Exploring the Borgo District in Rome: a pocket of tranquillity and history
Borgo is a small and peaceful maze of narrow streets, among some of the giants of Rome. The district indeed lies between the dome of St. Peter’s and the millenary Castel Sant Angelo. Its cobblestone paths are laden with history and have been home to Pope Benedict XVI, world famous artist Raphael, the great Michelangelo Buonarroti, and countless others.
Nestled between Prati, the Vatican, Trastevere and the river Tiber, Borgo is most well-connected. Here visitors are literally one step away from the Vatican museums, they can easily walk to the city center, or even walk away from the bedlam of downtown, taking promenades toward the more residential districts or green neighboring areas.
Besides being a destination for tourists and clergy from all over the world, Borgo is also characterized by a certain romanicità (an authentic romanness), as some of the locals we met have affirmed. Some of the district’s restaurants, bars and cafes testify to this claim.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN BORGO
Via Degli Ombrellari, 10
Open Mon-Sat 12-3pm, 7-11pm; Sun 12-3pm;
Nuvolari is a relaxed Osteria with a little something extra. The reasonable prices, authentic food and service, have continued to attract a devoted local clientele. Although the menu includes many non-traditional dishes, it still offers classics such as “Saltimbocca alla Romana” and “Carbonara.” While the food presentation is nice, some may be more attracted to the wide selection of fine Rum!
Borgo Pio, 135
Open Mon-Sun 11.30am-10pm
Arlù is a hidden gem in Borgo. Family run, since 1959, they pride themselves on making their own bread, pastries, cakes and pastas from scratch! The service is excellent, the atmosphere is pristine, and there are no pushy “ushers” trying to pull people in from the street- the exquisite food speaks for itself.
Via G. Vitelleschi, 23
Open Tues-Sat, 1pm-2:45pm, 8pm-10.45pm; Sun 1pm-2.45pm;
This new place in town, at a stone’s throw from St Peter’s, takes you from the heart of Rome into the deep north with its traditional Bavarian cuisine. Its two floors are furnished in the typical style and atmosphere of a mountain tavern. The cuisine offers products grown in the crystal-clear air of South Tyrol, Tyrol and Carinthia accompanied by excellent beer. Definitely worth a try!
Les Etoiles Restaurant and Rooftop Bar
Via G. Vitelleschi, 34 (Hotel Atlante Star)
Open Mon-Sun 10-1am
A gourmet experience as well as the most spectacular 360-degree view of the Eternal City awaits you at Terrazza Les Etoiles. The hotel serves traditional Roman cuisine with an international twist and fresh ingredients are picked directly by the chef from local suppliers. The wine list includes a perfect pairing for every dish- no details are spared in this establishment. Visit past sundown for a romantic dinner with breath-taking views of St Peter’s and Castel Sant’Angelo.
Borgo Angelico, 30
Open Mon-Sun 12-3.30pm, 7pm-12am
For a non-Italian option, excite your taste buds with something sophisticated and unique! Temakinho serves creatively fused cuisine: Japanese & Brazilian! The fresh seafood mingles with exotic flavours in this stylish four-story location. Be sure to make a reservation online and don’t forget to try the best Caipirinhas in Rome!
BEST BARS in BORGO
Via degli Ombrellari, 25
Open Mon – Fri 12pm-2am; Sat-Sun 5pm-2am
Step inside and get comfy in this Bohemian joint. Bukowski’s Bar is somewhat of a “Bookshop-by-Day, Bar-by-Night”. Listen to jazz, browse art prints, read books, play board games, or just snuggle up on the vintage couches with a Moscow Mule or glass of wine. The friendly staff and food menu make spending time here is a real pleasure. Things liven’ up a bit from 7-9pm for aperitivo.
Via G. Vitelleschi, 44
Open Mon-Sun 7.30-2am
Ginny is either a cocktail bar where you eat or a restaurant where you drink. You make the choice according to your mood, desires and company for the night. Their velvet seats and wallpaper create a delicate atmosphere that envelops you during an actually dynamic and exciting journey into the vast world of cocktails. However, for earthier journeys Ginny also has exquisite breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
Via Plauto, 33A
Open Mon-Thu 12-11.30pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-1am; Sun 5-11pm
Makasar is a winebar, cocktail bar and bookshop, but also a tea emporium (there are over 250 types among blends, infusions, rooibos and herbal teas!), which turns into a relaxing oasis for anyone who visits it. The drinks can be accompanied by charcuterie, bruschetta and a wide selection of appetisers for aperitifs. Whereas the teas are coupled with various desserts, cakes, tarts and pastries.
Borgo Pio, 13
Open Mon-Sun 12-3pm; 5-10pm
This is a historic wine shop in the neighbourhood, anything but touristy. It’s where locals go to buy their wine bottles, but also have a drink during pre-dinner aperitifs. A few tables, a wide selection of beer and wine, but also some dishes: pasta, soups, cold cuts and cheeses. Petruccino is a safe bet and an evergreen.
Comptoir de France
Via G.Vitelleschi, 20
Open Wed-Sat 10am-8pm
When you’re craving something different (or trying to impress someone), but still wanna move within the wine world, pick up some French wine Comptoir de France. The staff is friendly and will guide you through their extensive, two-story wine selection which includes Bordeaux, Beaujolais, and even Riesling. Best of all: the prices are incredibly reasonable!
Via della Conciliazione, 4
Open Tue-Sat 7pm-2am
Here, you’ll sip on serious “top shelf” drinks, mixed with the finest bourbon, rum, gin, vodka, and more – depending on your taste and preferences. But, don’t be so distracted by the cocktails and panoramic views and forget about the café’s amazing edible creations.
CAFES, PATISSERIE AND ICE CREAM in BORGO
Bar Lattera Giuliani
Borgo Pio, 48
Open Mon-Fri 7am-pm
This, along with Petruccino, is one of the most classic, and historic elements of the area. Bar Latteria emerges as the perfect symbol of the Italian and Roman breakfast in the neighbourhood, wooden counters, large mirrors, a selection of croissants, pastries and tramezzini and an excellent coffee, to be sipped by the outside tables amidst the slow flow of pedestrians in the morning.
Piazza Americo Capponi, 7
Open Mon-Fri 11am-8pm (closed on Tue); Sat 11-12.30am; Sun 3.30-7pm
An atelier with spaces dedicated to visual and performing arts, exhibitions and events, a publishing house, a bookshop and a café work together at Ultrablu. A coffee or treat break here is a delight, not only for the palate, but for the spirit and the mind.
Federico Prodon Patisserie
Vicolo del Farinone, 19
Open Mon-Sun 7am-6pm
This is an excellent French-inspired pastry shop recently opened by Federico Prodon – a former insurance broker, but also a skilled pastry chef who won third place at Bake Off Italia in 2014. Prodon’s sweets are delicate, colourful and refined works of art that visitors can enjoy in the cosy, discreet inner courtyard, adorned with seedlings, sofas and small wicker tables
Borgo Pio, 179
Open Mon-Sat 11am-11pm
Land at Hedera for a traditional Italian ice-cream. Taste their amazing creams, soft to the mouth and easy on the stomach, but also give a chance to their lactose free, fruit, options. They have one of the best strawberry-flavours in this part of town, we have been told.
Via di Porta Castello, 39
Open Mon-Sun 9am-10pm
The ice cream shop was opened in 2018 and it managed to thrive through the pandemic, constantly adapting to the costumer’s needs. Besides a great selection of ice cream, Cremilla offers fresh seasonal juices, crepes – either plain or chocolate, flavoured waffles, pancakes, smoothies, milkshakes and organic yoghurt.