Cusco was the most important city in the Empire, and the place of residence of the elite. The city was organized around a central plaza where the roads lead to the four provincial governments.
Important architecture in Cusco includes palaces and schools that were built for the elite, temples such as Coricancha, or temple of the Sun, and a very important network of roads.
"…As soon as we landed in Sydney, we fell in love with the city.
“Our” Sydney is the charming botanical gardens, the beach, the opera house, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Taronga Zoo, The Harbor Bridge, strolling around in the shops before Christmas, the NSW gallery, Sydney Tower, Paddington’s market, cheap backpackers, and Kings Cross".
We felt like going back to the islands as we felt we had missed some of it during our previous tour. We arrived to the islands quickly; exploring some shops, and continuing to the Latin square. The streets and alleys were full of people, the restaurants were open and the shops were lovely. We just randomly walked around, to smell, see, and watch, until we became tired. We looked for an ATM to withdraw some cash, and also for something to eat. We checked both tasks and it was already evening, and it's time to go back to our apartment.
Orientation: Stunning architecture, nature scenery, marvelous hidden gems in the heart of London. (18 June 2013).
Start: Edgware Road Station.
End: Paddington Station.
Duration time: 1 day walk.
From Edgware Road station head southeast toward Old Marylebone Rd/Sussex Gardens. Turn left onto Old Marylebone Rd.Turn left onto Cabbell St. You see a nice display, full with character, of Cabbell Street Hyde Park Mansions on your right:
Step back. Walk southeast on Cabbell St toward Old Marylebone Rd. Turn right onto Old Marylebone Rd. Keep on walking into Sussex Gardens Road. Turn right onto Norfolk Pl. Turn left toward London St. Turn right onto London St. The Norfolk Square Gardens are on your right. The square itself is surrounded by a number of fine buildings:
Head northwest on London St toward Norfolk Square. Turn left toward Sheldon Square (you'll pass a few obstacles due to the massive construction built around the NEW Paddington Station !). The Crossrail station at Paddington (scheduled to open in 2017) will be constructed under Eastbourne Terrace and Departures Road, with subsurface links to both the concourse of Paddington mainline and underground lines. PaddingtonCentral The main entrance to the Hammersmith and City line station, is scheduled to be fully operational in 2013, delivering a new concourse entrance fronting onto the Paddington Basin canal (see later) and linking directly into the newly completed taxi drop-off.
Another route: Head north along London St. Turn left to Praed Road, turn right to Spring St., take the first turn to the right (after passing the bustling reconstruction project of the Paddington St.) to the Bishoph's Bridge Road.
Turn left toward Sheldon Square. You get a stunning view on one of the magical spots of the new architectural wave or trend passing over London - the PaddingtonCentral. Like being in an amphitheatre with views across Paddington station and beyond. The space comprises of an amphitheatre designed with grass terraces. There are various pieces of public art throughout the space itself and along the nearby adjacent canal towpath.
The Paddington Branch ( section of the Grand Union Canal) is to your right, north-east side of the square or PaddingtonCentral complex. Find the Paddington towpath along the canal and head forward passing under the Westway bridge.
Take one of the small bridges to pass to the right (north) bank of the canal (before or beyond the Westway Bridge). Keep walking along You are, now, in the famous Little Venice. This is a nice little area just outside the hustle and bustle of London. Call in for a bit of relaxation. There is a coffee bar/boat there and there are also trips up the canal to Camden which are quite reasonably priced for the duration of the journey. In case you find yourself in Warwick Avenue - turn left to the Blomfield Road which continues north-west along the canal. Another alternative is to walk along Warwick Ave. until you arrive to the Rembrandt Gardens (Warwick Ave. x Howley Place). From there you can get a different perspective on Little Venice:
Stroll along the side of the canal to watch the barges go past:
You may cross the canal over the bridge leading to Formosa Road on our right. I recommend standing on the middle of this bridge and taking photos of the barges passing-by:
We turn right to Formosa Road. Pay attention and don't miss the fourth alley to the left. A beautiful small road Elnathan Mews:
A bit behind Elnathan Mews alley, along the Formosa Rd. you find the the Prince Alfred Pub (see Tip below). Have a look at the Victorian mansions around this restaurant:
From Formosa Road, near the PA Pub, turn right back to Warwick Avenue. Take the road back (south-east). You may compete our daily itinerary by taking the tube from Warwick Avenue station. Continuing south-east, turn left to Howley Place. In the Junction of Howley Place with Park Place (left) and St. Mary Terrace (right) you find, again, a pretty collection of Victorian mansions (Park Place Villas):
Turn right to St Mary's Terrace. Head southeast on St. Mary's Terrace toward Porteus Rd. Turn left onto St. Mary's Square (the third junction to the left). Continue straight onto Paddington Green and the City of Westminster College (Paddington Green Centre) is on your left. A stunning building opened in January 2011:
Enter the college to appreciate its interiors. You are allowed to visit the wholesite and take photos only with a formal permission. Don't miss the plaque on red-brick building opposite the City of Westminster College - a previous children's hospital founded in 1883:
Near the college and the old hospital, in Paddington Green, stands Sara Siddon's statue, theatre actor, 1735-1881:
Pack your rest of your strength. You'll need another 30-40 minutes of walk - heading to Paddington Basin. Do not give up - it is a stunning site.
From Paddington Green Road turn left onto Harrow Rd. Turn right onto Edgware Road. Turn right onto Praed St (near the Devonshire Pharmacy). Turn right. again, turn right. Turn left and the Paddington Basin will be on the left. Paddington Basin has undergone a lot of improvements during recent years. I loved the regeneration project. It is admirable. Just hope it doesn't go so far as to destroy the character of the neighborhood or displace too many households. Make no mistake you get a great walk here. I recommend making a stroll around the basin. I was somewhat surprised at how many storefronts on the ground level were still vacant. The basin is now the centre of a major redevelopment as part of the wider Paddington Waterside scheme and is surrounded by modern buildings:
Paddington Basin is the site of the Rolling Bridge, built in 2004:
The Paddington Underground Station is 5 minutes walk from the basin.
The main attractions: The Nautical School, Bernie Spain Gardens, Oxo Tower, Blackfriars Bridge and Pub, Stationers Hall Court, Paternoster Square, 1 New Change Shopping Centre, The Guildhall.
Start: Southwark Station.
End: St. Paul Station.
Weather: A full day (architecture, history, shopping, wonderful sights) in a cloudy or even rainy day.
From Southwark station head north on Blackfriars Rd toward Scoresby St. Turn left at Scoresby St. Turn slightly right onto Joan St. Turn right onto Hatfields Rd. Turn left onto Stamford St and walk until numer 61. The Nautical School will be on the left (or: Hatfields Rd 17). Look at the porticos under the roof:
Head northeast on Stamford St toward Broadwall. Turn left at Broadwall and turn right toward Upper Ground of Bernie Spain Gardens:
Walk in the gardens and exit near the Thames river and walk eastward to the Oxo Tower (all in the South Bank !). On your right the old & new Blackfriars Bridges:
Do not miss the the views from the Public Viewing Gallery on the 8th floor of Oxo Tower:
You continue eastward to the Blackfriars Bridge. I recommend that you go, first, under the bridge to see the pretty tiled panels sponsered and donated by Thomas Doggett:
Cross the Blackfriars Bridge on your way to the Northern Bank. In the end of the bridge, on your right, in Queen Victoria Street you see the marvelous exterior of the Blackfriars Pub:
Head east on Queen Victoria St toward Black Friars Lane. Turn left onto Black Friars Ln. Slight left onto Ludgate Broadway. Turn right onto Pilgrim St. Turn right onto Ludgate Hill. Opposite stand the St. Paul Cathedral:
Turn left toward Ave Maria Ln. Turn right onto Ave Maria Ln. On the right stands the Worshipful Co building and yard Of Stationers & Newspaper Makers. Nowadays a posh ceremonies hall. Try to find the Chef (Awati or Paul born in Algier Town) to get a permission for entering this marvelous hall:
Head north on Ave Maria Ln. Turn right, turn right again and turn left. You are now in the magnificient Paternoster Square:
You can spend at least 2-3 hours visiting the St. Paul Cathedral. In case you prefer to avoid the hefty entrance price - I suggest you to skip the Cathedral and keep walking to the 1 New Change Shopping Centre. This stunning attraction does not fall short of the famous cathedral. This is the most fantastic free view of London and St. paul Cathedral. The shopping Centre itself is fabolous and you can adopt our tip to dine in the Nando's restaurant on the 2nd. floor. The One New Change Centre is a photographers' gem: the St. Paul reflection on every floor stop (with the glass elevator), the wonderful roof and the magnificient views over London and St. paul Cathedral. Let the pictures talk for themselves:
Head northwest on New Change, slight right to stay on New Change. Turn right onto Cheapside Street. On your right stands St Mary-le-Bow church. This church, designed by Christopher Wren. It offers a nice sanctuary from the noise and chaos of the financial district it is located in:
Head east on Cheapside toward Bow Ln. Turn left onto King St. Turn right onto Gresham St. The Guildhall will be on the left. You'll surprised at the beauty of this building. Opening hours are hazardous. You'll be excited to hear that it is open and you may be going inside the elegant building free of chargee.
Guildhall is divided up into several different halls but the Great Hall is where the Court of Common Council meet to decide City of London policy and these meetings are open to the public.
The inside is equally nice with interesting statues, stain glass, and murals. There is much history and interesting sights that make this piece of London a valuable visit. Guildhall's many rooms are decorated with emblems of numerous City, as are the stained-glass windows together with details of hundreds of Lord Mayors of the City of London since 1189.There are plenty of memorial statutes on display and tributes to many of those who have made London great.
Lambeth Parks and Gardens - 2 hours walk:
Can be combined with the itinerary of lambeth and the Archbishoph's Park route.
Start & End: Waterloo TUBE Station.
Distance: 3-4 km. Suitable for a rainy day.
