Prati, Rome’s hidden gem neighborhood just across the Tiber River from some of the city’s most visited sites, deserves a spot in your mental notes the next time you find yourself in the Eternal City. As far as Rome’s districts go, it’s usually the ancient Centro Storico, buzzing nightlife-friendly Trastevere, and the hipster enclave of Monti that get most travelers’ attention. But a quick walk from the city center and right next to Vatican City is the elegant district of Prati, where majestic buildings and wide boulevards create a sweeping destination that feels a world away. Composed mostly of lawyers, architects, and other well-to-do Romans, Prati is often ignored by travelers altogether unless they’re staying in one of the affordable pensiones in the area. But there’s much more to Prati than its proximity to the Vatican museums.
“It is hard to explain Prati; it is in the center of Rome and yet, you have the perception of being somewhere else,” says Fulvio de Bonis, the founder of luxury tour operator Imago Artis Travel, which has its headquarters in the neighborhood. “It’s quiet, classy, elegant, and I believe it is the right place to feel the true soul of the Eternal City, the authentic air that locals breathe every day.”
Indeed, because Prati is not home to the ancient ruins and historic grand-dame hotels that many travelers flock to Rome for, the area is often almost-always reserved for its residents. They get to enjoy the independent boutiques that still specialize in expertly tailored fashions or the noisy trattorias that focus on age-old recipes. Of course, there are newer projects injecting fresh energy into the district, too, like the recent opening of the First Roma Musica, a 24-room, five-star hotel located right next to the river. Those looking for a more intimate stay away from the busier parts of Rome, First Musica—with its glitzy rooftop bar and soon-to-open wellness space—could be the perfect opportunity for a visitor to get better acquainted with this neighborhood-less-traveled.
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Things to do in Prati, Rome
If you’re a first-time visitor to Rome and staying in Prati, your trip should definitely include taking advantage of the easy walking distance to the Vatican. But before you hop out of the neighborhood for other parts of the city, know that Imago Artis Travel actually organizes a couple of tours that highlight some of Prati’s under-the-radar treasures. One in particular explores the area’s rich architectural inventory, including the Belle Epoque villas and stately buildings boasting Liberty Style architecture—a uniquely Italian take on Art Nouveau. Along the way, a guide will also point out more sobering memorials to locals who were lost during World War II. You’ll find plaques dedicated to them on almost every street in Prati.
Another tour from Imago Artis bring travelers to visit fashion designers and tailors based in Prati so you can spend a bit of time at Antica Manifattura Cappelli, iconic milliner Patrizia Fabbri’s atelier. Over the years, Fabbri has collaborated with everyone from Givenchy to Lady Gaga. There’s also a fabulous excursion into Tirelli Costumi, a massive warehouse that creates and stocks costumes used in film and theater, including Hollywood productions of The Favourite and Luchino Visconti’s Ludwig.