Though Piazza Mignanelli in Rome is not amongst the city’s most famous squares, there will be very few tourists in the Eternal City who will not have unwittingly set foot on this beautiful little piazza. Piazza Mignanelli lies at the foot of the Pincio hill, to the right of the Spanish Steps and the narrow stairways leading up to the Trinità dei Monti church.
Piazza Mignanelli Rome
Every year on the 8th of December the Pope (and thousands of Catholics with him) visits Piazza Mignanelli, in order to celebrate the Immaculate Conception, symbolized by the statue of the Madonna on the pillar in the middle of the piazza. The pillar is called the Colonna dell’Immacolata.
History and description
The palazzo dominating Piazza Mignanelli was built in the beginning of the 17th century. It was commissioned by the wealthy Gabrielli family from the city of Gubbio. The third floor of this building was not constructed until 1887, by Andrea Busiri Vici. The same architect also reconstructed the facade.
A marriage in the Gabrielli family was the reason the name Mignanelli was chosen.
One beautiful palazzo of course attracts more beautiful palazzi. After the Gabrielli building more buildings were constructed around Piazza Mignanelli. The steps leading up to the Trinità dei Monti church were also constructed. In those days there was a chain separating the Piazza di Spagna from Piazza Mignanelli. The square could only be entered by people belonging to the circle of friends of the Gabrielli‘s.
The building on the right (when facing the Trinità dei Monti church) used to be the seat of the Inspectorate for Prices and Taxes, run by the Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
The Via di Ripetta in Rome runs from the Piazza del Popolo to the river Tiber. Of the three streets that form the so-called Tridente it is the one on the right. Although following the trajectory of a 1st century BC Roman street, its present layout stems from the beginning of the 16th century.
Via di Ripetta Rome
History and description
The present Via di Ripetta was built by order of Pope Leo X. In those days it was still called Via Leonina. The Pope is supposed to have financed its construction with money he got from a brothel tax.
The street did not get its present name until 1704, after the construction of the Ripetta harbor. This harbor was called Ripetta to distinguish it from the already existing, bigger Ripa Grande harbor in Trastevere.
The Augustus Mausoleum was constructed in the 1st century AD by the emperor himself. It was meant to be a mausoleum for him and his family. The monument can only be seen from outside.
The Ara Pacis, or Altar Of Peace, was constructed in order to celebrate the peace restored in the empire after Augustus had returned from Spain. In 1995 the American Architect Richard Meier redesigned the building housing the monument. It is now a museum and hosts several prestigious exhibitions a year.
San Rocco Church
The San Rocco Church was built in the 17th century. Its facade is the product of a later design by Giuseppe Valadier.
San Girolamo degli Illirici Church
The Church of San Girolamo degli Illirici stand right next to the San Rocco Church. It is also known as San Girolamo dei Croati or San Girolamo degli Schiavoni.
Santa Maria Portae Paradisi Church
The Santa Maria Portae Paradisi Church was originally built in the 9th century. Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane renovated this church in the 16th century.Santa Maria Portae Paradisi Kerk: Oorspronkelijk 9e eeuwse kerk, in de 16e eeuw gerestaureerd door Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane.
Palazzo Capponi della Palma
The Palazzo Capponi della Palma (Via di Ripetta, 246) was built in the 16th century.
The nearest metro stop is Flaminio (line A). The closest bus stop is Augusto Imperatore/Ara Pacis (line 628, C3, N25).
The Piazza Borghese in Rome is situated between the Via di Ripetta en the Via Fontanella Borghese. The main attraction in the square is the Palazzo Borghese.
Piazza Borghese Rome
The neighborhood where the Piazza Borghese is located used to belong to the Borghese family. This family settled in the area in the 16th century. Pope Paul V and Cardinal Scipione Borghese were responsible for the enlargement of the area between the Via di Ripetta and the San Girolamo degli Schiavi Church. Until the 19th century the square remained property of the family.
On the north side it is bordered by the Palazzo Borghese, on the west side by the Palazzo della Famiglia and on the northwest side by the Faculty of Architecture.
The Palazzo Borghese, thanks to its unusual shape, is often nicknamed Cembalo (“Harpsichord”). Nowadays, one wing of this building is used as a hotel and resaurant/lounge bar.
Originally the square bordered the Via di Ripetta. This changed between 1923 and 1928, when the faculty, which is part of the Sapienza University, was constructed inbetween.
