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Less is more ... rather than overwhelming you with volumes of travel tips, here is a specific list of exclusive recommendations with Mr & Mrs Crystal's stamp of approval.

restaurants

Antica Pesa

Dating back to the 17th century, Antica Pesa is a hidden gem in Trastevere and the kind of place you would most likely hear about by reliable word-of-mouth. Those in the know dine in the charming garden during summer (which used to be a bocce court) or otherwise enjoy the frescoed interior. The typically Roman pastas are exceptional, as are the wide range of fish-based dishes, and the friendly staff will be more than happy to talk you through the vast wine list. It is the sort of restaurant you dream of having as your “local”.

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 View Map ... Via Garibaldi, 18, Rome, Italy
Enoteca Ferrara

Originally a wine bar, Enoteca Ferrara has also become an impressively popular restaurant which is favoured by many locals but relatively unknown to tourists. It still prides itself on an extensive wine list (with 850 labels of wine and 3 sommeliers) and its concept has inspired the opening of similar swanky wine bars across Rome. The restaurant serves innovative modern Italian fare in a trendy dining space, which has a separate wine shop and gastronomic boutique.

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 View Map ... Piazza Trilussa 41, Trastevere, Rome, Italy
GiNa

This modern and refreshing restaurant/café, located between piazza di Spagna and the Villa Borghese gardens, is minimalist in design with ultra-white walls, single flowers in jars and abstract paintings. It packs a lively young crowd with a lot of Italian chatter. The menu is contemporary, specialising in simple and tasty salads, paninis and quiches. It’s an all-day kind of place – from late breakfast to light lunch, from evening aperitif to casual dinner. A quirky addition to the menu is the elegant “GiNa PicNic basket” designed for a summer picnic in the gardens adjacent to the nearby Villa Borghese.

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 View Map ... 7a Via San Sebastianello, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, Italy
Gusto

This mega foodie empire, comprising 3 separate venues on and around Piazza Augusto Imperatore, includes an open-plan restaurant, pizzeria, osteria, wine bar, cheese shop and gourmet grocer. It is something of a designer showpiece - exposed brick walls, soaring ceilings, marble top tables and industrial style lighting. The emphasis at the upstairs relaxed restaurant is on Mediterranean cuisine with Eastern influences and the lively pizzeria downstairs attracts a young and funky crowd. Live jazz takes place in the cosy wine bar and there is also an extremely well-stocked shop selling kitchenware and cookery books. Join the crowds at lunchtime and enjoy 6 italian mezze-style plates for €10, and return at 'happy hour' and exchange €10 for a glass of vino and a range of italian tapas.

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 View Map ... Piazza Augusto Imperatore 9, Rome, Italy

what we think

For as long as most people can remember, Rome has featured on the list of must-see cities in Europe. This vibrant city is littered with architectural landmarks - the Colloseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and so many more. The local Roman takes the inspiring architecture and prized art galleries in their stride, sometimes appearing impatient of culture standing in the way of a morning espresso or a spot of Louis Vuitton shopping. The streets of Rome are its greatest theatre, full of the relentless buzz of Vespas and raucous Italian babble. Rome is the set of the acclaimed “La Dolce Vita” and in true “sweet life” style, even the traffic wardens are beautifully groomed by Armani. Spoil yourself in the many fabulous boutiques, savour the taste of glass of vino, and you’ll be answering your phone with “pronto!” before you even realise!