An Insider’s Guide to Monti, Rome

Published on  

July 11, 2024

Few cities capture the imagination like Rome – epicentre of ancient wonder. One of the most coveted destinations in the world, crowds flock to the Italian capital to revel in its mix of classical architecture and sample the crisp bite of its beloved Trapizzino. Yet laid-back enclaves still exist. Nestled in Rome’s heart is narrow-alleyed Monti, managing to retain its own charm and mystery amid the bustle. It’s no accident that this Roman neighbourhood is one of the preferred locales for the Pied à Terre Collection of August homes.

The Eternal City

Celebrated by artists, poets and playwrights since the 8th century, Rome’s allure reaches far beyond Italian borders. The city’s rich history and frenetic energy are a magnet for culture-seekers who come to pay homage to its sensory treasures. Navigating the abundance of things to see – and eat – can be dizzying, though. So allow us to introduce you to the slower side of Roman life with our guide to Rione Monti, the spirited setting for our Pied à Terre Collection.

Shop

Hideout of Rome’s fashionable free spirits, Monti is a treasure trove of vintage stores and artisanal ateliers – often tucked away and easily overlooked. We have hand-picked a curated selection of must-visits in the area, to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

Pifebo

One of Monti’s many vintage bottegas, Pifebo on Via dei Serpenti houses a curated selection of Americana-inspired apparel from the 80s and 90s. Browse its archive of denim, knitwear, shoes and buttery leather, amongst other nostalgia. Packed a large suitcase? You can even buy by weight at next door’s Pifebo Kilo Shop.

Tina Sondergaard

From her tiny studio on Via del Boschetto, Danish-born designer Tina Sondergaard handmakes vibrant, one-of-a-kind pieces in sumptuous fabrics sourced from the environs of Florence. Earn your sartorial stripes when you buy off-rail or commission a bespoke piece in the designer’s 1950s-tinged style.

Ashanti Galleria

Leaning into the rich heritage of the Lazio region, jeweller Raffaele Cinzio hand-casts contemporary pieces in gold, silver and bronze from his studio-cum-gallery-space on Via del Boschetto. Alongside his precious, hand-finished jewels, discover works from mostly Italian artists furnishing the walls. 

Boschettotre

For lovers of off-kilter objets d’art, take a piece of Monti home with interior designer Oriana Tombolesi’s Boschettotre studio, offering idiosyncratic twists on glassware, lighting and more. The studio is tucked away on 3 Via del Boschetto – easy to miss if you don’t know where to look.

Il Giardino del Tè

Stop for refreshment at Rome’s first tea shop on Via del Boschetto, where you’ll find speciality teas from all regions alongside teapots, tableware and everything you need to honour the ancient art of tea ceremony. The space emulates a modern Eastern-inspired salon, nodding to the owner’s Japanese influence.

Eat & Drink

Seize the opportunity to sample Rome’s celebrated gastronomic scene during your stay. With trattorias, osterias and pizzerias on every corner – plus a very liberal smattering of enotecas – choosing where to indulge in the city’s famed carbohydrate-rich primi or delectable dolce can be tricky. Discover our shortlist to Monti’s most delicious establishments below – and don’t hold back. Afterall, ‘when in Rome’.

Fuorinorma

For those seeking Monti’s most fuss-free fare, this little delicatessen will serve up a panini to rival all others. Specialities include pork, tuna sauce, sundried tomato and lard (niche, we know!) and pecorino and honey. You can also partake in a cheeseboard washed down with delectable wines from the region to keep you satiated until dinner.

La Casetta a Monti 

Set in an achingly photogenic, ivy-covered house, this little cafe serves great coffee and a smorgasbord of pastries, sweet treats and Italian ‘spuntino’, or snacks. It would be shameful not to sample them. Speciality cocktails are also shaken here, and you can perch at a table-topped motorcycle whilst you sip and graze.

Er Baretto

A low-key spot for a potent morning expresso or frothy afternoon cappuccino, Er Baretto offers simple snacks, light lunches and easygoing dinner options. Plus you can indulge in aperitivo, cocktails and wine from the shaded outdoor seating area, tucked away down a quiet cobbled side street.

Fatamorgana Gelato Shop

Arguably serving up the most famous gelato in The Eternal City, Fatamorgana is a family-run gelateria that serves up scoopfuls of Italy’s beloved iced dolce in unique flavours. Amongst the stracciatella and pistachio, discover more exotic flavours like avocado, hazelnut and tequila and passion fruit margarita, all made from natural ingredients with sugar and dairy-free options to boot.

