). If you consider yourself a foodie and want to indulge in a true culinary tour of Rome, Testaccio is the neighbourhood for you.
If modern art is more your cup of tea, try the Giorgio and Isa de Chirico Foundation, also on the Piazza di Spagna. Housed in the flat and adjoining studio occupied by the surrealist painter Giorgio and his wife from the age of 60 until his death, the foundation is home to 600 works by the artist including paintings, sculptures, drawings, watercolours, lithographs and theatre costumes. Tours through the museum are very small so you’ll feel like the VIP you deserve to be today (and everyday if you ask us).
Don’t worry history fans, we haven’t left you out of our birthday ideas in Rome. Your curated cultural activity is to walk along the Appian Way or Via Appia Antica, one of the oldest and most essential roads of Ancient Roma. Attractions to check out along the walk include the Catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastiano, as well as innumerable tombs and basilicas.
It’s your birthday and hail Caesar, you deserve some rest and relaxation so next on the Rome birthday ideas agenda is a quiet stroll or cycle (you can rent them on-site) through the Villa Borghese gardens. The Villa Borghese is a breathtakingly beautiful landscaped garden dating back to 1605. It is also home to a museum, the Galleria Borghese (which yes, you’re allowed to skip if you want to - it is your birthday after all). Walking through the park you’ll come across ancient sculptures and temples, majestic fountains, quiet ponds and of course glorious flora.
Refreshments of all types - including gelato, of course - are scattered throughout the park so spend a few hours taking in the scenery of a most idyllic setting.
Carb-load like a Birthday Queen or King
We all know you didn’t come to Rome for your birthday to skimp on the food. It’s a new year for you now so start as you mean to go on with an all-out birthday dinner.
Indulge in an actual pan-full of pasta at Trattoria Trilussa (they famously serve most of their pasta dishes in a skillet). This restaurant is located in the charming Trastevere area so if you choose to have dinner there, head to Niji for drinks afterwards. This intimate speakeasy-style bar requires you to sign up for a membership card before entering so people watch to your heart’s content while drinking enough creative cocktails to forget you’re officially one year older.
If steak is your birthday meal of choice, book a table at Ristorante Nino, where Tuscan food reigns supreme and the wine - straight from the owner’s vineyard - will keep flowing as long as you (and tomorrow's sore head) can handle it.
And if you should run out of birthday ideas in Rome itself, there are plenty of things to explore just a short drive away from the city centre too. Take a look at our guide to the best day trips from Rome that you won't want to miss.