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*<sleep name="Al B&B Vatican St Peter" alt="" address="Via Gregorio VII, 90" directions="" phone="(+39) 06 39367483" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="From € 30 pp" lat="" long="">New Bed & Breakfast built in 2008, 300 metres from Vaticano clean spacious rooms, all with deprived bath and shower hydro massage. </sleep>
* <sleep name="Al Centro di Roma B&amp;B" alt="Al Centro di Roma" address="Piazza Sant'Andrea della Valle, 3" directions="Piazza Navona" phone="+393407936216" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="From €90" lat="" long="">Bed and Breakfast in the center of Rome, between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.</sleep>
* <sleep name="Al Centro di Roma B&amp;B" alt="Al Centro di Roma" address="Piazza Sant'Andrea della Valle, 3" directions="Piazza Navona" phone="+393407936216" url="" checkin="" checkout="" price="From €90" lat="" long="">Bed and Breakfast in the center of Rome, between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.</sleep>

Revision as of 12:47, 10 March 2009

Coffers and Oculus of the Pantheon

Old Rome is the historic medieval and renaissance center of Rome. While the oldest section of Rome is at the Forum, and the Modern Center has shifted to the Via Veneto, Old Rome remains the city's most charming district, with lovely plazas and streets to wander and find small cafes and restaurants. Old Rome includes the neighborhoods of Navona, Campo de' Fiori, Pantheon, and the Ghetto.

Navona is found on the eastern bank of the River Tiber in the north-west quadrant of the central city, lying opposite the Vatican, and centered on the gorgeous Piazza Navona, the public square from which it derives its name.

The Pantheon neighborhood is named after the district's chief monument, the Pantheon, located on the Piazza della Rotonda.

Get in


  • Sant'Ignazio, 8 A Via del Caravita. Not far from the Pantheon. A stunning example of Baroque art. The ceiling frescoes are especially fine, including a trompe l'oeuil dome by the master Andrea Pozzo.
  • Chiesa Il Gesù, Via degli Astalli, 16 (Piazza del Gesù; not far from Piazza Venezia), +39 06 69 70 01. The interior is Baroque art on steroids. Simply astounding.
  • Santa Minerva, piazza della Minerva 1, [1]. This church is literally right behind the Pantheon. It is Rome's only Gothic church, and well worth seeing, although its plain square façade makes it look inconspicuous.
  • San Luigi dei Francesi, Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi, 5. This church is roughly halfway between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. It is most notable for a side chapel which contains three Caravaggio masterworks: "The Calling of St. Matthew", "St. Matthew and the Angel" and "Martyrdom of St. Matthew".
  • San Giovanni in Laterano, Piazza di San Giovanni Laterano. This is the cathedral church of Rome and first of the major basilicas. It's also the Pope's (as Bishop of Rome) Church. Be sure to check out the fourth century baptistry (still in use) and the medieval cloister (brilliant Coamati columns)
  • Largo di Torre Argentina - An excavation of four Roman Republican-era temples and Pompey's theater. The largo is also home to a large amount of cats which are tended by the local animal rights organization. (Purportedly a jab at Mussolini who excavated the area and is said to have hated cats.)
  • Piazza Montecitorio - Where you can find the building of the House or Representatives.
  • Piazza della Minerva - A small piazza just behind the Pantheon. The centerpiece is a statue of an elephant by Bernini with an ancient obelisk on its back.
  • Piazza delle Coppelle
  • Piazza di Sant'Ignazio - Small and attractive piazza tucked away in a neighborhood near Pantheon.
  • Piazza Colonna - Where there is the building of the Italian Government, Palazzo Chigi. Also there is a marvelous carved column (hence the name) dating back to Imperial Rome.

