So you have already been a few days in Rome and checked off your bucket list all of the must-see tourist attractions and now you are not sure where to go next. Well this is the post for you! Obviously Rome has so much to offer to everyone but for the trendiest spots, charming hidden corners, hippest coffee shops and unique boutiques pay a visit to these neighborhoods.
Once the place of residence of fishermen and immigrants from the East, this neighborhood, just across the Tiber River, is considered as one of the hippest and coolest places in Rome. What to do in Trastevere?
Explore the Picturesque Streets – Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow streets and discover picture-perfect street scenes just waiting to be added to your Instagram feed. Colorful houses, cobblestone streets, various bars and trattorias, an occasional red Vespa leaning against a very photogenic wall, street art, historic churches and so much more. You get the picture… literally – wherever you look you’ll probably get a great picture of this charming neighborhood.
Eat in some of the Best Local Restaurants – On our first night in Rome we were strolling around the Pantheon area, starving and exhausted after a night without sleep. When we asked a group of locals for recommendations for a nearby restaurant, they sent us across the river to Trastevere. And indeed, we had our best meals here! For the best pizza try Dar Poeta or Ai Marmi (there will be a long line but it is worth the wait!), for plates of meat and cheese, cured hams, Panini sandwiches, wine and more stop by La Prosciutteria. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try the ice cream of Gelato Fatamorgana.
Shop in the Local Funky Boutiques – There are a few nice boutiques in the area. Try Via della Scala and Via di San Francesco to start with. During the summer some of these shops are open until 11 PM. If you are a flea-market enthusiast, make sure to come here on Sunday morning and check the Porta Portese Market.
Visit the Churches and Piazzas – There is no shortage of these in Rome, nevertheless if you are in the area, check the Basilica di Santa Maria and Basilica di Santa Cecilia. For people watching go and sit at Piazza di Santa Maria and watch the world go by.
Enjoy the Nightlife – Trastevere gets quite crowded during the evenings and nights with local students and tourists alike. To enjoy the lively vibes and cool atmosphere, grab a drink at one of the numerous bars, enjoy a live Jazz or Blues show at Big Mama or just stroll through the streets and soak in the vibes.
The Jewish Neighborhood (Old Ghetto)
With all of the attractions that can be found in Rome, many tourists skip the old Jewish Ghetto. While visiting this area you can learn about the history of the Jews in Rome and enjoy some charming little spots around the neighborhood. The Ghetto was established in 1555 following the declaration of Pope Paul IV. that the Jews needed to be confined to the Ghetto area which from now on would remain locked at night. Since then throughout the years the Ghetto has gone through many ordeals but nowadays it is a charming little neighborhood that attracts many locals and tourists. What to do in the Jewish neighborhood?
Take a Guided Tour – For an in-depth experience you can take a guided tour and learn all about the history of the place and the history of the Roman Jewish community. The guides will also take you to all of the important landmarks in the area.
Visit the Great Synagogue – It is the largest synagogue in Rome its construction was carried out from 1901 – 1904 on the remains of the old synagogue. Within the Great Synagogue you can also find the Jewish Museum of Rome and it is a good option to learn about the history of the Jews in Rome if you are interested to learn more and you do not wish to take a guided tour.
Visit Teatro Marcello and Portico di Ottavia – Just behind the Great Synagogue you can find Theatre of Marcellus, an ancient open-air Roman theater that resembles the Colosseum. Next to it you can find the ruins of Porticus of Octavia which was built by Augustus in the name of his sister, Octavia (it replaced the original Porticus Metelli). Later it was used as a fish market. Nowadays only ruins remain to mark what used to be a very impressive compound.
Visit the Fontane delle Tartarughe – The Turtle Fountain is located in the charming little Piazza Mattei where small delis and shops can be found. It is a great spot to have some coffee or a snack and watch the locals and tourists around you.
Visit Palazzo Mattei di Giove – just near the Turtle Fountain you can find Palazzo Mattei. We stumbled upon it by accident and we were immediately captivated by this charming courtyard which was built in the 16th century. Wander around and admire the sculptures and don’t forget to go to the upper floor where you can admire the courtyard and the beautiful terrace across it, from above.
