Every June, for all of my 26 years, I’ve taken an overnight flight from JFK to Rome to visit my mother’s side of the family. As soon as we touch down, all I can think about is a panino stuffed with paper-thin slices of prosciutto. But when I walk into my grandmother’s house, jet-lagged, with a roaring, empty belly, I’m met with an espresso, a bowl of apricots, and a single dry biscotto. The truth is, despite the fact that Italians are the world’s reigning food champs, they don’t do breakfast.
It’s usually taken standing up at the nearest bar, if it’s eaten at all. The only place to find a truly decent spread (and a comfortable seat) is at a hotel, and the paragon of the form is served in the garden at Rocco Forte’s de Russie. The pastel-pink staircase in its courtyard opens onto a sprawling terrace shaded by palms and potted lemon trees where you’ll get your frothy cappuccino, crostini, freshly squeezed orange juice, and aperitivo-worthy salumi. Next time, I’m taking a detour on the way in from Fiumicino.