Walks in Rome – Route 7
From Piazza SS. Apostoli to S.Maria Maggiore
This walk will take us trough the Trevi and Monti rioni (neighborhoods),which border on each other yet maintain two distinctly different atmospheres; the first is dominated by the imposing presence of the Quirinale Palace, home to the Predident of Italy, an impressive collection of buildings overlooking the entire center of Rome. The second, more intimate and down-to-earth, is filled with a wonderful sence of pride in its twisted narrow streets and medieval buildings. Starting at the Valentini Palace, located on the busy Via Quattro Novembre, we walk for a few minutes and find ourselves in a land of long a go as our gaze goes out over the Forum of Trajan. Next to the column dedicated to the famous Roman Emperor,we find the churches of Santa Maria di Loreto and Santissimo Nome di Maria at the beginning of the Imperial Forum. We head on Via Magnanapoli and pass the churches of Santa Caterina and SS. Domenico and Sisto.
We continue up the Salita del Grillo passing the impressive Torre delle Milizie and come to the small Grillo Palace. Here we find ourselves immersed in the 18th century when the famous Marquis of Grillo lived next door to the nights of Rhodes. After this step-back in time, we continue up Via Magnanapoli and take Via Panisperna turning into the first street on the left – Via Mazzarino. Here we find the Church of S.Agata dei Goti with its lovely courtyard of greenery. Following the street we come out on Via Nazionale passing the building of the Bank of Italy. Next we come to Via XXIV Maggio and the Church of San Silvestro al Quirinale who’s garden is famous for hosting the first meeting between Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna.
Across the road a high wall hides from view the Pallavicini Palace with its garden housing the pavilion of Aurora which takes its name fron the famous fresco by Guido Reni. Now we have arrived in Piazza del Quirinale, once the home of the popes. In the center of the square is the famous fountain of the Dioscuri.
On the opposite side of the Quirinal Palace we’ll see the Consulta Palace by Ferdinando Fuga. Going down the ancient Pia road, now called Via del Quirinale , we come face to face with the works of two of the baroque’s most famous artists, Bernini and Borromini. The former represented by the Church of S.Andrea al Quirinale and the letter by theChurch of S. Carlino.
We arrive now at the intersection of Quattro Fontane where we can see, one one side, the Barberini Palace home of the National Gallery of Ancien Art, and the busy Via Nazionale on the other, one of Rome’s main thorough fares. Here we’ll find many curious little surprises, such as the medieval Church of San Vitale hidden besides the massive Exhibition Palace and the neo-gothic Church of St. Paul inside the walls. Here we can see the only mosaics designed by the English artist Burne-Jones.
Turning down Via Napoli we arrive at Via del Viminale and the world renowned Teatro dell’Opera (Opera Theatre), restored by the famous architect Piacentini. Next Via Torino takes us to Piazza dell’Esquilino where we finish our walk admiring the two paleochristian churches of Santa Prassede and Santa Prudenziana (located on Via Urbana) and the impressive Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.