Celebrities’ Favorite Spots in Italy, According to Rome’s Tour Guide to the Stars

Actress Jessica Alba arrives at the Excelsior Hotel ahead of the 67th Venice Film Festival on August 31, 2010 in Venice, Italy

Italy has long been a favored vacation destination for the rich and extremely famous. From its stunning coastline to its chic fashion sense, its gorgeous vineyards to its stellar mountain regions, Italy has no problem impressing the A-list. Need proof? Just ask Simone Amorico, CEO of the exclusive tour company Access Italy. 

“Access Italy provides unique access to venues that are hardly accessible to the public,” Amorico told Travel + Leisure. The company, Amorico says, helps “clients feel like they are immersed in the Italian culture.”

Those clients have included everyone from Oprah (who named the tour company on her famed Favorite Things list) to the Obamas. But don’t worry, even if you’re not the queen of daytime TV or a former president, the Access Italy team will show you around their favorite Italian destinations.

For now, spend a little time daydreaming about an Italian vacation by reading up on where Amorico says his celebrity clientele love to visit most around Rome and the entire boot. 

Jessica Alba: Villa Borghese

According to Amorico, Jessica Alba, who visited Italy with the tour company in 2019, absolutely adores an active vacation in Rome. 

“She very much enjoyed when we rented bikes and went to Villa Borghese in Rome with her kids,” he said, noting the group stopped to take pictures of the ruins along the way. “She also loved Ancient Rome,” he said, noting the Colosseum and Roman Forum were particular favorites. “We went inside a special entrance, through the gladiator entrance. We then walked to the old Roman Forum during sunset.” 

Owen Wilson: The Colosseum 

Like Alba, Amorico says Wilson loved to check out the history in Rome. 

“Owen Wilson took his son for the Gladiator School and Gelato making,” Amorico said. The Gladiator School experience allows guests to act like real gladiators for a day with hands-on lessons on gladiator fighting with authentic weapons and the opportunity to don authentic gladiator outfits. “But what he really loved when he was in Rome was playing tennis and riding bikes in the city,” Amorico added.

Aaron Paul: The Vatican 

According to Amorico, “Aaron Paul was amazing when we took him and his wife Lauren on the behind-the-scenes Vatican tour. He liked it so much that he referred it to several friends!”

Travel + Leisure got to take the same tour back in 2018, and loved the experience enough to tell all our friends about it too. The tour includes a guided experience by Amorico (or, if you’re very lucky, by his father, Angelo), along with a private tour of the Vatican’s mosaic art studio. There are a few surprises on the tour that we swore we’d keep off-record, so you’re just going to have to book it when the time comes to see for yourself.  

Sylvester Stallone: Gelateria 

Sylvester Stallone may be well-known for his incredible physique, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy a tasty, sugary treat now and then too. “Stallone very much enjoyed the gelato making and serving ice cream to customers in a roman gelateria,” Amorico said.  

Bonus: Oprah in Umbria 

We can’t make a list of celebrity-loved destinations via Access Italy without mentioning Oprah. While Oprah also made her way through Rome with the Amorico family, “she enjoyed very much doing truffle hunting in Umbria and eating the pasta with truffles afterward,” Amorico said. 

There’s a reason so many of the world’s best travelers pick Access Italy over and over again. Traveling with the company is like traveling with your own family, your in-the-know friend, and a human guidebook all in one.

“We understand what luxury means,” Amorico previously shared while sitting on the banks of Lake Como with T+L. “We make sure [our clients] see the behind-the-scenes of the Vatican or something special that only we can do. But at the same time, in today's luxury market, clients still want to experience authenticity. So with us, I feel that we have a bit of a combination. You can see the Sistine Chapel when it's closed, you can see the behind the scenes, but at the same time we take you to our home, have a meal with us, see how the Romans live."

Soon enough, you’ll be able to do as the famous do and as the Romans do in our 2021 Destination of the Year with our extended Italian family. Make sure to say “ciao” for us when you do. 

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