De' Ricci: In Rome, the Hotel with 10,000 Wines and 'Private Cellar' in Every Suite


Lucia Facchini
copertina de ricci

Behind the doors of the Roman hotel that attracts wine experts from around the globe: among the smallest in Italy, De' Ricci surprises with a secret restaurant and a cellar of 10,000 bottles, steering thirst and appetite onto an alternative track.

Places sometimes have prophetic names; words destined to cross the years without losing the sense of history. This is the case of Via della Barchetta, an invisible thread on the Capitol map that takes shape in Rione Regola, where until the 1800s it led straight to the ferry to cross the blond Tiber. From a secret passage to a promenade spot, today it remains a charming passage just five minutes from Campo de' Fiori. Embarking on this journey is still possible, but it will be within the walls of an unusual destination for the eye accustomed to the gigantism of Roman antiquities.

ExternalHotel de ricci

Hotel De' Ricci is indeed one of the smallest luxury hotels in Italy, a "red dwarf" with a fixed place in the Small Luxury Hotels and only 8 suites where one can forget the city's congestion woes. Yet, tucked away inside is a cellar with a staggering 10,000 bottles, a liquid treasure trove that attracts wine experts from all over the globe.

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Tourists or locals, the substance remains the same: just after the entrance, hidden behind a strategic drape of blue velvet, there's a one-of-a-kind restaurant-cocktail bar, ready to steer thirst and appetite onto an alternative track.

The Charade Bar

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Suddenly, you'll feel like you're on a set halfway between Breakfast at Tiffany's and Midnight in Paris, with the shared ambiance sliding into privacy simply by drawing the curtains that separate the tables from each other. Almost a secret corner, if only the large window didn't offer a studied view outside, with natural light complementing the soft glow of the lounge.

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Forget touristy brunches, generic aperitifs, and standardized drinks; the Charade Bar - as it's named - was created to defy the dogma of uniform venues. Firstly, because the wine selection boasts numerous awards, bestowed year after year by the renowned Wine Spectator network (see the recognition of Best Cellar in the Urbe, confirmed in 2023); then for the kaleidoscopic room, ready to transition from formal morning to relaxed post-dinner.

hotel de ricci aperitivo

So, it starts with waking up to a fully cooked-to-order menu: no more buffets, make way for "cooked cuisine," with a continental option alongside a vegetarian one and - for fans of French bubbles - the superb "Champagne package." Whatever the choice, the current cravings will be met with enthusiasm by the Grilled sandwich with vegetable slices and assorted homemade cookies, alternating with Pancakes covered in hazelnut cream, toasted almonds, and coconut flour or the flute with a selection of cheeses and smoked salmon. We particularly highlight the poached egg's redemption, which surprisingly "changes its poaching" with a cascade of melted cheese.

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However, if you're out and about in the afternoon or at dusk (when hunger sabotages good intentions before the evening meal), De' Ricci also hits the mark with snacks. So, at 4 PM, you gather for an English-style tea with a variety of teas (in addition to the absolutes - including the eye-catching Indian Assam Mokabari Golden - also the "Cocktea," mixed with rum and whiskey, or more energetic beverages, along the lines of Matcha Latte).

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InterniHotel de ricci

The Cigar Lounge and the Dinner Experience

The comings and goings increase at aperitif time, and that's when we discover a "mystery box" right next to the restaurant, curiously elected as a secular pilgrimage site by the guests of nearby hotels. This is the Cigar Lounge, a rare specimen of the category on Roman soil - "so much so that other establishments send smokers interested in tasting here," explains general manager Flavio Scannavino, amidst a deep dive into the list of 15 cigar varieties and an instant pairing with chocolate, liqueurs, or "house" drinks.

flavio scannavino
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The little treasure has its charm because "only one other Cigar, besides ours, boasts the Habanos Lounge plaque in the city, signaling the presence of a niche mini-club." Some come with the fixed idea of the Cohiba Behike 54, to be tried with Yamazaki whiskey; some linger long, asking Flavio for a medley composed based on current desires; finally, some emerge from the intimacy of the smoking room to secure a spot at Charade.

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hotel de ricci cocktail

And then, from the smoky atmosphere of 1990s English gatherings, you return to the immediacy of a "market" cuisine that wants recognizable, popular dishes without bursts of sophistication. So, a delightful happy hour, with whipped cod and bruschetta (sometimes based on vegetable creams) instead of the usual canapés; a tangy Amatriciana with sizzling Maillard effect guanciale; mains less territorial and more concise in flavors, where you can order a slot for collective tasting (excellent the Beef fillet Carpaccio marinated with lemon and mustard sauce spiral, which lays a veil of unexpected spiciness on the finish).

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The dive into memories gains momentum with pleasantly nostalgic desserts (see the Fruitinis gelato), among which some lightning surprises creep in according to inspiration and season (in our case, a multilayer hazelnut semifreddo).

hotel de ricci tiramisu

For everything else, there's Marco Ciampini, a young sommelier focused on fishing out the right label from a dense network of 1500 references: the impromptu cellar visit completes the portrait of a property (the same as the neighboring Pierluigi restaurant) that continues to unearth small productions, while still maintaining the presence of big international houses, from Romanée Conti to Gaja, up to Biondi Santi.

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The "Wine-Themed" Suites

Yes, wine also enters the room, and not just for a brief icebreaker toast. To dilute the pace of the stay, the personal cellar is placed in every suite, from which to draw for a panoramic sip on the terrace framing Rione Regola.

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The keen eye will immediately catch the "wine-themed" prints on the walls, the vintage allure of an Olivetti winking on the mirrored furniture, and the "drink-friendly" corner, with sofas next to bottles ready to be uncorked. The unmistakable signature of maestro Andrea Ferolla emerges from the frescoes, portraying a naked, intimate Rome suspended between touches of the Sixties and slight hints of modernity. A Rome that from here seems to embrace all its epochs.

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Via della Barchetta, 14, 00186 Roma, RM, Italia
Telefono: +39066874775

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