Rome, the eternal City. Full of history, stray cats exploring the old ruins in the city centre, Renaissance architecture everywhere... well, if you're familiar with all of that and you want to get off the tourist trail, we've got the right place for you. There’s a small, local neighbourhood called Pigneto (whose name derives from the area's pine trees) that’s off the beaten path and known for its alternative personality. So check out our local neighbourhood guide to Pigneto to discover the best places to experience life like the locals!
by Marco Borromei
photo: Alex Suprum photosplash
History of Pigneto
Pigneto was born in the late XIX century and has been a working class area ever since. If you watch a movie set in Rome during the fourties or the fifties it's surely been filmed there, and during the sixties and the seventies it became a meeting point for intellectuals like Pier Paolo Pasolini, mostly known for his activity as a cinema director. The cultural vibe never left the place, and Pigneto has maintained the reputation of a neighbourhood you should live in if you're any kind of artist, from theatre to cinema, from dance to painting. Many clubs host indie songwriters and bands, both Italian and from abroad.
About the Area
The main street is a pedestrian area, where from morning until early afternoon an authentic grocery market takes place, produce coming straight from the vegetable gardens of the people who sell them. At the surrounding cafes, enjoy a coffee and a good book or chat with the locals until the sun goes down and those very same cafes start serving up delicious aperitivo. Sip a fancy cocktail in a modernist designed club and then drink a real Roman beer in a bar still owned from the very same lady who opened it in the late sixties - this eclectic neighbourhood has something for everyone!
Where to get Breakfast
The ideal spots to have breakfast are Yeah and Fattori. They're both just a 10 minute walk from central Pigento but are very different in style. Yeah is a loft area decorated as a New York bar from the nineties that’s got a reputation for its coffee, juices and being a space to bring your laptop and get some work done. Fattori puts its tables on the sidewalk in front, where you can sip coffee and chat under the shadow of the famous pines of Pigneto, and whilst they might be a gelateria, their croissants are renowned not only in the area but in the whole city.
Where to get a Drink
Mezzo is the first bar you bump into when you reach the pedestrian area of Pigneto. It's tiny, and there’s not many tables but the staff are welcoming and know how to shake your favourite cocktail, even if its something obscure that no one else knows! If the weather’s a little cold and the heaters aren't even enough for you, just ask for one of the colourful blankets. Tuba is just a few meters away from Mezzo. This bar and bookstore is staffed only by women, who are the writers of the books that they sell and it is the most important lgbt touchstone in the area. It's open both for breakfast and drinks in the evenings, and through the bookstore, related events take place there: workshops, book tours, festivals and also dj sets.
photo: Mezzo fb
Where to Grab Lunch and Dinner
Still not tired of seeing pines everywhere? Good, because for lunch and dinner Rosti welcomes you to a beautiful outside garden where you can taste the best pizza in Pigneto. Bottiglieria is also a great spot with both inside and outside tables, but their speciality is wine. You can choose yourself or be advised on a bottle that will perfectly fit your meal. There’s also Necci, one of the oldest and most famous spots of Pigneto. Kino is a little bistro, with a cinema under your feet. Yes, Kino actually is an art house cinema where you can watch old movies or films you wouldn't catch anywhere else, chosen specifically from film festivals throughout the world.
Where to Dance to Night Away
Once you finished your dinner at Necci, head to one of the oldest indie clubs in Pigneto. There are special events and dj sets every night, usually starting around 11 pm and lasting until, well… whenever you want it to. Monk is considered the best venue for gigs in the area, but it’s a twenty minute walk from the pedestrian area, so it'd be better taking a cab to reach the place. If you’d prefer an even more off the beaten path venue, 30 Formiche is the place for you. Hidden under a tunnel, this club is a sort of half underground bunker. Bands and djs starts to play around 11 pm till daylight, while you can have a drink sitting on an armchair that’s surely older than you are, or play table football while the crowd dances around you.
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