Origin: Get Walking - Keep Walking web. http://www.getwalking.org/walking-routes/london-walking-routes/parks-gardens-railway-arches/
From the Waterloo TUBE station turn left on Waterloo Rd. Head up Waterloo Road, past the Old Vic and crossing The Cut. Go under the railway line, cross Exton Street and enter St John the Evangelist Church churchyard through the large metal gates to the right of the church. The church was designed by Francis Bedford and is one of several churches built in 1822-4 to commemorate Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. The church was badly bombed in WW2 and in 1951 was restored. Walk around the gardens to the left and exit through a small metal gate into Secker Street. Turn left and then right. Turn left into Cornwall Road. Walk to the end of the road and turn right into Stamford Street. Cross the road via the controlled crossing and turn left into Coin Street. On the left is the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre:
Look out for the ITV building at the end of the street. Turn right, into Upper Ground, and follow this street, passing upper Ground Market Place on the left. Walk into the Spain Gardens on the right.
This garden is named after local resident and campaigner Bernadette Spain. These gardens occupy the site of the former Eldorado Ice Cream Company premises.
Walk to the left around the gardens. Where the path turns to the right, take the exit on the left and exit via a small metal gate. You are now in Stamford Street. Do not miss the impressive pillared building on your way (Stamford Street 57):
Cross Stamford Street using the zebra crossing and enter Hatfields. In the days of rural Lambeth, there were fields here where beaver skins were prepared for hat manufacture. On the right, there are enclosed sports pitches and next to them a grassed area with trees, Hatfields Green. Beyond this a small enclosed garden, which is visible on the Peabody Estate. Turn left into Meymott Street, then left at Colombo Street and left again into Paris Garden (sadly, there is no actual garden here today) next to the Rose & Crown public house. Spain Gardens which are on the right. Turn right into Christchurch Gardens behind the Rose and Crown; to gain access, you have to walk through the pubs beer garden. Walk past the church so that it is on your right hand side. Turn right immediately after the end of the church and exit into Blackfriars Road immediately opposite some railway arches across the road. Turn right until you reach a controlled crossing. Use this crossing to cross Blackfriars Road and turn left and then right into Burrell Street, next to the railway arches. Walk under the railway arch and at the end of the road, you will see a Holiday Inn Express Hotel. Cross Southwark Street using the controlled crossing and turn left and then right into Hopton Street. A short distance down on the right-hand side of Hopton Street are Hopton’s Almshouses. The Almshouses were founded by fishmonger Charles Hopton. The 26 Almshouses for ‘poor decayed men’ of the parish were erected in 1746-9 and opened in 1752. Re-trace your steps back to the Holiday Inn Express Hotel on the corner of Burrell Street. Walk past the hotel and turn left into Bear Lane. Walk down Bear Street until you reach the White Hart public house and turn right into Dolben Street. If Bear Street is still blocked, then turn right into Treveris Street. Walk under the railway arch and turn left until you reach Gambia Street and turn left. Walk under the railway arch and turn left into Gambia Street. Walk down Gambia Street under another railway arch until you reach Union Street (there is no evident road sign but you will be opposite the Lord Nelson Public House):
Walk down beside the Pub, to reach Nelson Square. The gardens here were originally for the use of residents of the square, but in 1903, the owner Viscount Halifax gave the site to the London County Council. Enter the gardens through the grey gates immediately opposite. Walk around the garden to the right, passing a blue sports pitch. Enter the rose garden between two low walls and head for the exit in the far bottom left hand corner. Exit the square through a small path between a white painted building and a block of flats. You are now back in Blackfriars Road. Cross Blackfriars Road using the island crossing immediately on your right, watching out for traffic. (If necessary walk further down the road and use the controlled crossing). Turn left and immediately right into Ufford Street, which boasts some very attractive buildings:
Walk up the street and cross Short Street. Shortly on your right will be the entrance to a recreation ground, Ufford Street Recreation Ground. Walk through the recreation ground and exit at the other side. You are now in Mitre Road. Turn left and walk to the end of the road and cross to the other side of Webber Street and turn right and then left at the Old Vic Theatre. The Old Vic was opened in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre and changed to the Victoria Theatre in 1833. In 2003, Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey was appointed artistic director. Re-trace your steps back in Waterloo Rd. to the Waterloo Tube Station.
Margate is not "high class" or poshy city. It relys upon its past glamour, nostalgia and seaside amusements. It is still called "Merry Margate". I visited the town at a sunny weekend day. The town was packed with day-trippers after long winter months and many years of decline...
The opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery in 2011 gave Margate a big wake - followed by openings of many retro shops and small galleries. I found Margate fueld with new energy, atristic buzz, clean beaches and roads and big expectations.
Weather: Come only in a sunny day.
Duration: One day is enough...
Start & End: Margate train station. 5 minutes walk to the beach. 7-8 minutes walk to the OLd Town. 12 minutes walk to the Turner Museum.
Margate's Marine Terrace is a shabby one with rough charm. The seafront is very picturesque from the hill opposite the train station (Buenos Aires Rd.), from the Harbour Arm evoking the city's 19th-century heyday. Walking from the train station to the Turner Gallery - the sea is on your left and the Old Town on your right. You pass the famous Flmingo bar, Margate's iconic Dreamland (a past theme park which is under refurbishment and reconstruction which will last for years). It is currently restored to be a site of seaside entertainment.
On your left the golden Margate Sands beach: a family-friendly delight. Looks more as an amusement park.
Behind the Turner Gallerry, along the beach starts a steep climb from the main town to a the suburb of Cliftonville with its famous historic Walpole Bay hotel, sandy Walpole Beach and bandstand (live music every Sunday) and Farmers Market (every last Sunday in month) - all during the summer. Far more remote are the Botany Bay and Minnis Bays beaches.
The Harbour Arm:
Margate's stone pier stands opposite the Old Town and Turner Gallery. It is lined with small cafe's, bars, studios and galleries (past old coal stores). In its end stands the famous lighthouse and the bronze statue "Shell Lady" - a homage to Mrs. Booth Turner's lover and landlady.
The Old Town:
Margate reputation and beauty relies upon its compact old town as well: retro shops, small sunny squares, narrow alleys, studios, galleries, flowers, packed cafe's and good restaurants. The undisputed hub here is the small square - Market Place:
Turner Contemporary Gallery:
A white house on the east side of the harbour. It is a modern art gallery. No pictures of Turner ! Fantastic vies of the sea, pier and harbour from its enormous, light-flooded windows. Eclectic place with interesting changing exhibitions and relaxing atmosphere. Free admission. Do not miss !
Views of the harbour from Turner Galley's windows:
The Shell Grotto:
A private attraction with a small gigt-shop run by the Newlove family sons. Reached by a short walk of 10 minutes from the Old Town. It is an extraordinary experience which lasts for no more than 5-15 minutes. Hallways and chambres walls covered with millions of shells. Admission: 3 GBP. Daily 10.00 -16.00. Fabolous gift shop.
A very charming place to visit when in London. Lively neighborhood surrounded by great parks and fluent with restaurants, stalls, colors, vibrant activities and, above all, markets. Doing the whole route, allowing time for shopping, dining, talking with people around - will take the whole day. We offered two-three shortcuts. You can combine this itinerary with the Holland Park itinerary. On Saturdays Portobello Road may be unbelievably packed!
Start: Notting Hill Gate tube station.
End: Holland Park tube station or Notting Hill Gate tube station or Kensington High Street tube station.
Distance: maximal: 10 km (or 7 km. or 8.5 km). Bit of a walk - but worth it.
Note: Ladbroke Grove Station is on the route
From Notting Hill Gate tube station head WEST on Notting Hill Gate toward Pembridge Gardens. Turn right onto Pembridge Rd. Go through 1 roundabout. Turn left onto Portobello Road:
Number 20 is the Retro Woman shop (and also No. 32).
Number 22 in Portobello Rd. has a blue plaque (2nd. floor) to George Orwell:
No. 34 is the Retro Man shop. Retro Man boasts a full selection of retro (obviously) clothing from about 50's/60's to mid 80's:
We start at the southerm most tip of Portobello Road. There are antiques & collectables at the southern end, fruit & vegetables in the centre and new & second-hand goods at the northern end. The Portobello Market began in the 1860/70s as a herb and horse-trading centre for local gypsies.
Have a glance at the Denbigh Close picturesque alley:
On the next turn to the right (Denbigh Terrace) -
Look on your LEFT at interesting sign posts: Portobello Gold (Hotel and Bar) No. 93-95 (the presidential Clinton family had dropped for a beer, here, in year 2000):
Continuing more to the north along Portobello Road you cross Wetbourne Grove/Ladbroke Gardens.From here, the second turn to the right is Lonsdale Road. Turn right into Lonsdale and after crossing Denbigh Road, you'll see on your left the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising. The museum starts from the 1800s all the way up to the present date. If you enjoy looking at old artifacts and seeing the progression of brand names and labels you will love this. Admission: Adults: £6.50, Children (7 - 16): £2.25, Family: £15.00, Concessions: £4.00. Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 10,00 - 18.00, Sunday: 11.00 - 17.00, Monday: Closed, except bank holidays.
Return to Denbigh Road and turn left to Colville Terrace - to return to Portobello Road. At Colville Terrace begins the daily vegetable and fruit market (09:00 – 18:00 Monday To Wednesday):
On your left, Portobello No. 191, stands the Electric Cinema, from year 1910, said to be the oldest, operating cinema in Great Britain. It has survived two world wars, including a bombing.
