As two American imports who arrived in the Eternal City over a decade ago, we have witnessed the wellness industry expand both globally, and locally. We’ve seen Rome embrace yoga as a practice, open vegan cafés, and add kombucha to its menus—and we’d like to think we played a small role in its evolution toward an integrated concept of wellness.
Who are we? Morgan Witkin is a health coach, holistic nutritionist, and television host on the Italian Food Network. “Morgan, Gusto Sano in Cucina” is the first vegan cooking show in Italy. Rachel Zitin is a yoga instructor, body-oriented coach, and tour guide who works in sustainable tourism. Together, we host wellness retreats throughout Italy and accompany individuals on their personal wellness journeys through food and fitness.
Our approach to well-being involves a healthy dash of irreverence toward “traditional” wellness culture. That is, we believe that a bowl of cacio e pepe with a glass (or two) of wine is as much a part of benessere (well-being) as a three-day juice detox and energy healing workshop. This Rome Wellness Guide is exactly that: a collection of places that nourish the soul and make us feel good — inside and out — in our adopted home.
The Best Healthy Restaurants In Rome
Aromaticus: Aromaticus is a tasty bistro with locations in two of Rome’s most charming neighborhoods: Monti and Trastevere. We are partial to the latter, where you can enjoy homemade tempeh wraps in the courtyard, or sip kombucha outside while taking in the bustling scene. The menu is varied and everything is as beautiful as it is delicious.
Vivi Bistrot: Like Aromaticus, Vivi Bistrot has so many great locations, it’s hard to choose a favorite. You’ll find plant-based options ranging from Pad Thai noodles and smoothie bowls to gluten-free pasta and hamburgers. Head to Piazza Navona for colorful bowls in the company of Bernini, or venture to Villa Pamphili for brunch in the middle of Rome’s largest park.
Écru: One of the few vegan restaurants and cafés in Rome, Écru is perfect for creative dishes and raw treats, and it’s just a short walk from the Vatican. Whether you are in the mood for a smoothie made with activated nuts, chia pudding, or a glass of natural wine, this place has it all. The panini, with homemade raw bread, is not to be missed.
Marigold: An oasis created by our friends Sophie and Domenico, Marigold has a warm atmosphere reminiscent of your favorite Scandinavian brunch spot with ingredients foraged from Villa Pamphili. The crowd is hip, international, and interesting, and the ever-changing roster of events will always keep us coming back for more. Do not miss Sophie’s freshly baked sourdough served with homemade butter, among other delicious treats on the menu.
Camillo: We. Love. Camillo. Why? This family-owned restaurant dates back to 1890 and is one of the city’s best covid success stories, thanks to a rebranding during the pandemic. That, and it’s in the middle of Piazza Navona. The menu features shareable appetizers–like lasagna sticks and stuffed zucchini flowers–along with Beyond Burgers and craft cocktails, all served at a reasonable price point considering the central location and unbeatable views. It’s the perfect place for people-watching from morning to late into the evening.
Bibliothè: If you need an Ayurvedic fix in Rome, then stop by Bibliothè for lovingly-made Indian cuisine served each day at lunch. This concept restaurant and shop feature everything from weekly Sanskrit classes to authentic Indian food. We recommend ordering their “curry in a hurry” platter and homemade Ayurvedic tea which comes served in a darling brass teapot.
Ma Và?: This restaurant might be a small trek away from the city center but it definitely takes the vegan cake. Ma Và? (“Come On“) has been around for 40 years and serves everything from marinated tempeh to creative twists on Roman Classics like the amatriciana with smoked tofu and beetroot carpaccio. Say hi to Musetto, a rescue dog who is sure to greet you when you arrive.
Specialty Coffee, Natural Wine & Vegan Gelato
Barnum Cafè: Barnum is an adorable café on one of our favorite cobblestoned Roman streets, Via del Pellegrino. While the location is classically Roman, this cozy café has an international flair that will immediately make you feel like a local, no matter where you’re from. We love the avocado toast and the fact that you can order your matcha latte served with oat milk.
Grezzo Raw Chocolate: “Grezzo” in Italian means “raw” and this ambitious chocolate shop lives up to its name. The menu shares the philosophy of Morganic Kitchen, where everything is vegan, refined-sugar-free, and gluten-free. Expect big, bold, mouth-watering tastes with zero guilt. Stopping by in the summer? Peanut butter gelato. Visiting in the winter? Try their cioccolata calda. We could eat ten pistachio pralines in one sitting (and we have). Grezzo has two locations, one in charming Monti and the other right near the Jewish Ghetto in Piazza Mattei.
