It's no wonder that Stephanie Conley knows Rome so well. The Sydney-based mother of two once spent a year living in the Italian capital; a time in her life which helped to firmly cement her love for food and entertaining. These days, the former fashion designer, cook book author and founder of stylish food blog The Hostess ensures her connection with la dolce vita doesn't wane with annual pilgrimage back to Italy - kids in tow. We asked Stephanie to share her tips for getting the very best out of this vibrant city, and she delivered. Prego!
What do you love most about Rome?
The streets; they are an endless maze. Even when you think you know the city well, it surprises you.
What are your favourite restaurants in Rome?
Osteria Del Belli - a family-run restaurant in Rome's Trastevere.
Taverna Trilussa - rustic taverna, famed for pasta served in steel pans.
Le Mani In Pasta - intimate restaurant for local seafood and pasta.
Dal Bolgnese - classic Italian.
Enoteca Ferrara - contemporary, dinner only restaurant.
Roscioli - a multi-functional deli, unconventional restaurant, and rich and varied wine bar.
Cul De Sac - charming bar right by Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori.
Gusto - industrial-chic wine bar with floor-to ceiling windows.
Ciampini - daytime cafe with sidewalk terrace for an espresso hit, sandwich or ice-cream.
Where would you take someone for their first trip to Rome?
We would start in Piazza Guiseppe Garibaldi and look at the amazing panorama of Rome; you can see the entire city from there. Then we would walk down to Trastevere. It is a lovely neighbourhood of Rome that buzzes every night of the week.
From Piazza Trilussa we could cross the Ponte Sisto and take a walk down the famous Via Giulia where you can see beautiful antique shops along its uneven cobbled street. From here, take a side street to one of my favourite Piazzas, Piazza Farnese. Take a seat at Café Farnese and enjoy a spritz and admire the beautiful frescos that you can see from the street of the French Embassy.
Then, onto Compo Dei Fiori where the fresh produce market is held each morning. Cross the busy Corso Victorrio Emanuele to arrive at Piazza Navona where we can pass the famous Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini. Take a right at the end of the Piazza and take a stroll through a maze of streets filled with more churches, monuments and jaw dropping architecture before leading us to the famous Via Condotti.
To get a taste for Roman nightlife?
Salotto 42 - chic, glamorous bar.
Freni E Frizioni - vibrant bar with a terrace, serving aperitifs amidst chandeliers and modern art.
Terrazza San Pancrazio - fabulous rooftop bar.
For touring outside of Rome, where would you recommend day-tripping to?
Castel Gandolfo is 20km from Rome and home to the summer residence of the Pope. It overlooks Lake Albano and is very picturesque. Fregene is Rome's most popular beach and gets packed on the weekends, as all the Romans leave the heat of the city. Testaccio is on the outskirts of the historic centre of Rome and is truly Roman. The famous daily market is worth a visit. Eataly Roma is a must visit for foodies. A Mecca of three floors dedicated to "La Cucina Italiana." Trastevere is my old neighbourhood and full of great bars and restaurants.
What is the best time of year to travel to Rome?
Early spring or early autumn. Rome has many religious festivals throughout the year but if that's not your thing the summer months have many jazz festivals; the Teatro Dell' Opera is a beautiful night out.
What are your top 5 must-see landmarks?
The Vatican, Fontana di Trevi (go late at night or very early in the morning), Castel Sant'Angelo, Galleria St Angelo and Piazza del Popolo.
Describe the Roman lifestyle?
People live day-to-day; buying fresh produce at the local markets that are held daily in certain Piazzas across the city. People are much more relaxed and the one to three o'clock siesta is still observed in some parts of the city, as well as no-Sunday trading, and half-day Monday for many shops.
Accomodation in Rome, your tailored picks?
The best places to take kids while in Rome?
Ciampini (for gelato)
Favourite getaway locations nearby?
Capri, Monte Argentario and Siena.
Any clever tourist tips, tricks or and warnings you can share?
Keep your bag closed at all times, remain aware when in large crowds. Wear flat, comfortable shoes and keep printed copies of your passport.
You can find Stephanie on Instagram at @thehostess.
Image via: Unsplash.com/@czermak_photography