While in Istanbul last week I picked up the May special 'Europe' issue of US Travel + Leisure with a feature on "Hidden European Neighbourhoods". The author writes: "Beyoglu is now reclaiming its status as Istanbul's favourite playground". Yet Beyoglu has always been Istanbul's commercial heart and its main pedestrianised street is the city's main shopping boulevard. Beyoglu is hardly "hidden" and it has always had a buzz about it, especially in the evening when it seems the whole of Turkey is out shopping, eating and drinking. The neighbourhoods that have experienced a renaissance in recent years are Tunel, Cukurcuma and Cihangir, considered the coolest by locals and the most interesting to explore for travellers with their cutting-edge boutiques, music stores, vintage clothes shops, antique stores, hip cafes and bars. Take a look at 'Istanbul, the Undiscovered Capital of Cool', which we published in April 2007. I'm in Rome this week, so it's amusing to read that Ponte, Parione and Regola are the eternal city's latest hot spots. These neighbourhoods are a hop, skip and a jump from Piazza Navona and their well-trodden cobblestone streets have always been the focus of tourist activity. While they're lovely, again, they're far from "hidden". Monti is much more fascinating, with its music school, funky boutiques, design stores, and laidback trattorias, while gritty San Lorenzo is the city's bohemian heart. But then the residents of Monti and San Lorenzo would probably argue their 'hoods have always been hip.