There are neighborhoods in Rome that have a bad rep. Not because they are seedy, dirty or dangerous. Some areas of the eternal city are considered snobbish. I live in one of them. Everytime I get asked, “What neighborhood do you live in?” I cringe, imagining the face of the person in front of me when I say the “P” word. Parioli is synonumous with elegant tree-lined avenues, zero personality and obnoxious rich kids driving micro-cars while operating smarphones.
I can defend my neighborhood by listing its fabulous restaurants, museums and parks. I can go on to say how safe and beautiful this part of the city is. Nothing really works to change the fact that I am considered a “pariolina”. My bank statement, political inclination and material posessions beg to differ but I avoid getting into that with those who label me.
Another Rome neighborhood that gets the same treatment is Collina Fleming. The north-west hilltop suburb of is a posh residential district located just off Corso Francia, carved around the ancient Via Flaminia and sitting north of the river Tiber. Elegant and quiet, along with its twin Parioli, Collina Fleming is one of the most expensive residential areas of Rome.
To the non-expert, Collina Fleming is just another snobbish residential area of Rome inhabited by the city’s alta borgesia, the elevated middle class proverbially attached to materialistic values and conventional attitudes. But the large green area – once pastures and underveloped until the nineteenth century, subject to a gradual urbanization in the late the Fifties – is much more than that. From a fine food, drink and shopping perspective, it is also becoming somewhat of a magnet.
Some of the city’s best shops, restaurants and bars are in fact located in Collina Fleming. A few are well worth visiting.
In that spirit, here’s my shortlist of favorite quartiere stops in the Collina Fleming neighborhood of Rome.
Foamy cappuccinos, expertly-brewed espresso coffee, plus homemade croissants and other breakfast pastries are only a few of the plusses of this historic bar pasticceria in the heart of Collina Fleming. Every day the menu changes for lunch, offering a selection of delicious pasta dishes, an entree and assorted sides, in addition to sandwiches, salads, soups and delightful mini-pizzas. Free wifi and sidewalk seating in a covered veranda complete the offer. Via Flaminia 677 – Tel. +39 063333960
Among Collina Fleming’s oldest “botteghe” food shops, this butcher, salumeria and deli in business since 1961 serves some of the area’s best charcuterie, prime beef, pork and game cuts, plus regional specialties and ingredients. The butcher section has recently been added with prepared specials like ground meat.stuffed zucchini, involtini, special burgers and other dishes that require only a quick pop in the oven or a few minutes in a warm pan. The “gastronomia” section sells 10 kinds of lasagna, cannelloni, parmigiana di melanzane, vitello tonnato, couscous, roast beef, tiella di Gaeta and other cooked dishes. Sensational cured meats and cheeses available for sale at high prices, but the exceptional quality more than makes up for it. Via Flaminia 655 – Tel. +39 063336085
Imagine an elegant boutique, complete with gleaming display cases and bright lighting. The sea-breeze gives away the reality: this is a fishmonger! The business name is Tri-Marine, but everyone in the neighborhood knows it simply as Pescheria Nitti. Freshly-caught fish (none farmed) is hauled in daily from Anzio and Terracina. Via Francesco Saverio Nitti 58 – Tel. +39 0636304683
There’s a bread baker in every neighborhood, and Collina Fleming has Sapori di Pane, a family-run baker that serves excellent loaves, pizza sold by weight, rolls, buns and other bread products; plus an assortment of cakes, crostate and cookies. The rosticceria serves a handful of prepared dishes for a quick lunch break. Via Antonio Serra 41 – Tel. +39 063338007
Triangular pizza pockets filled with cucina romana classic dishes. Favorite fillings include chicken cacciatore, stewed meatballs and a handful of offal-based dishes like calf’s tongue or liver and onions. This Ponte Milvio branch has outdoor seating. Piazzale di Ponte Milvio 13 – Tel. +39 0633221964
Restaurant, enoteca, gourmet shop and cocktail bar in the Ponte Milvio area that stays open all day from 9 am to 2 am. The cocktail and light lunch menu are both worthy of mention. Moderno and sleek decor, light hues and crisp fabrics make the atmosphere warm and welcoming. Via Flaminia 496/c – Tel. +39 0633222179
More than 50 homemade gelato flavors, plus chocolate pralines, granita, hot chocolate and other chocophile delights are produced strictly without hydrogenated fats, GMO ingredients, additives of any kind. Flavors are listed on a special board specifying what food allergy and intolerance they are best suited for, the majority of which are olive-oil based for vegan and lactose intolerant gluttons. Via Flaminia Vecchia 732 – Tel. +39 0622331585
Low carb and gluten free beers, both homemade and craft, are sold in this Belgian beer pub, along with a handful of interesting wine labels. In the kitchen Paolo Parisi supplies free range eggs and vegetables, and the food is all cooked in a Cuban wood-stoked oven. Via Flaminia 525 – Tel. +39 0699709481
Open daily for lunch and dinner this lovely osteria serves quality food and wine. The star on the menu is baccalà, served in every which way: antipasto, pasta, entrees and even dessert. Think a chocolate panettone bun served with a vanilla sauce and candied cod! Via Antonio Serra 11 – Tel. +39 0633218763
Michelin star fish restaurant, Acquolina is the team effort of the Troiani restaurateur family and newly appointed chef Alessandro Narducci, after Giulio Terrinoni’s 10 year residency. The classic decor is elegant and simple, with white tablecloths and a luch covered terrace. The menu changes according to season and lists interesting and original dishes like gnocchi with borlotti beans and fish sausage. Tuesdays are dedicated to a rotation of theme dinners. Check their Facebook page for updates. Via Antonio Serra 60 – Tel. +39 063337192
Eleonora Baldwin is a TV host, freelance food and travel writer, and culinary connoisseur based in Rome, Italy. Her writing appears in several food and travel publications. Her shows “ABCheese” and “Uazz’america” are broadcast on Italian food network Gambero Rosso Channel. Her podcast “iCheese” is recorded live on the Radio Food Live network.