S H O P P I N G
Some of my affectionate readers
have written to me asking for suggestion about restaurants, bars or souvenir shops near the Colosseum. After all I live nearby and I should know, so I would like to provide some useful hints to the traveler.
The best area for food and most other necessities, which is also the closest to the monument, is towards San Giovanni in Laterano. Around that street - called by the Romans "Lo Stradone" (the big street) - you will find lots of places. The area is full of restaurants, souvenir shops and the like.
Incidentally, the section of Via San Giovanni nearest to the Colosseum has been officially declared "the gay street of Rome", and there are bars and places where gay people meet. I have noticed that there are very few people during the day, while at midnight is in full swing...
Fortunately, tourism seems to suffer less the crisis and more and more tourist-oriented shops appear in the neighbourhood - and sometimes also disappear. No need to tell you that most of them are tourist traps.
But.... Where do locals go? Where are the "real" shops ? I suggest the following:
Small but complete supermarket in Via dei Santi Quattro, at the beginning of the road towards the Colosseum.
A cheaper discount supermarket is in Piazza Celimontana.
Excellent meat from Italy and abroad, wines and much more at the minimal "Bio eno macelleria" in Via Labicana 70. Raffaele will help you to choose the best cut and - should you need - will also give you suggestions on how to cook it. Be prepared to wait - the queue is often long.
Fruit and vegetables
On Tuesday and Friday morning in Via dei SS. Quattro - the tract between Via dei Querceti and Via Celimontana - there is a stall of fresh products from Velletri, a small town not far from Rome.Virgilio, the owner, swears that he personally produces most of them, but even if it is his cousin to do it, the vegetables are always fresh and tasty.
Souvenirs, postcards, stamps, batteries, fax, tobacco, bus and metro tickets etc.
I suggest the tobacco shop (big T) in Via di San Giovanni in Laterano 102, in front of San Clemente church - 200 meters from the Colosseum. Eugenio and Mario speak some English and are very helpful. You will find a warm Roman welcome.
Eugenio and Mario