Nomentano is located in the north-east of Rome and is Rome’s 5th quarter (quartiere). You will see Q.V in the top right-hand corner of street signs, using the Roman numeral V for 5, naturalmente.
There are thirty-five quarters in total, in case you were wondering. Or XXXV if we’re going to be Roman about it.
Getting to Nomentano
Its main Metro stations are Bologna and Policlinico, both on the B line, just a couple of stops north of Termini. A host of buses will also take you to Nomentano’s busiest thoroughfares, Via Nomentana and Viale Regina Margherita. It’s also served by the mainline train station Tiburtina which has its own Metro station too.
From Fiumicino Airport: You can catch a train and arrive at either Termini train station or Tiburtina train station. Both have bus lines and/or metro running to the Nomentana district. For details on trains from Fiumicino Airport to the city center, please see Getting from Fiumicino Airport to Rome.
From Termini Station: Bus line 90 to Via Nomentana or metro line B directly to Piazza Bologna.
From Tiburtina Station: Various bus lines running to Nomentana and Piazza Bologna area: 168, 62, 309. Also, from Tiburtina station, metro line B goes to Piazza Bologna.
- Tip: Download the public transport app Moovit. It’s far more reliable in Italy than Google Maps for live departures.
Visit and Fall in Love with Nomentano
Nomentano was built in the late 19th and early to mid-twentieth century, making it brand spanking new by Roman standards. But this by no means provides you with any less architectural eye candy, believe me.
I first visited Nomentano when I went to a friend’s apartment on a very random Saturday afternoon. I was feeling out of sorts and had been spending far too long out in the dreaded suburbs. I was vaguely aware of the Piazza Bologna area but, hitherto, had always been more of a south-east Rome kind of ragazza.
When we emerged from the Metro station, and I glanced up at my surroundings, a sense of reassurance swept over me. I felt comforted and, somehow, at home. I had, what Italians like to call, un feeling-a.
So, with his mid-century buildings in pastel hues and jasmine-perfumed 19th-century avenues, here’s why I would date Nomentano:
- He’s young at heart. The kids from nearby Sapienza University crowd up Piazza Bologna for flirty aperitivos. The aroma of fruit-flavored vapes combined with the pheromones from heavily perfumed twenty-somethings lining the streets past 10 p.m. is one heady mix.
- He’s classy. There’s a dark past (ahem, Fascist buildings), yes, sure. But he’s moved past that; he’s paid his dues. We’ve all got baggage. Give the guy a chance.
- He’s down to earth. Yes, rent is a bit on the pricey side, and yes, he knows he’s good-looking. But he’s humble with it. Nomentano is one of those neighbourhoods in Rome with generations of Roman lifers, born and raised, still living in the same apartment buildings and shopping at the same old family-run alimentari (grocery store/deli), and it’s comforting to see.
- Nomentano is Kosher. Look, I come from London, and multiculturalism is in my blood. I love seeing different communities live side by side; it makes me feel connected to the human race, and Nomentano is a pretty Jewish neighbourhood (again, by Italian standards) with kosher supermarkets, a restaurant, plus a synagogue, all very close to Piazza Bologna.
On Saturdays, it’s not uncommon to see Jewish families having a meal at Japanese fusion restaurant Obento on 36 Via Felice Grossi Gondi and kippah-wearing little boys leaning out of their apartment windows yelling a cute Shabat Shalom down to the neighbours below.
But enough about why I love it.
Here are my 9 reasons why you should love Nomentano too:
1. Piazza Bologna
Piazza Bologna is the beating heart of Nomentano. Sapienza University students flock here to flirt and pose and nurse a Spritz or two over generously portioned charcuterie boards.
Once at a restaurant on the other side of town, I overheard two men, clearly past the thirty mark, talking about their romantic conquests or lack thereof at Piazza Bologna. One claimed to have always struck out. The other said he always got lucky.
It was amusing- I was inclined to believe the former to be a more typical occurrence.
