I admire the strenuous tourist who sets out in the morning with his well-thumbed Baedeker to examine the curiosities of a foreign town, but I do not follow in his steps; his eagerness after knowledge, his devotion to duty, compel my respect, but excite me to no imitation. I prefer to wander in old streets at random without a guidebook, trusting that fortune will bring me across things worth seeing; and if occasionally I miss some monument that is world-famous, more often I discover some little dainty piece of architecture, some scrap of decoration, that repays me for all else I lose. -W. Somerset Maugham
We all know the characteristic, narrow, cobble-stoned streets. They are wonderful and highly crowded and thus, I have a habit for seeking out the more residential neighborhoods, where Italian families live, where Buddy and I are the sole visitors and there are boutiques, gourmet stores, and beautiful homes at which to ooh and ahh at.
Elegant Prati, and Vatican City
Enter Prati, locally known as the “white collar” neighborhood of the eternal city is designed in a mix of “Umbertino” style buildings, a 19th century Renaissance Revival architecture and “Art Nouveau” style.
The Vatican city clearly steals the thunder from places in Prati like the ‘The Palace of Justice’, the seat of the Supreme Court of Cassation – the highest court of appeal in Italy, which sits upon my favourite square, Piazza Cavour. One thing the Vatican cannot measure in is the authentic Italian lifestyle on this side of the quartiere (neighborhood) away from the ocean of selfie sticks and promoters.
Twenty-two years after construction on the palace began, it officially opened and it came with a nickname, Palazzaccio (Bad Palace).
The headquarters of the Italian International Television Station ‘Rai’ is in Prati as well as other court houses. These important crowds require quality and service without heading towards the Trevi fountain. Lounges and rooftops are yours to find camouflaged by trees and in palazzi.
Prati covers quite a bit of ground, near Piazza Cavour my favourite aperol spritz spot is ‘La Zanzara’ (The Mosquito) and across the street, however after dinner somewhere near the locally famous shopping street Via Cola Di Rienzo, we would get our munch on at MiVa, which means ‘sounds good to me, on Via Ezio 23/23 and afterwards stroll down to ‘Emerald’s bar’ which is swanky and fun.
Similiar to Prati, Parioli.
Parioli, north of the marvelous Villa Borghese Gardens, simply a 15 minute walk from the top of the Spanish Steps, or an hour if Buddy stops time to explore one of the many architectural wonders.
It’s Rome’s most chic ‘upscale’ residential zone.
My routine like every other Pariolini, “mi fai un cafe macchiato, per favore” with the only obvious difference between myself and them, the fluffy ice breaker attached to my hip.
When visiting Parioli, you must wander all the piccole streets which shoot up into piazzi with private schools, embassies, boutiques, gourmet shops and other shops of interest. For a breath of fresh air visit ‘Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna E Contemporanea‘ which is adjacent to the Borghese gardens on Viale Belle Arti. During the summer months there is a swanky pop bar with circus entertainers and theatrical preformaces on the steps across the gallery.
More is coming.
Monti and Trastevere
Monti and Trastevere are the heart of Rome, Piazza Venezia, the Colosseum Italy’s longest river, the Tiber. The quintessential characteristic, narrow, cobble-stoned streets leading you to piazza Navona, Campo di Fiore, and the Trevi Fountain.
It is natural to fall into obscene amount of tourists traps but with the proper guidance, the only trap you will fall in, is the bella vita.
The true other side of Rome, EUR.
EUR is south of the city centre. The quartiere was built for Benito Mussolini, EUR is almost uncomfortably enjoyable, it doesn’t quite feel right to enjoy architecture that has its genesis in a totalitarian state.
However, the district has become a natural place to expand housing, education and facilities. It is accessible and full of modern amenities.
I suggest you treat yourself to a pastry, gelato or chocolate, while you check out the wine and cigar selection and at the iconic: Caffe Palombini: Piazzale K. Adenauer 12, 00144 Rome.
Before you go, make sure that you visit the Square Colosseum, the palazzo was constructed as part of the program initiated by Benito Mussolini. It was planned for the 1942 world exhibition and as a symbol of fascism for the world.
Today, it houses the headquarters of Fendi.
More coming soon.