The Monti neighbourhood is wedged in between the Roman Forums and the Colosseum on one side and the busy shopping street Via Nazionale on the other. Its history runs back to Ancient Roman times, when its hills, including the Esquilino, and spa springs, led to one of the first speculative building programmes in history, complete with an advertising phrase by poet Horatius: ‘Nunc licet Exquilis habitare salubribus!’ or ‘approximately ‘It’s time to go to live on the Esquilino, where you can breathe fresh air!’ During the Middle Ages, the local inhabitants had their own recognisably different version of the Roman dialect, and for some reason had a intense rivalry with Rome’s other popular district, Trastevere. Today you can wander the cobblestoned streets that were once home to Julius Caesar and are now a lively mix of old and new Rome. This is where you will find some of Rome’s best boutique shopping. Small shops with carefully-edited collections reflect this part of town’s funky and stylish vibe.
This shop is filled with sartorial delights. Strands of colourful sparkly beads hang in the windows, the racks are filled with flowing silk tops and well-cut trousers, and chic Laura Urbinati bikinis and beach coverups are stacked in antique armoires. www.lolmodartedesign.com
This tiny space practically in the shadow of the Colosseum is crammed with brightly-coloured graphic dresses by Marimekko, whimsically-patterned ballet flats and bold accessories. www.avanguardia105.com
Angelo and Michaela are at the helm of this chic concept store. Stocked with treasures like lavishly wrapped Portuguese soaps, a glass case filled with delicate jewellery and hard to track down pieces from Sonia Rykiel and Aspesi. www.mikiway.it