Guide to Rome’s Prati neighbourhood
Known for its wide, sweeping avenues, elegant buildings, and modern European charm, Prati has a distinct personality and a style reminiscent more of a quartier in Paris than a former marshland in Rome. Its convenient location (above the Vatican and across the Tiber), high-end shopping street and cool restaurants make it the Roman’s best-kept secret.
Often referred to as the “white-collar” neighborhood, Prati also serves as a residential zone for upper class Romans. Its organized grid layout and elegant “Art Nouveau” and “Umbertino” style give it a unique personality. During the weekdays, Prati serves as Rome’s corporate hub, the fast-paced stomping ground for business-oriented professionals.
In addition to the enormous Palazzo di Giustizia, in Piazza Cavour, which houses the Supreme Court, Prati’s two tribunal courts make it the hot spot for lawyers. When the sun goes down and the workweek comes to a close, businesses pump the breaks and the social scene comes alive. Wine bars, live music venues, and international and classic Roman restaurants spread throughout the neighborhood, being mostly frequented by locals.
However, the neighborhood’s major attraction is the extensive shopping street, devoid of tourists called Cola di Rienzo, named after a Roman senator and nobleman. A less-crowded version of via del Corso, Cola di Rienzo is lined with many high-end and affordable International and Italian brands. The long stretch of shops has its fair share of major labels, and is home to the Coin Excelsior department store. Off of the main avenue, cool restaurants with sidewalk seating offer the perfect place for weary shoppers to take a break —in Rome we call this a 3 hour lunch— or call it a day at a wine bar.
Unlike the cramped center and its dreaded “Varco Attivo”, Prati’s spacious streets offer more options for groups of friends to hang out on the weekend.
Remarkably, it is one of the few neighbourhoods that has not yet been overrun by tourists. Whether it’s because the Vatican steals its thunder, or because it doesn’t look like the typical “Rome” pictured on postcards, we can’t say for sure. What we can do is give you the inside scoop on where to eat, shop and what to see when you venture to the other side of the Tiber. [By: Margaux Macneil]