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Rome/North Center

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The Steps

Rome/ North Center is a district of Rome, covering the areas around Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo and Parioli, as well as the magnificent Villa Borghese and its gardens. Further out the area is bordered by Via Nomentana and the River Tiber and includes the area of Salario.

Spagna lies in the northern part of the central city, to the west of the park of the Villa Borghese. It includes the Piazza di Spagna and the famous Spanish Steps. It is one of the most fashionable and well-heeled districts of the Italian capital.

Parioli is a a quiet, affluent and elegant Rome neighborhood close to Villa Borghese. The name originates from a gigantic wall called "parietone".

Salario, just to the northwest of the Modern Center and the Villa Borghese, is another elegant, upscale neighborhood, home to a large and beautiful park, Villa Ada.

Get in

This is still the centre of Rome. It is served by the Metro Line A with stops at Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps and Borghese Gardens) and Piazza del Popolo. Piazza di San Silvestro, which is a short walk from the Spanish Steps, is a terminal for many bus lines.

See

Ara Pacis
  • Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta, [1]. Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, 24th and 31st December 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM Closed Mondays, January 1st, May 1st and December 25th. Ara Pacis is an altar to Peace commissioned by the Roman Senate on 4 July 13 BC to honor the triumphal return from Hispania and Gaul of Augustus. It is universally recognised as a masterpiece. Following discovery of this work under a building in Rome, Mussolini built a protective building for it near the Mausoleum of Augustus, where it was reconstructed. A new building on the same site as Mussolini's was opened in 2006 and has been controversial. The mayor at the time said he would tear down the new structure. € 6.50 reductions € 4.50.
  • Catacomb of Priscilla, Via Salaria 430 (enter through the cloister of the monastery of the Benedictines of Priscilla. Buses 86, 92, 310 from Termini station), tel.: 06-86206272 fax.: 06-86398134, [2]. 8.30 - 12.00 and 14.30 - 17.00 closed Mondays. Underground burial place of an ancient Roman family and of seven early popes. Euros 6.
Piazza del Popolo
  • Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (the National Gallery of Modern Art), Via delle Belle Arti 131 (Up the hill from Villa Giulia or down the hill from the zoo.), +39 06 322 981, [3]. Tu-Su 08.30-19.30. An underrated way to see fantastic art made after the Renaissance. Mainly Italian artists, notably De Chirico, but Cézanne, Degas, Kandinsky, Man Ray, Modigliani, Monet, Pollock and Van Gogh are also represented. Full ticket €10; various discounts available.
  • Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Piazza di Spagna 26, [4]. The house in which the famous English poet John Keats succumbed to consumption, now preserved as a memorial to his life and that of his friend Shelley, both of whom are buried in Rome's Protestant Cemetery (see Testaccio).


  • Mausoleo di Augusto (Mausoleum of Augustus), (Just behind the Ara Pacis). This is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC
Quartiere Coppede
  • Piazza del Popolo. This is the largest square in Rome. It sometimes hosts pop concerts and is the focal point for Rome's New Year's Eve celebrations. The twin churches Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1681) and Santa Maria in Montesanto (1679)used to provide a clear welcome to Rome for those coming from the north. Much older, to the north of the piazza is yet another Santa Maria (see below).
  • Quartiere Coppede, (Bus no. 92, 63, 630, 86). With its strange Liberty- style buildings with influence from the Art Nouveau of the 1920s this small bunch of blocks is one of the most interesting, and less known, landmarks of the city. A must see.
  • Santa Maria del Popolo, Piazza del Popolo 12. This is a treasure-trove of art. There are a couple of paintings by Caravaggio: "The Crucifixion of Saint Peter" and "The Conversion of Saint Paul" together with a sculpture by Bernini, frescoes by Pinturicchio and mosaics by Raphael. Part of the Dan Brown tour, this church featured in Angels and Demons, although the Vatican did not allow filming inside.
  • Santissima Trinità dei Monti, Piazza della Trinità dei Monti 1. Baroque church more noted for its position at the top of the Spanish Steps than for the church itself. Backdrop for numerous movies including Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday.
Fountain of the Old Boat: Piazza di Spagna
  • The Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Spagna). A truly monumental stairway of 135 steps, built with French funds between 1721‑1725 in order to link the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See (still located in the piazza below), with the Bourbon French church (its monastery founded in 1495) above.
  • Piazza di Spagna. The Fontana della Barcaccia (Old Boat Fountain) was designed and built in 1627-29 by Pietro Bernini, father of the more famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The fountain celebrates the fact that before high walls were built along the banks of the Tiber Rome often used to flood. Once the waters were so high that a boat ended up in the square. A less aesthetic occupant of the square is Italy's first McDonalds, dating back to 1986. Also in the piazza is a column erected in 1856 to commemorate the Immaculate Conception. The column is topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary, and rests on a base with statues of Moses, David, Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Pope visits the Piazza every year on December 8th to celebrate Immaculate Conception.
Inside Rome's mosque
  • Villa Medici, Viale Trinità dei Monti, 1 (Turn left at the top of the Spanish Steps. About 200m on your right.), [5]. Guided tour of gardens in English daily at 11.45. The villa was acquired by the Medici family of Florence in 1576. Since 1803 it has been the French Academy in Rome. The villa hosts occasional concerts and exhibitions. Its gardens can be visited. Euros 8.


