Sunny Sunday in Monti

A couple of months back I wrote about the Prati neighborhood where I live, and more recently about the Testaccio neighborhood, and I know I said that both of these were my favorite quartieri in Rome, but actually, the list wouldn't be complete without a post on Monti, another one of my very favorite places in the Eternal City. If you're not familiar, Monti is a neighborhood not far from the Colosseum (you can reach it easily by taking the subway to the Cavour stop, Line B). It has a bohemian, artsy, hipster vibe, and is downright picturesque, postcard-like (ivy covered buildings! quaint alleyways! motorini parked everywhere you look!) Good looks aside, it's also packed with great places to eat, shop, and just hang out (ex: Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, more specifically its fountain, the perfect place to spend a summer evening, with a beer/prosecco/glass of wine from the tiny shop nearby). I took advantage of a very sunny Sunday not so long ago to spend the day in Monti and visit some of my favorite places -- all can be considered highly recommended for anyone paying a visit to the Eternal City anytime soon.


First things first: lunch! Every time I find myself in Monti, I make sure to stop at Zia Rosetta, and I advise you to do the same. Zia Rosetta makes all their sandwiches on rosetta bread (a kind of chewy white bread with a segments resembling a rose and a hollow interior) that is typical of Rome, and also notoriously hard to make (I've tried). This (finicky) rosetta bread is filled to make a variety of creative sandwiches, from smoked salmon, arugula, and ricotta, to chicken salad with curry almonds and apples to one with stracciatella, roasted tomatoes, and basil (my choice, pictured below). If you don't want to have to choose just one sandwich (and why should you have to?!) you can also order a variety of mini sandwiches from their menu, made with mini rosette. In addition to sandwiches, Zia Rosetta also makes salads and centrifughe, or rather drinks made with all different fruit and vegetable juices (kind of like a smoothie) plus offers full plates (polpette di melanzane or eggplant meatballs, rice, and cicoria, to name just one of many). As Zia Rosetta is super tiny and seating is never a guarantee we often take our sandwiches up  the nearby Piazza degli Zingari to eat in the sunshine.


In the midst of a busy and stressful couple of weeks I figured I'd reward myself with a trip to the Mercato Monti, another must in the neighborhood. In keeping with Monti's already artsy-hipster-vibe, the market is full of artisans and vendors selling everything from jewelry to scarves to dresses to jackets, not to mention bags, T-shirts, and vintage sunglasses, plus my favorite, the book lamp, a lamp with a crazy  looking light bulb made out of a secondhand book. I opted for a necklace from the store Colibri' and had to stop myself there, as I could have very well left the market with (at least) ten other purchases and my wallet a whole lot lighter. Note: Forgive me for the sort of vague/general photos below -- artists are pretty funny about having their work photographed, in case someone ends up copying it. You have to pay the market a visit yourself to see what they offer!


Perhaps one of the most well known gelaterie in Rome, Fatamorgana is the place to go if you want to get out of your gelato comfort zone, i.e, go beyond the more classic chocolate and pistachio; its known for its eclectic flavor combinations, such as black cherry and beer, banana and sesame, and even chocolate and tabacco. Having said that, I kept it fairly simple this time around and opted for fragola (strawberry) and yogurt (um, yogurt) gelato, enjoyed on a marble bench in Piazza degli Zingari. Note that if you want your Fatamorgana fix, there are a few other locations (one in the Trastevere neighborhood and another in Prati, for example). Never fear though! More locations just means more business for Fatamorgana -- the quality is still ever-so-high.


So, the bad news is that the store Tina Sondergaard -- named after the lovely owner -- is closed on Sundays (see my photo below of the very clearly closed shop). I had completely forgotten about this when I stopped by (my disappointment was immense) but I wanted to include it here anyways, as a trip to Monti is not quite a trip to Monti without stopping by this shop. So! Tina is Danish, but has lived in Italy for over 30 years; she designs and sews all of the dresses, pants, skirts, and blouses in the store, and does a beautiful job. If you're looking for something a little different, one-of-a-kind, and spectacularly made, look no further.  Bonus: Tina is one of the loveliest, nicest, most accommodating people you'll ever meet, and my sister and I often stop by the shop just to chat with her. FYI: She recently opened up another store, in the Campo dei Fiori area. Thanks to Yelp for the two photos below!
Image result for tina sondergaard locationsPhoto of Tina Sondergaard - Roma, Italy


Ahh, Cuoco e Camicia! Hands down one of my favorite places to eat in the capital, C&C serves Italian food that is elevated, a bit more on the creative side (here you open the menu and are surprised -- no super typical Roman fare here). It's sort of hidden away, tucked into a quiet alleyway across the street from the metro, so keep an eye out for it. Dinner here is the perfect way to cap off an evening in one of my favorite neighborhoods, and this time around we opted for the following: a cheese plate with honey, jam, and spice bread; a slow cooked egg with Parmesan and mushrooms; tortelloni filled with saffron, green apple, and barbecue pork; green pasta alla gricia; beef filet with raspberries and roasted carrots; cherry cream tarts for dessert. It was all stellar, from start to finish. Swoon.
Having eaten and shopped my way through the neighborhood for the better part of the day, I headed home, tummy full and wallet slightly less so. To tie up the post I'll leave you with some more photos from marvelous Monti; I'll be back soon with another recipe and/or a post on my trip to London. In the meantime, have a good week everyone!

1 comment :

  1. I'm starving now for food and Rome.i will be in Rome 9/27-10/1..then leave for abbruzo 10/-10/8 for a food wine tour...would love to visit monti or another area you love ..with you and alex..we are with others but not all the time..let me know your plans for that time