If you’re the sort of person who finds a change of environment helpful whilst studying, you might be interested to know some of the better places I’ve discovered over the year in Rome. The old-school cafe culture has oft caused me a sore back and bum after hours seated in one of those ubiquitous steel rod chairs…though if you’re determined to read alongside a caffe e cornetto, I’d recommend one of the bars in the district of San Lorenzo, which don’t charge extra al tavolo.
Here are some gems:
Art History library, Piazza Venezia
This is a BEAUTIFUL public library, though populated solely by students and professionals, with thousands of original-language books on the history of art and architecture and free wi-fi. All you need to do upon arrival is present a form of ID. Water and bags must be locked away in one of the lockers on the ground floor. If you cross the road to Via del Corso there is a good, non-touristy deli where they will make you up a scrummy panino for lunch.
Caffe Letterario, Via Ostiense
Just down the road from DAMS and CLA you’ll find this Bar/Public library. The library is state-run and somewhat obscurely attached to the lowly-lit basement bar. Wi-fi is free here, if you register with the library and pay a one-off 5 euro fee. They have a fantastic collection of dvds you can borrow for free – their selection is ordered according to the films original language, so you can choose to swat-up on Italian neorealism or take an indulgent break with a Holywood blockbuster.
Barnum Caffe, Via del Pellegrino
One of our favourite haunts, run by the lovely Daniele, come here for amazing appetitivi, free wi-fi, people-watching and art appreciation. (The cafe walls display the work of local artists).
Piazza del Fico
There’s another great cafe here with wi-fi, plus the airy cloisters of the Chiostro del Bramante in which one can find shelter from the midday sun.
Of course there are the university libraries – at Piazza della Repubblica, il Departmento di Lettere e Filosofia, Jurisprudenza and DAMs, which are all good places to study and are conveniently near the mensa (lunch hall).
And finally, a link to the more spectacular public libraries: http://www.aboutroma.com/libraries-in-rome.html