Historical buildings

  • Palazzo della Cancelleria, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (Piazza della Cancelleria). This remarkable building served as the site of the Apostle Chancellory, or offices of the Pope, for centuries, and now houses a vatican court.
  • Palazzo Farnese, Piazza Farnese 67, +39 06 68892818. This sixteenth century palace houses a library of collections by French school in Rome, particularly on Roman archaeology
  • Palazzo della Sapienza, Corso Rinascimento 9 (Bus 70 81, 87, 492; Close to Navona square), +39 06 686 4987. This building housed the University of Rome since the middle of the 15th century until 1935. The splendid interior courtyard was created by Giacomo della Porta. The inside church of St Ivo is one of the masterpieces of Architect Borromini.
  • Palazzo Altemps, Via Sant' Apollinare 8 (Bus 70, 81, 87, 492), +39 06 6897091. Simple and elegant lines make up this building, whose construction began in 1480 for Count Girolamo Riario, nephew of Papa Sisto IV and was taken up by architect Martino Longhi for the new owner, Cardinal Marco Sittico Altemps.
  • Palazzo Taverna, Via di Monte Giordano. The building is located in one of the most hidden corners of the city center among the Navona square and Castel Sant Angelo. It served as residence for the Orsini Family. Nowadays it is private property and one can only glance at the courtyard and the amazing fountain inside, erected in 1618 by architect Antonio Casoni. However, the brief moment is worth it.
  • Palazzo Crivelli, Via dei Banchi vecchi 22. This building also known as the Doll House was built in the 16th century. It is unique for the quantity and quality of the decorations - lions heads, satyrs and disfigured heads that adorn the facade attributed to the sculptor Giulio Mazzoni.
  • Palazzo Spada, Piazza Capo di Ferro. his building was erected in the 16th century by Giulio Merisi Caravaggio for Cardinal Capodiferro. One century later it was acquired by another powerful Cardinal, Bernardino Spada and was restored by Borromini.


  • Piazza Navona - this elongated public square is without doubt the pride of Baroque Rome, completely unspoilt by traffic and modern buildings. Built over the remains of the late 1st century Stadium of Domitian (explaining its shape), the square is a popular (!) place to sip a cappuccino, shop and watch street performers. Behind the piazza at the northern end, you can still see remains of Domition's chariot racing stadium well below the current ground level. Amongst other monuments, the square features two Baroque masterpieces by Bernini and Borromini:
    • Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) - by Bernini, in the very centre of the square, incorporates an Egyptian obelisk and symbolises four of the world's great rivers (the Ganges, the Nile, the Danube and the Plata), representing the four continents known at the time.
    • The Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone - by Borromini, reputed to be on the spot where St. Agnes was martyred in the fourth century A.D.
    • Sant'Ivo della Sapienza, Corso del Rinascimento, 40. This little church is hard to find but well worth the extra effort. Bellini's masterpiece. It is located only a block from Piazza Navona, but not usually visible from the street, as one must enter the courtyard of an old palazzo to reach the church. Sant'Ivo is a small church shaped like the Star of David, with an amazing star-shaped dome and whimsical steeple.
    • Fontana del Moro (Fountain of the Moor) - at the southern end of the Piazza, designed by Bernini but the main statue of the Moor was done by Giacomo della Porta and the other statues are 19th-century copies of the originals.
    • Fontano di Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) - a 19th century addition to the square, made to balance the Fontana del Moro
    • Sant'Agnese in Agone, Via di Santa Maria dell' Anima 30 (at Piazza Navona). This lovely basilica church is small with an almost circular interior. It is undergoing rehabilitation and the facade and dome are hidden in scaffolding. It seems to be open only until noon.
    • Piazza Pasquino - Piazza about 20m from Piazza Navona. There is a statue here named "Pasquino", apparently named after a tailor working nearby who had a reputation for complaining. The statue is now used as a place to hang messages, complaints and other opinions which has to be shared with the world. The piazza is also home to Cul de Sac, one of the best enoteca in Rome.


Pantheon view from Piazza della Rotonda
The Phanteon's cupola from inside
  • The Pantheon, Piazza della Rotonda. Originally built in 27 BCE, by emperor Hadrian (AD 125-128), is a marvel of ancient architecture, the ancient temple is celebrated for its large dome, was as a temple to all the gods of the Roman state religion, but has served as a Christian church since the 7th century. It is the only building from the Graeco-Roman world which has remained substantially intact and in continuous use throughout to the present day, and as it is still a functioning church, silence is requested during your visit. From inside the Pantheon, you'll see traces of the former bronze ceiling, melted down during the reign of Pope Urban VIII to make bombards to for the fortification of the Castel Sant' Angelo. The hole in the center of the ceiling, though, is an original feature designed for architectural reasons (the dome would collapse without it.) Guides will tell you the spectacular doors are original, but the original bronze doors were also melted down by Pope Urban and might have been used to create Borromini and Bernini's Baldacchino in Saint Peter's. The dome is now the third largest masonry dome in the world. The first is at St. Peter's and the second is at Haggia Sophia.

