Wireless, where art thou?
By Eleonora Baldwin
eing an entrepreneur in Rome without office space requires two things: a disciplined approach at home and a handful of local spots that have good and reliable Wi-Fi.
I avoid frequent coffee breaks and fridge sweeps while pounding my computer keys in a living room nook. It's a process that tests my self-control and demands a well-regimented routine. But finding a comfortable place to plug in my laptop in a relatively peaceful public environment presents an even bigger challenge.
Free wireless hotspots in Rome are spotty at best. The smartest options are places that offer a free password-protected connection that doesn't require a registration with an email account or a local cell number. If you also want well-brewed caffeinated beverages, fine food, and courteous staff, the selection narrows even further. While waiting for Starbucks to land in Rome (don't hold your breath), here's my shortlist of local work spaces with reliable wireless and assorted libations.
— Vivi Bistrot On the Monteverde end of Villa Pamphili, Rome's largest public park, sits a tastefully restored barn with plenty of outdoor seating and all-day service. Early breakfast runs through lunch. Later, there's high tea and homemade cake, aperitifs and candlelight dinner service. The seasonal menu employs only high quality organic foods. A blazing fireplace in winter and air-conditioning in summer make it an ideal free Wi-Fi workplace, above all because it's removed from city bedlam. Ask about their picnic delivery in the park and free yoga classes. Open daily through sunset (in summer closing time is midnight). Park doors close at 9 p.m. For those who prefer a more urban touch, there's also an outlet at Palazzo Braschi, near Piazza Navona. Vivi Bistrot | Via Vitellia, 102. Tel. +39.06.582.7540.
— Prati Urbani: Here's a gourmet restaurant and coffee bar exudes relaxation, parts of its soothing walls covered with long patches of green moss, slivers of a so-called vertical garden (prati urbani means urban fields). Menu items feature salads, sandwiches, soups, burgers and fish or meat tartare. I like munching on their wok veggie stir-fry or the soups served in a cup while I surfing the web (or picking a book from their ample bookshelf selections). Open daily from morning to 2 a.m. Brunch served on weekends. • Prati Urbani | Via Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina 41/43. Tel. +39.06.8772.5315.
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