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The distinctive Porta San Giovanni gate welcomes you to the Rome’s San Giovanni neighborhood. The area lies south of Termini station, near enough to Rome’s center, but ideally located away from the hustle and bustle, and most tourists.
Among other delights, Rome’s San Giovanni neighborhood offers its share of interesting sights, cheap clothing opportunities, and sweet eats. Here’s our guide to a fun day exploring what to see, do, and eat in San Giovanni.
1. Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano
A must-visit. The basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano (Basilica of St. John Lateran), pictured above, is Rome’s only official cathedral, and thus could be considered the “big daddy” of all basilicas. The bishop of Rome (the Pope) counts this as his church, and as a result it ranks higher than other churches in the Roman Catholic Church. The church was originally constructed by Constantine the Great in the fourth century.
Piazza San Giovanni. Open every day 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM
2. San Giovanni Clothing Market
Head for the San Giovanni clothing market to find very cheap new and used clothing. The market features plenty of stalls to pick through. You’re destined to find a bargain or two.
Via Sannio. Open daily, except Sunday. 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
3. Tiramisu stop
Armed with bags of new (and used) clothing, head down the road, near Re di Roma, to Pompi. The restaurant has a reputation for dishing up the best tiramisu in Rome. If you’re not in the mood for layers of cream, chocolate, and cinnamon, you could also sample their gelato, panna cotta, “caffe del nonno,” or just settle for a banana split.
Via Albalonga, 11. Open daily, except Monday 6:30 AM – 1:30 AM.
4. Free Music! If you time it right…
The Cornetto Free Music Concert held every year in Piazza San Giovanni. The Black Eyed Peas, Avril Lavigne, Duran Duran, Beck, Joss Stone, and Jamiroquai have played the event in the past. The festival, sponsored by the Cornetto ice cream empire, is normally held during the summer. Consult their official site for upcoming dates.