Neighbourhood guides: Monti

It is said that Rome, regarded by its locals as the centre of the world, was founded in April by the brothers Romulus and Remus. To honour the foundation of the iconic Eternal City, Romans enjoy a host of special events throughout the month of April including concerts, parades and historical re-enactments.

As part of the celebrations, we take an insider’s look into some of our favourite, undiscovered rione, or districts, to unearth the culture of the area and reflect the soul of modern Rome. We asked Marianna De Vito, fashion designer and photographer, to take us around Rome’s first rioni, Monti. Rome’s oldest neighbourhood, Monti boasts some incredible sights including part of the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and the Ludus Magnus, to name a few.

What makes Monti such a special neighbourhood?

Monti is so special and is one of my favourite places because it is the most ancient neighbourhood in Rome. It is also Rome’s largest district and is known as the suburra (“under the city”), an area between the Viminal and the Esquiline hill. It has become an interesting neighbourhood in recent years thanks to all the bars and nice vintage shops that attract not only the Romans but also a lot of tourists. 

Describe Monti in three words

Charming, Lively, Radical.

Describe your perfect day in Monti

The perfect day in Monti starts with a good Italian coffee and a piece of cake at La Casetta a Monti. For lunch, I recommend grabbing a special sandwich from Zia Rosetta. Here, they also serve gluten-free rosettas (a white Italian bread used for sandwiches), smoothies and salads, all made with high-quality ingredients.

In the afternoon, you can visit the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the largest interdisciplinary exhibition area in the centre of Rome.At around 6 pm it’s time for an aperitivo, and the best place in Monti is definitely Urbana 47, where you can eat a great pizza Margherita.

Does Monti have its own style?

In Monti, you can find a lot of young artists who own their own shops, where they produce their amazing creations. However, Monti is also known within Rome not only for the vintage shops but also the Sunday market, called The Mercato Monti, in via Leonina 46.

What draws you to Monti?

I find it very relaxing to wander through the streets of Monti. There is a lot to do, but it’s most fun to walk around and get a bit lost in this particular area. It’s also home to my favourite gelateria, Fatamorgana in Piazza degli Zingari 5.

What’s your favourite season to be in Monti?

Monti is lovely in the spring because you can get a drink along the streets or in the main square, Piazza della Madonna dei Monti. It’s always full of people at that time of year, which gives it a lovely atmosphere.

Do you have any favourite spots in Monti?

I love La Casetta a Monti. It’s a great place where you have a good cappuccino and some very special pancakes.

Does Monti have a vibrant cultural scene?

The most vibrant trend in Monti is the vintage style. This neighbourhood is full of vintage shops like the famous King Size Vintage in via Leonina 78, which is actually my favourite store in Rome. You can find lots of artisans, some make jewellery while others make accessories or clothing, all completely handmade!