“I’ve been to Rome more times than I could say,” says Australian fashion designer Rebecca Vallance. “My husband and I have a home in Malta, which is an hour’s flight from Rome. When I was living there, we were travelling to Rome maybe eight or 10 times a year.” Here, Vallance shares the most stylish spots in the City of Seven Hills, the historic Italian capital she describes as an “open-air museum”.

Best hotels

Hotel de Russie and Portrait Roma

“We stay between two places. Hotel de Russie is in the heart of Rome, just a short walk from the Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo square. It’s a really luxurious stay; the interiors are plush and classic. The hotel’s restaurant, La Jardin de Russie, is outstanding. Its truffle menu during stagione del tartufo [truffle season] is to die for.

Otherwise, we stay at Salvatore Ferragamo’s boutique hotel, Portrait Roma. The suites have a real designer feel to them and I love the rooftop terrace. I’ve spent many evenings up there with my husband, drinking prosecco and gazing out over the city. To me, that’s really special.”

Best restaurants

Dal Bolognese, Assunta Madre and Due Ladroni

“Rome doesn’t have the same kind of cosmopolitan dining scene you’ll find in London or New York. It’s more traditional. I recommend dining at Dal Bolognese, Assunta Madre and Due Ladroni. There’s a book called Gambero Rosso, an Italian good food guide – I’ve also had experiences where I go off the beaten path, through a cobbled street, garden or back door to find a restaurant. It might not look luxurious but it has the best Italian food you could ever eat.”

Best café

Antico Caffè Greco

“Caffè Greco is the oldest bar in Rome. The interiors have an incredibly historic feel to them and the coffee is the best I’ve come across in the city. Indulge in one of its pasta dishes – when you’re in Rome, you have to make peace with the fact that every meal is going to be pasta!”

Best place to be seen

Stravinskij Bar at Hotel de Russie

“The Hotel de Russie has a bar called Stravinskij Bar and in spring and summer the garden there has a really amazing atmosphere. It’s where all the big celebrities hang out. I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen and Tom Jones there.”

Best cocktails

Raphaël Hotel

“The most famous terrace in Rome is at the Raphaël, just off Piazza Navona. It’s famous for its 360-degree views of the city and for being the private residence of Italy’s former prime minister, Bettino Craxi, in the 1980s. Order a Bellini.”

Best secret spot

Villa del Priorato di Malta

“There’s a place called Villa del Priorato di Malta. It’s just out of Rome, located on top of Aventine Hill, and has the most spectacular view of the villa and St Peter’s Basilica [in Vatican City]. I love venturing out of Rome. Even on a 10-minute drive, you find beautiful places.” 

Best market

Campo de’ Fiori

“This is where all the Romans get their produce. The tomatoes are just incredible – almost sweet. Or pick up some buffalo mozzarella and olive oil.” 

The real Rome

Da Felice

“Have lunch at Da Felice in Testaccio, a little outside the city. It’s all about sitting around with friends and enjoying Roman and Italian cuisine.” 

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