Turn right onto Colville Terrace. Walk 320 m. and turn left onto Powis Square. Continue onto Powis Terrace. Note on your right the Hedgegate Court:
Both of Powis Terrace sides are with lovely terraced Georgian white-washed houses. On your left (formal address is Talbot Road) is the Tabernacle ( see our tip on food in Notting Hill):
Return to Portobello Road, through Talbot Road. The northern part of Portobello Road is, actually, in Kensington. No need to walk until the north-most end of Portobelo Road. Walk until Portobello meets Golborne Road. At their junction and along Golborne Rd. you meet the Golborne Flea Market which is fully active on Fridays and Saturdays:
Try to spot Wall Grafittis along Portobello Road, Golborne Road or adjacent roads in Notting Hill (or Kensington). They appear/disappear every month. Some of then may be found in Notting Hill Gate main road as well. As far as I understand these wonderful paintings are under the Portobello Road Arts Project control: https://www.facebook.com/PortobelloWall http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/leisureandlibraries/culture/artsservices/portobelloroadartsproject.aspx
Turn right in Golborne Road and enjoy its Spanish and Portuguese restaurants, cafes and Patisseries like the Plaza or Lisboa ones:
From Golborne Road, turn right into Bevington Road, right along Blagrove Road and right again into Acklam Road (on your left is the Bay Sixty6 Skate Park) to bring you back to Portobello Road:
If you go right along Cambridge Gardens (continuation of Acklam Road after a short break), alongside Portobello Green - Stalls are set up under the awnings on some days. The Heart of Portobello Market, in Portobello Green, is a socially-responsible, people's market. The market operates Friday to Sunday. H.E.A.R.T= Handicraft, Entrepreneurs, Artists, Retro, and Talent. Friday - Antiques, Retro, Art Deco, Vintage
Saturday - Fashion Market, Designer Clothes, Jewellery and Accessories
Sunday - Bric-a-Brac, Clothes, Books, CDs and records etc.
We are back in the Portobello Road. Turn left through to Tavistock Road. Alongside is a small park. On Tavistock, the second turn to the right is the All Saints Road. Walk in All Saints until its end. Turn right at Westbourne Park Road and than left, back along Portobello Road.
Walk back (southward) along Portobello Road until it meets Talbot Road (left) and Blenheim Crescent (right, west). Turn right to Blenheim Crescent to see on No. 4 (on your right) the famous Books for Cooks red restaurant-cafe': where recipes from the latest books are prepared and...sold. Cookbooks are put to the test in their café at the back of the shop, while cookery classes take place in the demonstration kitchen upstairs:
A bit further, along Blenheim Crescent, on your right, was The Travel Bookshop, inspiration for the location of the famous 1999 film Notting Hill, in which Hugh Grant was the assistant and met Julia Roberts. At 13-15 Blenheim Crescent, the real Travel Bookshop traded for over 30 years but ceased trading in 2011. Another bookshop has opened in its place (the Notting Hill Bookshop)..
Return back to the Portobello Road and turn RIGHT to walk again on Portobello Road (southward). Pass Elgin Crescent and Vernon Yard, on your right and at the 3rd turn RIGHT at Westbourne Grove (it continues as Ladbroke Gardens). At Westbourne Grove No. 291, on your left, you'll see the 20th Century Cinema opened in 1866 as the Victoria Hall, later becoming the Bijou. On June 1st 1999, the 20th Century Theatre entered a new era of its history as a venue for art and photography exhibitions, private receptions, product and book launches, fashion shows, fashion sample sales, fairs, and most importantly, a restored and liberated landmark. Once one of London's "ghost" theatres, it was saved from obscurity by the owner.The theatre is now a Grade II, listed, English Heritage building.
Turn left along Kensington Park Road. We arrive to a building with of notable architectural quality - Saint Peter's Notting Hill Church, (Kensington Park Rd. opposite Stanley Gardens):
The classical St Peter's church was designed by Thomas Allom in 1855 along with the surrounding housing in an Italianate style. Head northwest on Kensington Park Rd toward Stanley Gardens, turn left onto Stanley Gardens, turn left onto Stanley Crescent, turn right onto Kensington Park Gardens and turn right onto Ladbroke Grove. The houses are separated by attractive private gardens. Turn left onto Lansdowne Crescent and you'll see on your left the impressive St. John's Notting Hiil Church. St John’s Church is at the top of a hill, surrounded by the communal gardens and crescents of the Ladbroke Grove estate. The estate was laid out in the 1840s, and is therefore contemporary with the church at its centre:
Continue along Lansdowne Crescent until its end and turn right onto Ladbroke Grove. Your direction in Ladbroke Grove is south-east.
If you are really exhausted walk until Ladbroke Grove's end. On your right, in Holland Park is the Holland Park tube station and on your left, in Notting Hill Gate Rd is the Notting Hill Gate tube station.
In case you are still fit to make a short detour - continue along Ladbroke Square Road until its end.On the left is Ladbroke Square. Ladbroke is the largest of London's private squares.
At the end go right along Kensington Park Road. To the right is the Kensington Temple. Today, Kensington Temple is an international congregation drawing over 110 nationalities together.
Kensington Park Rd continues (south) as Pembridge Road back to Notting Hill Gate. Turn left to see the Notting Hill Gate tube station.
To continue the walk, cross to view, on you right, the Gate Cinema then go to the right (west) along to the Coronet Cinema. Built in 1898 as a theatre this converted to a cinema 20 years later.
Turn left to Hillgate Street alongside the Coronet then right along Uxbridge Street. Left at Farm Place then left along Hillgate Place.
This area was developed in the 1850s but by 1861 most of the houses were in multiple occupation. At the end go right into Jameson Street and left at Kensington Place. If you are exhausted, at this point, turn LEFT to Kensington Church Street, walk until its end and turn left to Notting Hill Gate road to meet the Notting Hill Gate tube station.
Otherwise, whilst in the area you may like to visit the KENSINGTON ROOF GARDEN: a series of themed gardens; Tudor, Spanish and English Woodland.turn right to Kensington Church Street, walk until its end, turn right to Kensington High Street and, immediately, LEFT to Derry Street. The roof gardens are accessible from Derry Street, through a doorway marked "99 Kensington High Street". The gardens are not visible from Kensington High Street. The property can be identified by the Virgin flags flying from the top of the building. The gardens are open to the public unless pre-booked by a private party.
Return from Derry Street (north) to Kensington High Street and turn left to meet the tube station.
From Castel Sant'Angelo to Fontana di Trevi:
Main attractions: Castel Sant'Angelo, Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo, Ponte Sant'Angelo, Palace of Justice, Ponte Vittorio Emmanuele II, Ponte Principe Amedeo, Basilica St. Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini, Via Giulia, Piazza Farnese, Palazzo Spada, PIazza Campo de Fiori, Palazzo Cancelleria, Palazzo Braschi, Piazza Navona, Church of Santa Maria dell'Anima, Church of Santa Maria della Pace, Basilica di Sant'Agostino, Piazza della Rotonda and the Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi.
Duration: 1 day. Allow 2 hours in Castel Sant'Angelo. Allow, at least 1 hour to Via Giulia. Allow, at least 1 hour to Galleria Spada / Palazzo Cancelleria / Palazzo Braschi. Allow 1 hour to Piazza Navona and its buildings. Allow 1 hour to Pza. della Rotonda and the pantheon. Allow 1/2 hour to Fontan di Trevi. All in all - a busy day. We left the fountains and the refreshing squares to the end of this route.
Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel), is a cylindrical building/tower in Parco Adriano east to the Vatican, on the Tiber river bank. Castel Sant'Angelo was designed by the architect Demitriano and built between 123 and 129 A.D. according to the wishes of Emperor Hadrian, to serve as his mausoleum. The building was later used by the Popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. Metro Line A: Lepanto station. Bus lines 80, 87, 280 and 492 will get you close to the Castle. From the center near the Piazza Farnese, it is a very nice walk down the Via Giulia and then, after a right turn at the Tiber, a walk over the Sant'Angelo Bridge.
The tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian was erected between 130 AD and 139 AD. Hadrian's ashes were placed here a year after his death in 138 AD, together with those of his wife Sabina, and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138 AD. The remains of succeeding emperors were also placed here, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in 217 AD. Hadrian also built the Ponte Sant'Angelo (once the Aelian Bridge) facing straight onto the mausoleum. This bridge still provides a scenic approach from the center of Rome and the right bank of the Tiber, and is renowned for the Baroque additions of statues of angels. Much of the tomb contents and decorations have been lost since the building's conversion to a military fortress in 401 and its subsequent inclusion in the Aurelian Walls by Flavius Augustus Honorius. The Castle was sacked in 410 AD by the Vizigoths and, again, by the attacking Goths when they besieged Rome in 537 AD. Legend holds that the Archangel Michael appeared atop the mausoleum, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590, thus lending the castle its present name. The popes converted the structure into a castle, beginning in the 14th century; Pope Nicholas III connected the castle to St Peter's Basilica by a covered fortified corridor called the Passetto di Borgo. The fortress was the refuge of Pope Clement VII from the siege of Charles V's. Leo X built a chapel with a Madonna by Raffaello da Montelupo. In 1536 Montelupo also created a marble statue of Saint Michael holding his sword after the 590 plague. Montelupo's statue was replaced by a bronze statue of the same subject, executed by the Flemish sculptor Peter Anton von Verschaffelt, in 1753.
Verschaffelt's is still in place and Montelupo's can be seen in an open court in the interior of the Castle.
The Papal state also used Sant'Angelo as a prison; Giordano Bruno (his statue is in Campo di Fiori), for example, was imprisoned there for six years. Another prisoner was the sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini. Executions were performed in the small inner courtyard. As a prison, it was also the setting for the third act of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca; the heroine of the opera leaps to her death from the Castel's ramparts...
This building also attracts less tourists than places like the Vatican or the Colosseum, so the atmosphere is fun and relaxing. There is not big queue but you can always book tickets online.
Castle Sant'Angelo in the night:
The castle is now a museum, the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo. Open Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 09.00 - 18.30. Closed Mondays. 10.50 euros each to enter the Castle. Those between 18 and 25 years of age get in for half price, and visiting is free for EU citizens under 18 and over 65. An audio guide for an additional 5 euros. No need to order tickets in advance. Credit Cards are not accepted. THEY DON'T HAVE CHANGE. Bring small money. Note: if you have difficulty with climbing steps, you probably should skip this site.
