|Monti neighborhood- image courtesy of Italianfoodtours.com|
I’m always the last one to wake up at the hostel. It’s a beautiful day and the first thing I do is open up the window in my dorm. I let the late morning breeze seep in as I gaze out at the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic in front of the Pope’s former residence, San di Giovanni in Laterno. I am at the Nika Hostel in the Cello neighborhood located in the centro storico, or the historic center of Rome.
After getting ready, I walk downstairs to the tiny Café di Giacomo and enjoy a fresh pastry and cappuccino with a hostel worker. We sit outside enjoying the sun, before I head off to explore the sites and neighborhoods of Rome.
I take a short walk on Via di San Giovanni in Laterno, a residential street that leads you directly to the awe-inspiring Colosseum. It is midday and with the tourist rush in full swing, I linger and people watch as I search for a bite to eat. The restaurants in this part of Cello are pricey, so instead I hop on the Metro to the Cavour stop and check out Monti, one of the hippest neighborhoods in Rome.
Monti is filled with narrow winding streets, young people and great restaurants. Spots like LaCarbonara make great homemade pasta or if a drink is what you crave, try out La Barrique for wine. After lunch, I get lost in the cobblestone streets, end up on Via Cavour and before I know it I find myself in the famous RomanForum.
After hours spent wandering around the excavated archeological sites, I start to get hungry again. I make a tourist move and pull out my map, only to see that the Tiber, the main waterway in Rome, is nearby. Why not check it out?
Walking along the Tiber is beautiful. There are bridges that cross from the side I’m on to the next. My curiosity is peaked, so I cross over and end up in Trastevere, one of Rome’s oldest neighborhoods. Trastevere is home to expats and bohemians alike. While there, I find a family owned trattoria and in broken Italian, ask the server to recommend a dish. This can be a smart move as many of the tastiest options are known only by locals and are never printed on the menu.
Along with dinner, I order a glass of the house wine and begin to feel the tiredness of a full day take over. I leisurely enjoy my delicious meal. While the thought of dessert at the restaurant is tempting, I know that gelato sounds even better. On my way home I stop by the Gelateria del Teatro ai Coronari, which honestly makes the best gelato I’ve ever had.
With belly full and feet tired, I make my way back to the Nika Hostel for the night, knowing that I’ll explore even more the next day.
You can find a lot of lovely places to stay for any budget in Rome.