Gelateria Fatamorgana: A local gelateria with seven locations, Fatamorgana offers a healthy alternative to the classic Italian gelato. Many of their delicious flavors are sugar-free, and all of them feature locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Rachel’s favorite is Panacea, an almond milk-based gelato featuring mint and ginseng.
Faro Coffee: Coffee is a religion in Rome, so don’t miss trying fair-trade coffee at Faro, the city’s first specialty café. The staff’s encyclopedic knowledge about the world of coffee and its supply chain makes this one of our favorite coffee shops in Rome. And we love Faro’s motto: “senza zucchero” (without sugar!). Learn more about the rise of sustainable coffee in Italy.
Litro Natural Wine Bar: If you’re surprised to find a wine bar in a wellness guide then you haven’t been paying attention. After all, in Italy, wine is wellness, too. Litro is a neighborhood haunt in Monteverde where an impressive selection of natural and biodynamic wines pair perfectly with locally sourced dishes. The courtyard is perfect for a relaxed lunch or an aperitivo with friends.
Vinificio: Case in point. This brand-new spot is guaranteed to become a reference point for natural wine in Rome! Vinificio is a relative newcomer to Rome and we’re already in love with it. The wine list features over 500 natural and small-production wines. Since wine is wellness, we like to drink ours sustainably and consciously. Visit this Testaccio newcomer to try one for yourself.
The Best Yoga Studios And Gyms In Rome
Zem Yoga Studio: Zem has a special place in our hearts because it is where we first crossed paths. It’s our yoga studio where we practice, we teach and we grow. We are definitely biased, but we think Zem is the best yoga studio in Rome. Enjoy the multiple daily English-speaking creative vinyasa flows taught by a variety of international teachers. The studio itself is bright, sunny, and filled with good vibes. Come for the classes and stay for the community.
Plexus Roma: Run by Jonathan and Teresa, a husband-and-wife duo, Plexus Roma is a delightful multi-disciplinary studio overlooking the Tiber river. This bright, intimate space has multiple rooms filled with innovative and beautiful Pilates and workout equipment. “The Plexus Method” is their signature class which is a complete workout that we both adore. They also offer life coaching, sound baths, breathwork, private Pilates reformer classes, yoga, and so much more. Both Morgan and Rachel collaborate with them, so look out for our events!
YogAyur: A yoga studio, plant-based bistro, and hammam all in one, YogAyur is a true wellness mecca located in the up-and-coming-Ostiense area. Federico, the passionate owner, even brings his own produce from his farm in Umbria, making this a truly “slow food” experience. Yoga is offered in Italian and English, and there is nothing lovelier than a visit to the hammam after a soulful Hatha flow.
Volt: Volt feels a little bit like stepping onto the set of Blade Runner and we love it. Creative HIIT workouts are the star of this ancient-meets-modern gym in the Parioli district of Rome, right outside of Villa Borghese. It’s not exactly Barry’s Bootcamp, but we think Simone infuses even more creativity into his workout sessions.
The Best Spas In Rome
acquaMadre Hammam: There is something incredibly decadent about being in a bathhouse that is actually located within ancient Roman ruins. The acquaMadre hammam and spa area allow visitors to float 2000 years back to a time when personal and group wellness was truly an integral part of daily life. We enjoy the red clay mask facial and dead sea mud body treatment. Acqua Madre’s location in the middle of the historic Jewish Ghetto is also a plus
De La Ville Spa: Irene Forte is known for her precision for detail and for staying up to date on the latest trends in the luxury spa world. The newest Rocco Forte property in Rome, Hotel de la Villa has outdone itself with its spa amenities. Literally the “lap of luxury” with its location on top of the Spanish Steps, the De La Ville Spa is the epitome of 5 stars.
Six Senses Rome: An urban sanctuary that seamlessly blends luxury with a commitment to holistic well-being, Six Senses Rome combines ancient wellness traditions with modern therapies. The spa’s design, inspired by Ancient Rome, creates an immersive experience and offers bespoke treatments that rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit. Beyond the spa, Six Senses Rome extends its dedication to holistic wellness throughout the property, offering yoga, meditation sessions, and personalized wellness programs. Immerse yourself in a world where every element is curated to elevate your well-being.
