This is the kind of hip and quirky little bar you’d find anywhere from London, via Berlin to Reykjavik. It’s not quite pub, but not yet poncey wine bar, and has enough style behind it to merit an insert in a cool travel magazine. The only difference being that here, in the heart of one the world’s greatest wine producing countries, in a city that by rights should have quirky cool bars coming out of its ears, this one feels itself to be so unique and special it can serve you a mediocre quality, piddly sized glass of Montepulciano for 12 euros and keep a straight face. Oh and you have to ask to get a small bowl of soggy peanuts to go with it.
It sits at the end of a charming little piazza dominated by a truly lovely fountain topped with turtles, hence the play on words of the bar’s name. (Tartaruga meaning turtle in Italian). The decor inside is faux Louis XIV, mixed with kitsch nick-nacks, a grand piano in the main room topped with tambourines and other small instruments which presumably people are invited to play (not the evening I went, sadly) and lounging about on the chaise longues are fine examples of what must be rather well-off Roman youth, all deconstructed faded denims, tight ben sherman golf jumpers and those bloody awful Pete Doherty hats I wish would disappear off the face of the globe. But dodgy hairtop accessories aside, this would be the perfect place to start off an evening of aperitivo-ing the trendy way if they would wake up to the fact that we are currently engulfed in an economic crisis and that squeezing a lime over a thimble of gin and ten cubes of ice, calling it “gin fizz” and charging me ten euros is tantamount to cocktail sacriledge.
For people with more money than (dress) sense.
BARTARUGA: Piazza MAttei, 9
telephone: (+39) 06 6892299