The nearest bus stop is Ripetta (70, 81, 87, 492, 628, C3, N6, N7, N25).
Seen from the Piazza del Popolo, the Via del Babuino is the left one of the three streets that together form Rome‘s famous shopping “Tridente“. The street gets its name from the statue of the “baboon” near the Church of Sant’Atanasio dei Greci. Most of the artist’s studios that used to line the street have been replaced by expensive antique stores.
Via del Babuino Rome
The hill to the left of the Via del Babuino when entering from the Piazza del Popolo is the famous Pincio Hill.
The Via del Babuino started out as two different streets, called Via dell’Orto di Napoli and Via del Cavalletto. In 1925, when Pope Clemens VII ordered the construction of the new street it came to be called Via Clementina. After its completion in 1943 the then Pope Paul III, changed the name to Via Paolina Trifaria.
Most buildings in the street date from the 17th till the 19th century, however.
Before the area at the bottom of the Pincio became popular most Romans used to live near the banks of the Tiber. Problems with malaria, lack of drinking water and overpopulation caused the wealthier part of the population to start looking elsewhere.
The area at the foot of the Pincio was only scarcely populated and would have been ideal, but for the lack of drinking water. This problem was solved when the decision was taken to restore the Acqua Vergine, the least damaged of all of the city’s aqueducts. Even now a branch of this aqueduct still runs underneath the Via del Babuino and provides the Piazza del Popolo fountains with water.
A second way to get people to move to this area was to not tax shop space. This enabled foreign artists who came to Rome to set up their studios in the Via del Babuino and the Via Margutta. Famous examples are Rubens, Poussin and Van Wittel.
In the 18th century rents started creeping up and the Via del Babuino became less popular. The 19th century saw a revival however, and artists like the composers Wagner and Liszt resided in the street.
Nowadays the Via del Babuino is a street for the rich. There are hardly any artists’ studios left and the street is full of luxury antique stores.
Tourist attractions Via del Babuino
The Hôtel de Russie is so luxurious that they had to give it French name. It used to have the nickname “Hotel of Kings”. Its beautiful garden stretches up the Pincio Hill. After the end of World War II it was converted into office space, but since 2000 it performs its previous function again.
Rome’s Anglican All Saints Church occupies the Via del Babuino 153/b.
Slightly further down the road the Church of Sant’Atanasio dei Greci, which was designed by Giacomo della Porta can be seen.
To the left if this church you can see the former sudio of the Tadolini family of sculptors. The Fountain of the Baboon is placed against the facade of this building. In 1571 Pius V had a statue dedicated to Silenius, antique deity of wells and fountains, installed. This statue was so ugly that the inhabitants of the area came to refer to it as the “baboon” and the street ended up with its present name.
The Palazzo Nainer was built in the 19th century.
The Via del Babuino is now Rome‘s most expensive luxury street. Adding up the value of all of its buildings, its total worth, in 2016, came to 1½ billion Euros.
The Via del Babuino lies between the underground stops Flaminio and Spagna, both on line A. The nearest bus stop is Piazzale Flaminio (lines 89, 490, 495, 590, 628, C3, N1, N25).
The Via Sistina is a street in the center of Rome, connecting the Piazza Trinità dei Monti to the Piazza Barberini. The part closest to the Piazza Barberini is in the rioneColonna, whereas the part closer to Trinità dei Monti belongs to the rioneCampo Marzio. Continue reading “Via Sistina Rome”
The Fontana della Barcaccia (“Fountain of the Old Boat” or “Fountain of the Ugly Boat”) can be found at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome, right in the middle of the Piazza di Spagna.
Fontana della Barcaccia Rome
It is a baroque water fountain in the shape of an old boat (hence the name “barcaccia“). The motif was chosen when an old boat was left behind when the water had receded after the Tiber had flooded (as often happened before the walls around this river were constructed).
The fountain was built by the two Bernini‘s, father Pietro and son Gian Lorenzo. The work, which had been commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, was completed in 1627.
After a restoration that took more or less one entire year, as of September 22, 2014, the Fontana della Barcaccia can again be admired in all its splendor. Only a couple of months later a bunch of Feyenoord football hooligans damaged the fountain and a new restoration was necessary.
The Casina Valadier is built on the highest point of the Pincio Hill in Rome, on what used to be known as the Collis Hortulorum, where the wealthiest families of the city owned their gardens.
