Live Appio Latino district in Rome

We are back to to Rome after a beautiful and satisfying round of golf. We are in the Eternal City, the capital of Italy. So I do not dwell too much on this and it is redundant to describe this city to bring out emotions that come by itself. Simply, visit it and enter its labyrinthine streets.

Let me just say that I have been to Rome several times over the years, my partner is from Rome so I have a good excuse to occasionally spend a weekend there. The city is so large and varied that you certainly can’t get bored. Only recently have I started exploring the surroundings of this wonderful city. Really, it is an epic experience if you go beyond its most famous monuments and places.

And after all this wandering around alleys and squares, it is sure that you will be hungry. So what to do? There are countless restaurants, trattorie, osterie where you can taste the traditional Roman cuisine and also something more modern and revisited. There is excitement and many talented young people are bringing a hidden Rome to the fore.

DISCOVER A HIDDEN NEIGHBORHOOD

What I propose in this article, following less known routes, is to discover the San Giovanni area and reach Piazza Epiro, in the heart of the IX Appio Latino district, in the southernmost part of the great center of Rome. Here we will first pass through the Latin Market. Then I suggest you get to know with me the “Cave à manger” of the same name in the square, Epiro, in this other article.

Each neighborhood in Rome is a city within a city. For example, if you search on Google for “Quartiere IX Appio Latino” you will discover a place that many tourists do not know but which is worth going into. Just say that one of the main attractions is the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. It is the first of the four major papal basilicas and the oldest and most important basilica in the West. You have to visit it.

San Giovanni in Laterano basilica

APPIA ANTICA

From this district starts the very important Appia Antica, a road that once connected the ancient capital of the Empire to Brindisi. You can walk it for miles and miles to the south and you will find several archaeological sites. The Appia Antica Regional Park and the Caffarella Park are ideal places for a walk in the midst of nature and to get away from the chaos of the city. The capital of Italy has nothing to envy as green spaces to other major European capitals. Maybe these green areas just deserve more attention and prominence in order to make it known even to those who are not from Rome. The area around the Appian Way is renowned for the ruins of Roman tombs and villas, as well as for the Christian catacombs and the famous aqueducts, incredible engineering works. No other capital has something like this.

FOOTBALL AND CINEMA

And if you come here, a football fan cannot fail to go and see the 10-meter mural dedicated to the great and beloved Francesco Totti, captain of the Roma A.C. football team. It is located in Porta Metronia, on the facade of the Giovanni Pascoli middle school that the Captain attended as a child.

Once, before the advent of Cinecittà, the Appio Latino was the cinema district, with the headquarters of Scalera Film, a place of film production. Famous names of the show lived or worked here: Nino Manfredi, Gigi Proietti, Federico Fellini just to name a few. A movie with Alberto Sordi “Under the sun of Rome” sees the first houses in Ponte Lungo still without the other adjacent buildings.

Lately “The Place” movie, written and directed by italian Paolo Genovese, was shot in Appio Latino district.

THE LATIN MARKET

Today in my opinion the heart of the Appio Latino district is Epiro square. Here you can meet the people who make the neighborhood alive, who live there or who just work there. At the Latin Market, a fixed structure that rises right in the middle of the square, people come and go every day to do the shopping or to supply the small shops. Merchants are friends with each other and their customers.

Mercato Latino

It is a small community where everyone knows each other and greet each other. This is why I really want to talk about it. Often you visit a big city by directing your energies and attention to more or less historic buildings, to particular views that look good in photos, certainly to food. In Rome, which already offers all this, I also learned to go beyond appearances. When you talk to the locals, I don’t say that you can understand everything (because in any case you are passing through and you don’t live there every day) but it certainly helps you to broaden your horizons and enjoy the human warmth that surrounds you.

people at work

GASTRONOMIC TREASURES

In short, I strongly suggest you take a tour of the Latin Market. Bring with you a large bag because there are so many good things. In particular, you will find “La Formaggeria” by Francesco Loreti, a delightful little shop that offers artisanal products from small producers, with dairy specialties. Francesco is the “er pizzicarolo” of the square, that is the shopkeeper who sells cured meats, cheeses and other foodstuffs. He does a lot of research work. Just think that his shop has been included in the guides of “La Pecora Nera” and “Gambero Rosso”, important Italian publishing houses that deal with food and wine. Take a look: http://www.francescoloreti.it/

La Formaggeria

Also inside the market, you will also find two incredible butchers: one of the Papalotti brothers and the other of the Giovannini brothers that supplies Epiro.

I am amazed every time I think about the fact that such a hidden neighborhood holds gastronomic treasures that manage to cross the city limits. This happens thanks to the passion in one’s work and the quality that consequently emerges.

Many other shops bring the Latin Market to life. There is also a greengrocer, by Anna and Giordano. They too were chosen by Epiro as suppliers.

Come here and get in touch with the everyday life of the Romans. The markets of Rome are something absolutely particular and characteristic. They would also deserve more notoriety from a tourist point of view. Just think that until a few years ago a boy had invented to accompany foreign tourists to do their shopping at the Latin Market and then take them for a wine tasting to Epiro. A brilliant idea, what do you think? Too bad then that boy moved and no one has inherited the opportunity yet.

Papalotti brothers shop

TWO TALKS

At a certain point of the day take a break with those who work in the square and the inhabitants of the neighborhood. Then go to Caffetteria Mancini, coffee bar by Francesco Mancini. Here they chat lightly and drink an excellent single-origin coffee by MondiCaffè, a Rome roasting company member of CSC (Caffè Speciali Certificati). About this, the culture around coffee is growing in Italy and this small place is the outpost of many small businesses that I will be pleased to talk about in another article.

Take a seat at a table or stay at the counter drinking your cup of coffee. In the meantime, let yourself be involved in the animated chatter that is created in the environment.

MondiCaffè at Caffetteria Mancini

It is getting to a certain hour and we begin to be hungry. So are you ready to try one of the most interesting food and wine proposals in Rome? Right next to the Caffeteria Mancini, there is Epiro. I talk about it in this article.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

I conclude with some practical information. Epiro square is easily reachable from the center of Rome: Take the underground line A, direction Anagnina, Get off at the ‘San Giovanni’ stop or the next ‘Re di Roma’. And from here it’s a 10-15 minute walk. You can also get there by surface transport, line 360.

It will be worth it. You will enter a popular district of Rome, alive and rich in history. So live the Appio Latino district in Rome.

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