Photographer Nicolee Drake’s dreamy snapshots of Italy inspire more than 400,000 followers to live vicariously through her Instagram (@CucinaDigitale). The American expat started taking pictures as a teenager. “I was given an old metal Nikkormat that I used to carry around with me everywhere. I’ve been in love ever since,” she says. For her F&W Photo Tour of Rome, Drake presents the Eternal City through its sexy cafés, pizza al taglio (by the cut) and unbeatable biscotti. Here, she shares her insider’s guide to Rome.
Best Rome restaurant. For regional Italian cuisine my go-to is Roscioli. I order the carbonara. And the burrata (the best in town).
Go-to coffee shop. Sciascia Caffè. This artisan coffee roaster has been open since 1919 and is conveniently located near my metro stop. In the morning, I get a cappuccino. On my way home I pop in for an espresso with chocolate.
Expert Rome bar. Barnum Café for its casual atmosphere, eclectic design and the best mixologists in town. It’s located just behind Campo de’ Fiori. barnumcafe.com
Best Rome boutique hotel. Portrait Suites is a luxury boutique hotel just steps away from Rome’s famous shopping street Via Condotti. Have a cocktail on the hotel’s rooftop terrace and catch the spectacular view of Trinità dei Monti. portraitroma.com
Affordable activity for a visitor. Rent a bicycle from Collalti Bici and pedal through Rome like a local. collaltibici.com
Favorite Rome shop. Castroni is an international specialty food store and one of my favorite places to shop in Rome. I could spend hours perusing the shelves looking at everything from tortillas to hundreds of different types of olive oil or chocolate or wine. castroni.it
Ultimate Rome souvenir. Any gourmet foods from Volpetti that you can get through customs. volpetti.com
Tips for shooting (especially food). Use natural light and don’t overstyle. I believe images of food should be as organic as the process of eating it.