Blackmarket Hall

For pre-dinner aperitivo or a quick nightcap with real Roman personality, Blackmarket Hall ranks amongst the world’s best mixology bars. Serving up an adventurous menu of drinks alongside fusion food, the venue also hosts an eclectic mix of live music – ranging from rock to swing to experimental.

Ai Tre Scalini

A much-loved bottiglieria since 1895, uncover the charms of this informal Italian gastropub, hidden among swathes of ivy, with a rustic old-world charm that entices you inside. Sample traditional sfizi – snacks – like sausages or gorgonzola with honey, then indulge in Roman-style chicken and peppers or the celebrated lasagne accompanied by a comprehensive wine list – we’d choose the Amarone.

Sciue Sciue Cucina

For an upmarket dining experience, book a table at Scuie Scuie Cucina. This is an eaterie showcasing delectable reimaginings of Neopolitan classics using local, seasonal ingredients. Spotlighting a different menu every day and an excellent curation or wines to complement, Scuie Scuie is a coveted and intimate little hideout where tables go fast.

See & Do

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the old adage goes, and it would take weeks to uncover all of its treasures. Thankfully, Monti is home to a plethora of enchanting Roman must-sees, as well as a handful of local hidden gems.


Piazza della Madonna dei Monti

Overlooked by the Chiesa di Santa Maria ai Monti and a smaller church dedicated to Saints Bacchus and Sergius, this sun-lit cobbled square serves as a lively neighbourhood meeting point. Take a seat at one of the handful of quaint, greenery-framed eateries for the perfect spot from which to enjoy a pre-dinner aperitivo gazing at the 16th-century Fountain of the Catechumens.

The Esquilino Market 

Market-hoppers will find the colourful produce and exotic scents of Monti’s Esquilino Market irresistible. Meats, cheeses, fresh fruits, vegetables and spices intermingle with a buzzy atmosphere in this melting pot of cultures, which first sprung up on the sidewalks of Piazza Vittorio in the late 19th century. Seize the day, grab your bag and shop for fresh produce like a local.

Via Urbana

Traverse this lively cobbled street, where old Rome meets new, as the perfect segue between trips to the Santa Maria Maggiore and the Giardini di villa Aldobrandini. Unearth some of Rome’s best vintage stores and artisan boutiques here, as well as one of the oldest yet rarely discovered churches in the city – housing a beautiful 4th-century mosaic.

Nero’s Domus Aurea & Gardens

Nero’s Domus – or palace – is an impressive 80-hectare complex that used to be one of the most opulent imperial residences in Rome. Once decked in marble, ivory and gold leaf, it’s now an echo of its former glory, but its centuries-old remains will inspire hours of exploration. Continue your journey through bygone days by searching for remnants scattered through the surrounding leafy parkland.

The Palazzo delle Esposizioni

For a fresh perspective on the city, absorb the atmosphere of this neoclassical exhibition hall turned contemporary event space and bohemian hangout. Completed in 1883, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni now houses a 139-seat cinema, a cafe, a bookshop and a Michelin-starred rooftop restaurant with a menu designed by renowned Italian chef Alessandro Circiello.

Sacripant Art Gallery

Housed in an old convent, the Sacripant Gallery serves up an unexpected slant on Rome’s storied heritage – art, but with a side of cocktails. The building dates back to the 17th century, and its cavernous interior hosts diverse exhibitions from established artists and up-and-comers. Once you’ve gazed long enough at the walls, embrace Rome’s social spirit with a negroni or two washed down with some live music.

Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

Romans enjoy their opera, and Monti’s Teatro dell'Opera di Roma is almost mythical in its operatic significance to the city. Reworked several times over the years, the 1,500-seater theatre offers a backdrop that’s as dramatic as the performances it stages. Opera-lovers the world over come here to drink in the emotion of works by Bellini, Puccini, Verdi and many more.

Pack

The perfect Roman itinerary is best experienced a piedi, so pack comfy, flat shoes that can do the kilometres. Bear in mind, also, that those picture-perfect streets are paved with cobbles – sampietrini – which are easy on the eye but less so on heels! Italians are famously chic, and Rome is a city that sees sunshine for most of the year, so don a pair of sunglasses to make the most of those shimmering bright days – and pack a pashmina for church-hopping. Finally, don’t forget your Euros for an impromptu espresso and other small treats that might prefer cash to card.

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