Pictured: A slice of Piazza Bologna (more of an island than a piazza). On the right is the popular bar, Meeting Place. Always busy. Great for breakfast and working on your laptops in the mornings. Decent set lunch deals and, of course, the aperitivo. It gets very busy pretty much every evening from 6 pm onwards.
In Italy, a lot of the time, people go out to be seen. It’s called the Bella Figura. Looking good, but in particular, looking good in other people’s eyes. Italians, in many ways, are a collective society.
They eat and drink in large groups, and there are very rarely any instances of social cross-pollination. Groups like to stay in their little social islands at bars like Flamingo on Via Livorno. It’s ironic; a sort of antisocial kind of socialising.
There’s a theatre to going out, dressing up, and the awareness of others without any interaction. To penetrate another social group while you’re out would be like breaking the fourth wall. Only waiters and perambulant red rose salesmen have that privilege.
From Piazza Bologna, the beautiful people will often waft downstream to a neighbourhood bar called Vesper on a more residential Piazza Massa Carrara.
2. Villa Torlonia
Now a public park, this sumptuous green space once belonged to the spectacularly wealthy Torlonia family. Starting out as textile traders, they achieved nobility status in the 19th century, and Villa Torlonia became their very princely home.
More recently, its most famous resident was Benito Mussolini. The Torlonia family rented out their home to the dictator and his family for almost two decades from the 1920s onwards.
You can visit several notable and extremely curious buildings that make up what is known as the Museums of Villa Torlonia (Musei di Villa Torlonia).
One such building is the Serra Moresca. A fruity, orientalist fantasy, this little gem of a building was conceived by architect Giuseppe Jappelli in 1839 in the Moorish Revival and Eclectic Style.
Think Disney Alhambra.
Another is the Casina delle Civette, meaning the Little House of the Owls. It’s by Giuseppe Jappelli again and is built in an eclectic Swiss mountain hut style. It is kooky with a capital K.
It was last inhabited by the Prince while Mussolini and his family lived in the somewhat grander Casino Nobile (the large neoclassic white building you see as you enter from Via Nomentana).
Below: a Mediterranean oasis at Villa Torlonia.
3. The Architecture
Nomentano’s elegant buildings from both the 19th and mid-twentieth century are what stole my heart. There are countless bangers in this town. The following is a mere selection of Nomentano knock-outs.
I could look at the details on this building at 292 Viale Regina Margherita all day. Catch the trio of snails above the top two windows and the spider crest in the centre.
Via Livorno is absolutely delightful in Spring. Apartment buildings are dripping in wisteria, perfuming the air, especially first thing in the morning.
Pale sage green with bottle green shutters on Via Livorno. Yum.
Just behind the rather stately and colonial-looking 19th-century building on Via XXI Aprile, housing the Finance Police HQ, is the Mussolini-era Finance Policy Academy.
Structures like this are not very popular among most Italians because they are associated with their dark past. However, on glorious sunny days, I’m always struck by the clean lines and gleaming white marble.
For you font geeks out there, the sans-serif typeface used is called semplicità, meaning simplicity in Italian, and was developed in Turin in the late 1920s.
These buildings on Via Fabiano Nardini, next to the Finance Police Academy, make me crave Lime and Orange Tic Tacs. You get it. So fruity. So fun. Look at the two-tone effect of the shutters and the curved corner balconies. Stop it. You’re killing me.
Watermelon Sugar, Hi!
OK, this building on Via Lorenzo il Magnifico. I mean, first of all. Love the name. It is like, if Inspector Poirot moved to Miami, he’d live in a building like this. It makes me want a milkshake. Or chew bubblegum. Or eat a slice of watermelon.
Can’t you kind of imagine Harry Styles cavorting on top of this building, cocktail in hand?
Just off Via Nomentana is a very grand street called Via Antonio Nibby, where you can expect grand old palatial buildings of this sort. To be fair, you’ll see a lot of this kind of thing in and around Via Nomentana, as there are a lot of embassies around these parts. I just love the colour combination of this one.
Just one more.
The last one, I promise. This wee university bookshop blows my mind. Specialising in books for medical students, it’s completely apt because it reminds me of something out of Doctor Who.
