Walks in Rome – Route 4
From Pincio to Fontana di Trevi
This itinerary takes us trough three “rioni” (neighborhoods): Campo Marzio, Trevi and Colonna (look for the old marble claque immured here and there along the streets). The area’s aristocratic palaces, monumental churches, residential villas, luxury hotels, first-class restaurants an designer boutiques bear ample evidence of its past as the social center of the city. And yet throughout the Middle ages, when the ancient acqueducts had fallen out of use and Romans were forced to draw their own water from the Tiber, this part of Rome was essentially deserted, beinf far from the river: Such name as “Via Capo le Case” (beginning of the houses) and “S.Andrea delle fratte” (of the bushes) attest to the area’s rural nature. By the sixteenth century, after several Popes reactivated many of ancient acqueducts, the once-neglected neighbourhood suddenly became a heaven because now its slight elevation made it cooler, airier and less prone to malaria. Villa Medici and Villa Borghese are two reminders of the fine aristocratic homes built here in those years. Soon many petty noblemen were following the earlier examples, but the area’s wildest population boom occurred in the 1799s, when waves of artists and foreigners began flocking to the area, Soon Romans had labelled Trinità dei Monti and the neighboring streets “the English Ghetto”. Today, this part of Rome offers some of its breathtaking surprises – Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps are only two- along with numerous internationally renowed museums and cultural centers including the Accademia di S.Luca, the National Print gallery, Villa Medici.
If you have chosen this route it means that instead of frenetic shopping in the center, you would prefer a more relaxing and harmonious stroll. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Pincio, but also take a look at the organization of the urban spaces. Other that the splendid square and the famous view, you’ll also notice the smaller things such as the Orologio ad Acqua (the water clock), or the Mose salvato dale acque fountain, and even the Fratelli Cairoli, martyrs from the Risorgimento period. You will see outstanding thing such as the Casina Valadier. By walking down Viale Gabriele D’Annunzio, you reach Villa Medici, the noteworthy renaissance construction which contains a splendid Italian style garden. Continuing on just for few metres, you’ll be facing the Church of Trinita dei Monti which dominates the famous Spanish Steps . Once you have admired the view, go down Via Gregoriana and at number 28 you’ll see a typical façade belongs to Palazzo Zuccari, not incindentally nicknamed “the house of monsters”, Continue going down and you will come out on Via Capo le Case, a street which once marked the city limits. You’ll find the Propaganda Fide Palace, and opposite that, the Church di S.Andrea delle Fratte, which houses the two angels sculpted by Bernini for Ponte S.Angelo. The Aqueduct Vergine ruins built by Romans, are next to the church. Just a few metres from that, you’ll find Del Bufalo Palace. At this point crossing Via del Tritone we move towards the mythical Fontana di Trevi. But before getting there, let’s take a small detour to see Palazzo Carpegna, which presently houses the S.Luca Academy. Finally we are now in Piazza Fontana di Trevi. Look at it, contemplate its beauty, and throw the traditional coin the fountain, but don’t try to imitate anita Ekberg in the movie “La Dolce Vita”. Before continuing towards Via dei Lucchesi, take a look at the three churches which surround the square. They are SS Vincenzo and Anastasio, commissioned by Cardinale Mazzarino, S.Maria in Trivio, which also gave the name to the quarter and finally, a little farther away, the seventeenth century church S.Maria in Via. People from Tuscany who have lived in this area including Via dei Lucchesi were even able to have a church called S.Croce e S.Bonaventura de’ Lucchesi. Once you’ve passed the church and reached Piazza della Pilotta where the Gregorian University is, turn right and you’ll arrive in Piazza SS. Apostoli, where the same name church and Palazzo Odescalchi are facing each other. At this point the walk is almost at the end. Make an extra effort and let yourself into Via del Corso and go towards the right. Here you’ll see the Church of San Marcello with its concave façade and its interior full of sixteenth century art. Above all, when you reach Piazza dell’Oratorio, you can see a building which is not well-know even by the locals, the Galleria Sciarra, one of the more original examples of the “Art nouveau” culture in Rome