  • Rome's Mosque, Viale della Moschea, 85 (situated to the west of Villa Ada), 06 8082167 - 06 8082258. Wed & Sun from 9:00 to 11:30 excluding Ramadan, Italian holidays and August. The Rome Mosque, which was inaugurated in 1995, is the biggest in Europe. The inside of the 30,000 m² structure has a large prayer hall that uses tri-stemmed columns that imitate the features of trees.
  • Villa Albani, (Bus no. 92, 63, 630, 86. Tram 19). A magnificent patrician house with beautiful gardens.
  • Villa Ada, (To the left of Via Salaria. Bus no. 92, 310, 63, 630, 86). Beautiful park, the largest in Rome at 450 acres/182 hectares. Hosts concerts on summer evenings. former summer residence of Italian monarchs.
The stunningly beautiful 6th Century BC Etruscan Sarcophagus of the Husband and Wife at the Villa Giulia Museum


  • Villa Giulia National Gallery (Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia), Piazzale di Villa Giulia, 9, Villa Borghese 00196 - Roma (Northwest of the Villa Borghese park), +39 06 3201951, [6]. Everyday 8:30AM-7:30PM. Closed Jan 1st, Dec 25th. The most extensive collection of Etruscan art and artifacts anywhere. Fantastic collection and well worth the admission charge. They do, however, make you lock up your camera. A difficult museum to find, but a lovely display in a beautiful villa setting. Full: €4.00 Concessions: €2.00.




  • Ponte Milvio. This pedestrian-only bridge was originally built in 206 BC and marks the passage of the Roman Via Flaminia over the Tiber. In 115 BC, the original bridge was demolished and rebuilt. It has been restored and remodelled several times since. In 2006, the bridge began attracting couples who, influenced by a movie, used a lamppost on the bridge to hang padlocks as a sign of their love, locking the padlock to the lamppost, then throwing the key behind them into the river. In 2007 the lamppost collapsed under the weight! Feeling sorry for the lovers the mayor ordered construction of steel posts, where padlocks can once again be hung.
The lamppost of love at the Ponte Milvio
  • MACRO, Via Reggio Emilia 54, 06 6710 70400 (), [7]. Tues-Sun 09.00-19.00. Rome's museum of contemporary art, housed in a former industrial complex. Rotating exhibitions, each one usually lasting about 4 months. €4.50.
  • MAXXI (Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (National Museum of 21st Century Art)), Via Guido Reni 4a (Tram No. 2 and buses 53, 217, 280, and 910. Around 2km northwest of Piazza del Popolo along Via Flaminia, close to the Parco della Musica and Stadio Flaminio.), 06 39967350 (), [8]. 11.00-19.00, Tues-Sun. Brand new museum designed to celebrate the art and architecture of the 21st Century. Euro 11.

Borghese Gardens

The extensive Borghese Gardens are a pleasant place to stroll. Inside this area you will find one of the world's great museums, Rome's Zoo, a pond where you can rent a rowing boat and the Piazza di Siena, which hosts an annual show jumping event. Also, don't miss the view of the Vatican from the Pincio. [9].