False friend alert. Libreria means bookshop, not library.
Libreria Universo looks about ready to beam you up to the stars at any given moment. Spot it on the corner of Viale del Policlinico and Via Giovanni Maria Lancisi.
4. You’re So Close to Coppedè
Technically, Coppedè is in the Trieste district, but …. you’re so close you’d be mad not to jump over. From Villa Torlonia, take the exit on Via Nomentana and head south two blocks until Viale Regina Margherita.
Take this street north until Piazza Buenos Aires, and then take Via Tagliamento for 30 seconds. There’ll you see an enchanting and majestic archway inviting you to go through (Via Dora).
It is like nowhere else in Rome- the brainchild of architect and freemason Giovanni Coppedè, it is pure fantasy and creativity. Fairytale gothic is how I would describe it. You can literally see it in 5 minutes, but you’ll want to stay longer, admiring all the details and symbology and wondering how it is that one city can have so much gorgeousness.
Treat yourself afterward at Grue, a haute patisserie/coffee shop back on 95 Viale Regina Margherita, with coffee and sumptuous cakes that give a run for its money.
Right on the cusp of Nomentano and Salario on Via Nizza is the Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Roma – aka MACRO – aka the Contemporary Art Museum of Rome.
From Via Nomentana (heading towards Porta Pia), take a four-minute walk down Via Cagliari, and the MACRO will be on your left on Via Nizza.
Reasons to visit:
- It’s a cool building.
- It has an amazing rooftop
- It’s got great toilets (On the ground floor).
- It’s free entry.
It’s generally pretty quiet, too – students come here for the ample study space and free wifi. Ssssshhhhhh, don’t tell anyone.
In terms of the art, I found some of the collections to be a bit ‘art-school-final-year-projecty’. Also, it’s not the most intuitive building in the world. There are a lot of closed doors and not many signs.
I think the idea is you go on a voyage of exploration, but frankly, every time I’ve gone ‘looking for art’, I’ve just felt slightly confused. That said, I do like the space in general, and it’s somewhere I like to go and work and/or get away from it all.
6. Via Aprile XXI
Via XXI Settembre is a large thoroughfare starting at Piazza Bologna, stretching northwards where it meets Via Nomentana.
Mostly populated by shops, bars, and restaurants; it’s also home to the imposing Finance Police HQ (Guardia della Finanza). You won’t be able to miss it; it’s halfway along the avenue on your right (if Piazza Bologna is behind you). Press on, and you’ll come to a square with a military monument surrounded by benches. Stop here.
Head to Pico Gelateria, just opposite on your left. While I was disappointed to learn it’s a small chain in Rome, gelato’s all-natural ingredients speak for itself. I’m not really one for sweets, but that place is a special treat after an evening stroll if ever there was one.
Cross over again, and you’ll find a large Carrefour. The French supermarket giant is open 24 hours a day. This kind of convenience is absolutely not a given in Rome, and if you happen to be staying in this area, it is extremely useful.
Carrefour has become something of a gourmet supermarket in recent years, adopting a sort of Whole Foods model. It is well stocked and still cheaper than the airport if you want to take home a few Italian treats.
Finally, my favourite spot on Via Aprile XXI has to be Momart. You’ll find it on the corner just after Carrefour. It’s a huge bar/restaurant with a covered outdoor seating area that offers the best value aperitivo. They offer any cocktail or glass of wine with access to an all-you-can-eat buffet, which includes freshly baked pizza and dessert.
It is busy, but the quality is excellent. If you plan it right, you can basically have a three-course meal and a drink for 14 Euros. You’ll want to pace yourself. Get there early, at around 6-7 pm, as it isn’t possible to book ahead.
7. Verano Cemetery
Allora, a trip to the cemetery might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for the emos out there, or for people who want to see a different side of Rome and want to avoid large crowds of people (who are alive at least), then this serene spot might be for you.
Officially known as Campo Verano (or just Verano), it was established at the beginning of the 19th century. Expect grand mausoleums and ornate ivy-covered statues next to moving tributes to spouses and dearly departed family members.
