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Rome/North Center

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Rome : North Center
Revision as of 14:06, 24 December 2009 by Travelbubble (talk | contribs) (updated listing Residenza Borghese)
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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.


  • Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Piazza di Spagna 26, [1]. 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).
Ara Pacis
  • Ara Pacis, Lungotevere in Augusta, [2]. 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.
  • 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
Piazza del Popolo
  • 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 from 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 (Top of the Spanish Steps.).
  • 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.
Fountain of the Old Boat: Piazza di Spagna
  • 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.
  • Villa Medici, Viale Trinità dei Monti, 1 (Turn left at the top of the Spanish Steps. About 200m on your right.), [3]. 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.
  • 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.
  • Villa Albani, (Bus no. 92, 63, 630, 86. Tram 19). A magnificent patrician house with beautiful gardens.
  • Villa Giulia National Gallery (Museo Nazionale di Villa Giulia), Piazzale di Villa Giulia, 9, Villa Borghese 00196 - Roma, +39 06 3201951, [4]. Everyday 8:30AM-7:30PM. Closed Jan 1st, Dec 25th. The most extensive collection of Etruscan art and artifacts anywhere, 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.
  • Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (the National Gallery of Modern Art), Via delle Belle Arti 131, +39 06 322 981, [5]. Tu-Su 08.30-19.30. An underrated way to see fantastic art made after the Renaissance. Though with the exception of Modigliani and Pollock, few of their works were produced by artists that an average traveller is familiar with, these modern Italian artists are well worth getting familiar with though, and for internationally recognised names - try Cézanne, Degas, Kandinsky, Monet & Van Gogh. Full ticket €9, Gallery €6,50, various discounts available.
Inside Rome's mosque
  • 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.
  • 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, [6]. 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.
The lamppost of love at the Ponte Milvio
  • 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.

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. [18].

Villa Borghese
  • Borghese Museum and Gallery (Galleria Borghese), Piazzale Museo Borghese (Parco di Villa Borghese, +39 06 8555952, booking: +39 06 32810 (, fax: +39 06 32651329.), [7]. 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 [8] 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.
  • 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.[19]


  • 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.), [9]. 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. [[10]]


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.


  • 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 (), [11]. 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.


  • 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.


  • Hotel Condotti, Via Mario de' Fiori, 37, +39 06 679 4661 (fax: +39 06 679 0457), [12]. single rooms from €136, double rooms from €175, triple rooms from €209, quadruple rooms from €223..
  • Residence Frattina, Via Frattina, 104, +39 066783553 (, fax: +39 066783701), [13]. Located close to the Spanish Steps
  • Hotel Claridge, Viale Liegi, 62, +39 06 845441, [14]. 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, [15]. 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, [16]. next to Villa Borghese single rooms from €190, double rooms from €225.
  • Residenza Borghese, Via Sardegna 55 - 00122, + 39 06 42016810, [17]. 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)


This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!