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There’s something very special about Rome. It has a strong, proud personality which makes you feel like you are very lucky to have the pleasure of its company. Unlike many other big cities, it dictates the way you’ll conduct yourself during your visit; hence the saying ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do’ – it’s more of an order; but one that most are happy to comply with!

Some of the things I’d recommend you see and do are –

1. Put your camera away for a little while and do take time out to treat your eyes and admire the amazing art and architecture the city has to offer. It’s unique and you won’t find it anywhere else in the world. All the famous sights are breathtaking but St Peter’s Basilica is by far the most over overwhelmingly majestic (go there on a weekday around 4pm to avoid a ridiculously long que and make sure your shoulders and legs are covered) – this city belongs to Michelangelo, as Barcelona does to Gaudi and Picasso. If you appreciate art and history this city will leave you spellbound.

2. It’s all about leather. Move beyond Prada and Gucci – the tiny little boutiques and off beat shops in side lanes and streets sell the best bags, satchels, shoppers, gloves, wallets and boots. Beautiful colours and excellent quality – some of their styles are way trendier then those from the designer brands. I particularly like the shops off main Via Veneto which is also home to some very swanky hotels and bars. Don’t waste time looking at clothes though – especially if you live in London – our high street is miles ahead!

3. Peek through the Aventino key hole for a keyhole view of the Vatican. The most popular thing on the Aventino hill itself is to take a peek through the keyhole that lets you look through three countries (the third is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which owns the building that the keyhole belongs to) and see St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican perfectly framed between two rows of trees. It’s a quirky little secret which many tourists don’t even know about!

4. Tucked away in a pretty little lane off the Spanish steps, Alcozer & J is worth visiting for the most alluring and original jewels. Established in 1994, they are a craft company and the unique thing about their pieces is that they don’t necessarily fall into the category of costume jewelry; rather they incorporate elements of rich, antique jewelry into modern versions – if you like detailed, heavy pieces which ooze glamour and originality then visiting Via delle Carrozze, 48-00187 will be one of the highlights of your trip.


5. Gelato & spaghetti – You can not return from Rome without trying Green Apple ice cream – Melon, Peach and Pineapple are not too far behind. Fresh, creamy and just the right amount of sweet. Nothing else will be good enough again.

Do try the seafood spaghetti at Osteria del TempoPerso,  Piazza del Popolo (which is probably the most happening piazza in Rome – minutes away from the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain) it’s one of the best you’ll ever have. And it won’t break the bank either.

We stayed at the very lovely Visconti Palace Hotel, Via Federico Cesi 37, 00193 Roma. Centrally located, with friendly staff and a particularly good roof top bar and restaurant, this hotel makes for an ideal starting point for those new or returning to Rome.