At night, Rome’s young intellectuals fill the city’s Centri Sociali, or social centres. These clubs and bars, many of which show films, host DJs and run dance or theatrical performances, began life as squats in run-down public buildings. Today there are ten or so in Rome, located in old schools, factories and warehouses. Brancaleone, on Via Levanna, is a particularly well-run one, with a cinema, café, shop selling organic goods and a variety of musical offerings. Go on Friday for the electronic vibe, Roman-style, or on Saturday for house.
Via Levanna 11, Montesacro, Rome www.brancaleone.it
A touch of New York with a dash of Scandinavian cool thrown in (a smorgasbord of Swedish nibbles is available). Laid-back boho coffee house by day-pick a title from the large collection of books on art, design, fashion and settle down in a comfy (probably designer) armchair-funky bar by night with loud music and cocktails. You’ll be surrounded by Rome’s trendy young things.
Piazza del Pietra 42, +06 678 5804.
A small, family run taverna, close to Piazza Navona.The owner, Paulo brings produce from his hometown in the Sabine Hills. The roast chicken, with potatoes roasted in oil and rosemary is real comfort food. Bread, tomatoes and fresh basil to start, helped on it's way by half-decent house wine. My wife, daughter(ice cream scored well) and I had a truly great evening, and left with change out of £30.The Taverna is closed Tuesday, but signs direct you to a sister taverna, a few steps away (slightly larger,but almost as good).
Via Monte Giordano 12Tel: 06 68 80 10 53
A department store but not as we know it. This being Italy, Tad is a super-slick joy of a shop with beautiful displays of home-ware, furniture, perfume and designer clothes. Makes John Lewis look like Woolies.
Via del Babuino 155Tel: 06 3269 5131
The guide books tell you that the best cup of coffee in Rome is found at the Tazza d’Oro at Piazza della Rotonda close to the Pantheon. They are not wrong. Remember you have to pay for your coffee at the till and then take your receipt to the counter to be served.
Piazza Della Rotonda
The labyrinthine, subterranean graveyards of the city's early Christians will remain the most memorable experience of a trip here. No grand views, no Roman poseurs to ogle, just an immersion (literally) in the rituals of early first millenia Italians.
The catacombs are at various locations around the city
Roman Reference is a company that offers apartments to rent in the centre of Rome. I found them by googling 'Rome apartment rental'. I took an apartment in the Rione Monti area of the city near their office, which is right next to the Colosseum. The flat was excellent, accommodating four people easily. The staff all spoke English and were very friendly. The cost worked out to be almost as much as it would be to stay in a hostel. Being so central, all the sights are within easy walking distance. It really made the trip. They appear to have lots of apartments in the centre of Rome and I'll definitely be using them again when I go back.
A bar housed in a former garage - hence the name (Brakes and Clutches). Just across the bridge into Trastevere this small bar spills out into a little square, with candles burning and throngs of good looking people perched on the wall surrounding the square.
The bar had a real buzz, which is what first draws the attention from the bottom of the steps, I found it to be a really friendly little bar with a good mix of patrons, the staff were friendly too and only too happy to help.
Cocktails are a speciality and the mojitos were amazing especially on a hot summers evening - the whole cocktail list looked fantastic and there seemed a good wine list too, although regrettably I didn't sample any. There was also a very tempting buffet on offer which looked much better than the second rate tourist crap I'd just eaten.
The decor of the place was a juxtaposition between the futuristic and reclaimed which created a unique ambience.
Via del Politeama 4-6,
Tel: 06 5833 4210
I'm a student who lived in Rome last year - went and ate everywhere - and Rome is great for getting a quick slice of pizza, but the best by far is Lo Zozzone (or The Dirty One). For €3 you can have a huge slice of fresh white pizza, with whatever you want in it. Great quality and great price - I miss it so much.
Lo Zozzone, 32 Via del Teatro Pace,
(4 min walk form Piazza Navona)
Tel 06 68 80 85 75
The owner, Giovanni, is a Roman by birth, but was raised in Canada and speaks perfect English - well American English! He and his girlfriend, Simona, serve locals and tourists every night from 5pm - 2am. Great fun.
Via di Tor Millina, 32;
near Piazza Navona
Church dedicated to the martyred St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. The building itself (some parts dating back to the 12th-century) is stunning enough, hidden away behind a courtyard. But more beautiful are the ruins in the cellar (turn left inside main door, a small fee is charged for entrance). Roman ruins, once at street level, have been excavated, giving the bizarre experience of walking along a ruined, underground street with rooms either side of you (one of which is alleged to be St Cecilia’s).
To top it all off, at the far end of these ruins lies the entrance to the stunning Byzantine-style crypt dedicated to St Cecilia: an incredibly beautiful room to find hidden alongside the dustier Roman ruins. The most magical place I visited in Rome.
22 Piazza di Santa Cecilia
This splendid church has three of the most amazing Caravaggios, including the Calling of St Matthew and it is free.
The second find is the The Ecstasy of St Teresa di Avila by Bernini. It is carved of one solid piece of marble is is simply quite stunning and stirring.
Piazza di San Luigi dei Francesi near to the Piazza Navona
the Church of S Maria della Vittoria is close to Via XX Settembre near the appian Way
Tre Scalini is a cracking restaurant in Piazza Navona. Famous for one thing really - its scandalously delicious Tartufo Nero. Chocolate desert to die for, I went there on a pilgrimage having sampled the Tartufo at the River Cafe - the real thing takes some beating though, and the rest of the food is light and superbly priced too. Highly recommended for foodies.
The large palace built by the Quintilii brothers in the 2nd century AD. Commodus was so impressed by it that he got rid of the brothers and appropriated the building. Situated next to Via Appia Antica, it is one of the most imposing monuments of Rome. The museum is very good.
Via Appia Antica. Take the Archeobus leaving from Piazza S. Marco, next to Piazza Venezia
The best kosher restaurant in Rome, specialising in the best of Roman cooking (which is largely Jewish); excellent wines, and especially, excellent price-quality ratio!
Via Portico d'Ottavia 8Tel: 06 68 80 9771www.latavernadelghetto.com
I lived in Rome for two years and this was my favourite restaurant. It's off the beaten track and it's rare to see tourists there. The pasta al felice (ricotta, tomatoes, mint and chilli) and cacio e pepe (cheese and ground pepper) are delicious. It's not expensive and worth a visit for real Roman cuisine.
Via Mastro Giorgio 29; tel: 06 57 46 800
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