Returning to Rome is a familiar and enjoyable experience.
The Monti area is the network of streets from Via Nazionale to the Colosseum. This was the birthplace of Julius Caesar. Workshops are next-door to cocktail bars, while churches sit side by side with trendy boutiques.
The Piazza della Madonna dei Monti in the center of the neighborhood is a good place to start. It’s particularly lively at night, when crowds of young people gather on the steps of the fountain, drinking beer and watching the world go by. Surrounding streets such as Via led Brochette and Via Urbana are lined with quirky design shops and independent boutiques. Another Monti institution is Mercato Monti – a weekend market selling everything from vintage sunglasses and jewelery to handmade lamps.
Lots of places to eat, La Carbonara (Via Panisperna 214) and the cozy Taverna Romana (Via della Madonna dei Monti 79) for classic Roman cuisine are noted. Fafiuche (Via della Madonna dei Monti 28) is an enoteca specializing in Piemontese wine, which offers an excellent aperitivo.
This is one of the neighborhoods that is already very well known by tourists. But, I have walked the area early in the morning and it is very pleasant. This district is on the western side of the Tiber.
During the day, take a walk through the quiet back streets, visit beautiful churches such as Santa Maria and Santa Cecilia, and admire the spectacular views from the Gianicolo. But it’s at night that Trastevere comes alive – the streets around Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere are filled with an eclectic mix of locals, tourists and students, drifting from restaurant to bar to piazza, and then on to another bar. It’s lively without being chaotic, as Italians tend to enjoy their alcohol in moderation (and almost always with food).
The Bar San Calisto (Piazza di San Calisto 4) is noted in various articles. For craft beer, try Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fa’ (Via Benedetta 25). Freni e Frizioni (Via del Politeama 4/6) is famed for its cocktails and abundant aperitivo, while one of the coolest new openings is Agaveria La Punta (Via di Santa Cecilia 8), a Mexican cocktail bar where you can enjoy tequila and tacos.
This is a laid back residential neighborhood close to Trastevere and the Aventine Hill. Off the tourist map. Once a humble, working-class district best-known for its abattoir, Testaccio is foodie heaven, and these days you’ll spot the occasional food tour group weaving through the local shoppers at the market.
As well as a large food market selling high quality fruit, vegetables, cheese and meat, another popular stop on the newly-forged tourist trail is Volpetti. This delicatessen is packed with gourmet cheese and meat, and is a good place to pick up a present or souvenir, such as a bottle of olive oil or a panettone at Christmas. Nearby Palombi also has a selection of delicious local specialties, and at night it transforms into the bar L’Oasi della Birra, which offers perhaps the best (and best value) aperitivo in Rome.
Write ups on the areas say it is full of famous restaurants, including Da Felice (Via Mastro Giorgio 29) and Flavio al Velavevodetto (Via di Monte Testaccio 97), where you can indulge in classic Roman pasta dishes such as carbonara and cacio e pepe. If you fancy a thin and crispy Roman pizza, try Da Remo (Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice 44), or Il Grottino (Via Marmorata 165).
This neighborhood is listed as an alternative side of Rome. Take the tram to Pigneto. Just 15 minutes from Termini is the Roman equivalent of Shoreditch or Brooklyn, a vibrant neighborhood that feels a world away from the centro historic. Think street art, a lively nightlife, and two-story 20th century buildings rather than Renaissance palazzi. No, it’s not the Rome of La Dolce Vita, but for many, that’s part of its appeal – hardly a tourist in sight.
The main street, Via del Pigneto, is packed with bars, including Mezzo, Cargo, and Bottiglieria Pigneto. While Pigneto is noted as generally safe, there are also comments to take care if you’re there late at night, especially if you’re on your own.
© Glenn Marcus
my travels in Italy