The Monti Quarter lies just behind the Imperial Forum and it is one of the oldest sections of the city.
Over time, the area has escaped all attempts at city planning: from Pope Sixtus V’s orders to improve and beautify Rome for the Jubilee Year 1475, to the enterprises during the 1800s to turn Rome into the capital. Herein, narrow, medieval streets and alleyways, and ancient monuments resist, painting a picture of ancient and papal Rome, and the slow and sleepy ebb life in it had.
The area offers some of the most captivating walks to be taken in Rome.
Julius Cesar was born here; Nero came, in disguise, to “take the pulse of People;” Messalina came for orgies. Until recently, this was a disreputable, little visited a neighbourhood; today, it is home to artists and men of culture looking for that particular Roman atmosphere that only exists here. The bustle of imperial Rome, papal Rome, and modern Rome is close at hand: From Via dei Serpenti, both the Italian flag above the Quirinal and the Coliseum can be seen.
Lodged between Via Nazionale and Via Cavour, the Monti Quarter is a city within a city: Craftsmen who know non hours, pasta makers producing the “best fettuccine” in the city, wine sellers, and simple shopkeepers are amongst the enchanting dwellers.
The colourful houses, the clotheslines of drying laundry, the wisecracking residents, the pride of the residents who are Monticians first and Romans second, make you forget the 20th Century and believe you are in the centre of the World. The columns and capitals from ancient Rome, found in every angle and corner, have become part of the DNA of the Monticians.
In Via Baccina, a stone marks the birthplace of Ettore Petrolini, the undisputed master of Roman theatre, famous for his parody of Nero, the “outsider” from Anzio, an easy target for the born and bred Roman actor. Recently, a new breed allured by the neighbourhood’s sought-after, quiet atmosphere, has arrived. But even the newcomers respect the past: Many old, but beautiful, restored shop signs still hang above the stores, even though the business has long since changed. In Via Leonina, the sign over a trendy fashion store reads "Wine from the owner’s vineyard in Velletri."
Romans and tourists looking for a bargain frequent Via del Boschetto: Here they find deco furniture, antique prints, and flea market merchandise. They also find new stores selling ethnic furniture, tea and herbalists; in Via Leonina, there are two chocolate factories. Longstanding goldsmiths work side by side with woodworkers, iron smiths, glass blowers, and pottery artists, all offering unique purchases and pleasant conversations.
In the evening hours, through as late as October, the neighbourhood eateries set up candlelit tables outdoors, prolonging memories of the Summer. And on October 15, during the neighbourhood’s street festival, music, outdoor shows, and lots of goodies to eat abound. It is difficult to go home empty-handed, and impossible to remain indifferent to the charm of this corner of Rome,