The pandemic forced a vast number of hotels and travel destinations to shut down over 2020. For many, that spelled the end of an era and they were forced to close down. Others, however, made lemons out of lemonade. One such hotel is Rome’s Hotel Mediterraneo, an iconic destination in the Italian capital city. Bettoja Hotels took advantage of the lack of customers to update and renovate the property. Now that it’s reopened a year later, it’s back with a brand new lounge.
Hotel Mediterraneo is Back
After a year of pandemic shutdown, Hotel Mediterraneo is back. During the past year, Bettoja Hotels, owners of Hotel Mediterraneo, spent the shutdown adding some fun new features to the hotel and renovating. Hotel Mediterraneo was built in 1938 with a design from renowned Italian architect Mario Loreti, and was recently restored under the careful guidance of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage with the help of master artisans and Italian restorers. The 4-star hotel now features a beautiful, renovated panoramic rooftop terrace with breathtaking city views of what history has named “the Eternal City.” 50 meters in the air, the hotel’s Roof Garden Restaurant and Terrace now boasts a new lounge: Ligea Lounge Bar.
A press release for the hotel’s reopening shares details of the vintage touches that make this iconic destination a must-see for locals and visitors alike; “Precious 1940’s lamps and restored Art Deco interior design pieces designed by Mario Loreti and Gustavo Pulitzer Finali furnish the Ligea Lounge Bar on the tenth floor of the Hotel Mediterraneo, creating a new location to be discovered during the magical days and evenings of one of the best cities in the world. The lounge is adorned with velvet sofas, mirrors and fine vintage pieces with exotic plants that create an exclusive green nest in which to take refuge, all with a spectacular 180 ° view of the capital.
Chef Antonio Vitale completes the gastronomic offer of the new Ligea Lounge Bar with and fresh snacks, with menus that will follow the seasons. A robust list of cocktails and wines offering fine labels will [accompany] the evening and dinner menus daily from 5pm until midnight. Guests can also experience this space by choosing to reserve it completely for private events, gala dinners or standing cocktails.”
The hotel’s signature art deco style makes it stand out amongst its more traditional neighbors, offering an architectural feast for the eyes. Now that the hotel is open again, visitors can check out the Ligea Lounge Bar while enjoying views nearly unmatched in Rome.
And what a view it is. The city of Rome was first founded atop Palatine Hill in central Italy. Mythology tells that the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city. According to that mythology, Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Rhea Silva – a descendent of Trojan War hero Aeneas – and the god of war, Mars. Rhea Silva had been sent to a temple near Palatine Hill to become a Vestal Virgin, to prevent her ability to birth an heir to take the throne of her uncle Amulius, who ruled nearby Alba Longa after seizing the city from his brother and Rhea Silva’s father, Nimitor. Rhea Silva abandoned the twins, and they were raised by a she-wolf. Like most ancient stories about brothers, in the end Romulus killed Remus but not before the twins founded twin villages on the Aventine and Palatine Hills; villages which would merge to later become Rome.
That’s what one ancient mythology tells of the founding of Rome, anyway. This particular version is often disputed by Romans with an interest in ancient history because the version that makes Rhea Silva a descendent of Aeneas gives Rome Greek roots. History tells us that the founding of Rome occurred in 753 B.C. with a monarchical government; mythology mixes with history to suggest that Romulus was the first king. Whether or not he was raised by a she-wolf or if he has the blood of Aeneas is open to interpretation. To build his city quickly, Rome’s first king kidnapped women from the nearby Sabine kingdom. Due to friction with neighboring kingdoms for obvious reasons, the monarchy was not particularly stable and was easily overthrown by citizens in 509 BC, replaced by a republic. The republic last until 27BC. Some of Rome’s most notable names come from the republic period, including Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Augustus.
The Roman Empire followed the republic and lasted until 476 AD. While most people recognize names from the era of the republic, arguably Rome’s most famous and infamous feats came during the Empire period. It was during the Roman Empire when Rome expanded its reach the furthest, stretching across most of Europe, much of what would later be called the Middle East, and Northern Africa. During the times of the Republic and the Empire, Rome became one of the most successful civilizations in the World’s history, standardizing many infrastructure systems and furthering the reach of Greece’s budding democracy, blending it with their own system of governance. But the Empire overextended itself and at the end, it spent most of its resources repelling attacks from so-called Barbarians in the North. The city itself was sacked several times throughout history, once burned nearly to the ground.
Ultimately the Empire lost to religion, though. The last emperor Constantine instituted Christianity as the official religion of Rome and her satellites, and the Christian influences changed the fabric of the civilization. Rome shares, “The capital of the Empire is moved to the ancient city of Byzantium, which is reconstructed. Byzantium, from 8 November, 324, is renamed Constantinople or the city of Constantine.
Constantine’s successor, Theodosius, divided the empire between his two sons Arcadius and Honorius, creating the Westen Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire.
The Western Roman Empire falls in 476. Meanwhile, the other half, called the Byzantine Empire, survives until 1453 with the decline of Constantinople, now called Istanbul.”
From here, Rome as a city faced four centuries of flux and uncertainty, but also served as a hub of arts and culture. It was during this period when the Sistine Chapel was raised to the heavens and artist Michelangelo covered the ceiling with his famed art. With Christianity firmly entrenched in Rome, the influences of the religion held the region together until the 1800’s, when Italy officially unified and later became the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. During this time, the papacy retained control of Rome so the capital of the newly formed country was moved to Florence temporarily. Ultimately, a portion of the city was broken off and declared Vatican City – the home of Catholicism, where the Pope ruled unchallenged. The rest of Rome once again became the capital, now of a unified Italy. During World War II, Rome suffered under the Nazi occupation but Allied forces didn’t hammer it as heavily from the air, mindful of the historic significance of the city which holds the famed gladiatorial arena the Coliseum, the chariot racing headquarters Circus Maximus, and countless churches, temples, statues, and pieces of art.
Rome is now considered one of the most desirable locations in the world to visit, blending a long-reaching history with modern conveniences. All of the beauty of the Italian culture is on full display in Rome, from its people and places to its music and arts.
Reopening with Hesitation
The city aptly called “eternal” is just one of many cities hesitantly reopening after the pandemic. Some fear however that with the rise of the Delta variant and other fast-spreading variants, reopenings are too soon and will be temporary. But European countries that heavily rely on tourism are desperate to reopen fully and are doing their best to implement safe restrictions.
In Italy for instance, TripSavvy reports, “All travelers arriving from the UK will need a negative test taken within 48 hours will be required to fly to Italy and travelers must submit to another test upon arrival. All travelers arriving without a test must self-isolate for 10 days and take another test at the end of the fifth day of isolation. U.S. citizens are allowed to enter Italy with proof of vaccination (or other proof of immunization) or a negative test taken within 48 hours. This will give the traveler a ‘green pass,’ which exempts the traveler from the required 10-day self-isolation.”
Will it be enough? The hospitality industry desperately hopes so. With a year of lost wages and many businesses shuttering their doors forever, for some hotels it’s now or never. With Hotel Mediterraneo reopening, it’s one more spark of hope for Rome’s hospitality workers. And for visitors, it’s one more amazing destination you can’t miss. To plan your stay at Hotel Mediterraneo, visit the website.