Rome/North Center

thumb|300px|The Steps

73 things to do

All Places Italy

Borghese Museum and Gallery

A lovely display in a beautiful villa setting, which concentrates on the quality rather than the size of its collection. There are some very notable works by ''Antonio Canova'' and ''Gian Lorenzo Bernini'' here, Bernini's ''Apollo and Daphne''is quite amazing. It also houses some of Caravaggio paintings, well worth the admission charge. The number of people admitted is limited to 360 every 2 hours, so it is best to make a reservation on-line [ ] well in advance for the time slot you want. Cameras and photography ARE allowed. Allow plenty of time to get from the metro to the museum - from the metro stop you can't see the museum and there are no signs, so it can take awhile to find (taxis can drop you off at the entrance to the park but you will still have to walk a bit from there). Plan to arrive at the museum at least 15 minutes prior to your entry time, to obtain your ticket from Will Call and to deposit purses, strollers, backpacks, bottles, and other bulky items in the cloak room. If you are late for your reservation the museum may not allow you to use your ticket. Originally, the gallery was one of the most magnificent private art collections in the world. It was founded by ''Cardinal Scipione Borghese''. At the beginning of the 19th century ''Prince Camillo Borghese'' sold great parts of the collections to Paris where today they belong to the most valuable exhibits of the Louvre. Since 1902 the villa and the gallery are owned by the Italian state.

Piazza di Spagna

The Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square) is the most famous square in Rome. For a very long time it was the meeting point of all foreigners coming to Rome. In the 17th cent it was the residence of the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See. The area around the residence was Spanish territory and foreigners who stayed here without permission were forced to serve in the Spanish army. The '''Fontana della Barcaccia''' (Old Boat Fountain) on Piazza di Spagna was designed and built in 1627-29 by Pietro Bernini, father of the more famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The fountain celebrates the fact that before high walls were built along the banks of the Tiber Rome often used to flood. Once the waters were so high that a boat ended up in the square. The decorations on the fountain imitatie the coat of arms of ''Pope Urban VII, Barberini'' who ordered the fountain to be built. A less aesthetic occupant of the square is Italy's first McDonalds, dating back to 1986. Also in the piazza is a column erected in 1856 to commemorate the Immaculate Conception. The column is topped by a statue of the Virgin Mary, and rests on a base with statues of Moses, David, Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Pope visits the Piazza every year on December 8th to celebrate Immaculate Conception.

SEE   —  Map

Mausoleo di Augusto

This is a large tomb built by the Roman Emperor Augustus in 28 BC in the form of a stone ring covered by an earth mound. A brick wall, 87 meters in diameter, carried an earth mound covered with cypresses. On top of the hill stood a bronze monument of the emperor. The building was 44 meters high. At the beginning of the alley, which led to the tomb were two Egyptian obelisks. On both sides of the doorway bronze plates describe the "Res gestae", the deeds of the emperor. The urns of Augustus, Marcellus, Octavia, Agrippa, Drusus and other members of the Julian Claudian dynasty were revered here. In the Middles Ages the building served as citadel of the Colonna family. It was destroyed by ''Pope Gregor IX'' in 1241. The body of ''Cola di Rienzo''. a popular leader of the people in the mid-14th Century, was burnt in this monument. The Mausoleo di Augusto is not currently open to the public, and is fenced off.


The Pincio Park is situated near Piazza del Popolo. It was designed in the 19th cent by ''Giuseppe Valadier'', who also designed the Piazza del Popolo. Formlerly the ''Casina Valadier'' was an elegant restaurant. Gandhi, Mussolini, Richard Strauss and the Egyptian King Farouk were customers there. There are many evergreen bushes, palm and pine trees on bothe sides of the paths. Don't miss the view from Piazzale Napoleone I. to the Vatican and Rome from Monte Mario to Gianicolo. Walking through the park from Villa Borghese or along Viale Trinita del Monti is greatly recommended, especcially at sunset. In the park there is an Egyptian obelisk erected by ''Emperor Hadrianus'' over the grave of his favourite slave ''Antinos'', who had saved the emperor's life and from then on was adored like a God.