The castle has great views on Rome and the Vatican and plenty of room to take pictures. The best part, though, is definitely the Terrace of the Angel at the top of the castle. It provides a panoramic view of Rome as well as Vatican City. Believe me ! one of the best places in Rome to take pictures.
The view from Castel Sant'Angelo towards Vatican City:
There are also neat works of art in the Papal apartments, which in general are interesting to explore. The Castle has five floors. The first has a winding ramp of Roman Construction, the second features the prison cells, the third is the military floor with big courtyards, the fourth is the floor of the popes, and contains the most magnificent art, and the fifth is a huge terrace with a fine view of the city. There is also a weapons room. The small yet precious picture gallery formed through the bequests of the Menotti and Contini Bonaccossi collections and was placed in the rooms of the historical apartments. The heterogeneity of the works is compensated by real value of the authors among which Crivelli, Lotto, Dossi Signorelli who stand out. There is a bit of a steep climb to get up to the first level of exhibits. Many stairs you must climb up.
The Pauline Hall (Sala Paulina):
Courtyard of Honour, once the castle ammunition store:
Cupid and Psyche at Castel Sant'Angelo:
Lorenzo Lotto - San Girolamo in Meditation (1509):
The castle has a café and bar on site on first level. Note: fill your bottle of water from near the Castle's entrance. It is free and very cold. Clean restrooms inside.
Books stalls along the Tiber river opposite the Castle:
Books stalls along the Tiber river opposite the Castle - Marchelo Mastroiani and Sophia Lauren:
Ponte Sant'Angelo, once the Aelian Bridge (Bridge of Hadrian) completed in 134 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian, to span the Tiber, from the city center to his newly constructed mausoleum, now the towering Castel Sant'Angelo. In the past, pilgrims used this bridge to reach St Peter's Basilica. For centuries after the 16th century, the bridge was used to expose the bodies of the executed. In 1535, Pope Clement VII allocated the toll income of the bridge to erecting the statues of the apostles saint Peter and Saint Paul to which subsequently the four evangelists and the patriarchs were added to other representing statues Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. In 1669 Pope Clement IX commissioned replacements for the aging stucco angels by Raffaello da Montelupo, commissioned by Paul III.
The bridge is now solely pedestrian, and provides a photogenic vista of the Castel Sant'Angelo. The bridge is overrun with hawkers spoiling the beauty of the place somewhat.
The statues on the bridge (Ponte Sant'Angelo which leads to the Castel Sant'Angelo) are just beautiful. Note: all Angels statues look feminine... The ten statues of angels that adorn the bridge were designed in 1668 by the great sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini on the order of pope Clement IX and created by Bernini and his students. The angels all hold a symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus, such as a crown of thorns, a whip, and so on.
Angel with superscription:
Angel with sponge - Antonio Giorgetti:
Angel with thorn crown on Sant Angelo Bridge:
View of St. Peter Basilica from Ponte Sant'Angelo:
Nice park (Parco Adriano) more east to the Sant'Angelo Castle with a playground. Here, you can see part of the Aurelian Wall memorial inscription of Pope Pius V:
In the east side of the Castle you'll see an impressive building - Corte Suprema di Casszione (the Supreme Court) (Palace of Justice). It fronts onto the Piazza dei Tribunali, the Via Triboniano, the Piazza Cavour, and the Via Ulpiano. The huge building is popularly called in Italian the Palazzaccio (the bad Palace). Designed by the Perugia architect Guglielmo Calderini and built between 1888 and 1910, the Palace of Justice is considered one of the grandest of the new buildings which followed the proclamation of Rome as the capital city of the Kingdom of Italy. The Court of Cassation also ensures the correct application of law in the inferior and appeal courts and resolves disputes as to which lower court (penal, civil, administrative, military) has jurisdiction to hear a given case:
Above the façade looking towards the River Tiber it is surmounted by a great bronze quadriga, set there in 1926, the work of the sculptor Ettore Ximenes from Palermo:
We head now to Ponte Vittorio Emmanuele II. It is the next bridge, to the west (with your face to Castle Sant'Angelo, to the LEFT) of Pont Sant'Angelo. Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II was designed in year 1886 by the architect Ennio De Rossi. Construction was delayed, and it was not inaugurated until 1911. The bridge across the Tiber connects the historic centre of Rome (Corso Vittorio Emanuele) and piazza Paoli with the Vatican City. The bridge commemorating Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy is carried in three arches spanning a distance of 108 metres. At the heads it is decorated with winged statues of the Goddess Victoria on pillars, while the allegorical sculpture groups on the bridge itself symbolize “The Unification of Italy”, “Freedom”, “Oppression Conquered” and “Loyalty to the State”. Although the Ponte Sant’Angelo existed already, this older bridge could no longer cope with the influx of people into the Prati district after Rome had become the capital of a unified Italy.
Ponte Sant.Angelo as seen from the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II:
We continue along the east bank of the Tiber river, leaving behind the Vittorio Emmanuele II bridge. The street along the Tiber (from the east side) is Lungotevere dei Fiorentini. We arrive now to Ponte Principe Amedeo:
We turn LEFT (EAST) to Via Acciaioli, and take the first turn to the RIGHT, Piazza dell'Oro. Here we face, on our right the Basilica St. Giovanni Battista dei Fiorentini (St John of the Florentines). Dedicated to St John the Baptist, the protector of Florence, the new church for the Florentine community in Rome was started in the 16th century and completed in early 18th and is the national church of Florence in Rome. Julius II’s successor, the Florentine Pope Leo X de Medici initiated the architectural competition for a new church in 1518 on the site of the old church of San Pantaleo. The main construction of the church was carried out between 1583-1602 under the architect Giacomo della Porta based on the Latin cross arrangement. Carlo Maderno took over from 1602-1620 and directed construction of the dome and the main body of the church completed. However, the main façade, based on a design by Alessandro Galilei was not finished until 1734.
In 1634, the Roman Baroque painter and architect, Pietro da Cortona, was asked by the Florentine nobleman, Orazio Falconieri, to design the High Altar. Some twenty to thirty years later, Falconieri resurrected the choir project but gave the commission to the Baroque architect, Francesco Borromini who changed the design to allow for the burial of Orazio's brother Cardinal Lelio Falconieri. After Borromini died in 1667, the work was completed and partly modified by Cortona and on his death in 1669, by Ciro Ferri, Cortona’s pupil and associate:
Scarlatti Chapel - St. Francis before the Sultan - Pomarancio, 1540-1550:
The Basilica's main façade fronts onto the Via Giulia. This straight street was an urban initiative, carried out in 1508 by the architect Donato Bramante at the instigation of Pope Julius II Della Rovere. It was one of the first important urban planning projects in Renaissance Rome.
Via Giulia was designed by Pope Julius II. It was planned as a new thoroughfare through the heart of Rome and the first European example since Antiquity of urban renewal. Via Giulia runs from the Ponte Sisto to the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, following the tight curve of the Tiber. Meant to make access to the Vatican easier, the street quickly became lined with elegant churches and palaces. And though the pope's plans were only partially realized, it became an important thoroughfare, and a spot along the Via Giulia was long the prime choice of Roman aristocrats. Artists such as Raphael, Cellini, and Borromini made their homes along this expansive avenue and were joined by many others with equally impressive collections as the years passed by. Today the street is very quiet and lined with antique stores. Its modest structures provide one of Rome's elite shopping streets, noted for these antique shops. The street developed as a line of modest houses with gardens behind them, built for private owners or confraternities, sometimes on speculation, broken by more ambitious Palazzi. This is the urban context of the "houses of Raphael", with their ground floor street-front shops. Our course of walking along the straight Via Jiulia is from NORTH-WEST to SOUTH-EAST.
The grand palazzi turned their backs to Via Giulia. In the 1540s Michelangelo had a plan for the constricted gardens of Palazzo Farnese to be connected by a bridge to the Farnese villa in Trastevere on the right bank, Villa Farnesina. The elegant arch still spanning Via Giulia belongs to this other grand unrealized scheme.
At Via Giulia, 62, on our right is the I Sofa' Di Via Giulia Bar and Restaurant. On the opposite side of Via Giulia (on your LEFT), If we take a small detour to the left, parallel, to Via dei Banchi Vecchi, we can see a small sixteenth century decorative work of art on the façade of Casa Crivelli, called “the Puppet House” (Casa dei Pupazzi / Casa Crivelli / Palazzo dei Pupazzi) (Via dei Banchi Vecchi 22/24). This house near Palazzo Sforza Cesarini was built by a goldsmith from Milan Gian Pietro Crivelli for himself and his family, as an inscription says, in 1537-1539. It was decorated with the finest stucco works of high quality remembering decorations of not far Palazzo Capodiferro Spada (see below).
Look at Via Giulia No. 66, Palazzo Saccetti from the XV century. One of the finest palaces in the street. It was built in the mid-1500s by the Sacchetti family with designs by Vasari. It is said that inside are some of the greatest state rooms in Rome. Outside, visitors can photograph its grand stone portal:
Note also the house at No. 167. Here is located one of the most prestigious architecture offices of Rome (Exclusiva):
At Via Giulia No. 187 is the Fontana del Mascheroni (Fountain of the mask), which was commissioned by the Farnese Family. The curious looking fountain was created at around 1626 and replaced an earlier fountain. Its renaissance design integrates an ancient Roman granite bathtub and an ancient mask; the latter gave the fountain its name:
After passing Via in caterina, on your left, you'll see, on your right the Church of Santa Caterina da Siena, Palazzo Falconieri, presently the seat of the Hungarian Academy (Via Giulia, 1). It is a gorgeous white Palazzo belonging to the 16th-century Falconieri family with a sumptuous inner courtyard. Zsuzsa Ordasi - the Academy of Hungary is an aspired to goal for today's Hungarian artists and scholars. Remodeled in the 17th century by Borromini, it houses the Hungarian Academy. It is located between Via Giulia and Lugotevere, with entrances to both.
