San Lorenzo, the word of mouth district in Rome.

Alternative, hidden, secret, undiscovered, all the words that peek my interest when visiting or staying in a city. This especially goes for Rome, with its usual well-trodden tourist paths.

San Lorenzo will give you that feeling before you’ve entered the first poster clad funky bar. The area is hidden behind the ancient wall on termini’s east side. Check atac.it for a bus or tram. Get off at Scalo San Lorenzo/Sardi, walk up Sardi and swing a left of Sabelli to get to the main piazza. La Sapienza university provides it with a constant influx of new artistic punters with low cash flow.  This means cheap fun. Once there follow the impressive graffiti art further in to the small streets lined with shabby looking apartment blocks. It’s a bit of a warren when you first arrive. This is a word of mouth kind of place. No twinkling lights and cobblestones await with waiters in white aprons. This place is no frills youthful gritty energy. A café flanks the main piazza at CHURCH? where students and young professionals sit and add to the flowing banter with the cheapest drinks in Rome.  NAME?? is a café/library, a new phenomenon in Rome. The fast paced flurry of Italian café culture has many charms. But here I was fabulously left alone to while away my time with a frothy cappuccino while others tapped or sketched around me. Don’t insult them with a morning show up though, these guys, like everywhere else here, are late starters.  Quirky fixtures, mismatching furniture, checkered floors, Portishead soundtrack and art books all add to the shabby chic feel. Call it progressive or call it pretentious, but expats dream of a place in Rome to spend a few hours glued to a squishy armchair with book/ipad in hand. This is, refreshingly, one of those places.

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