Located between the Termini station and the Roman Forum, Monti is often missed by tourists. Here you can get a glimpse of local life and sample some of the best local eateries and cafés. This charming historic centre is also where young and hip Romans gathered and socialized. The area comes alive at night when locals pack trattorias, pizzerias and restaurants to dine, chat and smoke. It is a delight to explore its quiet cobbled streets with faded ochre paintwork, an entrance door flanked by climbing ivy, flower boxes beneath window shutters, and a mint-colored scooter parked on the street.
Located on the west bank of the River Tiber, this working-class area retains much of its medieval architecture, with a fountain on the main square and a 12th-century church, Basilica di Santa Maria. A stroll in its maze of streets reveals the character of this neighborhood. A façade with a brightly colored green door, the texture of its crumbling brickwork and a light blue Nuova Fiat 500 parked on a cobbled street outside a closed rolling door covered in graffiti.
The furthest of Rome’s seven hills, Aventine Hill offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. A peaceful and calm residential area, it’s a pleasant area to wander around and get away from the tourist crowd. Take time to relax in ‘Giardino degli Aranci’ (the Garden of Oranges) – a cloistered public garden with plenty of sweet-smelling oranges, medieval walls and a terrace with panoramic views of the city. Flanked between Giardino degli Aranci and Giardino Storico di Sant’Alesio stands Basilica di Santa Sabina all’Aventino, which was built in the 5th century. At the end of Via di Santa Sabina is where Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta is located – a quiet square where occasionally tourists stand outside the green door to look through a small keyhole to find the view of Saint Peter’s Basilica perfectly framed by clipped cypress trees.