One Night in Monti

Monti is cool. That’s what everyone says. Everyone wants to move there, hang out there, eat dinner there. The hype alone was enough to make me avoid it. Not to mention the distance, by my pedestrian standards it is far away, like Torino and Trieste. I couldn’t even conceive of how to get there. As it turns out, Monti is right around the corner from my friend Charlotte’s house. Great Idea- I could walk there, hang around the neighborhood, soaking up all its coolness so that I would have a few ounces of cool to help me arrive in style to Los Angeles.

I tried my best not to like it. It is cute, but not beautiful, nothing to inspire my inner nerd. Until I stumbled across the best collection of shoes in Rome, a delicious shwarma pita sandwich, a mini-installation in chocolate, and the realization that Monti is the first ever rione in Rome. Oh yes, and the 117 mini-bus runs straight through Monti. I am in love.

A brief history
Monti, Rome’s oldest and largest rione, is named for its location within the surrounding hills (monti). Take a look at the crest (on every trashcan in the neighborhood)-- you will see three mini-mountains and the Roman numeral I. Mountains for Monti and I signifying it as the first rione formed in Rome. Monti has survived sucky, run-down periods, transforming from a bubbly neighborhood to a vineyard and market area with polluted water to a low rent haven, attracting artists. In fact, Monti is a bit like Paris’ Montmartre- the original artists’ mecca, and historic site of the decapitation of St. Denis. Like Montmartre, Monti is tres chic and tres chouette. Rents are getting higher by the minute.

Okay, so you have the history. Do you know where to go? Monti is full of restaurants, galleries, shops and enoteche. I am beginning to think you could live in Monti and never leave because everything is here. Here’s what I found:

EATS (I am narrowing it down to my favorites)
Doozo, Via Palermo 51, 53 06 481 56 55
Doozo is a gallery, art bookstore and Japanese restaurant with a secret garden.

La Crostaceria Ipanema 06 4824 758 Via Capocci 26
Best for seafood lovers--raw, salted, steamed or grilled. I personally love the its bar across the street, which is only for waiting guests. Romantic (even though I cried here.)

Le Relazioni Culinarie Via Panisperna 75 06 48930554
Southern italian cuisine, mainly Calabrese and sicilian cuisine. Yum.

Maharajah via dei Serpenti 124 06 474144
butter chicken is I can say.

Mexico al 104 Via Urbana, 104 06 4742772
Mini-mexico city, I loved the guacamole

Shams Via dei Serpenti, 1 06 48931003
Where I found the true-love shwarma

Al Vino Al Vino via dei Serpenti 19 06 485803
Cozy wine bar with a vast wine selection and a profuse amount of grappas.

Cavour 313 Enoteca via Cavour 313 06 6785496
vintage wine bar and delicatessen.

Charity Café Via Panisperna 68 06.47825881
live jazz

Mondrian Suite Roma Via degli Zingari 49 0645436921
art café, cocktail bar and bookstore inspired by artist Klaus Mondrian. I haven’t been, but I want to go.

Antichita, Via Leonina 73 and 25

Free Styler, Via Leonina, 87
Skate and snow board shop

InAsia, Via degli Zingari, 18
Stuff from asia, I liked the watercolors

Mencucci Via Cavour 102
GREAT SHOES, cool clothing

Paraphernalia, Via Leonina 6
I love everything in here. My wallet does not. I hate to say it but “hip” is appropo.

Super,Via Leonina 42, Piazza della Suburra
Clothing, make up, furniture designed by up and coming designers

Antico Caffe del Brasile, via dei Serpenti 23 06 4882319
completely redone, excellently priced espresso

Il Gelatone, via dei Serpenti 28 06 4820187
lots of gelato, mmmm

Il Giardino del Te, Via del Boschetto 112
Teas and tisanes

La Bottega del Cioccolato, via Leonina 82
Chocolates and custom-made confectionary

Pasticerria Dagnino, Via V. Emmanuele Orlando, 75
Galleria Esedra 06 4818660
Best Sicilian bakery ever. I cry each time I come here. They sell Marriage Freres teas, too.

Damiani, Via panisperna 203a
A store full of mannequins

Farmacia Savignoni Via de’ Serpenti 125
A very cool pharmacy that had every beauty need known to man kind.

Mario Miccinilli
Cuoi Pellami Accessori
Via Urbana 128 06 4885950
if you ever stuff to repair your shoes, this guy has it all