SEE   —  Map

Piazza del Popolo

This is the largest square in Rome. It sometimes hosts pop concerts and is the focal point for Rome's New Year's Eve celebrations. The twin churches ''Santa Maria dei Miracoli'' (1681) and ''Santa Maria in Montesanto'' (1679) used to provide a clear welcome to Rome for those coming from the north. Much older, to the north of the piazza is yet another Santa Maria (see below). The Piazza del Popolo is considered as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. It was enlarged and two streets, the ''Via di Ripetta'' and the ''Via del Babuino'' were added by order of ''Pope Sixtus V.'' In the middle of the square is an ''obelisk'' (see below). In 1809-1816, ''Giuseppe Valadier'', Roman architect of French origin, gave the square the its characteristic oval shape.

SEE   —  Map

Auditorium Parco della Musica

The Auditorium at Parco della Musica is a large complex on the north side of Rome, built on a site that was part of the 1960 Olympic area. It is composed of three separate halls whose shapes are inspired by musical instruments. These are positioned around an open air amphitheatre, that is used nearly every night in the summer for concerts. The interiors are entirely made of cherry-wood, which provides for good acoustics. The Parco della Musica opened in 2002 and now hosts a constant stream of classical, popular, and jazz music, featuring national as well as international musicians and groups. Refreshments available and there is a good book shop.

Ponte Milvio

This pedestrian-only bridge was originally built in 206 BC and marks the passage of the Roman Via Flaminia over the Tiber. In 115 BC, the original bridge was demolished and rebuilt. It has been restored and remodelled several times since. In 2006, the bridge began attracting couples who, influenced by a movie, used a lamppost on the bridge to hang padlocks as a sign of their love, locking the padlock to the lamppost, then throwing the key behind them into the river. In 2007 the lamppost collapsed under the weight! Feeling sorry for the lovers the mayor ordered construction of steel posts, where padlocks can once again be hung.

SEE   —  Map

Villa Albani

A magnificent patrician house with beautiful gardens. It was built by order of ''Cardinal Alessando Albani'' in 1743-1763 in order to accommodate his collection of art. The collection was taken care of by the ''Winkelmann'', adviser and friend of the cardinal. In Rome, Winkelmann wrote his "Geschichte der Kunst des Altertumns (HIstory of the Art of Antiquity)", which made him the founder of classical archaeology. The painted ceiling of the great hall depicting Mount Parnassus is by the German painter ''Anton Raphael Mengs'' who was considered as the greatest painter in Rome in the 18th cent.

SEE   —  Map

Villa Medici

The villa was erected by order of ''Cardinal Ricci di Montepulciano'' in 1544. It was acquired by ''Cardinal Fernando di Medici'' in 1576. Since 1803 it is the French Academy in Rome. The academy was created in 1666 by the French ''King Louis XIV'' in order to enable painters to study in Rome. ''Nicolas Poussin'' was one of the first students, ''Ingres'' was director and ''Fragonard'' and ''Boucher'' were students of the French Academy, but also musicians like Berlioz and Debussy studied here. Today the villa hosts occasional concerts and exhibitions. Its gardens can be visited.

Ara Pacis

Ara Pacis is an altar to Peace commissioned by the Roman Senate on 4 July 13 BC to honor the triumphal return from Hispania and Gaul of Augustus. It is universally recognised as a masterpiece. Following discovery of this work under a building in Rome, Mussolini built a protective building for it near the Mausoleum of Augustus, where it was reconstructed. A new building on the same site as Mussolini's was opened in 2006 and has been controversial. The mayor at the time said he would tear down the new structure. The basement of the new building features occasional exhibitions.

Piazza del Popolo Obelisk

According to an inscription ''Emperor Augustus'' dedicated the obelisk to the sun in the 11th year of his consulate (10BC), after he had annexed Egypt to Rome. The obelisk is 24 m high. Originally it stood in Heliopolis in Egypt and was dedicated to ''Pharao Sethos I'' (1313-1292 BC) and ''Pharoa Ramses II''(1292-1275 BC). Augustus brought the obelisk to the Circus Maximus, where it was rediscovered in 1587, broken into three pieces and was relocated to Piazze del Popolo on the orders of Pope Sixtus V in 1589.

