Where do you go in Rome, Italy if you want to hang out and write?
September 7, 2013 5:27 PM   Subscribe

My family (myself, my sister and our parents) are heading off shortly for a vacation in Rome, Italy. My family likes to write a lot; my parents are actually taking on online writing course at the moment, and I have a fair bit of writing to do for work. In the States we'd go hang out at a coffeehouse to get our daily wordcount in. What's the best place to get writing done in Rome?

I visited Italy a few years ago, but it was a less relaxed trip and I did my writing on trains. When I visited cafes, I drank my coffee standing up at the bar rather than pay the extra charge for a table. Does the extra money you pay for sitting down entitle you to linger with a laptop? Would a bar or a restaurant, or some other type of establishment altogether, be a better choice than a cafe?

We don't need wifi or anything like that, just a congenial atmosphere at a place that doesn't mind us hanging out for a while.
posted by fermion to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (8 answers total)
The Romans don't have quite the hang-out-with-laptop-and-write culture that you find in North America (or at least they didn't when I was there). And my information is old. That said:

One place I liked because it's central, jolly and simple is Termini Station; there's an Autogrill upstairs that's a good place for hanging out, writing and people-watching, nobody cares how long you stay, and there's another Autogrill on the main floor near the north entrance which, if you walk all the way in, has a garden in the back where you can hang out to your heart's content.

I also used to go to an outdoor cafe near the Piramide metro stop. It was called "Caffe Piramide" if I recall correctly and is right out the subway station (walk past the pyramid and it's on the right, in the park). I can't find any evidence of it still existing, though -- maybe someone who is more up to date than me can weigh in.
posted by feets at 6:20 PM on September 7, 2013

I really like Good Caffé in Trastavere near the Ponte Sisto, I think it's just what you're after.
posted by nicwolff at 7:57 PM on September 7, 2013

I was in Italy recently and did what you're describing at the cafe tables. I don't recall any problems, thought I also don't recall a lot of other people doing the same thing. Would you be able to write in a notebook instead of on your laptop? In that case I really think you're fine anywhere. But generally I wouldn't worry about it. Do your thing and tip the waiters well and they'll be happy if you come back.
posted by vecchio at 9:19 PM on September 7, 2013

Nicwolf's suggestion is a, erm, good one. Another place that comes to mind is nearby in Piazza Della Malva at Antica Focacceria San Francesco; it was previously a cafe/bar that courted all the St. John's kids and that seems to have carried over somewhat, especially if you're not walking up during the busy lunch hour.

There's another cafe within spitting distance of St. John's that always seems to have a goodly number of students with laptops perched at the outdoor tables as well. In general Trastevere is a good area for finding that which you seek.

The Gianicolo and Villa Borghese would be an option if your muse decides it prefers some greenery and picnicking.
posted by romakimmy at 11:51 PM on September 7, 2013

Rome isn't really geared for sitting and writing in cafés - You should be happy if some of the above-mentioned places will accommodate you. But maybe instead of living at a hotel, you could rent an apartment? The place I stayed last time, near the Campo di Fiori, would be a wonderful place to work, and I guess there are plenty others. For out family of four, it was much cheaper than our usual hotel vacation, and much more value for money. Wonderful spaces, two bathrooms, thick towels and a bottle of prosecco on the counter of the elegant kitchen.
posted by mumimor at 7:45 AM on September 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone--this is very useful. I'll try and update with what we find.
posted by fermion at 3:43 PM on September 8, 2013

How long are you planning on spending in Rome? And what else are you planning to do while you're there?

I'd suggest staying as far away from tourist holes and the Termini in particular as you can to write. Have you considered renting an apartment from AirBnB or Cross Pollinate? They'll almost certainly provide WiFi and we've had a lovely terrace on which to relax and write as well. If in an area where locals live rather than the tourist trade, you can usually find a pleasant bar in which to linger and sit at only a tiny extra charge than drinking at the bar (€1 for a caffè instead or 80c). The Monteverde section is only a short tram ride from the centre and Trastevere, and adjacent to some fabulous parks.
posted by Flashduck at 6:48 AM on September 9, 2013

you could rent an apartment ... The place I stayed last time, near the Campo di Fiori, would be a wonderful place to work

I've done this too but I found the Campo di Fiore, at least near the Via del Pellegrino corner, way too loud in the evenings! It seemed to be the favored tie-one-on after-work destination for Roman bros.
posted by nicwolff at 9:23 AM on September 20, 2013

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