The facade of Palazzo Falconieri (the Tiber river side):
one of the falcon's heads of Palazzo Falconieri:
Beyond it is the macabre Church di S. Maria dell’Orazione e Morte. (St.Mary of Prayer and Death), only open on Sunday afternoons for the short time of a religious function
You are now at the back of the most beautiful Renaissance building of Rome, Palazzo Farnese,the façade of which you will discover later on.
A beautiful arch, the Arco dei Farnesi (Farnese Arch) spans the street. Allessandro Farnese, the later pope Paul III wanted to connect his Farnese Palace at the nearby Farnese Square with the Farnese Villa, located across the Tiber River. The arch across the Via Giulia, designed by Michelangelo, is the only section that was completed. Since the connection was never completed, the ivy covered arch serves no real purpose other than to embellish the street:
At No. 185, on our left, we see the sheer BACK side of Palazzo Farnese. Its sheer size and splendor - are better seen from its front in the Farnese square (more to the north-east). Set in the middle of a small piazza, Palazzo Farnese is an impressive testament to the great artists of the Renaissance: Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo, Vignola, and Giacomo Della Porta. Considered one of the wonders of Rome, its sheer size has earned it the nickname “the die”. Ownership of the Palazzo Farnese changed repeatedly over the years. In the 18th century, the Palazzo became the property of the Bourbon Kings of Naples and was re-named “Palazzo Regio Farnese”. For a period in 1860, Francesco II of Naples lived there after losing his kingdom. In 1911 it was purchased by France and then sold to Italy, which in turn rented it back to the French under a 99-year lease for a nominal amount. Since 1874 it has been the headquarters of the French Embassy. You can see the French flag in Piazza Farnese. Turn LEFT at Via dei Farnesi - arriving to Piazza Farnese. Here, The Palazzo Farnese blends seamlessly with the splendid piazza around it. Piazza Farnese unfolds symmetrically to the viewer with the austere and massive facade of the Palazzo as a backdrop. There are two fountains, one on each side, made from two large basins originally from the Baths of Caracalla; a lily – the Farnese symbol – has been added to the centre of these. Both basins were originally located in front of the Basilica of San Marco (in the Piazza Venezia), and initially only one was placed in the centre of Piazza Farnese. Completing the piazza is the 18th- century church of Saint Brigida, a Swedish saint who founded a convent on the site in 1300. Facing the Palazzo Farnese is also the 18th- century Palazzo of Gallo di Roccagiovine, begun by Baldassarre Peruzzi; its massive structure and large doors conceal a splendid interior courtyard and monumental staircase. For many years the piazza was the central place for Rome's tournaments, bullfights, and festivals. In addition, the spectacular summer flooding events that later made Piazza Navona famous started here:
Leave Piazza farnese from its nort-east side (near RistoranteCamponeschi). Turn left onto Vicolo dei Venti, 61 m and continue direct onto Via Capo di Ferro. On your left is the Piazza Capo di Ferro with a fountain
and on your right the Spada Gallery. The Palazzo Spada is a palace located at Piazza Capo di Ferro, 13, very close to the Palazzo Farnese. It has a garden facing towards the River Tiber. The palace accommodates a large art collection, the Galleria Spada. The collection was originally assembled by Cardinal Bernardino Spada in the 17th century, by his brother Virgilio Spada and added to by his grandnephew Cardinal Fabrizio Spada. It was originally built in 1540. Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, from 08.30 to 19.30. Closed: Mondays, December 25th, January 1st. The Gallery only: Sundays and, in holidays from 09.00 to 13.00. Full price € 5,00, Reduced € 2,50: EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old and EU full-time public school teachers. All the reductions are only for European Union with providing document. Free admission:
- EU citizens under 18 and over 65 years old
- EU students and teachers of Arts, History of Arts or Architecture courses
- ICOM members
- EU schools with teachers by reservation.
It is forbidden - to take photographs and videos.
The Palazzo was purchased by Cardinal Spada in 1632. He commissioned the Baroque architect Francesco Borromini to modify it for him, and it was Borromini who created the masterpiece of forced perspective optical illusion in the arcaded courtyard, in which diminishing rows of columns and a rising floor create the visual illusion of a gallery 37 meters long (it is 8 meters) with a lifesize sculpture at the end of the vista, in daylight beyond: the sculpture is 60 cm high.
The Gallery is located on the first floor of Palazzo Spada, in the wing that used to belong to Cardinal Girolamo Capodiferro. The Cardinal had built the museum over the historical remains of his family's former home that had been established in 1548. Room 1 - The room is called the Room of the Popes because of its fifty inscriptions describing the lives of select pontiffs, as commissioned by Cardinal Bernardino. It is also known as the Room with the Azure Ceiling because the ceiling is covered with a turquoise canvas divided into many little compartments marked "camerini da verno". The ceiling coffers' decorations date back to 1777. Room 2 - This room was created along with Room 3. The upper part of the walls were decorated with friezes in tempera on canvas by Perino del Vaga. The other parts of the walls that were originally painted with panelling are now missing. Room 3 - It is called the "Gallery of the Cardinal". It was designed by Paolo Maruscelli in 1636 and 1637 along with Room II to house the art collection of Bernardino Spada. The ceiling is beamed and french windows lead into galleries one of which has an iron railing overlooking the big garden. Room 4 - This final room was built over a wooden gallery overlooking the big garden. The Room houses paintings by Caravaggisti.
Jan Brueghel the Elder: Landscape with windmills:
Titian: Portrait of musician:
Orazio Gentileschi: David holding the head of Goliath:
Opposite Spada Gallery is the Church of Santa Maria della Quercia. It is located in front of the piazza to which it gives its name:
With your back to the Palazzo Spada and your face to the Piazza Capo di Ferro - continue RIGHT (east) along Via Capo di Ferro and and turn LEFT (45 degrees LEFT) to Vicolo delle Grotto. Here, we recommend on the Restaurant "Da Sergio Alle Grotte" - Vicolo delle Grotte, 27. (see tip below).
Return to Via Capo di Ferro and continue (east) until its end. Turn LEFT to Piazza della Trinità dei Pellegrini. Here you see the Parrocchia Trinità dei Pellegrini (Holy Trinity of Pilgrims):
Head northwest on Piazza della Trinità dei Pellegrini toward and turn right onto Via dell'Arco del Monte. You arrive to a small and picturesque square - Piazza del Librari. Turn LEFT to Via dei Giubbonari. An absolute must is a visit to this road and its nearby historical streets, such as Via dei Baullari or Via dei Cappellari which are lined with an assortment of small shops still bearing the name of craftsmen who once worked there. Walk along this road (north-west) until its end and you arrive to PIazza Campo de Fiori. For centuries Camp dè Fiori was the stage for public executions. Here in 1600 the Dominican Friar, Philosopher, Mathematician and Astronomer Bruno Giordano was burnt alive. A domineering statue stands in the middle the piazza marking the exact spot of his death.
The lively, noisy atmosphere one breathes in this Piazza contrasts with the austere statue of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake precisely here. The piazza, in the morning, is heaving with people bustling among the fruit and vegetable stands. At night it sees its restaurants and bars open for business. Come, here, early in the weekdays mornings. In the early morning this open air market is not overly crowded. There is a beautiful flower market that is a little expensive. Throughout are stalls selling fruits, vegetables, spices, many kinds (colored) of pasta, sausage and cheese. There are vendors selling glass wine stoppers and leather goods, and some selling t-shirts and aprons. It is a fun place to walk around early in the morning. The later you come the more garbage left on the marketplace.
At night, the stalls disappear and it becomes a social event. Many restaurants line the Piazza, some of them quite good and more reasonably priced.You can see street musicians play in front of the restaurants, which creates a very "Italian" (or, better, "Brazilian") experience. You can sit at your table and listen to the music, and enjoy your drinks and food:
Take the north-west end of the Piazza and exit onto Via Baullari to see the Palazzo Cancelleria. It is a Renaissance palace situated between the present Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Campo de' Fiori. It was built between 1489–1513 by an unknown architect as a palace for Cardinal Raffaele Riario, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, and is regarded as the earliest Renaissance palace in Rome. The Palazzo houses the Papal Chancellery, is an extraterritorial property of the Holy See and as such is designated as a World Heritage Site.
In front of the Palace - a special courtyard with the original columns from the Theatre of Pompey. This courtyard is very photogenic and impressive. The internal courtyard is surrounded by a 2-story loggias with arches. Above each of the columns was a small decorative stone rose, and a similar but much larger stone rose lay at the center of the courtyard. The double-loggia has been attributed to the famous architect Bramante. Open Hours: Monday-Saturday: 07.30 - 14.00 and 16.00 - 20.00. Closed: Sunday.
Another reason to visit Palazzo della Cancelleria is to see the "Il Genio di Leonardo da Vinci" exhibit. The exhibition The Genius and His Inventions presents about fifty full scales machine designed by Da Vinci. They are fully operational and they can be touched and set in motion.
Head north on Piazza della Cancelleria toward Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
36 m. Turn right onto Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 23 m. Turn left onto Piazza di San Pantaleo. Here, you see the Chiesa (church) di San Pantaleo:
The church was entirely rebuilt in 1680 by Giovanni Antonio De Rossi, but the façade was added in 1805 by Giuseppe Valadier at the expense of the Torlonia family; the interior has a fine ceiling by Filippo Gherardi:
With the face to the white church, on the right side of the church is the Palazzo Braschi. It is located between the Piazza Navona, the Campo de' Fiori, the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Piazza di Pasquino. It presently houses the Museo di Roma, the "museum of Rome" covering the period from the Middle Ages through the nineteenth century. Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10.00 - 20.00. Tickets: Adults: € 8,50;
Concessions: € 6,50; Roman Citizens only (by showing a valid ID):
- Adults: € 7,50; - Concessions: € 5,50; Palazzo Braschi + Museo Barracco Combined Ticket : Adults: € 11,00; Concessions: € 9,00; Roman Citizens only (by showing a valid ID): - Adults: € 10,00; Concessions: € 8,00.
