I was born in the northern area of Rome next to where the Olympic village and stadiums were built for the 1960 games. When I was growing up it was a residential area with lots of green spaces.
I now live next to Piazza del Popolo in central Rome, and I love being able to walk everywhere. It’s also very close to the Villa Borghese park and the river; being able to see water from my apartment is great. If money were no object, I would love to have a villa in the centre of Rome with a garden. There are very few – but what a treat!
I have a few favourite stores in Rome, besides Davide Cenci, of course: Cucina on Via Flaminia for its incredible selection of kitchenware, and Hausmann & Co for amazing watches.
I can often be found in Enoteca Buccone; I like the wine and it sells great food, too. It has rows of bottles from floor to ceiling. At night at the weekend you can eat simple Roman dishes in an unusual atmosphere. Da Fortunato is classic: every dish is a sure thing and the variety is incredible. At Dal Bolognese, you can eat outside in the most beautiful setting. Giolitti is where I have breakfast every day, but the real treat is the ice cream (chestnut is the best flavour).
Piazza Farnese and the area surrounding is where I like to surprise my out-of-town friends; it is a quiet square next to busy Piazza Navona that takes you back to medieval Rome. Palazzo Farnese is always lit at night and you can see the beautiful frescoes inside.
The Foro Italico sports complex where they play the Italian Tennis Open has a great little park for a stroll. It’s sort of a hidden secret of Rome, as is the Centrale Montemartini, a new museum that houses Roman statues in the city’s first power plant.
My favourite walk is a loop from the Ara Pacis to Piazza di Spagna and back, always changing which side streets to take. The best view? The one from the Pincio terrace is a classic, because you really grasp the whole city from there.
It is impossible to pick the best landmark in Rome, because there are too many. At the moment my favourite is the Museo dell’Ara Pacis for its combination of old and modern: an ancient Roman temple inside a Richard Meier cement structure.
My tip for exploring Rome is to go back at night to places you have visited in the daytime. You will have a totally different experience.