It’s easy to miss the ancient district of Monti, hidden in a dip between two traffic lined roads above the Roman Forum. You find your way into the neighbourhood by dropping down a flight of stone steps from via Cavour, or cutting away from the noise and glare of via Nazionale into the esoterically named via dei Serpenti (street of snakes). Monti, with its dense, uneven streets that rise steeply away from the broken plains of the Forum on its south side is one of the city’s oldest villages. Populated since ancient times, its lowest lanes, the Suburra, were home to slums and brothels in the Roman era, while more stately residences rose up the Vicus patricius, which is today the famous Via Urbana, populated with artists and artisans.
Via Panisperna is another key street here with a proud history, associated as it is with Enrico Fermi and his team who made key discoveries in the field of nuclear physics in the 1930s at the former science institute, becoming known as the “ragazzi di Via Panisperna”, the boys of Via Panisperna, immortalised in film.
Tourists and locals flock to one of the bars here, Ai Tre Scalini, which celebrates its 10th anniversary on the street tonight with a party that will doubtlessly spill out onto its cobbles. Join the fun and have a drink at one of Monti’s best-loved spots this evening as this century’s “boys of Via Panisperna” make history of their own.