Ancient Meets Hipster in Rione Monti
Rione Monti, Rome’s first ward (rione). The neighborhood for the cool and young, the old and vintage. For those who want a serving of cobblestone, antiques and artisans, with a side order of beauty, great food and some of the bars in Rome.
Centrally located between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, this is The place to while away the afternoon peeking into vintage stores, paging through old books, grabbing coffee in Rome’s chicest cafes, chatting over aperitivo, and people watching at the fountain in Piazza della Madonna dei Monti. A tiny quartiere, it’s a haven between the tourist traps of Via Nazionale and Via Cavour, and much more Roman than the more popular districts like Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona. This is working-class Rome, where older couples maintain tradition, even as young entrepreneurs open trendy galleries.
Monti gentrified and emerged as a haven for artisans in the 1930s when Mussolini’s grandiose Via dei Fori Imperiali swept in, but in the Roman period it was the Suburra, or low-class slum, with a disgraceful reputation and full of prostitutes and pimps. (You can still find a few lingering today on Via dei Capocci). In fact, the wall built to separate Monti from Imperial Rome still stands stoutly against the forums of Augustus and Vespasian.
But today, it’s cool factor, charm, and village atmosphere make it a favorite hangout for locals and expats. Start at the fountain in Piazza Della Madonna dei Monti, the heart of Monti for its beauty and buzz. As you continue, stunning views of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore burst at you from Via Panisperna, and endless ivy walls and ancient relics reflect a Rome from long ago, but never lost. Monti’s character shines from every street, a trendy village, old versus new, both classic and chic at once. To complete your experience, walk the streets at night, where the meld of peace, vibrance and history make Monti truly magical.
EXPERIENCE MONTI – BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MONTI
Learn to make gelato
Via Nazionale, 239
Duration: 45 min
Embrace Italian culinary culture and learn to make gelato with this hands-on gelato making class in Rome. It’s fun for adults and it’s fun for kids too! Learn the secrets behind the creaminess of gelato and the freshness of sorbets in the laboratory of an authentic Roman gelateria.
Explore the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Embark on a journey exploring the grand monuments of Rome on this leisurely walking tour. From discovering the relics of Rome’s notorious Colosseum, to viewing the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, get ready to travel back in time to the Roman Empire with this afternoon skip the line walking tour.
Colosseum Virtual Reality Experience
Arco di Costantino
2 – 3 hours
Explore the Colosseum like never before through the first animated and interactive 3D certified reconstruction of the most important ancient monument in the world. You will wear a last generation Samsung Oculus VR to be virtually immersed in the ancient Rome of nearly 2000 years ago.
If you want to visit a unique archeological complex and get a great view of Rome at the same time, there’s no doubt you should head to the Museo dei Fori Imperiali inside Trajan’s markets. This architectural complex has been transformed over the ages, from being the administrative center of Rome to becoming a noble residence and then a military fortress and convent, it’s been readapted to serve different functions over thousands of years. Inside the museums you’ll find modern stone fills in the gaps between original decorative fragments and architectural pieces to create an impression of how the site once was.
Piazza Madonna dei Monti
Part of the Monti experience is strolling through the famous Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, in between Via dei Serpenti and Via degli Zingari. The piazza gets its name from the Santa Maria dei Monti Church adjacent to the piazza. The piazza is dominated by a beautiful octagonal fountain by Giacomo della Porta and executed by Battista Rusconi. Right on those very steps of the fountain is where Romans and tourists sit down to enjoy gelato, aperitivo or a snack from the surrounding bars. .
Monti is the mecca of vintage shopping. The streets of this charming neighbourhood are packed with vintage and thrift stores. From the Pifebo Kilo Shop where you can purchase vintage finds (shoes included) and pay by the kilo, to King Size with its 70’s flares outfits to Moll Flanders with shoes and accessories for both men and women at unbeatable prices. And on weekends, don’t miss out on the fantastic Mercato Monti, where you can find unique and stylish picks.
Santa Maria Maggiore
Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore
Since you’re already in the Monti neighbourhood, why not visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the largest churches in Rome and one of the four Papal Basilicas of the Italian capital. What makes this Basilica so unique is the various architectural styles belonging to different time periods that mix, creating extraordinary mosaics, decorations and art.
San Pietro in Vincoli
Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli
The Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli was built in the 5th century to house the chains with which Saint Peter was imprisoned in Jerusalem. But it’s most famous for housing the stunning Moses by Michelangelo. This sculpture was carved in 1513 and meant to adorn the tomb of Pope Julius II but it was only completed after the Pope’s death.
Click on the images below to discover the coolest places in Monti.