Jep Gambardella used to say that Romans were unbearable and that the best inhabitants of this city were its tourists. Not wishing to find fault with the star of La Grande Bellezza, we’d suggest that a stroll around the Eternal City proves quite the opposite. The best thing about Rome is the people. If you really want to discover the essence of this city, take a walk around Monti, Spritz in hand, and strike up a conversation with whoever’s nearby.

Anna Cipriani. 22 

This language student confesses that she’s not “Roman from Rome.” That’s the redundant expression the Eternal City’s residents use to describe people who were born here and whose parents are from Rome. Anna was born in Venice but has spent 20 of her 22 years living here. She highlights the city’s history, but recommends more experienced travellers venture beyond the centre. “Everyone knows Rome as the Eternal City but there are smaller, more curious sides to it,” she says. “Heading outside the city to visit the castles or Nero’s villa could be a perfect plan for the weekend.”

Ciro Scamardella. 30

This chap from Naples has spent 17 years travelling the world’s kitchens. Italy, Germany, France, Spain… His home city is a gastronomic capital but Ciro decided to try out other flavours and training before coming back. “In Naples we say that you have to get baptised somewhere else in order to get confirmed in your own city,” he says with a smile. Until his confirmation day in Naples arrives, Ciro is delighting diners at Metamorfo, a restaurant in Rome with one Michelin star. He mentions the 21 different eateries acknowledged by the famous guide but, prizes aside, this chef from Naples enjoys the trattorias and street markets. His favourite is Vittorio Emanuele, behind Termini station.

Alessandra Panelli. 60

Her parents, Paolo Panelli and Bice Valori, were two greats of the Italian cultural scene, so Alessandra grew up in a stimulating, artistic environment. Fellini, Mastroianni, Rosellini… “Great artists the likes of which we don’t have nowadays,” she recalls. That might be why Alessandra decided to become an actress, working in films such as La Famiglia by Ettore Scole. But after 20 years on stage she opted to change track. “I wanted to do something more social,” she recounts. And so, along with two friends, she set up Diverse Abilitá, a cultural association that uses theatre as therapy for people in difficulties.