  • Borghese Museum and Gallery (Galleria Borghese), Piazzale Museo Borghese (Parco di Villa Borghese, +39 06 8555952, booking: +39 06 32810 (, fax: +39 06 32651329.), [10]. Tu-Su 9AM-7PM (note: Mandatory exit at the end of allotted 2 hour slot, ticket office closes at 6.30pm). A lovely display in a beautiful villa setting, which concentrates on the quality rather than the size of its collection. There are some very notable works by Antonio Canova and Gian Lorenzo Bernini here, Bernini's Apollo and Daphneis quite amazing. It also houses some of Caravaggio paintings, well worth the admission charge. The number of people admitted is limited to 360 every 2 hours, so it is best to make a reservation on-line [11] well in advance for the time slot you want. No cameras are allowed.Allow plenty of time to get from the metro to the museum - from the metro stop you can't see the museum and there are no signs, so it can take awhile to find (taxis can drop you off at the entrance to the park but you will still have to walk a bit from there). If you are late for your reservation the museum may not allow you to use your ticket. Full and Student €12.50, Concessions €9.00.
Villa Borghese
  • Bioparco. The renamed Rome Zoo, one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1911. On the edge of the Borghese Gardens, a short, well-signposted walk from the Gallery. From 09.30 to 17.00 or 18.00 depending on the month. They try hard, but San Diego this isn't. If you are a regular zoo-goer you will be disappointed.[12]

Do

  • Rent a boat and take a row on the lake in the Borghese Gardens.
  • Auditorium, Viale Pietro de Coubertin (to the north of Rome close to the Via Flaminia. Not exactly easy to reach from major tourist areas. Bus 910 and 217 from Termini Station; Linea ‘M’ special bus route between Termini Station and Auditorium, from 17:00 every 15 min on concert nights. Tram: No. 2 from Piazzale Flaminio. Trains: Metro A line to Flaminio then No.2 tram.), [13]. The Auditorium at Parco della Musica is a large complex on the north side of Rome, built on a site that was part of the 1960 Olympic area. It is composed of three separate halls whose shapes are inspired by musical instruments. These are positioned around an open air amphitheatre, that is used nearly every night in the summer for concerts. The interiors are entirely made of cherry-wood, which provides for good acoustics. The Parco della Musica opened in 2002 and now hosts a constant stream of classical, popular, and jazz music, featuring national as well as international musicians and groups. Refreshments available and there is a good book shop. [14]

Buy

The streets to the west of the Spanish Steps, such as Via dei Condotti, house Rome's most upmarket shops. Most of the famous designer labels can be found here.

Eat

  • A few doors to the right of the Spanish Steps (as you look at them from the bottom) there is a McDonalds: yes good old McDonalds all your usual foods. The whole place is amazing and looks very Italian, except for the food!
  • Antico Caffe, Via Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, 25, +39.06.69190704. Very nice restaurant on the main alleyway between Trevi Fontana and Piazza de Spagna. For 9 Euro, you get a large choice of pasta with two vegetable sides, bread, and a bottle of mineral water. The house wine is especially good.
  • Il Margutta RistorArte, via Margutta, 118 (near the Spanish Steps), 06 32650577 (), [15]. Lunch Buffet and Dinner Menu. A fairly decent vegetarian lunch buffet. The staff can point out the vegan eats. A decent value for the money. Near where Fellini once lived.
  • Fiaschetteria Beltramme da Cesaretto, Via della Croce 39. Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Sunday. Outdoor seating available. Cash only. Walls lined with interesting art and at least one communal table. Small, traditional menu but the best dishes are the pastas and the simple bresaola, rughetta and parmigiano plate. Recommended dishes are the tonnarelli cacio & pepe and maltagliati al sugo.

Drink

  • Babington's Tea Rooms, Piazza di Spagna 23. open 9.30am-8.30pm, closed Tuesdays. situated right next to the base of the Spanish Steps, a veritable tourist trap, so be warned....! Ridiculously over-inflated prices... Cheapest pot of tea, €8!! First opened in 1896 in order to fortify homesick English tourists, once famous as a tranquil English haven in a Latin ocean, now serving tea and scones (and more) with considerably less charm and even less value. Take a look inside if you must, otherwise, avoid like the plague.
  • Antico Caffe Greco, Via dei Condotti 86 (a few steps from the Spanish Steps), 066791700, [16]. Ancient and famous coffee bar, with walls lined with art work. Worth a quick look even if you find the prices a bit excessive.
  • Babette caffe-ristorante, Via Margutta, 1/d (off Via Babuino near Piazza del Popolo), 06 32 11 559, [17]. opens at 1pm. Lovely lunch buffet. Everything fresh out of the kitchen. Much more expensive on weekends. Always best to reserve. A nice way to sample lots of different Italian foods without having to order an antipasti, primi, secondi, etc. 12 euros.
  • Bed and Beer (BedandBeer), Via Flaminia 506 (5 minutes from Piazzale Ponte Milvio), (+39) 06 96845654, [18]. 5 PM - 9 PM. Bed and Beer is the smallest Beershop in Rome, providing more than 500 beers labels from all over the world. With a special selection of beers from Italian microbreweries, Bed and Beer is the perfect place for beer enthusiasts.