The main entrance is on Via San Pantaleo (between Piazza Navona and Corso Vittorio Emanuele). The oval hall inside the main entrance overlooks Via San Pantaleo, and leads to the monumental staircase with its eighteen red granite columns which came from the gallery built by the Emperor Caligula on the banks of the River Tiber. Decorating the staircase there are ancient sculptures and fine stuccoes by Luigi Acquisti inspired by the myth of Achilles.
View to Piazza Navona from Palazzo Braschi:
It is time for refreshing attractions. Our day is approaching a couple of the most "wet", famous, crowded and "refreshing" sites of Rome. The first is in front of us: Piazza Navona. From the ancient, winding streets of the Centro Storico you suddenly come upon the breathtaking magnificence of Piazza Navona. Still today a spectacular open air show; an architectural miracle in the heart of the Eternal City, filled with masterpieces in perfect harmony with each other. Of all Rome's Piazzas, this pedestrian square is one where the liveliness of Roman life is most tangible. It has long been a meeting place for the inhabitants of Rome. In past, in addition to the market, processions and spectacles where held here. This piazza, which displays the genius of Bernini and Borromini, is one of the finest Baroque Masterpiece in papal Rome. Its harmony and colors, combined with its elegance, give it a charm that is enhanced by the surprising contrast of architecturally sober houses alternating with a number of monumental Buildings. Today, it's still lively with painters and street performers that put on their shows for tourists and passersby, new spectators. This piazza, which displays the genius of Bernini and Borromini, is one of the finest Baroque Masterpiece in Rome. Its harmony and colors, combined with its elegance, give it a charm that is enhanced by the surprising contrast of architecturally sober houses alternating with a number of monumental buildings.
in the center stands the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, topped by the Obelisk of Domitian, brought here in pieces from the Circus of Maxentius:
At the southern end is the Fontana del Moro with a basin and four Tritons sculpted by Giacomo della Porta (1575) to which, in 1673, Bernini added a statue of a Moor, or African, wrestling with a dolphin:
At the northern end is the Fountain of Neptune (1574) created by Giacomo della Porta. The statue of Neptune in the northern fountain, the work of Antonio Della Bitta, was added in 1878 to make that fountain more symmetrical with La Fontana del Moro in the south:
At the southwest end of the piazza is the ancient 'speaking' statue of Pasquino. Erected in 1501, Romans could leave lampoons or derogatory social commentary attached to the statue:
Palazzo Pamphilj, also spelled Palazzo Pamphili, is a palace facing onto the Piazza Navona in Rome. It was built between 1644 and 1650. Since 1920 the palace has housed the Brazilian Embassy in Italy, and in 1964 it became the property of the Federative Republic of Brazil:
The church of Sant'Agnese in Agone by Francesco Borromini, Girolamo Rainaldi, Carlo Rainaldi and others is opposite the Fountain of the Four Rivers:
Piazza Navona from North to South:
Do not miss the Tre Scalini restaurant-Gelatteria. Tartufo is the big hit to get here. Order at the counter to go and eat it in the Plazza. Order with the cashier and then take your receipt to the guy behind the Gelato counter. The Tartufo is 10 Euros, but, sometimes, yo get it even half the stated price. This is a rich, chocolate ice-cream with whipped cream and 2 little cookies or cherries on top. Once-in-life experience:
I can recommend the Gelateria Tre Fontane in the north end of Piazza Navona. Mini scone or plastic cup - 1 flavor - 2 euros, 2 flavors - 3 euros (see Tip below).
We leave the Piazza Navona from its north-east side, near Cafe Nettuno, to Via dei Lorenesi. At the cross-road with Via di Santa Maria dell'Anima, on your left is the Church of Santa Maria dell'Anima (Via di Santa Maria dell'Anima, 64). Open weekdays 12.00 – 24.00. Santa Maria dell'Anima is one of the many medieval charity institutions built for pilgrims in Rome.
Tomb of Pope Hadrian VI 1524-29 into the church:
From Via dei Lorenesi you continue walking direct onto Vicolo della Pace. Then, you slight to the LEFT onto Via della Pace. On your right
you see the Santa Maria della Pace Church (Via Arco della Pace, 5) with its colossal pillars:
Return to Piazza Navona and find a bus to return to your hotel, guest house or apartment. If you have still a time to continue to TWO additional attractions in Rome - it is 10-minutes, 600-850 m. walk to the Pantheon and Fontana di Trevi. EXit Piazza Navona from the most north-eastern road. Turn left onto Via Agonale, 46 m. Turn right onto Piazza delle Cinque Lune, 42 m. Slight left onto Via di Sant'Agostino, 39 m. Turn left onto Piazza di Sant'Agostino to see the Basilica di Sant'Agostino. It is one of the first Roman churches built during the Renaissance. The façade was built in 1483 by Giacomo di Pietrasanta, using travertine taken from the Colosseum. It is a fine, plain work of the early Renaissance style:
The most famous work of art presently in the church is the Madonna di Loreto, an important Baroque painting by Caravaggio:
From here it is 600 m. walk to the Pantheon. Head south on Piazza di Sant'Agostino toward Via di Sant'Agostino, 13 m. Turn left onto Via di Sant'Agostino, 60 m. Turn right onto Via della Scrofa, 48 m. Turn left onto Largo Giuseppe Toniolo, 52 m. Continue onto Via Del Pozzo Delle Cornacchie, 78 m. Turn right onto Via della Rosetta, 49 m. Continue onto Piazza della Rotonda, 52 m. Turn left to stay on Piazza della Rotonda and you face the Pantheon.
The basin of the fountain, in the square, was designed in 1575 by Giacomo della Porta for Pope Gregory XIII. In 1711, during the pontificate of Pope Clement XI, Filippo Barigioni completed the fountain by adding the obelisk. It was dedicated to Pharaoh Ramesses II. A reminder of Bernini's Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is the snake you can see in the obelisk. The dolphins and the snake are a work by Vincenzo Felici.
The Pantheon is the best-preserved ancient building in Rome. The Pantheon was initially erected in 27 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, son-in-law of Emperor Augustus, when he was consul for the third time. It was completely rebuilt in AD 123 by Emperor Hadrian, who maintained the old inscription celebrating Agrippa; he was personally involved in the design of the temple. It was restored in 202 by Emperor Septimius Severus. The temple stood on a high podium, whereas today it is at a level which is lower than the rest of the square and this makes it less imposing. Its fine state of preservation is due to the building's conversion to a Christian church in 608, when it was presented to the Pope by the Byzantine Emperor Phocas. Open 08.30-19.30 Mon-Sat, 09.00 - 18.00 Sun, 09.00 -13.00 public holydays.
Three columns on the left side fell and were replaced by Pope Urban VIII and Pope Alexander VII, with columns found near S. Luigi dei Francesi and which belonged to baths built by Emperor Alexander Severus. This explains their different colour (pink rather than grey) and capitals.
The dome of the Pantheon is larger than that of St. Peter's or that of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, yet because it is not supported by a high drum it does not fully convey the sense of its dimension. The shape of the main hall is a cylinder covered by a half of a sphere; the height of the cylinder is equal to the radius of the sphere. The dome was covered with gilded bronze tiles; these were removed and shipped to Constantinople at the request of Byzantine Emperor Constans II. The diameter of the hemispherical dome is exactly equal to the height of the whole building; it could potentially accommodate a perfect sphere. At the exact centre of the dome is the oculus, a circular hole 9m in diameter, the only source of light and a symbolic link between the temple and the heavens.
The interior underwent many changes meant to give it an appearance more appropriate for a church; in particular in 1747 the original decoration was replaced by stuccoes; part of it has been restored; many coloured marbles were used for it and in particular porphyry; the windows gave light to a corridor in the circular walls.
The building is still officially a church, and contains the tombs of eminent Italians, including the artist Raphael. Above Raphael’s tomb is a sculpture of the Madonna del Sasso created by Raphael’s student Lorenzetto:
The other important tombs are those of: Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. The tomb consists of a large bronze plaque surmounted by a Roman eagle and the arms of the house of Savoy. The golden lamp above the tomb burns in honor of Victor Emmanuel III, who died in exile in 1947.
Another tomb is of Umberto I, Victor Emmanuel’s successor:
It is 700 m., 10 minutes walk to the Fontana di Trevi. Head east on Piazza della Rotonda and turn left to stay on Piazza della Rotonda, 54 m. Continue onto Via del Pantheon, 51 m. Turn right onto Via delle Colonnelle, 66 m. Continue straight onto Piazza Capranica, 36 m. Continue onto Via in Aquiro, 53 m. Turn right onto Via della Guglia,
50 m. Turn left onto Via dei Pastini, 39 m. Via dei Pastini turns slightly right and becomes Piazza di Pietra, 59 m. Continue onto Via di Pietra,
87 m. Continue onto Via delle Muratte, 200 m. Continue straight onto Piazza di Trevi and Fontana di Trevi:
From The Pantheon to the Jewish Ghetto and Teatro di Marcello:
Start: Rome is very small and all the sites are within walking distance of each other. There is no metro stop close to the Pantheon. If you get off at the Piazza Barberini stop it is about a 13-15 minute walk. If you get off at the Piazza Barberini you will come to the Trevi Fountain first and then you can continue onto the Pantheon.
