When in Rome, Do as the Locals Do

When in Rome, Do as the Locals Do

I recently chatted with yet another visitor to Rome who fell in love with the architecture but felt put off by the excessive prices. In Rome, the tourist trail is so well-established that some will rarely look beyond it. However, things to do in Rome are not limited to this well-trodden path, and I have found that receiving just a few pointers from locals can radically change your view of the city, opening the door to a more authentic experience.

Some very hip Italian students once told me about the area of Monti, now a favorite spot of mine. Only a few minutes on foot from the Colosseum and near the Termini train station, Monti is nice for a stroll on cobbled streets along ivy-covered, pastel buildings. Recently, it has also become the shabby-chic mecca of the city.

Italians come here to soak in the ambience, sitting round the fountain on the central piazza with a drink in hand or hanging out in one of the many funky bars down the side streets. Many bars are kitted out with jumble-style vintage decor and local art, contributing to the area’s lively atmosphere.

When in Rome, Do as the Locals Do
Near Piazza del Fico

Don’t get me wrong, I can always appreciate the romance of sipping wine in front of the dramatic fountains, but many visitors don’t know what they are missing only steps away to the winding backstreets of the piazza.

There’s a good mix of Italians and foreigners, yet Monti hasn’t (as of yet) been overrun by tourists, in contrast to the beautiful (but packed) area of Trastevere. Monti is also a star of alternative shopping, offering quirky, vintage clothing shops and a high-quality, indoor vintage market every Sunday. And if you’re looking for something a little different after eating plenty of pasta, Monti has one of the largest concentrations of Indian restaurants in the city.

Right in the centre lies a great alternative to the often-expensive and touristy places on the oblong Piazza Navona. Don’t get me wrong, I can always appreciate the romance of sipping wine in front of the dramatic fountains, but many visitors don’t know what they are missing only steps away to the winding backstreets of the piazza. Take the turn on the eastern side in the middle of the piazza to a lively picturesque little zone leading up to and around Piazza del Fico.

When in Rome, Do as the Locals Do
Monti, Rome

When in Rome, Do as the Locals Do

Hip locals come here to enjoy a cocktail after work or to start their night in the busy streets crammed with in-the-moment bars and restaurants amid the beautiful surroundings of the historical centre. Like Monti, this is a place to find vintage selections, and Seconds (on Via del Governo Vecchio) is one of the best little treasure caves.

Don’t get me wrong, I can always appreciate the romance of sipping wine in front of the dramatic fountains, but many visitors don’t know what they are missing only steps away to the winding backstreets of the piazza.

If you are looking for Rome’s raw side, then try San Lorenzo on the Eastern side of Termini train station. In the past, it was a working-class area and was the only area heavily bombed in WWII. But today, its position next to the major university of La Sapienza has spurred its reputation as a bustling, laid back, and cheap place to spend your evening.

Graffiti art leads you into a warren of streets that come alive when the sun goes down. San Lorenzo admittedly may not be beautiful, but with its urban charm and progressive art it’s certainly fun.

Don’t be put off by the of the lack of a metro stop; it just makes the area that much more authentic. It’s fairly easy to find a route for a bus or tram on the city’s transport site.

These are just a few perfect examples of things to do in Rome once you’ve had your fill of the main attractions and are ready for a taste of the real thing!

When in Rome, Do as the Locals Do

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Do you have traveled to Italy? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.


When in Rome, Do as the Locals Do

About Sharon Moran

AvatarSharon Moran is a professional singer and freelance writer in Rome, living in a beautiful countryside villa with her Roman man while still working in the eternal city.

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