As I’ve gotten to know Rome better over the past few weeks, I’ve had an increasing desire to get out of the neighborhoods I typically frequent and discover new areas of the city. With this in mind, I asked my Italian professor what her favorite Roman neighborhood is and set off to explore her answer: Flaminio. Flaminio is an area north of Prati, where most Temple Rome students live, and Campo Marzio, where we take our classes. I did some preliminary research into the best things to see there and embarked on an all-day outing to discover Flaminio for myself.
Crossing the Ponte della Musica Armando Travajoli, a unique arched pedestrian bridge, I found myself in the heart of Flaminio, where I maneuvered past hoards of people gathered at Teatro Olimpico, a theater that must have been having a performance just as I arrived. The first item on my agenda was food, and I had picked out the perfect place to try: Bufy, a store specializing in fresh buffalo mozzarella. Although they mostly sell cheese and meats in bulk, they offer a “snack” deal: a ball of mozzarella, freshly carved prosciutto, and a basket of bread. The mozzarella was incredible: just soft enough to melt in your mouth without being runny, and perfectly flavored.
Once I had fueled up, I kept walking down the road to the MAXXI—Museo Nazionale delle Art de XXI secolo. I spent a few hours wandering the galleries, which were a nice balance of Rome-centric collections and special exhibitions on gravity and the art of Beirut.
Having explored the museum, I kept walking deeper into Flaminio until I hit the Auditorium Parco della Musica. The auditorium itself is beautiful, and the complex around it bustling with an ice skating rink, shopping, and places to eat. The auditorium is open to the public, so I was able to walk right in and wander through the passages and performance halls until I found the Villa Romana dell’Auditorium, ruins of an ancient Roman villa that were discovered next to the auditorium. From inside the auditorium, you can view the ruins, maps of the villa’s layout and that of the surrounding area, and a collection of archeological finds displayed in a small gallery. I had read online that this stop is an overlooked gem, and I completely agree!
I wanted to see the part of Flaminio on the other side of the Tiber, so I crossed over the monumental Ponte Milvio and made my last stop at a historic bakery called Mondi. Behind the counter, in addition to decadent pastries and gelato flavors, you can find a selection of mini sandwiches for which Mondi is famous. I bought one mini sandwich, which took up about half the palm of my hand, and one chocolate truffle to give me the sugar rush I needed to power through the walk home.
Sweeping along the river, I took the scenic route home so as to pass by the Foro Italico sports complex and Stadio Olimpico, both built by Mussolini during the Fascist period. By the time I got home, despite my exhaustion from the nine miles of walking I had done that day, I felt a sense of belonging in Rome that could only come from wandering off the beaten path. I now understand why my Italian teacher loves Flaminio so much, and I can’t wait to go back and see what else the neighborhood has to offer.