Rome Travel Guide

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RST Top 40. # 7: Pigneto

Nightlife on Pigneto's pedestrian concourse,
via del Pigneto

When the Metro comes to Pigneto in 2013 (or whenever), this near-in but somewhat difficult-to-reach neighborhood will be the fashionable place for a glass of wine, dinner, a touch of Rome's ethnic side, a walk along its dark, shaded, and somewhat mysterious side streets, or a stroll on Pigneto's almost trendy, almost treeless, all-pedestrian main drag, via del Pigneto.  But for now the Metro isn't in Pigneto, and so the neighborhood is likely to have that funky, hardscrabble, on-the-cusp of gentrification, slightly threatening allure for a couple more years.  That's why it's at #7 on Rome-the-Second Time's Top 40. 

A small, ethnic-run grocery store,
trashed by locals, May 2008
We thought enough of this gritty, compact, working-class quartiere to give it its own itinerary in Rome the Second Time: "An Evening in Pigneto."  We won't reprise that here, except to say that despite the tensions between its older, Italian population and newer immigrants from Morocco, Senegal, East Asia, and other places, it's a good place to eat, drink, and stroll.


The horrific final scene of the film Roma Citta' Aperta
 Filmmaker and poet Pier Paolo Pasolini did just that in Pigneto many years ago, holding forth at Necci dal 1924 (on the itinerary) and using the neighborhood as the setting for many scenes in his 1961 film, Accatone.  Although technically not in Pigneto, via Montecuccoli, across via Prenestina to the north, was the setting for Roma Citta' Aperta (Open City), Roberto Rosselini's 1945 neo-realist classic.

A somewhat intimidating entrance to
Pigneto, off via Prenestina
Pigneto is located southeast of Termini, and on a line with it, through Porta Maggiore.  It's a 10-minute walk from Porta Maggiore: to avoid via Prenestina and its intimidating overhead highways, take via Casilina to via Gallarate and turn left, over the train tracks, and bear right onto the side streets.  You're in Pigneto.

Bill

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