A hilltop haven
Located on the southernmost of Rome’s seven hills, the Aventine neighbourhood offers an escape from the commotion of the city centre whilst still hosting an array of historical sites and presenting a wealth of wining and dining opportunities. Hailing from an ancient status of a ‘Sacred Mount’, the Aventine hill has seen the construction of some of the earliest Christian churches and today is a popular and elegant residential area, bursting with stylish villas and sophisticated shady gardens. If you’re looking to go beyond the usual sightseeing parameters then Aventino is a perfect opportunity to flee the torrent of tourists invading the centre. From the lesser-known churches to the diverse gastronomy, a day spent in this quieter quarter will have you feeling like a bona fide local.
Here’s our guide to the Aventine neighbourhood’s top spots.
DRINKING / EATING in AVENTINO
Viale Aventino, 20
Open daily from 7am
Open morning, noon and night every day of the week, MAX Roma is at your service, be it for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Within the modern interior you’ll find this aesthetic carried through to the food, with artistically presented dishes and enticing cocktails. The menu ranges from traditional roman cuisine such as the trusty cacio e pepe to their burger menu, which offers a worldwide tour with stops in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and of course, the USA.
Viale Aventino, 123
Open daily 12pm-2.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm
A food fusion with historical significance: São is a Japanese-Brazilian sushi bar named after Brazilian city São Paolo, the home of Japanese-Brazilian cuisine which was born out of a significant Japanese immigration in 1908. For the majority of diners here this culinary synthesis is a new experience, but a successful one nonetheless! With a menu brimming with light, fresh and colourful offerings, São is a perfect spot for an alternative to the pasta and pizza filled restaurants of the Città Eterna.
Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè
Viale Aventino, 59
Open daily 11am-10pm
Every neighbourhood has its go-to gelateria and Aventino is no exception. This is just one of the several Claudio Torcè locations dotted around the city and its selection of flavours is hard to beat. Not for the faint hearted, this gelateria takes a somewhat adventurous approach to its iced delights. Whilst a sweet tooth can be satisfied with its rich though rather more tame chocolate orange, the braver amongst you may want to take a chance with their red pepper or creamy Gorgonzola!
Viale Aventino, 32
Open daily 7am-1am
Set up by two sets of brothers Massimiliano and Alfredo and Marco and Davide, Rosso is a modern and vibrant restaurant that puts simplicity first. The menu is varied with choices ranging from roman classics, to hamburgers, to salads and stir-fries but has nothing on the extensive drinks menu where there is certainly something for everyone.
Sushi e noodles
Viale Aventino, 117
Open daily 12pm-3pm, 7pm-12am
Where tradition and modernity meet, Sushi e Noodles seeks to revisit traditional Chinese and Japanese cuisine and combine the freshness and simplicity of sushi with the spiced and aromatic Chinese dishes to create blend of the best that Asia has to offer. A sophisticated spot and a chance to expand your dining experiences in Rome, don’t be overwhelmed by the huge menu – it’s just a reason to come back time and again to try something different!
Viale Aventino 91/93
Open daily 7am-9pm
Famed for its sweet treats, this pasticceria/ gelateria /cafetteria is no doubt a favourite in the Aventine neighbourhood and is repeatedly receiving top reviews. Their dolci are nothing less than true works of art and sure do taste as good as they look. As if that wasn’t sweet enough it’s also a great place to stop by for a quick and delicious breakfast of fresh, homemade croissants and cappuccino or a refreshing gelato on a hot summer’s day.
Viale Aventino, 40
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-3pm, 5pm-11.30pm, Sun 12pm-3pm, 7pm-11.30pm
Another option if you’re seeking out a sushi fusion is Manioka, the other Japanese-Brazilian restaurant available in Aventino. A laidback and contemporary vibe accompanied by their specialties of Brazilian influenced temaki (fresh sushi wrapped in a cone) and their fruity Brazilian cocktails. Take a step out of Italy and take a trip to South America and Asia simultaneously!
Saba Caffé e Cucina
Via di S. Saba, 32
Open Tues-Sun 7am-12am
The Saba Caffé e Cucina prides itself on its fresh, local produce and the delicious simplicity of their dishes. Their pasta is freshly made daily, as is the bread for their burgers. With the garden enclosed in lush greenery sprinkled with twinkling lights, Saba makes for a great spot for alfresco dining and can be enjoyed year round thanks to the canopy for the scorching summer months and the outdoor heating to warm up a winter evening.
Viale Aventino 107/109
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-11pm, closed Sunday
Set sail across the Mediterranean and experience a taste of Greece at Elleniko. Serving up all the traditional Greek cuisine you could ask for, this little slice of Greece is a small and intimate spot for a quick bite and offers takeaway for those looking to lunch on the go. Classics include Mousakà, Souvlaki and Spanakopita are great for lunch on a budget!
Viale Aventino, 121
Lounge Garden open 6.30pm-1am
The Corner Townhouse is the epitome of elegance and sophistication. With several stylish suites available for a luxury stay in Rome, it also boasts an opulent restaurant, headed up by Michelin star chef Marco Martini. Martini looks to turn a meal into a stimulating, sensory experience and unlock the memories found in flavour. If you’re not staying for a meal, then the lounge garden is a contemporary terrace with an effortlessly cool décor and even cooler drinks menu.
Queen Makeda Gran Pub
Via di San Saba, 11
Open daily 12pm-3pm, 6pm-2am
As well as its totally international menu, the unique selling point of Queen Makeda is its dedication to great beer. Not only are there 40 craft beers on a constant rotation but moreover, you have the chance to book one of their self service tables that come with your own personal beer tap! On a balmy, summer’s evening, sip on your choice of beer in their bamboo garden.
Viale Aventino, 83
Open Tues-Sat 5pm-2am, Sun 6pm-1am
At Must one thing is for sure: you wont leave thirsty! With such an extensive and detailed drinks menu and not to mention some very reasonably priced cocktails, this bar has a tipple to fit anyone’s fancy. Served with complementary hand-fried crisps to tickle your taste buds, your drink of choice can be followed up by finger food or a full meal. A warm and welcoming atmosphere, Must is definitely a must!
Parco Savello and Giardino degli Aranci
Piazza Pietro D’Illiria
Open daily 7am-9pm
Also known as the Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden), Savello Park is a shady oasis found on the Aventine Hill. Its excellent panorama of the city is westerly facing, making it a picture-perfect spot for sunset views. Great for people watching, here you can catch Romans enjoying the peace and quiet for a sheltered siesta or making the most of the vista a spot of painting. Just a couple of minutes walk from here is the villa of the Cavalieri di Malta where you’ll find the famous keyhole. Look through it to see an unparalleled view of St Peter’s Basilica, beautifully framed by the villa gardens.
Basilica di Santa Sabina
Piazza Pietro D’Illiria
Built around AD 425, the Basilica of Santa Sabina is an example of one of the earliest Christian churches. The simple exterior has remained more or less unchanged since its construction unlike the interior where, in 1587, late Renaissance architect Domenico Fontana executed a significant renovation, which was followed up in 1643 by Francesco Borromini. With the 24 white Corinthian columns and large windows illuminating the nave, this church is a step into serenity.