Esquilino - a hill with more than local flavour

Vibe on the street: international, slightly run down, multi-cultural.
Famous for: being on top of one of the Seven Hills of Rome. Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, some beautiful churches, a big market and lots of good shopping opportunities.
Esquilino - a hill with more than local flavour
  • With the train station dominating Esquilino, you wouldn’t necessarily identify the neighbourhood as a cultural mecca. However, Esquilino’s over 2500-year social history means that the neighbourhood is home to not just historical monuments and museums but a noteworthy social scene.

    Nearby sights

    There are several things to look for when in Esquilino, starting with your arrival at Termini. The ancient Severan walls, marking the 4th-century BC city limits, are just outside Termini’s entrance. Nearby, there’s the Arch of Gallienus, a mid-3rd century architectural wonder. Another ancient site is the Temple to Minerva Medica, a lovely round structure situated on the southern side of the train tracks.

    At the north-western corner of Esquilino is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome’s four important churches. At the opposite end of the area is the Basilica of Santa Croce di Gerusalemme, a 4th-century church housing relics of the cross and the finger of “Doubting” Thomas. Esquilino also has several museums. Two of note include the Museum of Liberation, dedicated to the Nazi occupation and subsequent Allied liberation of Rome, and the Museum of Oriental Art.

    Eating out

    More recently, Esquilino has become a magnet for great restaurants starting with Agata e Romeo. Other great dining spots include Panella, an informal café/pastry shop/restaurant focusing on Roman cuisine. Restaurants Da Danilo boasting the best carbonara and Taverna Monti are local favourites. It seems that foodie bloggers ParlaFood and Elizabeth Minchilli are forever in search of ‘real’ Roman restaurants and have a definitive fondness for Esquilino.


    Esquilino’s nightlife is not as obvious at the Centre or Monti, with most preferring to head toward those neighbourhoods when the sun goes down. However, the area has several bars, clubs and bingo halls, all with different levels of expectation. Most people would suggest grabbing a drink on the rooftop of the ES Hotel, which overlooks Termini station and its train tracks (an amazing urban panorama). Or, in colder months, Casa Clementina, a hybrid home-lounge that has recently become one of Rome’s cocktail spots.

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