A skater's guide to hidden Rome

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Rome is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world.

Everyday thousands of people come to visit the Colosseo, the Fori Imperialiand the Fontana di Trevi. Walking through its streets you breath history – from the monuments, the buildings and even the cobblestones under your feet. A visit to the iconic symbols and treasures of the eternal city is mandatory, so too is spending an evening in Trastevere, one of the most typical and beautiful neighbourhoods.

But Roma has a lot more to offer away from the well-tread tourist paths. Skateboarders are used to exploring the city in search of new spots to skate. No one knows the hidden crevices of the city better than them, so we followed a crew of local skateboarders for one day to see where they’d take us. Welcome to the ultimate guide to the hidden Roma.



Our day started at 7 Hills Store – a skateshop where the locals meet before going to skate. We chilled with the two owners Alessandro and Marco. The street boutique-style store, located in via Tolmino 39 in the Trieste neighbourhood, sells underground brands like Theories Of Atlantis, Rip n Dip, The Quiet Life, Thrasher and WKND Skateboards and is a reference point for the Roman skateboard scene.  



After getting ready we set off on our skateboards to the 17/19 Café, (via di Santa Costanza) where we had a huge breakfast. It’s a modern bar, nicely furnished, that serves the best cappuccinos, fresh croissants, cakes and sweets, and is also a perfect places for lunch or an aperitif. The owner and all the people who work there are super nice and the place is famous for using fresh and quality products. Definitely a place to go.



On the same street, close to piazza Istria, we stopped by a small fruit shop to get some fresh fruit and to a bakery on the side to get a slice of pizza before we went to a skate spot at the Annibaliano Metro station. We spent one hour skating some ledges. The spot is a bit downhill, with a smooth surface…a perfect place to warm up for the day ahead.







Not far from this place there is the famous Luiss University and the Mausoleo di Santa Costanza, a church built in the 4th century under Costantine as a mausoleum for his daughter Costanza. It’s a round building with a well-preserved original layout and mosaics. It was built over the catacombs that contained the relics of Saint Agnes and it stands as a prime example of early Christian art and architecture.





When the session was over we pushed through the streets skating some spots until we reached Museo MAXXI, the National Centre for 21st Century Art and Architecture. It’s an amazing museum whose programme of activities – exhibitions, workshops, conferences, shows, projections, educational projects – reflects its vocation as a place for conservation but also as a laboratory for cultural experimentation and innovation. The MAXXI building is a major architectural work designed by the late Zaha Hadid, located in via Guido Reni in Rome’s Flaminio quarter. A must see. The inner courtyard of the museum has some perfect skate-friendly marble benches; you are not allowed to skate them but we skated some flat gaps enjoying the smooth concrete before a security guard kicked us out. Nothing too bad; we are used to this kind of stuff!





July in Rome is very hot so it’s worth finding a skate spot in the shade. We decided to move to the park in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele – a huge garden where there are some spots surrounded by tall palm trees and some public fountains where you can drink water and refresh.







We skated there and the boys landed some good tricks before moving onto lunch at Panella, a family-owned bakery that has been making bread since 1920. Located in via Merulana 54, Panella is famous for making more than 80 varieties of bread and pastries in the Roman, Sicilian and Greek tradition. Perfect for a quality lunch and also an aperitif.





But could it be a perfect day without an Italian ice cream? Italian are second to none when it comes to ice cream and the place to go was just a few pushes from where we were. Il Palazzo Del Freddo Giovanni Fassi is an ice cream shop founded in 1880, one of the oldest in Italy. The quality and variety of ice cream is amazing. In a section of the store there is a small museum with all the machines used in the past to make ice cream. The address is via Principe Eugenio 65 in the Esquilino area, very close to the Generator.





After spending some time skating other spots we moved to Pigneto in east Rome. Pigneto is a typical neighbourhood of the eastern outskirts. It’s 25 minutes away from Termini Station by public transport (bus or an old train). If you want to see and live the “real Roma” with all its colours and typical tastes, this is the right place. Furthermore, Pigneto has become an interesting area with a lot of nice bars and small restaurants with tables set outside on a pedestrian street called the "Isle” by locals.









We ventured to this area in search of some skating spots while waiting for the aperitif hour. We casually ran into a really nice bar called YEAH, located in via Giovanni De Agostini, five minutes walk from the Isle. The place is furnished in a 70s style, with old leather sofas, green velvet armchairs, vintage furnishings and hundreds of vinyl records arranged in the shelves. Another interesting place to go.





For the aperitif we went back to the Isle. The street is full of nice bars and you can stop anywhere for a drink. We ended up going to a cocktail bar called Mezzo, located in via Del Pigneto 19. We had a few Aperol Spritzs. The atmosphere was good and everybody appreciated the chill time after a whole day of skating and cruising around the city.







When hunger began to make itself felt we had many options to choose from since there are many different restaurants along via Del Pigneto. We went for a typical pizza at Pizzeria Il Fiorentino, a small nice place with cheap prices.









After dinner we ended our day next door in a super nice small bar called Viveri. It’s a very stylish place, with candles everywhere and cocktails served in cool glasses. The owner Ilenia is super friendly and welcoming. Viveri – an absolute must go!

All photos by Davide Biondani. Thanks to the skaters: Matteo Franceschin, Eric Palanti, Matteo Botti, Alessandro Bellante, Mattia Tommasoli and Perry Hall.

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