Vernice Nails Spa: A decade ago it was difficult to find a high-quality manicure in Rome. Today, that has changed. However, sustainable beauty is still in its evolution phase. That said, there are a few gems that have been popping up around the city. Vernice Nails Spa on Via Belsiana not only has a decadent atmosphere with well-trained staff, but their Vegan Manicure allows our hands to look good while doing good as well.
Erboristeria Degli Angeli: Right off Campo de’ Fiori on Via del Pellegrino, Erboristeria Degli Angeli is an herbalist shop and small organic grocery store that is a world in and of itself. Stop by for a customized elixir of herbal teas to soothe any ailment from sleep aid to joint relief. There is a well-curated selection of beauty products: we swear by their hand salve during the dry Roman winters.
EcologiQ: EcologiQ in Testaccio has a wide range of natural home and beauty products, including their signature line of zero-waste, refillable make-up, and bath products. We love their selection of cleaning supplies but, you should definitely try their hand creams, as well.
Parks & Outdoor Spaces In Rome
Stroll through Rome’s parks: Rome is one of the greenest cities in Europe boasting numerous spacious large public parks. There is a wealth of choices and each park has its own distinct character. Morgan is a Villa Borghese girl through and through, her favorite percorso is a stroll up to Pincio overlook while listening to the bustlers playing her favorite Dolce Vita-themed music, and then a walk to Amir Azar’s small kiosk in Piazzale delle Canestre to grab a fresh juice while people watching in the park’s central area. Rachel, on the other hand, is a Villa Pamphili enthusiast–whether it’s yoga in the park or a stroll to Vivi Bistrot’s Pamphili location.
Walk along the Tiber: The Lungotevere path along the Tiber River is a long-time favorite. Beginning at Ponte Garibaldi, the 16 km path extends along the river throughout the city. This path is exclusively for runners, power walkers, and bikers so the energy is high and the views are incredible. You’ll have the opportunity to see Castel Sant’Angelo from below and stroll by Isola Tiberina. This little island was originally the seat of the ancient temple of Asclepius, which later became a hospital (incidentally, this is where Morgan’s daughter was born!).
Bike along ancient trails: The Appia Antica is one of our favorite bike excursions as Rachel previously worked as a tour guide in Rome and has taken countless tourists down the Appia for a bumpy, yet beautiful ride along ancient cobblestones. The “Appian Way” has been around for over 2000 years and was Rome’s main highway connecting the Vatican to the Puglia region.
The Best Health & Wellness Shops
La Capra Rampante: When La Capra Rampante first opened near the Vatican, it was a revelation for Rachel who happened to work right around the corner. The well-stocked organic shop offers a variety of organic produce, natural wines, and locally sourced cheeses. The bulk selection continues to grow each time we visit, offering granola, nuts, and grains. Do not miss the house ground nut butters. We LOVE the almond butter.
NaturaSì: Italy doesn’t have a Whole Foods franchise but we DO have NaturaSì. This is the perfect one-stop shop for everything organic, and with a dozen locations in the city, it’s easy to find. Some stores feature cute juice bars or ready-made snacks; perfect if you’re on the go. NaturaSì also produces its own lines of pasta, nut butters, and cold-pressed oils.
Osteria del Mercato: The Bulgari of organic grocery stores, Osteria del Mercato is pure luxury. Located along the chic Via Vittoria near the Spanish Steps, this restaurant and juice bar also houses Morgan’s favorite organic market in the city. They have vegan cheeses, sweet potato chips, and freshly baked buckwheat bread amongst various flavors of Kombucha. It’s also one of the only stores to carry Beyond Meat for home cooks. The selection is highly curated and the prices reflect this, but it’s worth a visit if you are passionate about plant-based cuisine.
Libreria Editrice ASEQ: Libreria Editrice ASEQ has one of the largest collections of esoteric books in all of Italy. Most of the titles are in Italian but you can find a variety of reading material ranging from witchcraft in the 15th century all the way to more applicable modern herbal medicinal practices. Everything from philosophy to history to tarot cards, the proprietors are passionate and it shows. Blink and you miss it, but it’s right in the city center (between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon).
Altromercato: Altromercato is the first Italian chain to offer fair-trade products sourced from over 40 countries. While this is not a classically Italian shop, we enjoy that one can do a little holiday shopping while contributing to a more equitable and just world. There are multiple locations throughout Rome but the one on Via di Ripetta is where we like to lose ourselves amongst the unique finds. We love the loose teas, chocolate bars, and seasonal cakes.