Monti: Where Roman Armies Kicked Back

The city's oldest quarter is now its most charming

Essential stops on any Roman holiday are the Colosseum and the Forum. But rarely do visitors venture into the narrow cobblestone streets of the neighborhood sandwiched between the two landmarks. In ancient times it was known as the Suburra, or great slum, home to prostitutes, gypsies, and thieves, and the place Julius Caesar sent his troops to unwind after battle. More than 2,000 years later, despite the area's gentrification, Italian police still raid the illegal brothels tucked away there. Now called Rione Monti, Rome's oldest quarter is regarded by many as the most authentic and tourist-free district in the modern city.

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