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WHEN IN ROME

Discover four up-and-coming local neighbourhoods far from the well-trodden tourist trail
Two dogs street-watch in the Pigneto district of Rome. RIGHT Graffiti beside the tracks of Roma Ostiense station.
A mosaic in progress at Studio Cassio in Monti
A mustardyellow Fiat 500 looks at home in the Piazza degli Zingari, Monti
Courgettes on display at Eataly in Ostiense.

Monti

Best for: modern craftsmanship and design

Rome may be the Eternal City, but like any urban centre, it’s a place in constant flux. Younger generations move into areas that were once undesirable and bring new life, with all the coffee shops, art galleries and farm-to-table restaurants that entails. In Rome, a few neighbourhoods once considered peripheral are now taking centre stage.

As she delicately arranges tiny bits of gold until they form a pair of wings, Uliana Medikova looks just as angelic as the seraph she’s fashioning. An hour before, her workshop was full of visitors trying their own hand at mosaics, but now, as the late afternoon sun streams through the window and illuminates her long hair, she looks like she could have stepped from one of those Renaissance paintings meant to illustrate solitude. She is far too focused on her work – a commission from an Orthodox church – to indulge in such romanticism. ‘This,’ Uliana says of the mosaics that she and her colleagues at Studio Cassio (studiocassio.com) take months to make and restore, ‘is a real Italian art.’

Monti bursts with real Italian arts. A quick sprint downhill from the chaos of Termini station, the neighbourhood is geographically quite central, but feels like a refuge both from Rome’s rough and tumble, and from a modern world that promotes the fast and the cheap. Here, in a district long the preserve of artisans, the notion of craft still matters. That doesn’t necessarily mean old-fashioned; though Monti’s ochre buildings and hidden courtyards are still home to silversmiths, glassblowers and watchmakers with workshops that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the 19th century, it also welcomes artisans with a decidedly more modern outlook. At Crilla (cri-lla.it), a tiny shop that specialises in home décor, architect Cristina Ventura and her partner have updated the colourful encaustic flooring tiles so beloved in the Art Nouveau-y fin-de-siècle with a sophisticated palette and sleeker designs.

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About Lonely Planet Traveller (UK)

In the March issue… follow the coast of New South Wales south from Sydney on a Great Escape taking in art, wildlife and seaside dining; get a local's view of four less-visited neighbourhoods in Rome; discover craftsmanship and poetry in the cowboy country of northern Nevada; pick the right countries in which to find joy, adventure, passion or solitude; and much more