Visit the Unique Shops- Stroll around the narrow streets and take a look at the special shops in this neighborhood. Some seem very old and traditional while others are more modern and hip. You can buy cheese at Beppe e i suoi formaggi, visit il museo del louvre which is a combination of a vintage bookstore and photo and art gallery or enter the many vintage clothing stores in the neighborhood.
Eat in the Local Eateries – There are many places that can satisfy your appetite: Roman-Jewish restaurants, fast-food eateries, delis and bakeries. For the best pastries try the famous Pasticceria Boccione at via del Portico d’Ottavia 1. This old bakery is run by three sisters and it is so famous it has no sign outside. For fresh Roman-Jewish foods try Nonna Betta which attracts even famous chefs like Anthony Bourdain. For cheese and wine try Beppe e i suoi formaggi.
When planning your visit take into consideration that many of the places here are closed during the Shabbat.
Once a poor neighborhood where sketchy characters used to roam its streets, nowadays Monti is one of the hidden gems of Rome. A hip vibrant neighborhood with bohemian ambiance, loads of unique shops and eateries and youthful vibes. It is located in the center of Rome, minutes from the Colosseum so make sure to visit this delightful cool neighborhood for a laid-back afternoon or a pleasurable evening. What to do in Monti?
Look for Interesting Shops – There is no other place in Rome with so many unique boutiques, whether you are looking for something to dress your house or yourself, there are so many charming little places around. Even if you are not planning to buy something, window-shopping here is a must.
Visit Mercato Monti – During the weekends this unique market offers a variety of clothing and accessories made by the city’s up and coming designers and artists. There is also some vintage clothing and all accompanied by music and lively atmosphere.
People Watching in the Cafes/Bars – There is no place like Monti for people watching. So choose a nice spot and have some beer, wine or coffee and enjoy the local scene.
Try the Local Restaurants – There are so many to choose from… for something light try La Cassetta (and don’t forget to take a picture of the famous vine-covered building) or Aromaticus (plant shop- eatery combination). For family-style Italian food, try Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, for tasty and trendy try Urbana 47. For something sweet try Grezzo for raw vegan chocolate and more, or Fatamorgana, our favorite ice cream in Rome.
The main attraction in Monti is its unique atmosphere and its many great little eateries, boutiques and artesian shops. So just relax, stroll around and enjoy your visit!
Campo de' Fiori
Located at a rectangular square where executions used to be held a long time ago, every morning this colorful and vibrant market awakes to life and stays active until the afternoon.
Stroll Around the Colorful Market – Enjoy this true celebration of local Italian produce: fresh vegetables and fruits, a variety of cheese, the best olive oil and vinegar you can find and so much more.
Explore the Nearby Streets – The streets in this area are named after the traders who used to work in the area, so you can find here street names like Via dei Baullari (coffer-makers), Via dei Giubbonari (tailors), Via dei Cappellari (hat-makers) etc. Go treasure hunting to discover lovely boutiques (especially Via dei Giubbonari) , local delicatessens, great restaurants and more
Eat, Eat and Maybe Eat some More 😉 – There are various restaurants in the market’s square, however wandering around the nearby streets you are bound to stumble upon some more hidden gems. You can have a carb feast at the Roscioli family bakery which has been serving traditional Italian baked goods for many years. Try their delicious pizza and variety of breads and sandwiches or any of their wonderful sweet pastries at the smaller café or have a more hearty meal at their restaurant.
For us the jewel in the foodie crown was the wonderful Pianostrada, a restaurant/bistro that is hidden in a quiet little street and is run by a fantastic team of women with a passion for food. We live for such places that serve delicious food made from fresh ingredients that is both a feast for the eyes and a celebration for the taste buds, not to mention the great ambiance. The restaurant’s design is eclectic and charming, with an open kitchen and a lovely backyard. Every dish we tasted was wonderful from the fresh salads and appetizers, unique sandwiches and hamburgers and of course the amazing pasta dishes (we tried a few wonderful dishes but we were taken by surprise with the abundance of flavors of the most simple pasta with tomato sauce, an instant foodgasm). Make sure to make a reservation in advance because this place is very popular and don’t forget to pet the family bulldog who is a part owner.