Sleep

  • Hotel Condotti, Via Mario de' Fiori, 37, +39 06 679 4661 (fax: +39 06 679 0457), [19]. single rooms from €136, double rooms from €175, triple rooms from €209, quadruple rooms from €223..
  • Hotel Concordia, Via di Capo le Case, 14, +39 06 6791953  (, fax: +39 06 6795409), [20]. Air Conditioned Hotel in a 18th century building with a roof garden from 64 €.
  • Imperial Suite Rome – Corso d'Italia 92, [21]. Telephone +39 06 8554515 (Fax: +39 06 4817613). A guest house with single, double, twin and triple bedrooms. All with private bath, internet connection and living area. €80/€95 single/double rooms. All rates include the breakfast served directly in the guests’ rooms.
  • Les Fleurs Luxury House, Via Mario de' Fiori 24 [22]. Telephone +39 06 69921341, fax +39 06 69790498. Cosy guest house of the historic centre of Rome next to the Spanish Steps, with double and twin standard bedrooms €260, double deluxe, junior suite €380 and double for single use €230. All rates include breakfast and en-suites services with shower and bathtub or Jacuzzi.
  • Residenza Frattina, Via Frattina, 104, +39 066783553 (, fax: +39 066783701), [23]. Located close to the Spanish Steps
  • Hotel Claridge, Viale Liegi, 62, +39 06 845441, [24]. The Claridge Hotel is a 4-star hotel located in the Parioli district. Close to the Borghese Gardens
  • The Duke Hotel, Via Archimede, 69, 003906367221, [25]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. next to Villa Borghese single rooms from €140, double rooms from €140.
  • Hotel Lord Byron, Via Via Giuseppe De Notaris, 5, +39 06 3220 404, [26]. next to Villa Borghese single rooms from €190, double rooms from €225.
  • Residenza Borghese, Via Sardegna 55, + 39 06 42016810, [27]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 10.00. A modern Inn just a few steps from Via Veneto. Double Room from € 105,00. (41.90915202426188,12.49071478843689)
  • B&B Domus Pinciana, Via Campania 61/a, +390642014628, [28]. Small B&B close to Via Veneto offering quality accommodation at affordable prices. Double Rooms from €100.
  • Intown Luxury House, Via Bocca di Leone, 7, +39 0669380200, [29]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Single, double, junior suite and terraced junior suite. All rooms with air conditioning, LCD TV sets with satellite channels, hi-speed Internet connection, safe, minibar and direct telephone line. Bathrooms are fitted with marble and Jacuzzi tubs and/or showers. 290. (41.9044,12.4809)
  • Best Western Astrid, Largo Antonio Sarti, 4, +39 06.32.36.371 (, fax: + 39 06.32.20.806), [30]. A big hotel in a quiet area of Rome. The staff is friendly and makes the stay very enjoyable. Breakfast is fresh and rich. The rooms are clean and spacious and there’s a daily replenishment of the minibar at no cost! The 5th floor Breakfast room has great views of the Tiber and St. Peter's Dome. Bar not open at night and there isn't much nightlife in the area apart from a few good restaurants. € 115-165.
  • Town House Spagna, Via della Croce 50/a, +39 06 68892351, [31]. Brand new Town House 50 mt away from Piazza di Spagna. Features 10 rooms, each with private bathrooms. Up to date facilities. €110-210 Standard room.
  • B&B Le Muse, Via Giacinta Pezzana 68 (near Villa Ada), 3487266630, [32]. checkin: 12.00; checkout: 10.00. €65.
  • Hotel Golden (hotel golden in rome), Via Marche 84, +39 06 4821659, [33]. Hotel Golden is located in a central position which at the same time enjoys tranquility, just a few steps away from Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain. (41.909302,12.490029)
  • Hotel Golden, Via Marche 84, +39 06 4821659, [34]. Hotel Golden is located in a central position which at the same time enjoys tranquility, just a few steps away from Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain. (41.909302,12.490029)


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