Monti – Rome’s best kept secret

Dots White

December 2013

Even if you have visited Rome several times, you may not have yet discovered the delights of Monti, the tiny quartiere tucked away between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum. Although centrally located, it can easily be missed as it’s not on the way to any of the main tourist sights. Monti is a destination in itself, and bears similarities to East London and Paris’s Belleville, both of which were also former working class neighbourhoods, which have become trendy and popular, and with a strong creative vibe. With its cobblestone streets, plethora of small boutiques, vintage shops, craft shops, art galleries, bookshop/cafes, organic food shops, great bars and restaurants, it is easy to spend hours here just exploring, and stopping every now and then at one of the many cafés or bars in or around the Monti’s focal point, the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti.


Originally a slum in Roman times, Monti became populated by artisans in the 1930s, when Mussolini’s Via dei Fori Imperiali was built to separate Monti from Imperial Rome. More recently, the area has transformed again into a haven for Rome’s young creatives; a lively village which has retained its traditional character, but added a modern buzz. Like the Trastevere, it retains a strong sense of community, but is less touristy than the Piazza Navona or Campo dei Fiori, or even the Trastevere – an authentic corner of Rome at the heart of the historic centre, with an alternative edge, and well worth a visit when you are next in Rome.

WHERE TO EAT

Ai Tre Scalini

This popular enoteca is always packed, with a well stocked bar and delicious small plates served both at lunch and dinner. They don’t take reservations but you can enjoy a glass of wine at the bar while waiting for your table.

Address: Via Panisperna, 251, 00184 Rome

La Carbonara

This traditional Roman trattoria, dating back to1906, is now a neighbourhood institution, offering dishes using fresh, seasonal food. A new speciality is prepared every day and a warm and friendly welcome is assured as well! Booking essential.

 Address: Via Panisperna, 214, Phone: 06 4825 176

La Bottega del Caffe

Right on the Piazza Madonna dei Monti, this well-placed café is perfect for lunch or an early evening aperitivo, when you can sit at an al fresco table and watch the world go by.

Address: Piazza Madonna dei Monti, 5

MARKETS AND VINTAGE SHOPS

Mercato Monti

Open only at weekends, the Mercato Monti is a fully fledged vintage market with everything from jewellery and clothes to gifts, to even old Polaroid cameras.

Address: Hotel Palatino Via Leonina 46/48

Abito

A great place to visit if you are interested in fashion. The innovative owner resurrects vintage clothes and gives them a contemporary twist.

Address: Via Panisperna 61.

Pulp

A quirky vintage clothes’ shop, just a few minutes from the Via Cavour metro station. Address:  Via del Boschetto 14

SPECIALITY SHOPS

Libreria da Gru

A cosy and inspiring bookshop, literally overflowing with books of all types, ranging from the classics to modern, and in a variety of languages.

Address: Via del Boschetto, 20

Casa Clementina

Vintage lovers will be in their element in this bar, styled as a 60’s home! There is a kitchen, sitting room and even a bedroom, and all items are for sale, from the wine in the fridge to the wardrobes featuring both vintage and new young designer clothes. Drinks and snacks, served in the kitchen and living room, can be enjoyed while you look around.

 Address: Via Clementina 9

FOOD AND WINE

Antico Forno ai Serpenti

This wonderful bakery, refurbished in a retro style, offers traditional Italian treats, which can be enjoyed on site, or takeaway.

Address: Corner of Via dei Serpenti and Via Panispern

Vino Roma

This former run-down computer store has been transformed into a sleek, modern space offering wine tastings. Downstairs is an impressive thousand year old wine cellar. Courses include a Wine and Cheese Lunch, and My Italian, a tasting of six different regional Italian wines. Vino Roma also offers daily food tours in different parts of Rome. So if you would like to enjoy a wine tasting or food tour during your stay in Rome, look no further!

Address: Via in Selci 84/G

Mia Market

Ideal for those staying at an apartment in the area, this is an organic cafe/market selling seasonal produce, exclusively from the Lazio region Delicacies include olive oils, jams and organic fruit juices – you can eat here too!

Address: Via Panisperna 225

WHERE TO STAY

Via Palermo 2

This 3 bedroom apartment is one of two apartments we have for rent in a 17th century palazzo in Via Palermo. Full of period charm, there are magnificent hand-painted 15th century ceilings and original terracotta floors, as well as important works of art hanging in each room. The apartments also share an expansive roof terrace with seating and dining areas, and spectacular views over Rome.

Via dei Serpenti

This luxurious 2 bedroom penthouse apartment is located on the famous Via dei Serpenti, in an 18th century Roman patrician building. The living room is beautifully decorated and has lovely high beamed ceilings, as well as wonderful views over the Via dei Serpenti and the Colosseum.

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