Rome’s lesser-known, nonclassical quartiere
The San Lorenzo neighborhood – nestled between Termini, Sapienza University, and Verano Monumental Cemetery – has long been known as Rome’s alternative spot. This quartiere is bursting with industrial history and heart. A working class neighborhood that was heavily bombed in World War II, San Lorenzo has a gritty, resiliant nature that fosters raw creativity. Take a long walk through its streets to admire colorful wall murals and street art. Stroll through Villa Mercede, the neighborhood green space that hosts a small library. Stop under Porta Tiburtina, a gateway in the Aurelian Walls. Most importantly, though, you’ll want to visit as many of the neighborhood’s unique restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues as possible, such as the brand-new Soho House, which recently opened its first location here in Italy.
RESTAURANTS in SAN LORENZO
Kiko Sushi Bar
Piazzale del Verano, 90
Open Tue-Sun 1pm-2pm, 8pm-11pm
Master chef Atsufumi Kikuchi crafts sushi with the culinary traditions of both Japan and New York City in mind. Visitors can expect elegant dishes and attention to detail in Kiko’s chic but intimate space. And if you don’t feel like venturing out, the restaurant also offers home delivery.
Soul Kitchen: La Cucina dell’Anima
Via dei Sabelli, 193
Open Tue-Sat 6pm-2am
This “kitchen of the soul” boasts a warm, welcoming atmosphere and emphasis on ideals. Come here for comforting, nourishing Pugliese-style food. Don’t forget to check out their frequent events, such as winemaking and live music.
SAID dal 1923: Antica Fabbrica del Cioccolato
Via Tiburtina, 6
Open Tue-Sat 5.30pm-12.30am, Fri 5.30pm-1.30am, Sat 4pm-1.30am, Sun 4pm-9pm
SAID began as a chocolate factory in the 1920s, and has since evolved into a bistro, serving lunch and dinner to accompany its decadent chocolate desserts. The restaurant includes a shop for purchasing take-away sweets to bring home.
Via dei Reti, 46
Open Tue-Sat 12.30pm-3pm, 7:30pm-11pm
This small tavern was founded by the Di Vittorio family—a mother and her two daughters—in 1991. Its name honors the old tram that still passes by the restaurant. The menu combines Pugliese, seafood-focused cuisine with classic Roman dishes, allowing diners to stretch their palates from “fried golden anchovies to offal with artichokes.”
Gelato San Lorenzo
Via Tiburtina, 6
This gelateria emphasizes its “100% natural” approach, with each recipe containing high quality milk, sugar, organic eggs, proteins, and vegetable fibers. Gelato San Lorenzo serves unique flavors like chocolate with orange, pear cinnamon crumble, ricotta, anise, and sour cherries.
Via dei Reti, 40
Tue-Sat 12pm-4pm, 6:30pm-1am; Sun 6.30pm-12am
Any homesick American is sure to find their fix at this “burger bar.” The menu includes classic United States sports bar fare, like chicken fingers and wings, kettle chips, nachos, and onion rings. For a main course, choose from one of the many hamburger options or go with a filling wrap.
Via dei Volsci, 121
Mon 9am-9pm, Tue-Sat 9am-12am, Sat 4pm-12am
If you are vegetarian or vegan, check out Bonario for vegetable dishes, seafood, tofu, pizza, and pasta. The colorful but chic decor and piano create a comfortable, trendy ambiance.
L’Osteria Pesce Fritto e Baccalà
Via dei Falisci, 4/8
This restaurant, whose name translates to “the osteria with fried fish and salted cod,” serves traditional Roman cuisine with some twists. Homemade pasta, inventive seafood, and quality meats are specialities.
Pastificio San Lorenzo
Via Tiburtina, 196
This mod tavern, situated inside the oldest pasta factory in San Lorenzo, is all about quality and nonconformity. Fresh tortellini, breaded lamb, artisanal drinks, and live music pull in locals and travelers, alike.
Via dei Sabelli, 32
Mon 4pm-12am, Tue-Sun 12pm-12am
Come to Ferrovecchio to enjoy hamburgers on homemade buns, pizza, focaccia, and craft beers from all over the world. The industrial space reflects the building’s history as an iron recyclery.
Farinè La Pizza
Via degli Aurunci, 6
This pizzeria offers few frills, opting instead for top-quality, simple food. They make “highly digestible” pizza dough with a careful, lengthy leavening process of at least 48 hours.
