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I’ve recently returned from a few glorious days in the “Eternal City.” No matter how often I’ve gone, I’m always happy to return. It’s still beautiful, bustling and always delicious. Even a short stay in this living, breathing museum-like metropolis [VIDEO] is worth the trip, especially for travelers who love to walk everywhere while absorbing street life and exploring rich culture along the way. To say nothing of enjoying some of the happiest food on earth! Here are some of my recommendations to make your trip fun and delicious.

Hotel

Starhotels Metropole Clean, simple, attentive service in a very well-located, four-star establishment that’s fairly-priced.

Address: Via Principe Amedeo, 3.

Restaurants

Roscioli boasts generations of artisinal gastronomy and yields world-class salumi, pasta, bread, and wines. When in season, try the zucchini flowers stuffed with oxtail stew. There is fantastic food all around. And their sensational bakery right around the corner will not hurt you either.

Da Tonino is worth the wait for this authentic trattoria frequented by as many locals as foreign tourists. They offer traditional, homemade, simple, delicious Roman fare in a lively atmosphere. Address: Via del Governo Vecchio, 18-19.

Flavio Al Velavevodetto Frankly, the best amatriciana I ever had. Address: Via di Monte Testaccio, 97

Ai Tre Scalini This spot in the Monti area defines charming. Pleasant staff serves delectable, local Roman staples. Address: Via Panisperna 251 | Rione Monti.

Restaurant Ai Marmi Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. In the Trastevere neighborhood, it's available for dinner time only. Order cheap wine, sit outside, enjoy perfectly good pizza pies.

Mercato Centrale It's the very newish, prepared foods marketplace in Rome’s main railway station. If you like to sample and nosh, you’re bound to find a few flavors you’ll savor.

Happy hour

Both Pimm’s Good and Ombre Rosse serve up tasty libations in convivial settings when it’s time to take a break and do some quality people watching in Trastevere.

Bernini Bristol: For rooftop cocktails with an expansive view of Rome below, head up to the top floor at this hotel in time for sunset. Beauteous. Address: Piazza Barberini, 23.

Shopping

Even for someone who does not like shopping, I must admit that it’s worth strolling around the MONTI neighborhood, a cobblestone-lined village within the city center.

Podere Vecciano is a fabulous boutique featuring gourmet offerings from the Tuscan countryside. That’s everything from oils, mustards, and pâtés to kitchenware, wines, and spirits. Address: Via dei Serpenti, 33.

I was very taken with SVBVRA for super stylish women’s and men’s fashions. It bills itself as “no ordinary store” and I’m inclined to agree. Address: Via Urbana, 38

And I was so impressed by the unique styles at CODE 272, that I actually encouraged my wife to buy a great pair of boots there. Who does that? Address: Via dei Serpenti 118.