    The site surrounding the Pantheon offers a lesson in archaeological stratigraphy. The building now appears to be built in a recess at the edge of a hill, but this is not the original appearance. The street level at the sides and rear has risen about 10 meters since the original construction due to the accumulation of debris from 2,000 years of settlement. This has necessitated the maintenance of the deep trench that keeps the building from being buried.

Campo de' Fiori

If it is sunny, you'll catch a few young people and older gentlemen sitting at the base of a statue in the middle of the open space The statute is a brooding, hooded Giordano Bruno - an excommunicated Dominican monk burnt at the stake for heresy on this spot on 17 Feb. 1600, The piazza is used as a marketplace during the day, and party central for college students and tourists at night.

When the sky gets dark and the street lamps go on, the Campo de' Fiori fills with people and lovers wander arm in arm in the crowd. Over the buzzing of conversation and the occasional burst of laughter you may hear a young vocalist belt out O Sole Mio at the top of his lungs as change plunks into his accordion case. In nearby via dei Giubbonari the Salumeria Roscioli is worth checking out.


Wander the stalls of the Campo de' Fiori market. From farm fresh vegetables to spices to kitchen implements - it is a colorful and busy place.


Campo de' Fiori is one of the oldest open air markets in Rome. The day starts as early as 3:30 AM, when the first "fruttivendolo" drive up, and by 8 AM, under wide umbrellas, tables overflow with an abundance of brightly colored fruit and vegetables. Organically home-grown by people who have, more often than not, been farming for generations.

At East end, near one of the best sandwich shops in all of Rome, is the flower stand absolutely bursting in color and fragrance.

The "Campo" is filled with tourists, locals, families, school groups and musicians until 3 PM, when the booths are taken down, packed in to cars, carts and trucks with the produce and driven away.

Later a loud, white, behemoth of a street cleaner sweeps through the square, cleaning up left over greens, wrappers and trash.


  • McDonalds. With what must be the best view in the city - across the Piazza to the Pantheon and rotunda.
  • Aristocampo, (On the closest corner opposite the Drunken Ship). Offers delicious sandwiches.
  • Pyramid, (In a side lane past the Drunken Ship towards Piazza Farnese). Egyptian-owned, has nice felafel, kebab and shishtaouk sandwiches.

Cooking for yourself. In Campo de' Fiori you won't have any trouble finding local food shops and there's also a food market right in the square in the morning. Cooking at home is cheap.

  • Forno di Campo de' Fiori, Campo de' Fiori. For lunch in try the , a traditional bread shop that makes one of the best kinds of pizza bread in Rome. With your back to the Giordano Bruno statue in the middle of the square, the Forno is at the bottom of the square to the left.
  • Il Portico, Via del Portico dý Ottavia, 1/E (in the Jewish Ghetto). Small indoor/outdoor restaurant with local cuisine. Must tries include the Roman specialty "trippa", tripe simmered in a light tomato sauce and sprinkled generously with parmasean. Risotto is also fantastic. The staff is warm and friendly, if not with a full grasp of the English language.
  • Chagat at 66th (Kosher Fast food), Via S. Maria del Pianto 66 (Jewish ghetto), +397(0)6/6861267. 10:00am-10:30 pm. Kosher fast food Known as the orange fastfood in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto 5 euros shwarma.
  • Il Bacaro, Via degli Spagnoli 27, +39.06.6872554, [2]. You’d never know that you are three minutes walk from Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. Via degli Spagnoli is tiny, leafy and quiet. Il Bacaro seats about 24 inside and even fewer outside under the shade of an ancient vine. Great selection of wine. In general a great stop for a romantic meal in the Eternal City.
  • Pizzeria da Baffetto, Via del Governo Vecchio, 114, +39.06.6861617. Old-fashioned, family feel pizzeria near Piazza Navona & the Pantheon, unarguably serving some of the best pizzas in Rome. Usually crowded but well-worth the occasional queuing.
  • Tapa Loca, Via di Tor Millina 5 (Near Piazza Navona), 06 68 32 266. Spanish food.
  • Supperclub, Via de'Nari, 14 (Pantheon), 06 6880 7207, [3]. Don't come to supperclub if you're in search of a traditional restaurant, have lazy taste buds or are scared of new experiences. However, if you're looking for an unusual dinner experience in an unexpected place and are not afraid to discover the creative corners of your personality, then knock on supperclub's door. Have fun, eat, listen, dance and enjoy your evening.
  • Cul de Sac, Piazza Pasquino 73 (Near Piazza Navona), 06-68801094. Kitchen works until 1am. In Aug, closed for 2 weeks. One of the best enoteca in Rome, serving a wide range of small dishes. The pate selection is a must-try.
  • La Taverna Del Ghetto, Via Portico d'Ottavia 8, 06.688.09.771, [4]. Meat restaurant, excellent lamb dishes.
  • Gelateria Giolitti, Via degli Uffici del Vicario 40. Originally opened in 1800, very popular amongst locals, tourists, and the late Pope John Paul II was known to be a regular customer. Arguably the best ice cream in Rome. About 4 Euro for a large cup and 2 euros for a regular cone.
  • Della Palma. Located just a couple blocks away from the Pantheon, this is an excellent gelateria with 140 different flavors. Prices are very reasonable.


