A designer takes us to The Eternal City - Rome

Erin Bazos, designer and creative director of her own design studio in Brooklyn, New York – Roomorama blog


Erin Bazos is a designer and creative director of her own design studio in Brooklyn, New York. Before moving permanently back to New York, Erin lived for 6 years Rome, navigating the Eternal City on a Vespa, while cultivating a passion for the Italian culture, language and people.

She has since found her way back to New York – she now lives in Williamsburg with her adorable toddler, charming husband, and their very handsome Italian boxer, Vincenzo.

What kind of traveller are you?

I am a very anxious packer. I despise packing and am always up all night the night before a trip even if I started packing the week before.

Maybe it is my fear of forgetting the right accessory, or shoe for an outfit, or just not being able to predict the weather and events that will occur while away.

I try so hard not to overpack which is why I spend way too much time working it all out. On my last trip to Europe I actually made a chart of outfits so I knew exactly what I had packed in my bag.

Post packing drama, I am quite calm at the airport and eager to relax on the plane with a book (which I otherwise rarely have time for).

As a traveller, I love to explore and I don’t like to miss out on anything.

What about traveling with a toddler? How do you manage, and do you have any tips?

The iPad mini is essential on an airplane along with some new books and coloring supplies. We always make sure to keep our son awake until it is time to sleep in order to make sure he quickly adjusts to the new time zone.

What are your top 5 travel essentials?

  • Muji packing squares - so items can be easily separated in the suitcase.
  • Clothes that do not wrinkle easily. I’m a huge fan of Pleats Please by Issey Miyake and pack lots of it when I travel.
  • A camera.
  • A foldable bag that packs easy just in case I return with more than I arrived with. ;)
  • A notebook and a pen so I can write down some memories and sketch something if I feel the need.

What is your favourite destination in the world?

Italy. I lived in Rome for 6 years and ever since I left in 2005 It tugs at my heart every year to go back. My husband's family is in Zurich and St. Gallen, Switzerland, so our regular visits to see them often end with a bit of Italy.

You spent so much time in Rome - tell us where to eat, drink, shop and party there!

I highly recommend Roscioli for lunch or dinner. Hotel de Russie for a chic aperitivo in the garden.

In Rome all the young people go to Testaccio to dance until the wee hours of morning. Campo dei fiori also becomes a giant open air “bar” in the evenings full of both locals and tourists.

Today, at 36 years old, I would opt to go to a small bar like Salotto 42 in Piazza di Pietra.

For shopping, my favourite is Luna & L’altra, for unique designer clothing.

Roscioli Salotto 42 Luna & L’altra

Pictured above: Roscioli (photo credit: Roscioli), Salotto 42 (photo credit: Salotto 42), Luna & L’altra (photo credit: Martin Nicholas Kunz)

As a designer, what are some must visit places in Rome?

In Rome, and in Italy in general, it is the art history that attracts me the most. Inspiration comes from a simple walk in the center or losing your way on the cobblestone streets. You never know what you will chance upon. A visit to the Pantheon, or to a church where you might discover an original Caravaggio, is magical.

Rome is also a place where you can see an incredible juxtaposition of old and new. It’s incredible, really.

The Pantheon Pictured above: The Pantheon (photo credit: Freda Parker)

What are some of your must dos when you travel?

I like to explore and feel as if I live in the place I’m visiting. I do not like to try to hit too many museums because I much prefer to get a sense of the city/place and the people.

Eating out and shopping is a good way to interact with locals, so that's my excuse for indulging in food and retail therapy when on vacation! I love to return from my travels with a special something - objects by a local artisan or a contemporary designer, or sometimes even an antique piece - because it will have a story and hold special value as a token of my travels.

Have you ever stayed in a non-hotel accommodation on any of your trips?

Yes! In London. It was so much fun because it was in a neighborhood I never would have known about. The house belonged to a fashion editor and she curated all of the objects in her home in such a thoughtful way. I was inspired by the little stories and scenes throughout the apartment. It was fun to pretend that it was my home for the few days that I stayed there.

If there was one designer's vacation home you would like to live in for a week, whose would it be?

Lately I've been really into Paola Navone. She is a designer/interior designer and I love her style. Her spaces have such a quirkiness about them and she really knows how to pair old and new. She uses color in a very special way as well.

Paola Navone's Bontempi Pictured above: Paola Navone's Bontempi 'Menu' kitchen (photo credit: Cyril Foiret)

Charming accommodations in Rome

Villa Fortuny is located in a luxurious context, luminous and silent, just beyond Piazza del Popolo, close to the Metro A.

Short term rentals in Rome – Roomorama blog Vacation rental apartments in Rome – Roomorama blog Weekly rentals in Rome – Roomorama blog

This marvelous duplex penthouse apartment in Rome is located in an elegant 18th Century building, and has a large private panoramic terrace.

Holiday rental apartment in Rome – Roomorama blog Short term rental apartments in Rome – Roomorama blog Weekly rentals in Rome – Roomorama blog

Going to Rome? Check out more places to stay in Rome on Roomorama.