Piazza Sant’Eustachio in Rome: a little bit of history
Piazza Sant’Eustachio in Rome is a very famous square of the city, in the district of Sant’Eustachio (the VIIII district of Rome). This square has always been very famous for the basilica of Saint Eustace, who is revered as a Christian martyr and soldier saint. A legend places him in the 2nd century AD; according to this legend, prior to his conversion to Christianity, Eustace was a Roman general who served the emperor Trajan. While hunting a stag in Tivoli, he had a vision of a crucifix lodged between a stag’s antlers; after this vision, he was converted and had himself and his family baptized. Today the basilica built in this square is dedicated to him and the stag is still the symbol both of Saint Eustace than of the square itself.
But today this place is no more famous just for the Saint or the Basilica, but more for the Caffè that is in this piazza. The Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè is the best bar and coffee house in Rome. It opened in 1938, during World War II and today here you can taste the best coffee of Rome; since this place is even a coffee house, they have their own brand of coffee and that’s what they use to make the coffee they serve at the bar.
When to go
This is one of the most enchanted Rione of Rome. It’s the perfect place if you want to have a walk and just go around without destination, so my advice is to go during the week, not in the weekend, because it will be full of people (especially in bar, “gelaterie”, and restaurants), so it’s not the best if you want to enjoy the real Roman atmosphere.
What and where to eat
Of course, since this piazza is so famous for the bar, you definitely have to try the coffee at Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè, or you won’t be able to say that you’ve tasted coffee in Rome. Remember that if you decide to sit down at tables outside you’d pay the extra charge for the service. A coffee at the bar is € 1.20 approx, at the table, it is € 3.60.
If you want to try a good gelato, right in front of the Caffè, there’s Punto Gelato, one of the best “gelaterie” in Rome, they have some very strange flavors (like for example Pine or carrots & celery), but I can assure you that this is one of the best places because the crazy chef Gunther chooses wisely every single ingredient and he uses only 100% natural things, no colors or sugars or preservatives added.
One of the best restaurants in this area is Ristorante Archimede (Piazza dei Caprettari 63), a small place with few tables outside between plants, where you can eat typical Roman cuisine and homemade pasta.
For your gourmet dinner stop at Casa Bleve (Via del Teatro Valle), opened every day except Sundays lunch and dinner.
How to reach it
Piazza Sant’Eustachio is very easy to reach, there are no buses that arrive here, but you walk from the Pantheon or from Largo di Torre Argentina, the square where arrive a very lot of buses (e.g. number 64 or 40 from Termini or number 916, 70 and so on).