If a stroll through a peaceful necropolis, with cypress tree-lined avenues and shady groves appeals, take the 542 bus on Via April XXI, opposite the Carrefour, which will take you to the main entrance. It has two main sections, Catholic and Jewish, plus a section dedicated to fallen war heroes of the First World War.
Were you to do a loop around the cemetery and end at the same starting point, know that you are only a short walk away from the trendy student neighbourhood of San Lorenzo.
Take a little alleyway from the main piazza at the cemetery’s entrance, on your left-hand side (full of tombstone makers), called Via dei Volsci. This road eventually widens into something considerably more lively as it suddenly emerges in the graffiti-covered and somewhat less subdued neighbourhood. Come back at midnight, and it will be the polar opposite of Verano.
8. Via delle Provincie
Via delle Provincie is another wide thoroughfare starting at Piazza Bologna and leading downhill to Piazza delle Provincie.
There’s a gorgeous independent cinema called Cinema delle Provincie d’Essai. They show films in their original language. Look out for V.O. (versione originale) if they happen to be screening a film in a foreign language you can speak. They show arthouse films here from most countries, including English-speaking ones.
Rome still has a love affair with the seventh art, evidenced in the abundance of independent and incredibly reasonably priced cinemas dotted around town. Many show big American mainstream films in English with Italian subtitles. Prices range between 5 and 8 euros, making them a good and cooling option if you’d like to get out of the heat and sit in an AC’d room for a while.
When you arrive at Piazza dell Provincie (again, more of a ‘roundabout’ than a piazza), you will be met by another cluster of bars, including Bar Stendal (pictured here on the right) or Trapizzino across the road, offering classic Roman street food.
9. Tiburtina Station
Why did a train station make the list?
Termini gets a lot of press, but I feel like Tiburtina is way too overlooked. It’s a very good station. Walk or take a bus from Piazza Bologna. It’s a ten-minute walk down Via Lorenzo il Magnifico.
It’s like Termini without the apocalyptic, ’28 Days Later’ feel to it. It has everything Termini has without the stress levels. I’m talking about:
- Bus station
- Wide open spaces for pedestrians
- Metro stop (Tiburtina, B line)
- Very well-designed McDonald’s on Level 2 with floor-to-ceiling windows (seriously, it’s a good one)
- Regular regional trains to FCO airport (47 minutes) are cheaper than Leonardo Express
- Regular high-speed trains to Florence (in 1 hour) and Milan (2 hours 52 minutes)
- Fewer people, less stress, and fewer platforms than Termini
- Practically zero sketchy vibes
Hotel Principe Torlonia is located on a quiet side street and has a beautiful private garden. Breakfast is served in a lounge overlooking the garden.
Quo Vadis Inn is a welcoming bed and breakfast with friendly owners and elegant modern decor.
You will find both, as well as many other options, listed on our partner site, booking.com.
Eating in the Nometana Area
A popular family-owned restaurant close to Piazza Bologna is Da Enrico. The menu features Italian cuisine and is not pricey, and you could also venture further away to the neighboring San Lorenzo student neighborhood for the evening and try Formula Uno: it offers tasty pizzas and a boisterous atmosphere.
The area also has a Japanese restaurant and a couple of kosher eateries. Don’t overlook Mizzica. The traditional Sicilian fare served at lunch is delicious and can be eaten standing or as a takeaway.
If you prefer to shop and are staying a while longer, the area is very well served by a large Carrefour supermarket. You can also try Punto supermarket on Piazza Bologna 30.
- Da Enrico, Via Michele di Lando 28
- Mizzica, Via Catanzaro 30
- Formula Uno, Via degli Equi 13
Please note that most restaurants are closed on Mondays.
- Carrefour, Viale XXI Aprile 23,
- Punto, Piazza Bologna 60,
Difference Between Nomentana and Nomentano
Nomentana refers to the Via Nomentana = Nomentana Street
Nomentano refers to the area around the Via Nomentana.= Nomentano District
It’s to the north-east of the city centre.