When in Rome you must over indulge in the history, Roman ruins and at least ten beautiful old churches? Not quite. Rome is both an old and young city, which you can find out by finding and enjoying the best modern, fun and vibrant bars, shops and restaurants in Italy’s capital.
Far be it from anyone to deter you from taking in all the traditional sights in Rome, but it is possible to mix old and new. Underground in Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini, is a multimedia museum, which uses modern media technology like 3D projection to show what ancient Rome originally looked like.
Other museums like the National Museum of Rome on Palazzo Massimo and the Museum of Imperial Forums contain Roman artefacts and urban excavations often overlooked by tourists heading straight to the Colosseum. And for a few hours of complete escapism from Roman ruins, head to MAXXI, which celebrates modern art of the 21st century.
When it comes to refreshment and enjoying an aperitivo young Rome doesn’t disappoint. In the heart of Trastevere is Freni e Frizioni a contemporary bar filled with vintage furniture. Don’t be confused by their website that it’s actually a mechanic’s workshop, this is one of the coolest places in Rome to enjoy a cocktail and their buffet which is laid out in the evening. A cosier atmosphere is on offer in Casa Clementina in the Monti district of Rome. Enjoy appetisers in the kitchen, a DJ in the bedroom and a sit down on a leather lazyboy in the lounge, this is a bar that takes “homely” to a new level by showcasing furniture that you can buy while also enjoying a drink.
In the summer time seek out Salotto 42 Book Bar on Piazza di Pietra, the creative brainchild of a Swedish-Italian couple who combine both their cultures in making the perfect place to relax and peruse an impressive collection of coffee table books, before sitting outside with a glass or two of prosecco.
For food with all the traditional Italian taste but a modern touch there is Caffe Propaganda. Though stepping inside this bistro on Via Claudia feels a little like stepping back in time with its tiled walls and retro typography its modern interpretation and presentation of Italian cuisine is complimented by a fine collection of organic wines. The tourist and locals favourite Maccheroni is a fun place to try regional Roman cuisine and L’Asino D’oro, which literally means The Golden Donkey, has an affordable menu of “new old” dishes in a minimalist designed restaurant.
Shopping in Rome is also a mix of old and young. Avoid the flashy Italian fashion houses taunting tourists with their out of reach price tags on Via del Condotti and take a turn off Piazza Navona to find Via del Governo, which features a number of modern boutiques like local up and coming designers Delfina Deletrez and Josephine Huertas.
For flea market fun featuring young local creatives selling hand made arts and crafts head back to Trastevere to find Porta Portese or cross the Tiber to find the antique collectors favourite Mercatino dei Partigiani which pops up on the first Sunday morning of every month. And to enjoy the Italian fashion institution, which is a beautifully designed pair of shoes find Smalto, on Monti’s Via Urbana, which dangerously has an in-shop bar! As they say… When in Rome!
Click here to view the range of self catering apartments in Rome, and truly experience the city like a local.