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By Simona Palmisano, MSN contributor

Top tips from a local in Rome

Take a stroll with Roman tour guide Simona Palmisano as she spends an activity-packed day in Rome


Immediately upon arriving in Rome - whether you're staying for two days or two week, or if it's your first visit or your tenth - the city will surprise you with its marvelous pace of life.

Rome - where beauty seeps from every corner

Rome - where beauty seeps from every corner

In such an ancient city (officially 2765 years old) that's so deeply connected with history and art, where beauty seeps from every corner, millions of Romans still manage to sit down, enjoy the sun, and sip a cappuccino in between the demands of modern life.

If you listen to the rhythm of the city you're forced to appreciate beauty and enjoy life in the deepest way possible.

The city is filled with enough cafes, wine bars and restaurants to accommodate all budgets but there are some that are surely not to be missed.

Eating and drinking

If it's cold outside and you need a warm cappuccino, keep in mind Cafe Canova Tadolini on via del Babuino (not far from the Spanish Steps) where you can sip a coffee inside a 19th century artists' atelier surrounded by period statues.

If you want to be authentically Roman sip a coffee while standing and head to Café Sant'Eustachio, near the Pantheon, and try their super creamy espresso. (As they normally add the sugar in advance, be sure to tell them ahead of time if you prefer your coffee unsweetened).

After a long day of hitting the cobblestones, I can't think of a better place for a nice glass of wine than Il Goccetto on via dei Banchi Vecchi, which is just off Campo de' Fiori.

The elegant yet informal atmosphere of Italians enjoying their wine over lively conversations is instantly charming. Sergio, the owner, or one of his expert staff are happy to help you choose the perfect glass.

Indulge in gelato at San Crispino

Indulge in gelato at San Crispino

If you're feeling hungry after your city wandering try a snack the Italians are famous for, a gelato (ice cream). While in the historic center be sure not to miss San Crispino at one of their two locations: on Piazza della Maddalena (one block from the Pantheon) or on Via della Panetteria, just one block from the Trevi Fountain.

If you're in the Vatican area take the 15 minute walk to Gelateria dei Gracchi on Via dei Gracchi, it's worth every step!

If you're craving salty over sweet, do as the locals do and grab a pizza by the slice. The best is Pizzarium on Via della Meloria which is a little hidden, but a true gem. It is near to the Vatican museums, by the Cipro metro station, a mere five minutes' walk away. There is a genuine gourmand preparing pizzas with inventive and unique toppings, enjoy!

Not far from Campo dei Fiori is another local favorite on Largo dei Librari; it is an old, unrestored eatery with a vintage sign that reads, "Filetti di Baccala" (cod fillets). Aside from a few appetizers they only sell fried cod fish, one of the most typical snacks in Rome. You can either sit down at one of the rustic tables inside or sit outside on the square. Alternatively, line up for a massive cod to go for only 5 euro - you even pay the fry chef in the back directly in cash!

Sightseeing

Remember it's mandatory to get deliberately lost in Rome as it's the best way to discover the hidden treasures and picturesque winding alleys of the city.

Seek out the church of San Luigi dei Francesi and its Caravaggio canvases or the whimsical Fountain of the Turtles just outside the Jewish Ghetto.

If you have the time and energy for an uphill hike, or are willing to pay for a 10 euro taxi ride, head up to Piazza Garibaldi on the Gianicolo hill for the breathtaking and romantic panorama of the Eternal City. Try to make out the ancient dome of the Pantheon and the loggia of the Villa Medici atop the Spanish Steps.

Shopping

If you enjoyed the look of the Case Clementina in my video check out the other cool event of the area. Mercato Monti does not take place every day or even every week, but the frequency is increasing.

The market is hosted in an indoor area, there's normally a DJ to help set the mood and they sell anything from old Polaroid cameras to vintage clothes, books, jewellery handcrafted by local young artists and more.

Mercato Monti

Browse for trinkets at Mercato Monti

The growing local event is loved by everyone not just for the things you can buy, but also for the atmosphere of people mixing and socializing in the relaxed setting.

For something less traditional try Mia Market nearby, a shop selling seasonal and organic foods which offers light lunches and fresh squeezed juices all made right on the spot.

It's an interactive shop, where one can buy local produce and also sit by those same fruit and vegetable boxes while enjoying lunch. This place is a requisite stop in the area.

There are also a few clothing shops offering fashions from young designers and selling unique accessories. In the area there's also bookstore called Liberia dei Libri Necessari or the Library of Necessary Books which hosts frequent book readings adding to the already charming atmosphere. Another book shop nearby is the House of Love and Dissent where they sell both books and vintage clothes.

Best time to go

Rome is a city of four seasons with cold winters (for us Romans anyway!) and hot summers. The late spring and autumn are the best times to come as regards the weather, but also considering the sparser crowds and lower flight and hotel costs.

Everyone prefers shorter queues and fewer folks when you want to gaze at the dome of the Pantheon in relative peace. Nonetheless, despite my admitted bias, Rome is still unforgettable any time of the year!

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