From Piazza Barberini head southwest toward Via delle Quattro Fontane, 38 m. Turn right to stay on Piazza Barberini, 9 m. Turn left onto Via del Tritone, 350 m. Turn left onto Via della Panetteria, 11 m. Continue onto Via della Stamperia, 190 m. Turn right onto Piazza di Trevi (WOW, you are facing the Fontana di Trevi !!!), 40 m. Continue onto Via delle Muratte, 200 m. Continue onto Via di Pietra, 53 m. Turn left onto Vicolo Dè Burrò, 65 m. Slight right onto Piazza di Sant Ignazio (we shall explore this square in our trip from Castelo Sant Angelo to the Pantheon), 36 m. Turn left to stay on Piazza di Sant Ignazio, 21 m. Turn right onto Via del Seminario, 200 m. Continue straight onto Piazza della Rotonda and you face the Pantheon. From Piazza Barbarini to the Trevi Fountain is about a 7 minute walk. From there to the Pantheon is about a 10 minute walk. From there to Piazza Navona is less than a 5 minute walk.
End: Teatro di Marcello or Piazza Venezia.
Note: Text and pictures are from May 2014 (the dates on the photos are set, by mistake, to May 2013).
Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres. The building commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD) as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome, and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian about 126 AD. The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" but informally known as "Santa Maria Rotonda.
The Pantheon is one of few sites in Rome with free entrance. It is always crowded and you have to queue up for entrance but it takes no more than a couple of minutes. Open: Mon-Sat 8.30-19.30 Sun 9.00-18.00.
Closed Dec 25, Dec 31, May 1.
On entering the door, the effect you feel is meant to be overwhelming. You suddenly find yourself in this huge empty space which causes vertigo and makes you feel small. The height of the dome is the same as its diameter creating perfect balance and unique harmony.
The Pantheon’s greatness mainly comes from its mighty dome. The interior of the dome was possibly intended to symbolize the arched vault of the heavens. At the centre of the dome, there is a 9 meter diameter hole, the Oculus. The oculus (round big hole in the dome) at the dome's apex and the entry door are the only natural sources of light in the interior. Throughout the day, the light from the oculus moves around this space in a sort of reverse sundial effect. The oculus also serves as a cooling and ventilation method. During rain or torrents, a drainage system below the floor handles the rain that falls through the oculus.
The dome features sunken panels (coffers), in five rings of 28. This evenly spaced layout was difficult to achieve and, it is presumed, had symbolic meaning, either numerical, geometric, or lunar. The checkerboard floor pattern contrasts with the concentric circles of square coffers in the dome. Each zone of the interior, from floor to ceiling, is subdivided according to a different scheme. As a result, the interior decorative zones do not line up.
The Pantheon Interior - anti-clockwise direction (from right to left):
Tomb of King Vittorio Emanuel II (first king of a unified Italy):
Basilica St. Mary of Martyrs:
The Main or High Altar of the church is opposite the entrance, and the original 7th-century icon of the Madonna and Child can be seen above it. This was previously dated to the 13th century, but the 7th-century original was recently recovered under layers of overpainting. It is a rare survival of an icon from a period when they were a common feature in Roman churches. The apse is decorated with a golden mosaic featuring crosses. The drawing is of Alesandro Specchi from early 18th century:
Tomb of the famous painter Raphael (1483-1520):
Madonna del Sasso - Raphael's pupil Lorenzetto (dated 1523-4):
Tomb of King Umberto (Humbert) I (1844-1900) second king of a unified Italy and Margherita Savoia (1851-1926):
The floor is of polychrome Egyptian marble.
The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda. The square gets its name from the Pantheon's informal title as the church of Santa Maria Rotonda. In the center of the piazza is a fountain, the Fontana del Pantheon, surmounted by an Egyptian obelisk. The fountain was constructed by Giacomo Della Porta under Pope Gregory XIII in 1575, and the obelisk was added to it in 1711 under Pope Clement XI.
Piazza della Rotonda seen from the north, showing the Pantheon and fountain with obelisk:
"Gladiators" in Piazza della Rotonda:
With your face to the Pantheon, turn left to Via della Minerva. Walk along Via della MInerva and you arrive to the Piazza della MInerva. Its name derives from the existence of a temple built on the site by Pompey dedicated to Minerva Calcidica. You can use (free, with permission) the WC in the Grand Hotel della Minerva.
At the centre of the Piazza della Minerva, backing onto the Inquisition convent, is the 1667 Elephant and Obelisk by Bernini. The elephant was known as "il pulcin della Minerva", or "porcino", from the Roman people's story that - uninspired by elephants - Bernini in fact sculpted a pig.
The Pulcino della Minerva, the famous elephant sculpture by Bernini and Ercole Ferrata, making the base of one of Rome's eleven Egyptian obelisks:
In the square the main building is the Church (Chiesa) of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (1280-1370). The only church built in Rome in Gothic style. Built in the 8th century in a site where stood a temple to the Godess Minerva, rebuilt in the 13th century and restored in the 15th century. To the right of its facade are inscriptions built into the wall commemorating the flooding of the river Tiber between 1422 and 1598 - the area of the Piazza is the lowest in Rome, and so was always the first to suffer in flooding:
Nave of Santa Maria sopra Minerva:
Among several important works of art in the church are Michelangelo's statue Cristo della Minerva (1521) or Jesus de Redemeer. Finished in 1521, located to the left of the main altar:
and the late 15th-century (1488–1493) cycle of frescos in the Carafa Chapel by Filippino Lippi:
The famous early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico died in the adjoining convent and was buried in the church:
Popes Urban VII, Paul IV and the Medici Popes Leo X and Clement VII were also buried in the church.
Tombs of Popes Leo X and Clement VII:
Before the construction of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini Church (see the "From Castelo Sant Angelo to the Pantheon" trip), the Minerva was the church in Rome of the Florentines, and therefore it contains numerous tombs of nobles and citizens coming from that Tuscan city.
To the left of the church is a Convent (or casa profess) of the Dominicans, (little has remained), which held the nearby church from the 13th century. From the 17th century, the convent became the base of the Roman Inquisition or Holy Office, and it housed the trial and recantation of Galileo Galilei. The Convent's cloister (the only relic) now holds the library of the Italian Senate, dedicated to Giovanni Spadolini.
To the right of the church stands the 16th century Palazzo Fonseca, since 1832 the site of one of the historic hotels of Rome, known as the Grand Minerva, whose guests have included Stendhal and José de San Martín, remembered in plaques on the facade (see our note on WC in this square).
From Piazza della Minerva we turn left to Via della Palombulla (the Pantheon on your right), cross Pza. S. Eustuchio and walk along Via degli Stadlrar when this building is on your right:
Do not miss the S. Eustuchio Cafe (see tip sub-ordinate to this trip). The best coffee in Rome (Gran Cafe Speciale). Open: 08.30 - 01.00 at night.
Turn right at the end of the road - arriving to Piazza (Pza.) Madama. On your right Palazzo Madama, seat of the Italian Senate. It was built atop the ruins of the ancient baths of Nero. The new building was begun at the end of the 15th century and completed in 1505, for the Medici family. It housed the Popes Leo X and Clement VII. The palace takes its name from Madama Margherita of Austria, illegitimate daughter of Emperor Charles V, who married another illegitimate son, Alessandro de' Medici and, after his death, Ottavio Farnese. Pope Benedict XIV made it the seat of the Papal Government. In 1849 Pius IX moved here the Ministries of Finances and of the Public Debt, as well as the Papal Post Offices. In 1871, after the conquest of Rome by the newly formed Kingdom of Italy, the Palazzo became the seat of the Senato del Regno.
With your back to Palazzo (Pzo.) Madama go direct (passing the bustling street) to Pza. Navona. Head west on Corsia Agonale toward Corsia Agonale (50 m.) and you face Piazza Navona. A charming, gigantic and lively square for pedestrians only. Contains 3 fountains and surrounded by Baroque palaces. Many think Piazza Navona is the most beautiful attraction in Rome. Often crowded but very spacious and well laid out. It's breathtaking: the fountains' sculptures tell a different story in every step and from every angle. It's packed with tour groups, sellers, artists, jugglers and sightseers resting their weary legs.
I would recommend going in the mornings, as it is much quieter, and the sellers are not about in the mornings! Go into side streets to avoid the high prices. Don't miss an Italian ice cream sitting at the posh "3 Scalini" (3 steps) restaurant or, better, buy Tartufo in 9.5 euros (see Tip below). We shall pass through Piazza Navona in many of our trips in Rome.
It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans came there to watch the agones ("games"), and hence it was known as "Circus Agonalis" ("competition arena"). It is believed that over time the name changed to in avone to navone and eventually to Navona.
In the Navona Square you find the following important sculptural and architectural creations:
Fontana dei quattro fiumi (four rivers) or Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, topped by the Obelisk of Domitian, brought here in pieces from the Circus of Maxentius. The middle fountain and the biggest in the square. The base of the fountain is a basin from the centre of which rocks rise to support four river gods and above them, an ancient Egyptian obelisk surmounted with the Pamphili family emblem of a dove with an olive twig. Collectively, they represent four major rivers of the four continents through which papal authority had spread: the Nile representing Africa, the Danube representing Europe, the Ganges representing Asia, and the Río de la Plata representing the Americas.
Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain): The Southern most fountain. It represents a Moor, or African (perhaps originally meant to be Neptune), standing in a conch shell, wrestling with a dolphin, surrounded by four Tritons. The fountain was originally designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1575 with the dolphin and four Tritons. In 1653, the statue of the Moor, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, was added. In 1874, during a restoration of the fountain, the original statues were moved to the Galleria Borghese and replaced with copies. In September 2011, the fountain was damaged after a vandal attacked it with a hammer. The vandal also damaged the Trevi Fountain that night:
Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune): The Northern most fountain. The basin part of the Fontana del Nettuno, (without the sculptures) was designed in 1574 by Giacomo Della Porta, who also designed the Moor Fountain at the opposite side of the square. For the next 300 years, the fountain survived without statues. The fountain as it exists today was finally completed in 1878 by Antonio della Bitta, who added the imposing sculpture of "Neptune fighting with an octopus" and Gregorio Zappalà, who created the other sculptures, based on the mythological theme of the "Nereids with cupids and walruses". Statuary was added following a competition in 1873, in order to balance the statuary of the Moor Fountain on the south side of the piazza and of the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) at its centre.
