Packed with world-class cuisine, history, art, shopping and culture, there’s no way to see all of Rome in a single visit. The best way to plan our your travel itinerary is by neighborhood. No matter where you’re staying in Rome, branch out and explore the rest of the Eternal City’s neighborhoods. We’ve already covered Trastevere and Campo de’ Fiori – now it’s time to discover the hidden gems of Monti.
Out of the 22 rioni (districts) in Rome, Monti is one of our favorites. In ancient times, the Seedy district was an outlaw slum and the heart of Rome’s red light district. These days, it couldn’t be more different. In modern times, the hipster hotspot is the preferred neighborhood of artists and intelligentsia. While the other neighborhoods in our hidden gems series have undiscovered attractions in them, Monti is in it of itself is a treasure in plain sight. Despite that Monti borders Rome’s major tourist attractions, it’s a quiet jewel.
Where is Monti?
Centrally located, Monti is a short walk from the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. It’s possible to walk almost anywhere from here besides the Vatican. If you prefer to take the subway, the Cavour, Termini and Colosseo stops are nearby. From the Roma Termini train station, Monti is a 15 minute walk or one stop away on the B line metro. If you’re staying in the Vatican neighborhood, a 20 minute ride on the 64 or 40 bus will bring you near Monti. For more help with using the Roman Bus System, check out this video.
Piazza della Madonna dei Monti
The main attraction in the area, the fountain that sits in Piazza della Madonna dei Monti is the perfect spot to indulge in a little dolce far niente (pleasant idleness). As a reward for traipsing around Rome sightseeing, take the opportunity to order a coffee or glass of wine at one of the nearby cafes. Then, sit on the fountain’s steps and do some people watching in the beautiful heart of Monti. During the day, locals take breaks from work to eat lunch here. At night, the piazza turns up the energy, as people gather to drink beer or wine and socialize.
Address: Piazza della Madonna dei Monte | Hours: 24/7 (it’s a public square!)
It’s said that Trajan’s Market, built around 100 A.D., is the world’s first covered shopping mall. A prominent landmark and a symbol of imperial power since 113 C.E., Trajan’s Column in Rome was a focal point of the great forum and market complex built by Emperor Trajan on the north side of the Roman Forum. The arcades in Trajan’s Market are thought by many to have been Emperor Trajan’s administrative offices. Built in a multi-level structure, it’s still possible to visit several levels. Highlights of Trajan’s Market include the remains of a library and delicate marble floors. This is also the location of the Museo dei Fori Imperiali. The colosseum isn’t the only archeological site in town, branch out and see this place too.
If your idea of a good time is searching for one-of-a-kind vintage items in one of the trendiest neighborhoods of Rome, hit up Mercato Monti. The weekend market features the work of young designers, crafts people, artists and innovators. Hosted most weekends in the conference room of the Grand Hotel Palatino, Mercato Monti is an indie shopper’s dream. Check it out for everything from fashion and accessories to cutting-edge artwork. If you’re looking for souvenirs, this is a fantastic option.
Pop-Up Art Studios
The Palazzo delle Esposizioni is a neoclassical exhibition hall, cultural center and museum on Via Nazionale in Rome. Designed by Pio Piacentini, the huge palace was built in 1882 and has been used for everything from a mess hall for Allied servicemen to the headquarters of the Italian Communist Party. With a 139-seat cinema, Palazzo delle Esposizioni regularly hosts prominent art exhibitions along with activities and workshops for children. It’s also home to a bookshop, cafe and an enormous Michelin-starred restaurant.
Shopping in Monti
In Monti, it’s common to walk down a street and find yourself digging through a rack of clothes from a store with “50% Sconto” pasted in the window. One of our favorite shops, Abito, is recognized for it’s stylish clothes that are carefully handmade by the shop’s owner. All the designs are original here. Plus, the shapes used in them stand out from those in conventional styles on offer by big, corporate clothing companies.
Address: Via Panisperna, 101, 00184 | Price:€10+ | Hours: 5:30- 2:00 A.M |
If you’re into vintage clothing, Pifebo is a treasure trove. The dimly lit and boldly painted shop is home to trendy and hip attire for fashionable people of all ages. With reasonable prices and lightly used items ranging from 1950 sunglasses to furry stilettos from the early aughts, Pifebo is easily labeled as one of the best vintage shops in Monti.
Where to Eat in Monti
Located on Via Urbana, Urbana 47 is named after its address on the lively street in Monti. If you’re looking for small plates and non-traditional Mediterranean dishes, this is your best bet. Urbana 47 embodies kilometer zero concept, serving up hyper-local food from the surrounding Lazio region. Join the local bohemian crowd for an American-style breakfast (with wifi!), or for a healthy lunch of grain salads and nutritious panini. After 6:00 p.m., tuck into some aperitivo before moving on to a leisurely dinner of homemade pasta.
This family-owned herb shop Aromaticus, also located on via Urbana, sells aromatic plants, edible flowers (by special order), and farming implements to grow food in an urban setting. So, why is it on this list? Well, from 1:00 p.m, Aromaticus also serves delicious salads (€6), steak tartare (€8 for 150g) and carpaccio plates. Aromaticus is also popular for their organic juices. After several days of carbo-loading with pizza and pasta, stop here for a healthy change of pace. Your stomach will thank you.
Fatamorgana Gelato Shop
Arguably the best gelato shop in Rome, Fatamorgana serves rich and creamy Italian ice cream with all natural ingredients. Using recipes passed down through generations, each visit to Fatamorgana is a new adventure for your tastebuds. The creative flavors here change frequently, and they always use natural ingredients like black rice, avocado, cacao and lime. As an added bonus, this gelaterie also serves sugar-free and dairy-free gelato.
Black Market Bar
More than just a place for a drink, the Black Market is a fabulous retro-style art gallery, bar and live music venue. With mismatched vintage furniture and an eclectic decor, the intimate venue showcases exhibitions by up-and-coming artists and hosts bands to entertain. Apart from the rich cocktail menu and selection of microbrews, Black Market also has tea and homemade sweets to enjoy in a cozy tearoom. Check out their Sunday aperitivo (from 6:30 p.m. to 21:00) for a wealth of locally-sourced snacks.
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