Things to do in Rome’s Borgo Neighborhood
Welcome to Borgo, Rome’s 14th neighborhood! These cobblestone streets are laden with history and have been home to Pope Benedict XVI, world famous artist Raphael, the great Michelangelo Buonarroti, and countless others. The three main streets, or “borghi”, were named by Pope Pius IV in 1565. Borgo Pio (after himself), Borgo Angelico (after his birth name “Angelo”), and Borgo Vittorio (after the victory over Lepanto). Nowadays, this area is often graced with the presence of Cardinals, Swiss Guards, and even Pope Francis from time to time!
This lively, little zone is nestled between Prati, Trastevere, the Tevere, Castel Sant’Angelo, and Vatican City, of course. The most evident border is marked by a tall, medieval wall. This covered corridor served as a hidden, fortified escape route from the Vatican to Castel Sant’Angelo. Pope Clement VII put it to use when he was forced to run for safety in 1527. Unfortunately, running in full Pope garb was not a simple task, so he was forced to take quick, tiny steps, hence the name of the wall: “Il Passetto,” or “little step.”
Today, Borgo is filled with locals and tourists alike, and with the Jubilee Year kicking off on December 8th, the area is about to get even more lively! Although tourist traps abound- (after all it’s the perfect place for visitors to stock up on souvenirs and relax after a Vatican visit) don’t let this deter you- there are some local haunts definitely worth checking out and we’ve got the inside scoop!
BORGO LOCAL HAUNTS
Borgo Angelico, 30
Excite your taste buds with something sophisticated and unique! The new Temakinho in Borgo serves creatively fused cuisine : Japanese & Brazilian! The fresh seafood mingle with exotic flavors in this stylish four-story location. Be sure to make a reservation online and don’t forget to try the best Caipirinhas in Rome!
Via delle Grazie, 5
Pasta, fast! Pastasciutta is a hole in the wall with four barstools but you’ll most likely get your pasta-to-go. They serve it al dente on a thick paper plate with “faux silver” plasticware. Choose from classics like “Pappardelle Bolognese” or “Cacio e Pepe” for a quick afternoon snack if you just can’t handle anymore pizza!
Via delle Grazie, 7/9
Alice has a real reputation in Rome and is found in locations from Garbatella to Flaminio. But here in Borgo, they also make frequent deliveries to the Vatican staff and directors. This is absolutely some of the best “pizza-by-the-slice” you can get! They’re only open a few hours for lunch so if you make it, you’re guaranteed to get it fresh. Alice even offers fantastic pizza adaptations of traditional pasta flavors like “Cacio e Pepe”, “Amatriciana”, and “Carbonara” – Mmm!
Club Après Speakeasy
Borgo Angelico, 18A
Thur – Sat 11pm – 4am
Club Après, translating from the French ‘after’— is just that, a new impeccable after-hours speakeasy where one can sip on and relax to jazz and contemporary tunes late into the night. Stepping in, it’s as though time transfigures: 1920’s class and elegance for the modern age emanates from all surfaces. Bright red and blue, plush velvet loungers, crystal chandeliers, and a glimmering bar are fit for melting away stress, as the stylish space is complimented by an easygoing atmosphere.
Via degli Ombrellari, 25
Tue – 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.
Comptoir de France
Via Giovanni Vitelleschi, 20
When you’re craving something different (or trying to impress someone), pick up some French wine & cheese at 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!
Borgo Pio, 135
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 della Conciliazione, 4 (Auditorium Conciliazione)
Indulge in cocktail creations by internationally recognized mixologist Massimo D’Addezio at this elegant bar. For 15 Euros, you’ll sip on a serious “top shelf” concoction like the “Mexican Sazerac”, made with smoky Mexican Mezcal, the “Bloody Max”, Massimo’s spin on the traditional Bloody Mary, or the “Tutto Sommato”, if you like bourbon and anise. Don’t be so distracted by the cocktails and panoramic views that you forget about Chef Andrea Sangiuliano ‘s edible creations.
Borgo S. Spirito, 73
If dining in a 15th century palace complete with frescoes, vaulted ceilings and a seasonal torchlit garden sounds appealing to you, look no further than La Veranda. These extravagant, yet tranquil, dining quarters were recently used in a scene for “La Grande Bellezza” and international celebrities have been known to drop by from time to time. Make a reservation in advance and soak up this magnificent experience.
Les Etoiles Restaurant and Rooftop Bar
Via G. Vitelleschi, 34 (Hotel Atlante Star)
A gourmet experience as well as the most spectacular 360-degree view of the Eternal City awaits you at Les Etoiles. The hotel serves traditional Italian 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 breathtaking views of St Peter’s and Castel Sant’Angelo.
Via Degli Ombrellari, 10
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!