Up-and-coming Ostiense: The eclectic neighbourhood changing things up
Once Rome’s Cinderella, Ostiense is going through a makeover phase that is quickly transforming this district into one of the most dynamic places to live like a local in the Eternal City. Crossed by the historical Via Ostiense (built in Roman times to link the capital with the strategic harbour at Ostia), Ostiense borders the popular working-class areas of Garbatella and Testaccio, two authentic strongholds of A.S. Roma fans. New life has begun to bloom over the last couple of years, thanks to the many fresh restaurants and pubs opening in the area. The finishing jewel on the quarter’s newly fitted crown will be the redevelopment of the huge Mercati Generali surface.
Although more vibrant post-sunset, Ostiense also makes a very unique destination for a day-time walk. Street art is king in this area, with the best works to be found along Via del Porto Fluviale, Via dei Magazzini Generali, and under the railway bridge between Via della Stazione Ostiense and Via Pellegrino Matteucci.
RESTAURANTS / EATING in OSTIENSE
Via del Porto Fluviale, 22
Open daily: 10:30am – 2am
(Friday and Saturday until 3am)
This over-900 m2 space was originally an old industrial hub, but has now been turned into a modern, multifunctional venue. It includes a trattoria and a pizzeria, a lovely courtyard, and an area dedicated to workshops and events Try the lush weekend brunch, the many appetizing cicchetti at the counter (small samples of delicious recipes), or one of the tasting nights.
Via Ostiense, 68
Open daily: 7am – 2am
Undoubtedly the place to go for aperitivo, you will recognize Doppio Zero by the delicious smell of freshly baked pizza and the crowd standing outside (book a table to avoid queuing). This restaurant and wine bar has a stylish design and is a great place to mingle after work or indulge in the lazy mood of a weekend brunch. Cocktails are delicious too and are all made with fresh ingredients.
Via Ostiense, 182/d
Open daily: 8pm – 11pm
If you are looking for a touch of Brazil and great grill and meat dishes, this churrascaria located just a few steps from St. Paul’s Basilica is the place for you. Over 10 different kinds of meat will be served to you by cheerful waiters directly from the skewers, don’t be shy, try them all! These are perfectly matched with the many Brazilian side dishes and appetizers at the buffet.
Via del Gazometro, 38
Open daily: 12:30am – 3pm &
A trattoria and pizzeria with a modern twist, this new venue is decorated as a urban living room and hosts swing dance nights and live music once a month. Delicious cocktails accompany great classics of the Roman cuisine, reinvented with a touch of innovation.
Gelateria La Romana
Via Ostiense, 48
Open daily: 11am – 12am
One of the best ice-cream parlors in Rome, this gelateria opened in 2014 and continues to attract big crowds every day (even in winter). Choose if you want to fill the bottom of your cone with a cascade of white or dark chocolate, and enjoy your treat at one of the tables in this shabby-chic shop. Not a huge gelato fan? Cakes, pastries, crumbles, and crêpes are also available.
Romeow Cat Bistrot
Via Francesco Negri, 15
Open Wed – Sun: 11am – 11:30pm
In the mood for cuddles? Stop by this unique bistrot, and experience the warm welcome of its feline guests. Romeow is the first cat cafè in Rome, and a perfect spot for your merenda (a sweet afternoon snack). Cakes, cookies, muffins and many other healthy and tasty dishes will delight you while you let yourself be spoilt by your new furry friends.
Mercat Bistrot & Old Bar
Via del Gazometro, 44
Open daily: 5pm – 2am
(Thurs – Sat: 5:30pm – 3am)
FB Page: Mercat Bistrot & Old Bar
Refined atmosphere, dim lights, and ’30s jazz make this little bistrot the perfect place to stop for an afternoon break. Besides carrot cakes, cupcakes, crumbles, teas, and fruit smoothies, you can also stay a little longer for the aperitivo or dinner, and even listen to live music.
Via Antonio Pacinotti, 83
Open Tues – Sun: 6pm – 1am (closed for dinner on Sundays)
Just at the end of Ponte di Ferro, this modern trattoria is a cool venue for aperitivo, lunch or dinner. Drink lovers will find 10 craft beers on tap, more than 90 different wines, and a stellar selection of cocktails. The architecture is also very peculiar, showcasing big arches, brick walls, and plenty of natural light which floods the very spacious interiors.
