In the little neighborhood area just north of Vatican City known as the Prati area, we found ourselves spending much of our time in Rome. We ended up here by pure chance as our endless search for a not-too-expensive place to stay collided again and again with horror stories of bad stays and filthy rooms. In the end we settled on a little apartment let on Via degli Scipioni in the hopes that the pictures were actually the place we'd be staying, and found to our delight a part of Rome that became a home away from home, and that our visit would have been all the poorer from not having experienced it.
More than once we found ourselves walking home in the early hours of the morning from a night of celebrating Roman style - and always felt the comfort and safety of the area once we returned to it. It became a bit of a haven for us away from the more touristed sites, and it didn't take long to realize that some of our favourite moments in Rome were in this area - and so we decided to enjoy it to the fullest.
Many of the best eateries we enjoyed were in this area - not least of all for their friendly, homey atmosphere and very cheap prices - but perhaps best of all were the cafes. The apartment we rented did not have breakfast included, but we were advised to try go across the street to the little cafe for a cheap and pleasant Italian breakfast. I was mildly dubious about this suggestion at first - but as I'm not a big breakfast fan myself and was mostly keen on the wonderful Italian cuisine available at later meals, I gave it little thought.
However my husband and a friend who shared the apartment with us do enjoy a good breakfast - so the very first morning we set out across the street to see what's what. This very rapidly became one of our favourite traditions in our Roman stay. Every morning we would head promptly across the street to the little cafe at 108 Via degli Scipioni, to sit with our fellow Italians and enjoy a wonderful breakfast cappuccino (something Italians only have at breakfast) and freshly made pastry. The place was always hopping - but never seemed crowded. We took a seat, either inside or at the little outdoor seats and enjoyed our breakfast at a leisurely pace with a local paper which none of us could read but that we could still make out what was happening and see what the weather called for. We were a part of the place in these cafes. The staff didn't speak English - but it was easy enough to remember 'due cappocini' and then point to the pastry of our choice. It's always best to learn a little local language - and the Roman's really seemed to appreciate and enjoy even our worst attempts. And you gotta like that about a city.
Perhaps best about these cafes is the price. They serve coffee and pastries as well as sandwhiches and sweets - and the prices were superb. You could have an entire breakfast for the same price as a small latte in the UK. There were many of these cafes in the area - this one just happened to be our particular favourite, and it becamse such a favoured haunt of ours in Rome when I return I will feel obliged to instantly return for my morning fare. Each morning I had a croissant and a cappucinno for about 2 euros. And both were superb. We would sit in the mild October morning in Rome, watching the passers by as we decided where we go for the day - and I can not think of a better way to start the day in such a phenomenal city.