Today I am pleased to publish another guest post by my intern Jillian, who returns to Prati to visit Passaguai, one of my favorite wine bars and a frequent stop between back-to-back Vatican tours.

“Passaguai is all nooks and no crannies. It’s a subterranean hideaway with great wine and better ambiance that immediately puts the visitors at ease. The scrubbed wooden tables, which are set in small clusters throughout the single serving room, speak to the casual nature of the place. No one’s spending too much time worrying about the décor. And yet, with the black and white photos hanging from stone covered walls and vintage-looking light fixtures, Passaguai channels an effortlessly cool vibe. This might just be Rome, for hipsters.

So, if you’re in the Prati neighborhood and looking for somewhere to sit and nurse a drink or two, there’s a table here waiting. This intimate wine café is a stone’s throw away from the Vatican and not far from the Mercato Trionfale. I arrived a little after 5 on a Friday evening—-early for aperitivo by most Roman standards–but I was offered a small wooden tray of snacks to accompany my wine, anyway. Cured ham, seasoned vegetables, and a duo of bruschette took my taste buds on a tour, as I savored the saltiness of the meat and the sweet crunch of carrots. The simplicity of it all was a breath of fresh air compared to some of Rome’s stuffier enotecas. Passaguai is no place for pretentious wine snobs; there simply isn’t enough space.

My drink, a juicy Sicilian white, tasted delightfully crisp and given the warmth of the day, made for a markedly better choice than the red I had been considering. I’d never tried Maurigi’s Bacca Bianca before, but it seems as though you can’t go wrong when ordering one of the house favorites. Moreover, this particular section of the menu won’t disappoint your pocketbook, either: prices rarely surpass the 5 euro/glass mark.

An hour went by as I savored my wine and watched the surrounding seats fill up. A fresh batch of servers filed in, and Passaguai transitioned into evening mode. Candles in jam jars were pulled from shelves to dress the tables and soulful American classics filled the room with smooth rhythm. I took this as my cue to head out, but not before one last bite of prosciutto. The flavor lingered, seasoning my walk home.”

Passaguai Vin Cafe
Via Pomponio Leto, 1, Roma

Photo credit: Katie Parla