Wide streets lined with leafy trees, olden-style mansions and a young, artisan community. This can only mean one thing; you’re in Colonia Roma. One of Mexico City’s ‘magical neighbourhoods’, a district that has been transformed time and time again over the decades.
Image credit: Julio Martinez
Located in western Cuauhtemoc, Colonia Roma is close to other stylish neighbourhoods, such as Condesa and Zona Rosa. Up until World War II, the area was a veritable hotspot for the rich and famous, with artists, movie stars and politicians all in residence. As the years went by, Colonia Roma fell into decline, with many of its French-façade buildings being torn down, only to be replaced with modern commercial buildings. The area was also seriously affected by the 1985 earthquake that struck the city.
In recent times, however, efforts have been made to preserve and restore the area’s architectural value and this has attracted a younger, more artistic and stylish crowd. There are also a large number of hip restaurants and cafes in the neighbourhood, not to mention markets, art galleries and bars.
Image credit: sisqopote
In Colonia Roma, you will find landmarks such as the Casa Lamm, a large cultural centre that is located in an early 20th century mansion. Along with an extensive art collection, the centre has a bookstore and on-site restaurant and a walk around the grounds is a pleasant activity in itself.
For more culture and architecture, you could also check out the churches in the area. The Sagrada Familia church - not to be confused with the famous Spanish church in Barcelona – is a beautiful Gothic-style building that dates back to the early 20th century. Make sure you check out the large stained glass windows that depict passages from the Bible. Another Gothic-style church is the Nuestra Señora del Rosario, which is less than a 10-minute walk away from the Sagrada Familia church and also boasts decorative windows.
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A popular central spot in Colonia Roma is the Plaza Rio de Janeiro. This small park is surrounded by shops, cafes and restaurants and makes for a nice stop on a sunny day, although there is also plenty of shade provided by the towering trees. A large fountain with a statue of the famous David, by Michelangelo, is the centrepiece of the plaza.
Once per week, the plaza plays host to an open-air market known as Mercado el 100, where many people come from surrounding neighbourhoods to peruse the fresh food produce on offer.