Before I moved to Italy I didn’t understand that Rome had different areas within it’s walls. I thought Rome was defined by the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain and that’s about it.
What I learned is that there is so much more! There are the tourist areas, the residential city areas, the residential outskirts areas, and then there are the areas within the city, within it’s very core, that are hip, cool, and appealing to Romans despite the infiltration of tourists.
If I haven’t said it before, Rome changes at night. The tourists go to bed and the Romans go out to enjoy everything their city has to offer. One of these places I was able to enjoy too? Monti.
Monti is located beside the Colosseum where three big streets run through it, Via Nazionale, Via Cavour, and Via Lubicana. Jutting out from these mains streets, the roads run narrow and are covered in cobblestone, just like other areas throughout the city. The houses are packed on top of each other and during the day this area is surrounded by tacky tourist shops, clothing brands like American Apparel, cool vintage stores, and hordes of the aforementioned tourists.
But during the night? Well, I believe this is where Monti’s charm lies.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s such a beautiful place to explore at all times of day! The coffee bars are excellent (check out 2Periodico Cafe – one of my favourites), the gelato spectacular (try Fatamorgana – this one has such unusual flavours), people watching is fun (Roman hipsters?!), amazing handmade craft fairs (Mercato Monti is amazing), and the shops are fun to look at too (I got one of my favourite purses from a cool vintage shop up a random side street)! The houses are covered in ivy, the churches are breathtaking, and I love wandering the streets, finding something new after every turn.
In the summer when the days were longer, the evenings would be warm and dusk would come. It would such a reprieve from the hot days.
People would sit beside the fountains drinking Peroni and just talk. They would be locals because the night is when Romans come out to enjoy their city.
My favourite thing to do though in Monti at night? Getting lost in the streets. Like I said, Rome changes from morning to night! The streets I could easily wander during the day without getting lost would confuse me at night. One evening a friend and I wandered the streets so late at night (after some delicious pizza and wine) and even though it was midnight, the doors of the churches were open and we wandered in, sat on the pews, and just listened to the echoing silence. Moonlight lit our path and lit the walls of the church and is was magical; incredibly beautiful and magical.
Monti is one of my favourite district in Rome for so many reasons. If I could go back to Rome for just one day, Monti would be where I would visit. The Colosseum is spectacular, the Trevi Fountain is breathtaking but it is Monti which makes me feel as if I’m really experiencing Rome.