- Monteverde is named for the green hill of the Janiculum where this coveted neighbourhood resides. Verdant and redolent, the residential area claims home to Villa Pamphili Park along with Rome’s prettiest art nouveau villas. The family-filled neighbourhood is brimming with activity, with both Romans and non-Italians alike. Over the past several years, Monteverde has become the place to stay if wanting a respite from the chaotic city, a breath of fresh air and outdoor fun. In addition, the area has a strong atmosphere of autonomy, perhaps due to its ‘king of the hill’ location.
King of the hill . . .
Monteverde, a vast expanse west of the Tiber River, sits just above and behind Trastevere. Porta di San Pancrazio is the ancient Roman gating leading into Trastevere at the northernmost point of the neighbourhood. Villa Doria Pamphili, Rome’s largest park, is the area’s northern border. The neighbourhood cascades down the hill to Trastevere, with Stazione Trastevere as the southern landmark of the area. Monteverde's landmarks reaching include Porta di San Pancrazio, Villa Doria Pamphili and Stazione Trastevere.
Three neighbourhoods border Monteverde: Trastevere, West and South. Trastevere is immediately east, on the “other side” of the ancient city walls. West is the large, predominantly residential area. The looming South falls just below Stazione Trastevere and heads outside of the city. Testaccio, the former working class and now disco-filled neighbourhood is southeast of Monteverde and just across the river.
Know your neighbours
Monteverde is probably the best neighbourhood for getting to know your neighbours as it is residential and very family-oriented with several schools, parks, outdoor markets and playgrounds. Lately, the neighbourhood has been filling up with expats and international students, in addition to the many Italian families and the clergy. Yes, Monteverde is full of clergy as it is also densely populated with convents and seminary colleges. However, this is not Trastevere so expect Italian to be the preferred language while at your local bar or café.
Since Monteverde is a residential neighbourhood, expect shops to be exactly what you want in a small town. Via Giancinto Carini, in the older part of Monteverde (northeast), is lined with banks, bicycle shops, clothing boutiques, cafés, supermarkets, food stores and home ware shops. Via Ozanam and Via Donna Olimpia are far less picturesque than Via Carini, and are lined with discount shopping from groceries to clothing. In the southern part of Monteverde, Viale Trastevere by Piazza Ippolito Nievo, has several clothing and food shops, including kosher markets and furniture stores.
Monteverde is a large area containing several micro-neighbourhoods, which means that the area as a whole is well connected to the city centre. However, some of its micro-areas are not. The southern part of Monteverde is by far the best connected to the city centre as the area is the main corridor of Trams 8 and 3. Unfortunately the northern part of Monteverde is notorious for its late or not running buses. Neither area is linked to the metro. There are public transport options that network Monteverde to other destinations within the city. Buses 44, 780, 870, 871, H, Trams 3 and 8 will bring you around Rome to Testaccio, Janiculum, Historic Centre, Villa Borghese, Piazza Venezia, Largo Argentina, Coliseum, San Lorenzo and Termini.
- Monteverde is often considered a neighbourhood unto itself, thanks to its location atop the Janiculum hill. Since its reign as ‘king of the hill’ prevents it from overlapping with other neighbourhoods, Monteverde has no choice but to be everything at once, satisfying many social and cultural requirements. The neighbourhood is choc-a-bloc with parks, restaurants, cafés and even a monument and museum.
Culture and entertainment revolve around the northern area of Monteverde. And most would agree that the best sight in Monteverde is Villa Doria Pamphili, with 455 acres of greenery. Formerly a private, suburban villa for the Doria Pamphili family, the park is now public grounds where you can jog, work out, picnic and play - at any age. In the summer time, an outdoor concert series is hosted at Villa Pamphili. Adjacent to the park are the Christian catacombs of San Pancrazio. And at the northernmost point of the area at the gate Porta San Pancrazio is the Museum of the Roman Republic - a collection dedicated to Rome of 1840-60s, during the fight for the unification of Italy.
Monteverde is the unsung hero of eating out. The neighbourhood is a stronghold of restaurants from Roman cuisine to ethnic eateries. Main streets such as Via Carini, Via Ozanam and Viale Trastevere have several restaurants but its best to test out some of the side streets. Local favourites include Il Focolare for fish and Gatta Mangiona for pizza. Some of Rome’s most beloved pastry shops are found here such as Desideri and Cristalli di Zucchero. Finally, Monteverde has a niche beer bistro, Mondo Birra. Always keep an eye on ParlaFood and Elizabeth Minchilli whose food forages include current and in-depth assessments.
Most of Monteverde’s nightlife revolves around dining but there are several cute bars and entoche (wine bars) that are great evening hangouts. Brasserie 420, a beer garden, on the southern border between Monteverde and Trastevere, has an excellent collection of beers and vibrant social scene. For an investment in more social interaction, make your way to nearby Trastevere and Testaccio.
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