After our Pigneto, San Lorenzo, Borgo Pio, Prati, Flaminio, Monti and Trastevere pieces there we are again on the field, around Rome’s lesser know boroughs. This time we want to take you to Garbatella, one of the hippest areas of Rome which actually started in a very humble way and was considered for several decades a slum.
ORIGINS AND NAME
This neighborhood was created in the 1920s to accommodate the working class of the Ostiense industrial district and to host people who had to leave their downtown houses due to Mussolini’s demolitions and changes in the city centre. The urban model adopted for this part of Rome was the English garden suburb: low-rise houses, surrounded by small gardens and pocket-sized parks.
Even if this a very recent borough for Rome’s standards, the origin of the name is still a mystery: most people attribute it to the nickname of Carlotta, an inn-keeper, who was loved by everyone in the area. And the symbol of Garbatella is the Carlotta fountain with its romantic stairs.
ICONIC PLACES AND PEOPLE
Other iconic places are the Cesare Battisti school, with high pillars surmounted by eagles, the S. Francesco Saverio church, built and decorated in line with the 20th century Roman style, and the bar Garbatella that hosts the local AS Roma Club, and was made famous by the very successful, albeit tacky, TV series I Cesaroni.
The whole area was divided into lots and each of the Garbatella inhabitants considers the lot number as part of their identity. Human relationships here are completely different from the rest of the city. People know each other well and consequently there is a lot of mutual respect and useful dialogue among the residents.
The most famous figures of the borough are Alberto Sordi, Rome’s most important comic actor and Agostino di Bartolomei, probably AS Roma’s most loved player of the 1982-83 season, the first time this soccer team won a real championship. (the previous one, in 1942, only happened because Mussolini wanted so and no one could object anything in the very middle of WWII).
The architectural style chosen for this borough is late Baroque with some elements of Rome’s minor fashions of the 16th-18th centuries mixed with some Middle Age motifs. It is hard to buy a house here since everyone loves the atmosphere and never leaves Garbatella. The only factor that will increase the number of flats on sale is due to the fact that the population is aging with a third of them above 65.
What is now a quiet and well kept suburb, used to be an area with a radical allure in the late 60s and the 70s. If you come during th day you shouldn’t miss one of our favorite photography galleries, 10b photography, with free exhibitions, courses and an interesting bookshop. If you want to have a coffee the Bar-Pasticceria Foschi should be your ideal destination.
For Dining you have three options: a Pizzeria, a throw-back Osteria and an innovative restaurant.
Let’s start with the latter, Osteria dei Pazzi is a romantic place that proposes nouvelle cuisine and unusual combinations of local ingredients. If you’re after something more traditional and genuine, Ar Grottino der Traslocatore has been having all you need for more than 50 years. While pizza in Garbatella is synonym with Stellina.
Garbatella by night offers a very good winery, Enoteca 13 gradi, with Italian wines, cold cuts and cheese, and the former theatre Ambra alla Garbatella where you can have a beer while browsing books or during dance and music shows.
The line B of Rome’s limited underground network features the stop Garbatella. Walk south-east for five minutes and you’ll be in the middle of it. And don’t worry: no tourists will be in sight, nor angry local commuters!