Ottavi dal 1921
Via dei Dalmati, 3
Mon-Fri 7.30am-12apm, Sat 8am-12am
This historic bakery offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the morning, expect sweet pastries, and throughout the day, enjoy pizzas and focaccias. The bakery suggests its signature Ottavio Salato, a customizable filled bun available for lunch.
BARS in SAN LORENZO
Giufà Libreria Caffè
Via degli Aurunci, 38
Mon-Thurs 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am, Sun 11am-8pm
This unique, tiny bookshop is cozy and colorful, with a few tables where visitors can enjoy a coffee or a snack while chatting with a friend or reading a book. It’s named from a character of Italian folklore known for his silly antics and strong moral message.
Malt & Spirit
Via degli Apuli, 43
Mon-Thurs 8am-12am, Fri 8am-2am, Sat 6pm-2am
At this all-about-quality eatery, one can enjoy a wide variety of street food-inspired dishes. The menu is stacked with burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, pork ribs, chicken, Tex Mex, pasta, desserts, and lots of cocktails.
Via degli Equi, 29
Mon-Thurs, 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am, Sun 11am-8pm
This softly-lit cocktail bar offers creative drinks made with homemade, fresh ingredients and finished with attention to aesthetics by artisan bartenders. The Beat also offers a simple food menu of refined cuisine.
Piazzale del Verano, 71
This cozy, stylish bar boasts elegant food and an attractive setting. Guests can sit outside on the “secret garden”-like deck for a meal surrounded by plants.
ENTERTAINMENT in SAN LORENZO
Via di Porta Labicana, 24
This live music club hosts local musicians almost every night. Listen to many different genres, dance, and enjoy classic cocktails, beer, and wine at this lively hangout.
Soho House Rome (only for members)
Via Cesare De Lollis, 12
Sun-Wed 8am-12am, Thurs 8am-1am Fri-Sat 8am-2am
If you’re looking for a chic, artist-focused experience in Rome, pay a visit to the Soho House in San Lorenzo. With locations around the world, Soho House is a creative space that houses members. The San Lorenzo location hosts 49 bedrooms and 20 long-stay apartments, a bar and kitchen, a rooftop pool, and a health club.
La Conventicola degli Ultramoderni
Via di Porta Labicana, 32
“Old songs! Burlesque! Illusionism and Bizarre!” This truly one-of-a-kind club features heavily aestheticized, atmospheric performances. Each night’s show features many guests and performers for members’ entertainment.
Sally Brown Rude-pub
Via degli Etruschi, 3A/B
This lively bar hosts live music for all: jazz, soul, R&B, funk, and more. Visitors can expect a unique, warm experience and a lot of fun, free people.
STREET ART in SAN LORENZO
Recognized as one of Rome’s art districts, San Lorenzo is home to students and street art; from Via dei Volsci to Via degli Enotri and a collective wall through Via degli Ausoni, there is much to be seen. It houses the works of many famous international street artists including a block-long mural by Alice Pasquini. This area is also home to the work of French artist Christian Guémy aka C215; the Italian artists SOLO, Unga, and The Broken Fingaz Crew; and ABOVE, a Californian, Berlin-based artist who like Banksy has chosen to hide his identity. Despite being home to so many well known painters, the playful nature of San Lorenzo has made it into a fertile ground for Roman artists to constantly use its walls as their ever-changing canvas.
(text by Raha Shirazi)
Street art in Rome
ART & CULTURE
In this neighborhood, one can also find lots of history, art, and green space. The sprawling Cimitero Monumentale del Verano, for example, is a burial ground at least 2,000 years old. Though its plots are full, the cemetery is open to the public, and one can take a walk through its ground to admire beautiful tombstones, statues, and an imposing entrance portico.
The beautiful Basilica di San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura (Saint Lawrence outside the Walls) is a combination of two churches, and houses the relics of Santo Stefano.
San Tommaso Moro is a 20th century parish church at Via dei Marrucini 1, dedicated to St Thomas More, the English Reformation martyr.
Villa Mercede, a lovely green park in the heart of San Lorenzo, houses a small public library. Check out a book, pick a bench to read on, and listen to the birds. Also in San Lorenzo is the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, a museum for contemporary art. Check out the exhibition showing through the end of the year: Agostino Iacurci: Landscape n ° 2, “a project that transforms the facade of the former semoleria di San Lorenzo on Piazza dei Sanniti into a monumental work of art.”