Attilio De Vita's guide to Rome

HOW TO GET THERE: If I'm flying from Heathrow for a lunchtime meeting, I take the first flight of the day, which is with Alitalia at 6.40.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

HOW TO GET THERE: If I'm flying from Heathrow for a lunchtime meeting, I take the first flight of the day, which is with Alitalia at 6.40. It arrives at Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) airport at 10.15. Alitalia also has the last flight of the day back to London. British Airways runs a good service from Gatwick and Heathrow. If you fly Ryanair or easyJet, be prepared for a less convenient trip into the city from Ciampino airport.

AIRPORT TO TOWN: The taxi from Fiumicino doesn't take more than 30 minutes outside rush hour and costs about EUR40. Or take the express train direct to Rome's central station, Termini; there's only one an hour, so it's a bit hit-and-miss. It costs EUR9.50 and takes 35 minutes.

BEST HOTEL: For the latest in high-tech chic, I like the Radisson SAS Rome 1 (formerly ES Hotel), which overlooks Termini station (Via Filippo Turati 171, +39 06 444841, http://rome.radissonsas.com).

It was voted one of the coolest 50 hotels by Conde Nast Traveller and it's right in the middle of the city. The Hilton 2 at Fiumicino (Via Arturo Ferrain, +39 06 65258, www.hilton.com) is great if you arrive late, as it's only 300 yards from the airport. It serves a superb buffet until 10.30pm, which I'd recommend. The smart Sheraton Golf Parco De' Medici 3 (Viale Parco De' Medici 167, +39 06 65288, www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton) is, handily, halfway between Fiumicino and Rome.

BEST ROOM: Rooms overlooking the railway tracks are the best at the Radisson, especially with a private balcony. Don't miss the glassed-over underfloor Roman ruins in the lobby.

BEST BUSINESS RESTAURANT: There are so many good places to eat - it's like a Brit trying to pick his favourite pub. La Pergola restaurant 4 in the Hilton Cavalieri Hotel (Via Cadlolo 101, +39 06 3509 2152) is good for impressing a client over dinner, but my favourite is Ristorante Abruzzi 5 (Via del Vaccaro 1, corner of Piazza SS Apostoli, +39 06 679 3897).

You won't find any tourists there and it serves real Roman food. It doesn't have a big selection of dishes, but the ingredients are fresh and it has a good choice of antipasti.

BEST CAFES: Cafe Rosati 6 (Piazza del Popolo) is in one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. It's usually filled with artists because of the galleries around the corner on Via Margutta. Cafe Greco 7 on Via Condotti is close to Piazza di Spagna, and is thought to be the oldest cafe in Rome - it's really famous among Romans. I like to have my morning coffee at Cafe Tazza d'Oro 8 on Piazza del Pantheon.

A FEW HOURS TO KILL?: My favourite place to visit is the Colosseum 9.

I start in Piazza Venezia, by the Altare della Patria (the 'Wedding Cake'), and walk up Via dei Fori Imperiali, which is scattered with Roman ruins.

It takes half an hour there and back. The Spanish Steps 10 are a 15-minute walk from Piazza Venezia, and nearby is Via del Corso, with its boutiques and the Trevi Fountain 11. If near Piazza Colonna, allow time for Gelateria Giolitti 12, which makes the very best ice-cream; my favourite is straciatella.

BUSINESS ETIQUETTE: Italians like to dress properly, so always make an effort. Women should wear a skirt rather than a trouser suit. Be formal when you first address Italians - always use their titles. But they'll make every effort to put you at ease. There is no question that lunch is accompanied with wine, but you might get a few odd looks if you also take a digestif.

SECRETS OF THE JET SET: Rome is full of beautiful boutiques, so leave space in your luggage for presents. Clothes and jewellery are especially good to buy, as is local produce. Each area has its own delicatessen, called a salumeria, where you can choose from the region's best.

- Attilio De Vita is in the Italian team of Johnson & Johnson's finance services department.

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