The Ludovisi district is the 16th rione of Rome. Its main point of interest is one of Rome‘s richest streets, the Via Veneto. The Via Veneto is characterized by a number of enormous palazzi, amongst which the extremely prestigious Palazzo Piombino Margherita, seat of the American Embassy. The Via Veneto thanks its fame especially to the movie Dolce Vita.
Ludovisi District Rome
Like the districts of Testaccio, San Saba and Prati, the rione Ludovisi only came into being in 1886, after the unification of Italy. However, in order to create the new district, the Villa Ludovisi had to be razed to the ground. Fierce protests were of no avail.
From Roman times, this part of the city had been dedicated to nature, alternating with man-made gardens. During the imperial period, many aristocratic families built luxurious villas here.
After the sack of Rome in the 7th century, what is now Ludovisi gradually transformed into countryside.
Only in the 17th century, when Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi commissioned Domenichino to build the Villa Ludovisi, did the district regain its prestige. The family lost the villa three times, but bought the estate back again and again. Later, through an inheritance, it came into the hands of the Boncompagni family.
The gardens and interior of the villa were designed by Lenotre, the architect who was also responsible for the construction of the palace of Versailles. The gardens were crossed by wide avenues along which statues and sarcophagi were placed. The villa itself consisted of three interconnected buildings.
In 1883, the entire territory was divided into smaller areas and sold for ever. The avenues disappeared and several buildings were demolished. Of the old Villa Ludovisi, only the Casino dell’Aurora and the Palazzo Grande remain standing. The Palazzo Grande is now part of the Palazzo Margherita.
Despite its central location, the Ludovisi district does not have much to offer. The Via Veneto, once the symbol of the Roman Dolce Vita, is still flanked by expensive hotels, but now there are also restaurants everywhere that offer tourist menus. The Palazzo Margherita is very beautiful, but cannot be visited as the American Embassy is based there. The most interesting church in the district is the Santa Maria della Concezione Church, especially thanks to the Capuchin Crypt, which has since been converted into a small museum.
Streets and squares
The main street of the district remains the Via Veneto. Young people also visit the street because of the Hard Rock Café.
Public transport Ludovisi District Rome
The Ludovisi district can easily be reached by public transport. There is a metro stop at Piazza Barberini. Several bus lines take you from this square to other important sights in the city. The Via Bissolati is full of travel agencies.