Rione Monti district
With its alleyways and small squares, ancient palaces and bohemian atmosphere, the Rione Monti area is surprising for its charm and beauty. This is where the ancient meets the contemporary – a happy encounter that has transformed the oldest district into the trendiest in the capital. Artisan workshops and trattorias, tailoring boutiques and contemporary art galleries, chic clubs and new gourmet restaurants all light up evenings spent in Rome.
Just a stone’s throw from DoubleTree by Hilton Rome Monti, the centre of the Rione district hosts marvellous works of art, such as the early Christian mosaic in the church of Santa Pudenziana, Michelangelo’s Moses in the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli and the high altar of the Church of Santi Domenico e Sisto, by Bernini.
In ancient times, Rione Monti was part of the Suburra, Rome’s suburbs, and is the first and oldest district in Rome. The streets and squares are named Serpenti, or serpents, Zingaru, or gypsies and the Boschetto, or woods, recalling the neighbourhood’s peripheral and popular origins. Whereas the name Monti pays homage to three of the seven hills of Rome, which are part of the district, namely Esquilino, Viminale and Quirinale. These are still criss-crossed by an up and down of cobbled, narrow streets, leading all the way to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Local must-sees are the Piazzetta della Madonna dei Monti, the Scala Santa, consisting of 28 marble steps climbed by Jesus on his way to Pontius Pilate, and finally the grandiose papal basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Legend has it that Our Lady appeared to the Pope in a dream on the night of 4 August 358 CE and asked him to build a church. The next day an unseasonal snowfall indicated the exact spot where the temple was to be built – the peak of the Esquiline Hill. Every year since then, on 5 August, the miracle is re-enacted with celebrations. Set in an evocative atmosphere, a spectacular snowfall envelops the faithful and the many visitors who flock to witness the event.
The grandiose size of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore sets the scene for Piazza dell’Esquilino, where DoubleTree by Hilton Rome Monti is found at number 1.
In the evening, you can fully enjoy thespectacle of the illuminated domes from the eighth floor, accompanied by the best cocktails and long drinks prepared by the bartenders at the Mùn Rooftop Cocktail Bar.