In Rome, the historic center is obviously inundated with visitors looking for examples of the amazing history that defines most of this city. But there are still pockets in that area where Romans have lived for generations and who continue to shop, eat and drink near their homes. While they’re becoming increasingly rare, there are places where locals (and visitors alike) hang out and they are holding on under the increasing pressure of high rents and an invasion of supermarket chain stores.
One such place is Enoteca Il Vinaietto where Marco Maccione and Giancarlo Ministeri run a classic wine bar near the excavations of Roman Republican temples in largo Argentina and a short walk from the picturesque Campo de’ Fiori square.
ll Vinaietto is located on a quiet corner and regulars congregate there at lunchtime or for a pre-dinner aperitivo to chat over a great glass of wine or an Italian beer. Its history dates back to the 1960s – Marco and Giancarlo took over in 1988 – when it started as a Vino Olio or small shop that sold bulk wines and local olive oil. Many of these shops developed into wine bars like Il Vinaietto, which has evolved into a spot where residents of the neighborhood and beyond come every day to discuss wine and beer (politics too) but also to drink a glass or two. I go there frequently with my friends Sandy and Jebila to catch up on each other’s news but also to learn about what’s happening in Italian politics from the other patrons.
The wine selection is good — Marco says they always have at least 750 bottles on site — and includes organically produced and natural wines. One of the few remaining places that hasn’t given in to the ubiquitous tourist traps that are found around Campo de’ Fiori, it truly is a place to get a great glass of wine at a very reasonable price (Marco and Giancarlo are ex-Communists so they believe in making their products accessible to all) while having an authentically Roman experience. They also have great taste in music and in the evenings even the other clients I see there all the time bring their own selections to add to the mix.
The atmosphere is friendly and the people who work there are very knowledgeable. Also, as in all Roman enoteche, wine — both chilled and room temp — is available to take away so it’s the perfect place to pick up a bottle on your way home or to a dinner party. Then, don’t forget to say, as we do in Italy, cin cin, before taking your first sip.
Enoteca Il Vinaietto in Rome
Via del Monte della Farina, 38
Opening hours: Mon-Sat
10:15 am-3:00 pm