Casina Valadier Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza Bucarest – Rome (tel. +39 06 69922090). Opening hours restaurant: 12:30 till 15:00 and 19:30 till 23.00; opening hours cafe: 11.30 till 17.00.
History and description
As the name says, the building was constructed by the architect Giuseppe Valadier, between the years 1816 and 1837. Valadier was a logical choice of builder, since he was also responsible for the new look of the Piazza del Popolo.
Before Valadier built his neo-classical palazzo , there used to be another building called the Casino della Rota in the same site, which in its turn had been constructed on top of the ruins of an ancient cistern.
After World War I the Casina Valadier became an important place for Rome’s cultural and political elite and its guest book includes names as diverse as Gandhi, Pirandello and Strauss.
The Casina, which had been turned into a restaurant in 1920, was closed in 1990 for restorations that would end up taking 14 years.
The Column of the Immaculate Conception is located in the middle of the Piazza Mignanelli, right next to Piazza di Spagna and the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide (the seat of one of Rome’s latest museums) and opposite the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See.
Colonna dell’Immacolata Rome
The column was constructed by the architect Luigi Poletti and inaugurated on December 8, 1857, with the help of no fewer than 220 firemen.
The structure consists of a marble base, the 12m tall column itself, which is actually older and was discovered by chance during excavations in the Campus Marzius, and a bronze statue of the Madonna, which is the work of Giuseppe Obici.
The 4 bronze statues on the base of the column depict Moses (made by Ignazio Jacometti), David (by Adamo Tadolini), Ezekiel (by Carlo Chelli) and Isaiah (Salvatore Revelli).
It is dedicated to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854. According to this dogma Madonna is the only human being born free of original sin.
Every year on December 8 the festivities of the Immaculate Conception are celebrated. The Pope comes to bless the statue and those attending and the Fire Brigade, with the aid of a crane, puts a garland of flowers around the Madonna’s neck.
The Piazza del Popolo is one of the biggest squares of Rome, and can be found just inside what used to be the Porta Flaminia, now the Porta del Popolo, of the Aurelian Walls. Outside the walls the Via Flaminia started, which connected Rome to Rimini.
Piazza del Popolo Rome
Piazza del Popolo means “People’s Square”, but the name derives form the poplars that used to grow there and gave their name to the Santa Maria del Popolo Church in the northeast corner of the piazza.
The square was meant impressive, since it was the first thing a traveler from the north laid his eyes on when entering the city from the north.
The way the Piazza del Popolo looks now is the work of the neoclassical architect Giuseppe Valadier. Originally the shape of the square was trapezoidal and was centred on the Via Flaminia, but Valadier created the two semicircles around the piazza and the viale (lane) leading up to the balustrated overlook from the Pincio.
The centre of the Piazza del Popolo is dominated by the Egyptian obelisk of Rameses II, which brought to Rome in 10 BC. In 1589 Domenico Fontana moved it from its original site, the Circus Maximus, to its present spot. In 1818 the fountains in the form of lions were added and the original fountain was moved to the Piazza Nicosia.
Having one’s back turned towards the Porta del Popolo, one looks towards the so-called tridente, the three streets branching out from the piazza and separated in the beginning by the almost-twin churches Santa Maria in Montesanto (on the left) and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. From left to right, the streets are the Via del Babuino, the Via del Corso and the Via di Ripetta.
The two buildings framing the tridente were created in an identical way by Valadier and a third similar palazzo was constructed next to the Santa Maria del Popolo. Two identical walls on the west and east sides completed his design. The trees behind the western walls were planted in order to hide the buildings behind them, which did not match Valadier‘s design.
His most important renovations were the carriageway and the pedestrian steps leading up to the Pincio and the triple-arched nymphaeum below the lookout point.
Valadier had also made plans for fountains, but since the Acqua Vergine Nuovo aquaduct was not completed until the 1820s, these were not actually built and the fountains on the east and west side of the piazza were created by Giovanni Ceccarini.
Until 1826, the Piazza del Popolo used to be a place for public executions.
The Via del Corso is the main shopping street in Rome and is one of the few central streets in the center that is running in a straight line. It runs from north to south and its 1,5 kilometers connects the Piazza del Popolo to the Piazza Venezia. The northern half of the street is pedestrian and the ground floor of almost every building in that part has been turned into shopping space.