SEE   —  Map

Babington's Tea Rooms

situated right next to the base of the Spanish Steps, a veritable tourist trap, so be warned....! Ridiculously over-inflated prices... Cheapest pot of tea, €8!! First opened in 1896 in order to fortify homesick English tourists, once famous as a tranquil English haven in a Latin ocean, now serving tea and scones (and more) with considerably less charm and even less value. Take a look inside if you must, otherwise, avoid like the plague.

DRINK   —  Piazza di Spagna 23

Best Western Astrid

A big hotel in a quiet area of Rome. The staff is friendly and makes the stay very enjoyable. The rooms are clean and spacious and there’s a daily replenishment of the minibar at no cost. The 5th-floor breakfast room has great views of the Tiber and St. Peter's Dome. The bar is closed at night and there isn't much nightlife in the area apart from a few good restaurants.

Santa Maria del Popolo

This is a treasure-trove of art. There are a couple of paintings by ''Caravaggio'': "The Crucifixion of Saint Peter" and "The Conversion of Saint Paul" together with a sculpture by ''Bernini'', frescoes by ''Pinturicchio'' and mosaics by ''Raphael''. Part of the Dan Brown tour, this church featured in Angels and Demons, although the Vatican did not allow filming inside.

Fiaschetteria Beltramme da Cesaretto

Outdoor seating available. Cash only. Walls lined with interesting art and at least one communal table. Small, traditional menu but the best dishes are the pastas and the simple bresaola, rughetta and parmigiano plate. Recommended dishes are the tonnarelli cacio & pepe and maltagliati al sugo.

EAT   —  Via della Croce 39

The Spanish Steps

A truly monumental stairway of 135 steps, built with French funds between 1721‑1725 in order to link the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See (still located in the piazza below), with the Bourbon French church (its monastery founded in 1495) above.

SEE   —  Map

Intown Luxury House

Single, double, junior suite and terraced junior suite. All rooms with A/C, LCD TV sets with satellite channels, hi-speed Internet connection, safe, minibar and direct telephone line. Bathrooms are fitted with marble and Jacuzzi tubs and/or showers.


The renamed Rome Zoo, one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1911. On the edge of the Borghese Gardens, a short, well-signposted walk from the Gallery. They try hard, but San Diego this isn't. If you are a regular zoo-goer you will be disappointed.

SEE   —  Map

Borghese Gardens

The extensive Borghese Gardens are a pleasant place to stroll. Inside this area you will find one of the world's great museums, Rome's Zoo, a pond where you can rent a rowing boat and the Piazza di Siena, which hosts an annual show jumping event.

SEE   —  Map

Imperial Suite Rome

Corso d'Italia 92. A guest house with single, double, twin and triple bedrooms. All with private bath, internet connection and living area. €80/€95 single/double rooms. All rates include the breakfast served directly in the guests’ rooms.

OTHER   —  +39 06 8554515 —  Map

Spagna Royal Suite Rome

Boutique hotel. Double, triple and quadruple rooms divided in standard, comfort, deluxe and executive. All with private bath. Rates change according to the season, starting from £239 for a double standard and €399 for a triple deluxe.

Antico Caffe

Very nice restaurant on the main alleyway between Trevi Fontana and Piazza de Spagna. For 9 Euro, you get a large choice of pasta with two vegetable sides, bread, and a bottle of mineral water. The house wine is especially good.

Babette caffe-ristorante

Lovely lunch buffet. Everything fresh out of the kitchen. Much more expensive on weekends. Always best to reserve. A nice way to sample lots of different Italian foods without having to order an antipasti, primi, secondi, etc.

Keats-Shelley Memorial House

The house in which the famous English poet John Keats succumbed to consumption, now preserved as a memorial to his life and that of his friend Shelley, both of whom are buried in Rome's Protestant Cemetery (see Testaccio).

SEE   —  Piazza di Spagna 26

Les Fleurs Luxury House

Cosy guest house with double and twin standard bedrooms €260, double deluxe, junior suite €380 and double for single use €230. All rates include breakfast and en-suites services with shower and bathtub or Jacuzzi.

Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna (GNAM)

An underrated way to see fantastic art made after the Renaissance. Mainly Italian artists, notably De Chirico, but Cézanne, Degas, Kandinsky, Man Ray, Modigliani, Monet, Pollock and Van Gogh are also represented.


Rome's museum of contemporary art, housed in a former industrial complex. Rotating exhibitions, each one usually lasting about 4 months. The ''MACRO Testaccio'' exhibition space is located in Aventino-Testaccio.

Villa Giulia National Gallery

The most extensive collection of Etruscan art and artifacts anywhere. Fantastic collection and well worth the admission charge. A difficult museum to find, but a lovely display in a beautiful villa setting.

Quartiere Coppedè (part of the neighborhood of ‘Trieste’)

With its strange Liberty- style buildings with influence from the ''Art Nouveau'' of the 1920s this small bunch of blocks is one of the most interesting, and less known, landmarks of the city. A must see.

SEE   —  Map

Rome's Mosque

The Rome Mosque, which was inaugurated in 1995, is the biggest in Europe. The inside of the 30,000 m² structure has a large prayer hall that uses tri-stemmed columns that imitate the features of trees.


The smallest Beershop in Rome, providing more than 400 beers from all over the world. With a special selection of beers from Italian microbreweries, this is the perfect place for beer enthusiasts.

DRINK   —  +39 06 96845654 —  Via Flaminia 506

Santissima Trinità dei Monti

Baroque church more noted for its position at the top of the Spanish Steps than for the church itself. Backdrop for numerous movies including Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in ''Roman Holiday''.

Villa Ada

Beautiful park, the largest in Rome at 450 acres/182 hectares. Hosts concerts on summer evenings. former summer residence of Italian monarchs.

SEE   —  Map

Il Margutta RistorArte

A fairly decent vegetarian lunch buffet. The staff can point out the vegan eats. A decent value for the money. Near where Fellini once lived.

Antico Caffe Greco

Ancient and famous coffee bar, with walls lined with art work. Worth a quick look even if you find the prices a bit excessive.

Hotel Cinquantatre

Hotel is in an old building with a roof-top terrace, rooms are with satellite TV, A/C and a safe, some with balcony as well.

Town House Spagna

Relatively new town house 50 m away from Piazza di Spagna. 10 rooms, each with private bathrooms. Up to date facilities.


Brand new museum designed to celebrate the art and architecture of the 21st Century.

Catacomb of Priscilla

Underground burial place of an ancient Roman family and of seven early popes.

Hotel Claridge

4-star hotel in the Parioli district, close to the Borghese Gardens.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 845441 —  Viale Liegi, 62

Museo delle Paste Alimentari

A museum devoted to pasta, Italy's premier gift to world cuisine.

Hotel Concordia

A hotel in a 18th century building with A/C and a roof garden

Hotel Fiume

Nice hotel near the Villa Borghese park.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 8543000 —  Via Brescia 5

B&B Domus Pinciana

Small B&B close to Via Veneto.

Residenza Borghese

A modern inn near Via Veneto.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 42016810 —  Via Sardegna 55

Statue of Lord Byron

Statue by ''Thorvaldsen''

SEE   —  Borghese Gardens

Hotel Homs

4-star hotel.

Hotel Stendhal

4-star hotel.

SLEEP   —  +3906422921 —  via del Tritone 113

About Rome/North Center

Spagna lies in the northern part of the central city, to the west of the park of the Villa Borghese. It includes the Piazza di Spagna and the famous Spanish Steps. It is one of the most fashionable and well-heeled districts of the Italian capital.

Parioli is a quiet, affluent and elegant Rome neighborhood close to Villa Borghese. The name originates from a gigantic wall called "parietone".

Salario, just to the northwest of the Modern Center and the Villa Borghese, is another elegant, upscale neighborhood, home to a large and beautiful park, Villa Ada.

Trieste is also a quiet affluent and elegant neighborhood, close to the Parioli and Villa Ada. It is full of Fascist architecture and early Christian churches such as Sant’Agnese Fuori Le Mura.

Source: wikivoyage