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Top tips from a local in Rome
For more than 2,000 years, travellers have come to Rome from all over the world, determined to see the city's art and architecture, to soak in its history and religion. And today?
Soak up the history of the Colosseum
The Eternal City is every bit as fascinating, multi-layered, and beautiful as it was then.
But with so much going on, it can also be baffling! Here are some tips for how to enjoy Rome like a local.
Eating and drinking
If you liked the look of the hotspots we mentioned in my video, then check out these other Roman eateries serving up fresh, local food. Located a stone's throw from the Spanish Steps, Palatium is run by the Lazio Regional Food Authority.
That means the restaurant sources all ingredients locally, and its (long) wine list is Lazio-only, too.
The dishes run Roman-with-a-modern-twist and change frequently, and, for the quality of the food, the prices are excellent (you can tuck into a plate of pasta for around 10 euro).
Sample of a taste of Rome at Enoteca Provincia Romana
If you're thirsty after trekking around the ancient sites all day, head to Enoteca Provincia Romana, tucked behind Trajan's Column in the Imperial Forums.
Run by the Provincia di Roma, its wine and food come - you guessed it - from the province of Rome.
Rome is as awash in options for sightseeing as it is for restaurants. One of my favorite lesser-known gems, apart from those in the video, has to be the Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini.
The remains of two elaborate ancient Roman villas, complete with inlaid marble flooring and a bath complex, were discovered beneath a 16th-century palace in the heart of Rome.
But what's unique about this sight isn't so much the villas, although they are spectacular, but how the city presents them: You explore the homes through a multimedia tour that, using light displays, recreates how the rooms actually would have looked. It's one of the best attempts to make the ancient ruins "come alive" that I've seen in Rome.
Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini
If you have time for a stroll or a bike ride, check out the Via Appia Antica, which was built in 312 B.C. and was one of the Roman empire's most important roads.
Much of the ancient stone paving remains, and the path is littered with ancient monuments and mausoleums, including, of course, some of Rome's best-known catacombs.
And if you're an art lover, missing the Galleria Borghese would be a crime. My (and many others') favorite art museum in Rome, it has some of the world's most important and beautiful pieces by Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael, among other masters.
Of course, almost everyone wants to pick up a souvenir while they're in Rome. Avoid the famous shopping street of Via del Corso, which has become nothing more than an outdoor strip mall of international chains you could shop at anywhere in the world.
Instead, find a unique - and surprisingly well-priced - item at one of Rome's many artisanal shops. For this, I love shopping in Monti.
At Ashanti, jeweler Raffaelle Cinzio handcrafts funky, exquisite jewelry from bronze, silver and gold starting at just 45 euros, while right across the street at Le Nou, two young designers create trendy fashions on the cheap (shirts start at just 30 euros!).
On the weekends, don't miss Mercato Monti, which sells vintage and handmade goods from local designers and vendors.
Best time to come
Now that you have the shops, sights and restaurants down, all that's left is figuring out when to come to Rome! The city is beautiful year-round, but one time of year not to come is August or early September.
That's when Rome shuts down for ferragosto and many locals flee to the seaside, meaning that all of those great local shops and restaurants are closed. Plus, the city is hot!
Also remember, of course, that high season really starts in Easter and ends in October in a city as popular as this one.
Coming outside of these months will mean you'll experience a more tranquil and local, if slightly chillier and rainier, Rome.