There are many bars (coffee shops), gelaterias, and shops in and around the piazza.

Among the two most popular bars in Campo de' Fiori, particularly for American backpackers and exchange students, are Sloppy Sam's and the Drunken Ship. Both are nice for a quiet afternoon drink but are usually quite noisy at night, with specials most nights to encourage business.

  • Caffè Novecento, Via del Governo Vecchio 12 (behind the Pantheon and Piazza Navona), 066865242. Closes at 10 PM. Offers a very good variety of cakes, sweets, coffee and tea. The furnishing are nice, with couches as seats at some tables. Prices are mid-high range but worth every single cent.


  • Al B&B Vatican St Peter, Via Gregorio VII, 90, (+39) 06 39367483, [5]. New Bed & Breakfast built in 2008, 300 metres from Vaticano clean spacious rooms, all with deprived bath and shower hydro massage. From € 30 pp.
  • Al Centro di Roma B&B (Al Centro di Roma), Piazza Sant'Andrea della Valle, 3 (Piazza Navona), +393407936216, [6]. Bed and Breakfast in the center of Rome, between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. From €90.
  • Best Pantheon, c. Vittorio Emanuele II, 21 (Piazza Navona), +393358714840, [7]. New B&B, modern and elegant.Situated in the very heart of Rome. More information, availability and booking on our website. From €90.
  • La Piccola Maison (La Piccola Maison), Via dei Cappuccini, 30 (Metro Barberini), +39 0642016331, [8]. checkin: 11:00; checkout: 13:00. La Piccola Maison is located a historical building in a refined atmosphere close to the main sites of interests (the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Villa Borghese, etc.). This town house has been recently renovated private rooms (equipped with a/c, flat TV, mini fridge and welcome kit). Nearest metro is "Barberini". 10 minutes from the railway station "Termini". €70-200.
  • Relais Rome Sweet Home Navona', Via dei Barbieri 18, +390669924833, [9]. Relais located between Campo dei Fiori and Piazza Navona. Rooms with private bathroom , air-conditioning, free wireless and Sat Tv. Prices from €140 per night..
  • La Piccola Maison (La Piccola Maison), Via dei Cappuccini, 30 (Metro stop Barberini), +39 0642016331, [10]. checkin: 09:00; checkout: 13:00. La Piccola Maison is located in renovated historical building. Private rooms equipped with bathroom, air conditioning, flat TV, mini fridge and welcome kit. Wood floor and Venetian glass lights. 100 metres from metro "Barberini". On the second floor, but there is a goods elevator for heavy luggage. €70-200 double.
  • Moses Fountain Guest House Rome (Moses Fountain Guest House Rome), Via 20 Settembre 98L, [11]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Rome's latest luxury guest house located in the historical city centre. all rooms have jacuzzi bathrooms. From €180.


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