Rome Travel Guide

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Salario: Rome's Unsung Hot Neighborhood

Right, our apartment building on the Via Simeto side.
Our place is on the 4th floor above the ground
floor--the one with the "cutout" that is our
terrace.   No market when this was taken.
When we arranged to rent a Rome apartment months ago, we thought we were headed for Parioli, a ritzy area of north Rome known for its fancy avenues (Viale dei Parioli and Viale Bruno Buozzi among them), expensive restaurants, and high-end shopping.

But we're not in Parioli--at least we don't think so.   More likely we're in one of Rome's lesser known districts: Salario.  Our 4th floor apartment is on the corner of Via Salaria--one of ancient Rome's consular roads--and Via Simeto, which is two blocks south of Viale Regina Margherita, the main drag with trams that go all over Rome.  We think Parioli "officially" begins on the other side of Via Salaria.

No, we're not in Parioli.  But what we've found--by sheer good fortune--is one of Rome's most
dynamic neighborhoods.   Curiously, we  had lived nearby a few years ago--just to the north of Viale Regina Margherita, in what's known as Trieste.  But we almost never ventured across the Viale. What a mistake!

Our building is of early 20th-century vintage, but
beneath it are catacombs!  We discovered they are open
one day each year - November 23.
It didn't take long to discover the pleasures of our Salario neighborhood.  It's full of small shops. On one side of our streetside apartment door is a barber.  On  the other side, a sartoria (a shop for sewing repairs of all kids). There's a ferramenta (a hardware store) nearby on Via Simeto, as well as the Rome version of a general store, crammed with stuff (and run, as many of them now are, by Chinese). Via Simeto also has a key shop and a butcher shop and an orto-frutta (fruits and vegetables).

Our "Tigre" grocrery, located in what used to be a movie
theatre (note the U-shaped lettering of the theater).  While
a chain, the Tigre has an informal book-exchange in
a room off the entrance.  

There's a nice wine shop just across Via Salaria--but of course you can buy wine almost anywhere, including at the medium-sized chain grocery store that you can see from our living room window (right).  The 4-star Beverly Hills Hotel (no joke!) is across the street.

The high-end shopping is on Via Po, two blocks down: men's clothes shops that drew the attention of a friend who's lived in Rome for years; a shop that sells only olive oil; a salumeria (a cheese/salami/bread store).  As that friend - who's lived in Rome 30 years - said when he met us for dinner nearby, "How did you find this place?"
Hugs at the market

Dianne with her home-made vignarola
Oh, yes.  There's an outdoor market on our side street (and up the next one) every day but Sunday--cheap clothes, kitchen items, and food: shelled peas and fava beans, trimmed artichokes, you name it.  In 5 minutes, we had bought those ingredients for vignarola - all ready to cook up.

Eating out?  There must be a dozen restaurants within a 10-minute walk--maybe more.  On our block alone there are three, all traditional trattorias serving Rome cuisine; we've tried two and they were both worthy, highlighted by a pasta with seafood and truffles.

Kilo, red meat capital of Rome.  Dianne on the prowl.  
Toward Via Po, we discovered Kilo, an enormous corner restaurant with elaborate outdoor seating--all in hip modernist style--serving meat cuts from animals raised around the world - Danish and Uruguayan beef, not to mention Chianina (from Tuscany), Kobe and "American" meats.  It's full of young people, which we like.  A wine bar called "dietro le quinte" also looks promising.  And there are a couple of popular places for the sushi crowd.

Hip outside cushion seating at "dietro le quinte"

After checking out a dozen "bars" for our morning coffee and cornetto, we finally settled on a somewhat upscale place on Via Po--where you can sit down and read the paper without paying extra. Indeed, the trend here in Salario--and Salario could be trend-setting--is toward larger places with ample seating at no extra charge. Dogs get in free.

An entrance to Coppede'
It would be too much to say that Salario is centrally located. It's well to the north of the Centro, with no subway line nearby.  Still, the famed Via Veneto is less than a mile walk, and the Galleria Borghese is at most 10 minutes.  The fantastical neighborhood of Coppede', named after the architect Gino Coppede', who designed its structures in the 1920s, is 5 minutes away.

A tram got us to Prati (near the Vatican) in about 30 minutes for some jazz at Alexanderplatz  the other night, and in the other direction (east), a tram will take you to the university, to the hip young scene at San Lorenzo, and just beyond to Porta Maggiore, with its enormous aqueducts, a short walk from another hip scene in Pigneto.

Life could be worse!


Could have been and would have been our
regular coffee bar, but they overcharged us--twice--because they
thought the Americans wouldn't be back or wouldn't notice.  Big mistake.
It's on Via Salaria if you don't want to go there.  


Laurel said...

I know that area well! I walked through it almost daily on my commute from Parioli to the American Embassy. It is a great location and perhaps less congested than Viale Parioli. Bravi!

John said...

One of the best "quartieri" in Rome, where real Romans live! Piazza "Quadrata" (aka Buenos Aires) and Piazza Fiume were my favorite shopping areas. Bravi!