Sant Agnese in Agone Church (also called Sant'Agnese) is opposite the Fontana dei quattro fiumi (four rivers) in Piazza Navona. it is dedicated to St. Agnes born around 290. The young girl who according to tradition suffered as a martyr, was beheaded at age 12 by order of Emperor Diocletian. It is a 17th-century Baroque church. It stands on the site where the early Christian Saint Agnes was martyred in the ancient Stadium of Domitian. Construction began in 1652 under the architects Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi. After numerous quarrels, the other main architect involved was Francesco Borromini who was a former student of Bernini and, later, a rival. The interior is breath taking and really worth seeing. Inside, there is a shrine with Saint Agnes' skull. Notice the side altars which are dedicated to martyrs and show how each one died.
Palazzo Pamphilj, also spelled Palazzo Pamphili or Pamphili Palace, is a palace opposite the Fontana del Moro onto the Piazza Navona. It was built between 1644 and 1650. Since 1920 the palace has housed the Brazilian Embassy in Italy, and in 1964 it became the property of the Federative Republic of Brazil:
We exit Piazza Navona from the northern corner. Head north on Piazza Navona and continue onto Via Agonale, 46 m. Turn right onto Piazza delle Cinque Lune, 8 m. Turn left onto Piazza di Sant'Apollinare, 70 m. Here, you face Palazzo Altemps which houses part of the Roman National Museum treasures: important collections of antiquities consisting of Greek and Roman sculptures that in the 16th and 17th centuries belonged to various families of the Roman nobility. There are many displays of everyday items as well as the frescoes and wall friezes, also included is the National Romano Egyptian collection. If you like sculpture, this museum is a must see. Open: Tue-Sun 09.00-19.45. Prices: adult/reduced €7/3.50.
Slight left onto Via dei Gigli D'Oro, 58 m. Turn left onto Vicolo dei Soldati - a charming alley:
You won't believe it BUT we return to the southern most edge of Piazza Navona - crossing this magical piazza AGAIN... We exit the square from its south-east edge. Head south on Piazza Navona, 140 m. Turn right to stay on Piazza Navona, 17 m. Turn left onto Via della Cuccagna, 90 m. Turn right onto Piazza di San Pantaleo, 29 m. Turn left to stay on Piazza di San Pantaleo, 18 m:
After crossing the Piazza Pantaleo, with our faces to the south, we cross Vittorio Emanuele II bustling street and we have two options to arrive to Campo de Fiori (100 m. forward): the left road (via de Baullari) or the right road (Piazza Cancelleria).We opt for the RIGHT (east) street and walk along Piazza Cancelleria. On its right side stands Palazzo della Cancelleria. The Palazzo della Cancelleria (Italian for "Palace of the Chancellery", meaning the Papal Chancellery) is a Renaissance palace situated between the present Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and the Campo de' Fiori. It was built between 1489–1513 by an unknown architect as a palace for Cardinal Raffaele Riario, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, and is regarded as the earliest Renaissance palace in Rome. The palace is not subject to Italian sovereignty and belongs to the Vatican. It is designated as a World Heritage Site as part of a group of buildings, the Properties of the Holy See. Do not skip it. You'll enjoy its facade and interior courtyard (free entrance to the courtyard). Built 1483-1513. The Leonardo da Vinci Machines Exhibition in Rome – The genius and his inventions takes palce in this aplace until April 2015. From time to time chances arise to enter the palazzo. You might be lucky enough to find tickets for the occasional chamber-music concerts held here; alternatively look out for exhibitions on religious themes mounted in the magnificently frescoed rooms.
In the end of this piazza you arrive to Piazza Campo Dè Fiori (field of Flowers). The name was first given during the Middle Ages when the area was actually a meadow. A colorful market-square surrounded by ancient colored houses and cafe's/tratorias. The food and flowers market operates until the early afternoon hours (closed on Sundays) and is one of the most popular in Rome. The crowded (and dirty) square might be disappointing: a lot of noise, rubbish, high prices and everything is touristic. BUT, from time to time you'll see street-performances (Brazilians making Kapuera, Africans with vibrant dance and music) and a lot of interesting spices, cheeses, pasta packages and even... flowers.
The monument to philosopher Giordano Bruno at the centre of the square. Do not miss the reliefs on the statue.
On Rosh Hashanah, 9 September 1553, the Talmud and many other Jewish books were burnt in the Campo dei Fiori. Throughout the remainder of the sixteenth-century, a complete edition of the Talmud could not be found anywhere in Italy. A plaque, commemorating this event and period, had been placed in the square:
Take the north-east corner of Campo dei Fiori and continue onto Via del Biscione, 25 m. You arrive to Piazza del Biscione - a pretty, tranquile square:
Here I met three smiling Norwegians:
Note, here, the negozio (shop) for selling ice-cream with candies: "Mio Italian Sweety". Turn left to PIazza Pollarola, another charming small square. Turn left to Via Baullari (taste huge selection of ice-cream flavors in Blue Ice) and cross, again, the Campo dei Fiori from north to south - arriving to Piazza Farnese. Here, there are two identical decorative fountains located in the Piazza Farnese, in front of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, Italy. They were placed in the Piazza in the 16th century. The granite stone basins of the fountains are believed to come from the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla. The emblems on the upper part of the fountain are those of the Farnese family, and the builder of the Palazzo, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, later Pope Paul III. Palazzo Farnese is one of the most important High Renaissance palaces in Rome. Owned by the Italian state, it was given to the French Government in 1936 for a period of 99 years, and currently serves as the French embassy in Italy. First designed in 1517 for the Farnese family, the building expanded in size and conception when Alessandro Farnese became Pope Paul III in 1534, to designs by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Its building history involved some of the most prominent Italian architects of the 16th century, including Michelangelo, Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola and Giacomo della Porta. The palace is closed to the public.
With our face to the Pallzo Farnese - 30 m., on our left stands Palazzo Spada. It is explored, in-depth in our trip "From Castelo Sant Angelo to the Pantheon". We exit the Piazza Farnese from Ristorante Camponeschi - at the eastern side of the square. We head, now, to the Jewish Ghetto. THere are 2 options to arrive to Ponte Sisto (Sisto Bridge on the Tiber river:
1. Passing Palazzo Spada: Head southeast on Vicolo dei Venti toward Via dei Balestrari, 57 m. Continue onto Via Capo di Ferro, 100 m. Turn right onto Via dei Pettinari, 170 m. Continue onto Ponte Sisto.
2. Arriving to POnte Sisto by the pretty, ancient, aristocratic Via Giulia or along the river. Head northwest on Vicolo dei Venti toward Via del Mascherone, 3 m. Turn left onto Via del Mascherone, 130 m. Turn left onto Via Giulia (explored, in-depth in our trip "From Castelo Sant Angelo to the Pantheon"), 110 m. It is a beautiful, atmospheric (a bit neglected) road. Many mansions/palaces with marvelous courtyards and gardens:
Via Giulia - the Hungarian Academy - designed by Michelangelo:
Continue onto Piazza di San Vincenzo Pallotti, 50 m. Turn right onto Via dei Pettinari, 12 m. Continue until Ponte Sisto.
Along the Tiber river near Ponte Sisto:
Ponte Sisto leads to the Trastevere quarter (see our trip to Trastevere) - BUT, we don't cross the river and we continue along the Tiber river, along Lungotevere dei Vallati - until Ponte (bridge) Garibaldi:
Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) from Ponte Garibaldi (the Tiber Island is explored in the "Trastevere Quarter" Trip):
The street along the Tiber river changes its name to Lungotevere de Cenci. We arrive to Fabricius Bridge - Ponte Fabricio. The Fabricius Bridge leads to the Tiber Island (Isola Tiberina) and, from there, another bridge leads to the Trastevere Quarter. The Fabricius Bridge is populated by young Africans (mainly, from Senegal) selling handicrafts:
Opposite the bridge, on the other side of the bustling Lungotevere dei Cenci - stands the impressive Jewish Sinagoga (no. 9 in the street). It was built in year 1901 and its grandiose dome dominates the whole surroundings. the Museo Ebraico, in the Synagogue premises displays the history of the Jewish community in Rome along 2000 years. Open: Mon-Thu 09.00-18.00, Fri - 09.00-14.00, Sun 09.00-12.30.
The Jewish Ghetto extends from the Jewish Synagogue (south) to Piazza Mattei (north). It is a compact area but tyo explore its flavors, atmosphere, internals and secrets you'll have to devote, at least, 1.5-2 hours. I recommend that you'll visit the Jewish Ghetto, as we did, included in the "Trastevere Quarter" trip (doing the Ghetto in the morning and Trastevere - later). I guess that you'll arrive to this point late in the afternoon - so we head to the Teatro di Marcello.
With our back to the river we head northwest on Lungotevere Dè Cenci toward Via del Portico D'Ottavia, 7 m. Instead of turning left to the Ghetto along Portico D'Ottavia - we turn right onto Via del Portico D'Ottavia, 16 m and turn right onto Via di Monte Savello, 73 m - facing, on our right the spectacular Teatro di Marcello. It is an ancient marvelous open-air theatre, built in the closing years of the Roman Republic. At the theatre, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song. Today its ancient edifice, once again provides one of the city's most popular spectacles or tourist sites.It was named after Marcus Marcellus, Emperor Augustus's nephew, who died five years before its completion. Space for the theatre was cleared by Julius Caesar, who was murdered before it could be begun. It was completed in 13 BC and formally inaugurated in 12 BC by Augustus. It could originally hold between 11,000 and 20,000 spectators. FREE ENTRANCE.
From the Marcello Theatre - it is only 100 m. climb to the most central area of Rome - Piazza Venezia with tens of buses and Metro station: