The best neighborhoods in Rome to sit back, sip and watch.
Rome has much more to offer than an ice cream and pizza in Piazza Navona that you should still enjoy. When it comes to the moments that create everyday life, sometimes the best views are those that you see from afar: sipping espresso coffee in the morning or enjoying a glass of Chianti at dinner. From iconic landmarks to fascinating centuries-old buildings through handcrafted markets and glamorous shopping streets, here are five of the best neighborhoods in Rome to sit back, sip and watch. Set aside a lot of time to observe the people who live the Eternal City.
Campo de’ Fiori Market
Home to markets, cafes, tattoo shops and typical restaurants, Trastevere is colorful in every sense. With a name that means “beyond the Tiber”, the medieval quarter formerly belonging to the working class has been revolutionized over the years. The main changes took shape in the 70s, when expatriates and bohemians moved to the area. Since then, Trastevere has focused to the arts in all forms. As lively as the bars and restaurants of Trastevere, the best way to observe people is halfway. Take an afternoon trip to the Campo de ‘Fiori market or to the shop windows along Via del Moro. The side streets are as photogenic as the main streets, with crumbling buildings and street art at every corner. Between the crossed streets and the decadent mosaics inside the Basilica of Santa Maria, Trastevere is the best kind of sensory stage you could wish for.
Piazza della Madonna dei Monti
Despite being the oldest district in Rome, Monti is surprisingly innovative. With cobblestone streets, antique shops and artisans selling hand-made items, this is a reference point for people watching. You’ll see young and old here, from hip-hop twenties to budding entrepreneurs to love residents who honor tradition above all else. With a bevy of fine restaurants and quirky bars to linger in, there’s no shortage of coffee and sip aperitifs. Take an outdoor table at La Bottega Del Caffè, which overlooks Piazza della Madonna dei Monti. Shaded under umbrellas and vines, it is the perfect stopping point at noon. For something more peaceful but equally scenic, take a table at La Casetta della Madonna. Although monuments and attractions are quite close, Monti is a district for most of the working class, so expect to see the signs of real everyday life.
While Monti is more a haven for hipster trousers, Prati is a predominantly white-collar neighborhood. It is also a privileged place to observe architecture. Keep an eye on the Art Nouveau of the area and the Umbertino architecture and the Palazzo di Giustizia in Piazza Cavour, where you will find the two houses of the Supreme Court. If you are in trouble for the time, Prati has its advantages: it is close to the Vatican and the Tiber, but far enough away to make you feel like you’re a Roman in all respects. A coffee in Piazza Cavour is the best way to see people, especially in the evening, when you can see the change in fashion and elegance when people exchange their work clothes with the most elegant clothes. Order a light lunch or an evening aperitif at the Gran Caffè Cavour while you find yourself a nice place to watch out.
Via del Babuino
This northern district takes its name from the three main roads leading to Piazza del Popolo: Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso and Via del Babuino. Here you will find the famous Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain, both full of passers-by almost every hour of the day and night. It’s a place to see and see several times, so you can consider spending several hours there. Beyond the famous Piazza di Spagna, however, there are several streets with luxury shops, particularly in Via Condotti. As one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Rome, Tridente allows you to choose between designer boutiques, top-notch restaurants and expensive hotels.
If you hope to scoff the crowds, take a walk in the largely residential Parioli neighborhood. Ideal for travelers who want more solitude, Parioli is home to some of Rome’s best restaurants, hotels, public parks and cultural museums: the National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia and the Museo Civico di Zoologia to name a few. There are also three main green spaces that frame the Parioli district: Villa Borghese to the south and Villa Glori and Villa Ada to the north. Since Parioli is a little less central than other neighborhoods on this list, and therefore moves at a less frenetic pace, you will find the atmosphere of a quiet escape from the bustle of Rome.
Where to stay
The Hotel Rex in Rome is a super comfortable hotel that pays homage to the rich history of Rome, as it progresses towards the future with its design, as well as rooms, culinary experience and services. Hotel Rex is located in the heart of an area characterized by its ancient history; it was designed immediately after the Unification of Italy, within the borders of the Esquiline. The hotel is located in the middle of an area that counts several impressive monuments but above all it is located within a complex that extends around the central Via Nazionale. The architecture of the Hotel Rex reflects the style of the Roman buildings of the last century, characterized by light surfaces with elegantly framed windows and rusticated corners. Throughout the hotel is a celebration of Roman tradition in terms of style and charm with traditional communal areas, comfortable rooms and a relaxing cocktail bar. On the hotel’s terrace, guests can enjoy a wonderful view by taking coffee under the umbrellas. The rooms and suites of the hotel have traditional style in furnishing. The latter is minimalist and linear, so do not expect design and confusion. There are all the amenities you would expect from a city hotel with king-size beds and bathrooms with either a shower or a bath.