BARS / DRINKING in OSTIENSE
Via Ostiense, 73 A/B/C
Open daily: 7pm – 2am
FB Page: Byron-Ostiense
12 beer taps and an ever-changing selection of craft beers will cheer up your evenings at Byron, a new venue opened in 2015. Urban interiors, sofas, and a social table created using an Indonesian boat are the perfect setting to sample new beers accompanied by great burgers and fries. Live music and football evenings are also on the agenda.
Via Ostiense, 182
Open daily: 8am – 4am
The core concept of this bar is time: time to enjoy every second of your life, thanks to a food and wine offer which matches each different moment of your day, from breakfast to late night. Sit on the terrace and let the bartender surprise you: craft beers, over 120 different wines, kaleidoscopic cocktails, rum, whiskey, scotch and vodka will make enliven your taste buds.
Via Francesco Negri, 9
Open Tues, Wed and Sun: 5pm – 12am;
Thurs – Sat: 5pm – 1am
FB Page: Ex Mercato Roma
New York style atmosphere and a blend of tradition and modernity characterize this venue. With a selection of craft and tap beers, and more than 70 wines and cocktails made with love and fresh fruit juice or syrup, you will surely find something to tantalize your palate. Accompany your drink with one of the 10 different kinds of meatballs (the house special).
Via Antonio Pacinotti, 83
Open Tues – Sun: 6pm – 2am
FB Page: Stadlin
This cocktail bar and dj-set venue is the true niche location for electronic music lovers. Dark interiors and a very international setting, Städlin is both chic and relaxed at the same time. Don’t miss the Ultrasuoni bar events, much beloved by locals.
ENTERTAINMENT in OSTIENSE
Via Giuseppe Libetta, 13
Thu – Fri – Sat
One of the greatest alternative and electronic clubs in town. An intimate venue, famous for its original vibe and brilliant soundsystem. The cutting edge programming fortified its reputation as one of the most forward-thinking venues in Italy. Thursday: GoaUltrabeat; Friday: Anarchy in the Club; Saturday: Nozoo.
Via degli Argonauti, 16/20
Fri – Sat
Having just celebrated its ten-year anniversary, this club continues to be the centre of the most popular Roman nightlife. Always ahead of the latest trends in music and often also leading the fashion scene in the city, it’s one of the ultimate underground spots in Rome.
Via Giuseppe Libetta, 1
Open Mon – Fri: 10am – 7:30pm
A real heaven for all photography lovers, Officine Fotografiche regularly hosts exhibitions, free lessons, conferences, and workshops, and it also includes a bookshop and a small cafè. It is definitely worth checking the program if you are planning a visit to Ostiense.
Via Ostiense, 5
Open Tues – Fri: 10am – 2am;
Sat – Sun: 4pm – 2am
It doesn’t get much more underground than this! This bookshop/cafè/coworking space is literally at garage level, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t initially see much of this bohemian venue from the road. Theater, cinema, music, design, art and literature are all well represented in the rich calendar of events, so make sure to check it out.
MUST SEE in OSTIENSE
Via Ostiense, 106
Open Tues – Sun: 9am – 7pm
This museum of Roman antiquities perfectly embodies Ostiense’s will to renew itself, while keeping faithful to its roots. Set in Rome’s first public electricity power plant, it now hosts hundreds of statues and works, which were previously part of the collection of Musei Capitolini.
Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Piazzale San Paolo, 1
Open daily: 7am – 6.30pm
Majestic and monumental, this grand Basilica will leave you breathless thanks to its sheer beauty. The square and gardens outside are a very popular gathering place for locals: sit on a bench and enjoy the sun, while children and dogs frolic around you. Enter the Basilica, and gold-plated ceilings, statues and the portraits of all Popes from Saint Peter to Francis will tell you the story of this immense shrine of Christianity.
Thanks to the eccentricity of Roman magistrate Gaius Cestius (who built it in 12 BC as his tomb) you now have a unique chance to see an Egyptian-inspired pyramid in Rome, just across the street from the Piramide metro station. The only way to explore the inside is on a guided tour, which you must book in advance (see website for details). If you can’t join a guided tour, check out the Non-Catholic Cemetery just around the corner (entrance from Via Caio Cestio 6), a hidden corner of Rome and resting place of romantic poets Keats and Shelley, as well as other notable figures such as Gramsci, William Story and painter Hendrik Andersen.