A few years ago, walking through the Ostiense area you wouldn’t have found the vibrant populous neighborhood that exists there today.
Located next to its namesake train station, the area was considered an point of transit instead of a destination.
Now, with new attractions drawing the attention of locals and tourists alike, the neighborhood has certainly blossomed into one of the coolest places to hang out in Rome.
An initial draw to Ostiense may be the supermarket known as Eataly.
It is the dominant attraction in the neighborhood, and for good reason.
The immense store, dedicated to the art of Italian food and cooking, is truly a site to see.
Located inside the immense old train station, it has a commanding presence and draws both tourists and locals with its high quality food.
For more information, check out our separate article dedicated to Eataly.
If an afternoon spent in Eataly isn’t enough to quench your thirst for Italian cuisine, head over to one of the many terrific restaurants scattered about Ostiense.
There are almost too many to name so we’ll break it down into categories:
Café – Vegan/Vegetarian: Romeow Cat Bistrot
Following the trends seen in big cities across the globe, Rome has its very own cat café!
Romeow Cat Bistrot is home to 10 or so cats, which wind between your legs and occasionally ask for a scratch behind their ears while you enjoy your food.
Open all day long, the café is the perfect spot to while away the afternoon or for a cozy dinner.
The vegetarian/vegan menu is small but creative and delicious.
Wednesday – Sunday 11 AM – 11 PM
Monday – Tuesday CLOSED
Italian, High End: La Fata Ignorante
If you’re looking for high quality Italian food, with some creative twists on classic dishes, look no further than La Fata Ignorante.
The restaurant is small, but instead of feeling crowded, it feels intimate and comfortable, like eating in your own dining room.
The lighting make for a perfect romantic dinner and the food has never disappointed.
Monday – Thursday 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM 8 PM – 11 PM
Friday 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Saturday 8 PM – 11:30 PM
Café/Restaurant/Pizzeria/Bar – Porto Fluviale
You may be asking how one establishment can operate in so many capacities, but Porto Fluviale does so perfectly.
One end functions as a café/bar, open all day for drinks and small snacks, and as you walk along you’ll see the room gradually change into a restaurant and finally into a pizzeria.
As well as great food, Porto Fluviale also offers the chance to learn how to make the food yourself.
Various cooking classes are offered throughout the month, in Italian as well as English.
Sunday – Thursday 10:30 AM – 2 AM 10:30 AM – 3 AM
Gelato – Gelateria La Romana
You will easily recognize this gelateria from the line that usually stretches out the door.
Once you’ve waited your turn, you’ll immediately understand why it’s so popular.
Gelateria La Romana focuses on using high-quality, natural ingredients to make gelato as it’s supposed to be.
Make sure to get a cone as they will add a bit of white or milk chocolate in the bottom and try the panna (whipped cream) as it comes in chocolate or coffee as well as the traditional flavor.
Sunday – Thursday 11 AM – 12 AM
Friday – Saturday 11 AM – 1 AM
Aperitivo – Via del Gazometro
Take a quick walk down Via del Gazometro and check out the number of establishments offering a great aperitivo.
Most offer a small buffet of food to choose from once you’ve ordered your drink.
Some of our favorites are: DoppioZero and MERCAT Bistro and Old Bar but don’t be shy about trying whatever looks good to you!
Once you’ve eaten your fill, head over to one of Rome’s most interesting but unknown museums: Museo Centrale Montemartini.
This museum is filled with ancient Roman statues, mosaics, and sculptures found among the ruins of the ancient city.
While this may seem like the other museums you’ve visited in Rome, we can assure you that this museum is special.
Housed inside a former electrical power station, the museum’s ancient Roman marble contrasts beautifully with the mechanical surroundings.
These two periods of civilizations juxtaposed in this one setting makes for a extremely interesting and engaging experience.
While Ostiense certainly has its fair share of sites to visit, the streets themselves deserve a bit of attention as many of them are home to some of Rome’s best street art.
Various artists have utilized some of the open space on the walls and buildings of Ostiense in order to fill the neighborhood with art and it makes such a difference.
In the past these spaces were empty, and that void was noticeable.
But now that it has been filled with creativity and art, the neighborhood feels fuller and more alive.
Some works in particular worth seeing are the untitled buildings by the Italian artist Blu, located on the corner of Via del Porto Fluviale and Via delle Conce, as well Via Ostiense.
“Nobody” by Axel Void, located on Via del Porto Fluviale. “Planet Earth” by Herbert Baglione, located on Via delle Conce.
Lastly, a bit further down Via Ostiense, you will come across one of the biggest churches in Rome (second only to St. Peters): St. Paul’s Outside the Walls.
Although it is outside the center of the city, St. Paul’s is one of the 4 major basilicas of Rome.
The massive interior provides an impressive final resting place for St. Paul.
He was martyred just two miles away from where the church now stands, and was buried inside a small church which has since been renovated into the grandiose Basilica we see today.
This is definitely a church you do not want to miss.
We’ve given you just a taste of some of the great things offered in Ostiense, but there are tons of other great places to check out.
It seems like a new restaurant or bar is opening every other day so make sure to keep exploring, as you never know what you may discover.