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How to spend 12 hours in Pigneto, Rome's new nightlife hotspot

The city’s most exciting district is a magnet for Romans looking for a good time. From admiring art to bar-hopping, here’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the offbeat neighbourhood.

Pigneto’s renowned street art, which often has a political slant.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci
Published 28 Oct 2021, 06:00 BST, Updated 1 Nov 2021, 10:39 GMT

12pm: Lunch at Bottiglieria Pigneto
Open from morning until the wee hours, this Pigneto institution serves everything from brunch  to after-dinner snacks. Start with cured meat or avocado toast topped with prawns, and wash it down with a glass of vino from the 19-page wine list, curated by Italian region. 

2pm: Take in the street art 
Although there isn’t an official trail, you’ll find the best-known works around Via Fanfulla da Lodi. This is where the director (and Pigneto resident) Pier Paolo Pasolini shot Accattone, which focused on gritty, working-class life. Keep an eye out for the various visual interpretations of him and his films, as well as political murals on Via Giovanni Brancaleone.

4pm: Leaf through Libreria Tuba
As you’ll gather from the many political murals, Pigneto is a hotbed of activism, and you’ll find Libreria Tuba at its beating heart. Cross the railway line to this feminist bookshop, which has a cafe serving farm-to-table food, fair-trade herbal teas and artisan beers, and regularly plays host to events. 

5.30pm: Start the bar crawl 
Stroll the Via del Pigneto, from Via Grosseto to Via L’Aquila; it’s around about now that many bars and restaurants will be waking up. Popular spots include Cargo, Mabel and Mezzo, the latter a vermouth bar that tempts with its impressive array of fortified wines. Birra+, a beer bar that stocks rare brews, is also worth seeking out. 

Aperitivo at Necci dal 1924, popular for its scenic garden.

Photograph by Francesco Lastrucci

7pm: Aperitivi at Necci dal 1924
Take a villa built in 1924, craft its lovely garden into a seating area and you have Necci dal 1924 — perhaps the most elegant spot in Pigneto. There’s a great wine list, but you’re here for the atmosphere, which feels like a refined corner of the Villa Borghese gardens. 

8pm: Dinner at La Santeria di Mare
It can be easy to forget the coast is only half an hour away from Rome, but this lovely little seafood restaurant reminds you of just that. Come for the excellent frittura di paranza (fried fish platter) or a seafood twist on the classic Roman pasta dish bucatini all’amatriciana. 

10pm: Co.So
Finish the night at Co.So Cocktail & Social. The new menu riffs off Freudian thinking, with drinks designed to spark childhood memories or drop you straight into reverie. The highlight? A carbonara sour: guanciale-swilled vodka with whisked egg, lemon and a piece of pasta for a straw.  

Published in the November 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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