Built in the late 1800s, this was once a working class neighbourhood and the home of Rome's railway workers and workers from the nearby Peroni brewery, and then a fashionable area of left-wing artists. It is now mainly inhabited by students at the nearby University la Sapienza.
This means the place is lively, sometimes a little untidy and with plenty of street art (graffitti).
There is a wide choice of nightlife and recently much of the area has been turned into a pedestrian precinct. There are many bars and restaurants and pizzerias, boutiques and other modern places are subsequently replacing the old popular workshops and small markets. Traditonal local residents are not always so happy with this. However, this means that at night the area is very lively.
Its Piazza Vittorio produce market has kosher meat and Indian spices as well as more traditional Italian fare.
During World War II the area was heavily bombed by the Allies in 1943 hoping to disrupt the railway network. The raid caused extensive damage to the buildings of the district (including the Policlinico Umberto I) and killed some 1,500 people.
The quarter is well connected to the city with a good bus service. It is a good value area for buying and renting.
Maria Montessori's first 3-6 age program was started in San Lorenzo in 1907. She described San Lorenzo as a place where "la gente per bene passa solo dopo morta" ("respectable people pass by only after death"), referring to the cemetery of Verano there.
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