Centro - the heart of the city

Vibe on the street: busy, touristy, authentically Roman.
Famous for: beautiful squares such as Piazza Navona and Campo de’Fiori, the Pantheon and lots of other monuments. Not to mention great nightlife and a varied range of shops.
Centro - the heart of the city
  • As we said, the Centro has everything. Contemporary art galleries are dotted around between monuments, cafés overlook overly Baroque piazzas and palazzi, and nightclubs hide in the side streets. Most morning coffee bars become afternoon hangouts serving aperitifs and, by evening, watering holes. If Rome is one big party, the Centro is the guest of honour.

    Nearby sights

    No matter what, you must walk into the Pantheon, a former temple and now church from the 2nd century. We don’t want to spoil the surprise but remember to look up at the centre of the dome. Piazza Navona is perhaps the prettiest square in the neighbourhood, with its Bernini fountain and Borromini-designed church. Campo de’ Fiori is a lively outdoor produce market from the early hours through midday. And though technically the conduit between Centro and the Vatican, Ponte Sant’Angelo (also known as the ‘Angel Bridge’) is a beautiful pedestrian bridge crossing the Tiber.

    Eating out

    The Centro is known for having some of the prettiest coffee table views as well as some of Rome’s best coffee. Park yourself in front of Piazza Farnese at Caffe Farnese, but remember the price for beauty can be high. Caffe Sant’Eustachio boasts the best espresso and cappuccino in the Eternal City, so it’s worth braving the queue for a shot of black gold at the bar.

    Looking for a good meal? It’s true that the Centro is overridden with restaurants whose goals may be less culinary than financial, but there are still a few good, nay, great spots in the Centro for all depths of pockets. Restaurants Ar Galletto, Santa Lucia and Roscioli, and pizzerias Montecarlo and La Focaccia are just a few of the best. Keep an eye on ParlaFood and Elizabeth Minchilli for current listings and in-depth assessments of the Centro’s food scene.

    Nightlife

    It’s easy to find evening action in the Centro. Just head to any piazza and you’re bound to come across a bar serving aperitifs. Bar della Pace and Bar del Fico are Piazza Navona’s reigning king and queen, while any bar at Campo de’ Fiori after 5pm is a great spot for a late afternoon drink. Later in the evening, these bars overflow as night-time hangouts for the post-dinner drinking scene. Etablì, again near Piazza Navona, is where the young and fabulous grab an after-dinner cocktail, and around the corner is La Maison for some late night dancing.

    It doesn’t matter where in the Centro you are, a waterhole or hangout is always around the corner. For those staying in this area, keep in mind that the neighbourhood doesn’t go to sleep until the wee hours of the morning.

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