A guide to the Centocelle District of Rome
Centocelle literally translates to “one hundred cells”. The colorful and vibrant setting and the remains of the Alessandrino aqueduct make this neighborhood a must when you’re in Rome. And this is coming from a real “centocellina”, I was born here and this is still my favorite part of the city.
But let me introduce you to Centocelle: the district became famous thanks to its airport during the 1900s, but the urbanization of the whole area slowly caused the airport shut down, giving space to housing and a more livable complex. After the Second World War, the small villas and the tram railways gave the working class the opportunity to start off fresh.
If you’ve never been here, go take a stroll through this characteristic neighbourhood, the streets of Centocelle tell thousands of stories and walking through them is truly an experience. You won’t find statues or small vias like in the historic center, but you’ll be able to live and experience the authentic Roman lifestyle.
Best Things to See in Centocelle
Viale Palmiro Togliatti, 630
The Acquedotto Alessandrino, constructed by Alexander Severus in 226 A.D. is definitely an icon of this neighborhood. Built to supply his bathhouse, the water ran for about 22 kilometers and had its source in the area of Monte Compatri.
Via Federico Delpino, 187
Forte Prenestino is one of the 15 forts of Rome (built in 1880). It became a social center in the ‘80s (the biggest in Europe), giving space to events of all kinds over the years. Its urban vibe and graffiti mixed with old walls makes it an interesting place to see.
Archeological park of Villa Giordani
Via Prenestina, 325
The Archeological Park of Villa Gordiani, on the very edge of the neighborhood, gives space to the Mausoleum Gordiani, Tor dè Schiavi, the Octagonal Hall and the remains of a Christian Basilica. The park is divided into North and South, with via Prenestina dividing it. Perfect for a bike ride or a stroll.
Campane del Vetro
Campane del vetro, the garbage disposals for glass, are in the shape of a bell (campana in Italian) and in Centocelle, each one of them is decorated differently. Many Roman artists have participated in this project called “Gallerie Urbane”. While walking, keep your eye out for them!
BEST SPOTS IN CENTOCELLE
Via dei Faggi 60
When in Rome, do as the Romans do: have breakfast with a coffee and a cornetto at Bar Orazio, the oldest bar of Centocelle. This place will immediately bring you back to the ‘50s and the authenticity of it will definitely immerse you in a true local experience. As the numerous framed photos show, many scenes of Italian movies and series were shot here.
Pizzeria Da Giustina
Viale della Primavera 221
Have a quick lunch at Pizzeria Da Giustina (open since 1986) with their thin “pizzette”, crunchy on the edge and soft in the middle. An institution in the neighborhood; you’ll find people of every age. Their Margherita is a must try.
Piazzale Delle Gardenie 24
If you’re craving a seriously good panino, Panizzo won’t disappoint you. Their bread is a mix of Roman pizza dough and sourdough bread, creating a unique type of sandwich. Select your favorites toppings from their huge list of ingredients (vegetarian options too) and literally shape the sandwich of your dreams.
Via Domenico Panaroli 19
Forno Rossetti dal 1956
Via degli Olivi 54-55
Via delle Betulle 43
What you really want to try in a neighborhood like Centocelle is the simple local food, and there’s nothing better than the bakeries! Bread, pizzette, cookies, crostate, pizza bianca, focaccia and so much more. Try the pizzette with olives and the homemade cookies at Forno Rossello; the amazing pizza rossa with oregano at Forno Rossetti dal 1956; or the tastiest pizza with potatoes at Forno Costantini
L’Ombralonga Dal Veneziano
Via Federico Delpino 106/112
An aperitivo at L’Ombralonga is mandatory, it’s the place that made locals from all over Rome run to Centocelle. Spritz is what they do best, being a Venetian “Spritzeria”. Plus a gigantic offer of “cicchetti” (small bites) that change daily, including grandma’s meatballs, eggplant parmesan and various regional dishes.
Via Tor dè Schiavi, 126c
Try the regional flavors of Lazio at Al Turacciolo, a cozy enoteca offering a gigantic wine list with bottles coming from all of Italy and food delicacies directly from all over the Lazio region. Cheeses from Tuscia and other marvelous local farm-to-table products are the reason why this place translates, with simplicity, to the real meaning of authenticity.
Via dei Noci 88
Feel at home and watch the sunset reflect the pastel colored buildings of Centocelle on the splendid terrace of Frigo. Paired with the great atmosphere you’ll find delicious Italian (and Roman) bites and a wide range of drinks.
Via Filippo Parlatore 32
What about Aperol Spritz made with beer? This drink is usually made with Prosecco, but here at Birre&Spritz, they mix it with beer instead and it’s one of the most delicious drinks I’ve ever tasted. If you’re hungry, get ready for their amazing Roman inspired “fritti”, like carbonara or amatriciana supplì and cacio & pepe chips.
Pizzeria Buone Maniere
Via Tor de’ Schiavi 77
180g Pizzeria Romana
Via Tor de’ Schiavi 53
Serious pizza lovers are going to be exceptionally satisfied with the best two pizzerias in the area. You’ll love the genuine atmosphere and the outstanding delicious simplicity of pizza at Buone Maniere. While if you’re looking for a modern and gourmand take on Roman pizza, 180g is your place; don’t forget to try their fried Sampietrini!
Mabe Cucina Spontanea
Piazza dei Mirti, 19
Mabe Cucina Spontanea is where food meets tradition, blending it with seasonal products and remarkable creativity. Each dish has fresh ingredients that perfectly mix with each other, creating a unique taste. Mabe feels like home once you take a seat, and the lovely courtyard makes it an intimate and cozy spot for a special evening.
Menabò Vino & Cucina
Via delle Palme 44D
If the osteria is the place where you feel most at home, Menabò will surprise you. Minimal furnishings, exposed wine bottles and two brothers who make sure of giving you a unique evening, made of simplicity and authentic flavors. Get ready for traditional Roman dishes and fantastic off-menu options. Menabò is where food, wine and cordiality coexist on the same level.
Via delle Palme 71B
Core Bistrot is a New York inspired bar that offers a wide selection of cocktails, drinks, distillates and liquors. Leather chairs, high stools, wide wooden tables and good music with an industrial décor make Core the perfect spot for an after dinner drink. The young and skilled staff will make your experience at Core memorable.
Via Dei Castani 228
Rude is the spot for a groovy after dinner drink. Their cocktails (which are theme-inspired) and cool design make the urban vibe truly pop up. Open from lunch to late at night, they offer interesting food options too like bagels, pokè and vegetarian dishes, mixing different roots and cultures (from revisited Roman dishes to American inspired desserts). It’s also a perfect place to work in the sun with their big terrace.
La Città Perduta
Via delle Palme, 69
If playing board games and drinking beer are among your favorite things to do then La Città Perduta is a must. Incredibly cool steam punk inspired decor, a huge selection of entertaining board games (and beer) from all over the world plus delicious comfort food. What are you waiting for?
Lo Zozzone Er Pizzetta
Via Dei Ginepri 42
What if you’re looking for a late night snack? Lo Zozzone is the place. With their croissants, donuts and pizzette, this place has fed (and still feeds) lots of Romans. It’s a clear example of authenticity: the appearance of the location is not important, the food is! Get yourself in line, pick what you like and eat it on the streets like a local.
How to get to Centocelle
From San Giovanni take the Metro C to Mirti or Gardenie
-From Termini take the tram 5 until the last stop in Piazza dei Gerani