Piazza di SpagnaStarting from Palazzo del Quirinale, the residence of the Italian president, we walk on to one of Rome's - and the world's - most popular landmarks. The Quirinal served as the Pope's summer residence when it was built in 1574, and from the square in front of it, you can take a look at the view over Rome and the Vatican. Walking down the steps leading off from the square and down the road, we end up in one of the favorites, the Trevi Fountain. It has been featured in quite a few movies, making it popular, it is a classical masterpiece, and the largest Baroque fountain of the capital. The legend says that throwing 3 coins into the fountain ensures a return to the city.
Palazzo del Quirinale
Fontana di TreviBy the Trevi fountain, one thing not to miss is ice cream by Il Gelato di San Crispino on via della Panetteria. Moving on from there, we reach Via del Tritone, which is full of shops, and then continue our way on to the famous Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna. In May, the steps are covered in flowers and people. They lead to the Trinita dei Monti, the church that stands at the top. Piazza di Spagna is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican which is located there. At the bottom of the steps is Bernini's Barcaccia fountain, and right across them is the start of Via dei Condotti, which hosts the most prestigious boutiques.
Trinita dei Monti
Via dei Condotti
After strolling on via dei Condotti, we reach via del Corso, another popular shopping street, that leads on to Piazza del Popolo. Piazza del Popolo hosts a 3,200 year old Obelisk, Rome's oldest, with Egyptian style lion fountains at its base that were added on later. The piazza also hosts Santa Maria del Popolo, one of Rome's oldest churches.
Via del Corso
Piazza del Popolo
Santa Maria del PopoloFrom Piazza del Popolo, you can take the stairs that lead up to the park of Villa Borghese. There you can have a walk or rest under the sun. From there you can also take a look at the view onto Piazza del Popolo and the Vatican. Walking through the park you will find various areas to relax and you can rent a golf cart or a bicycle for a ride. Make your way to Galleria Borghese, which is home to modern art work.
View onto Piazza del Popolo
Via Veneto, which also leads to the park from the south-eastern side, is one of Rome's most popular roads, home to many of the Grand Hotels, shops and cafes, as well as the Hard Rock cafe.
Interior of the Hard Rock Cafe
Piazza BarberiniA bit further away from the center, is the Olimpico stadium, home of the Roma soccer team, as well as the sports center around it. It is also worth a visit. Near Olimpico you will also find the Maxxi museum, a relatively new structure by Zaha Hadid.
OlimpicoOther famous landmarks in central Rome include Piazza Republica with the Santa Maria degli Angeli church, the Santa Maria della Vittoria church, which is also featured in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, and the Santa Maria Maggiore church.
Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria della VittoriaA stroll in the center of Rome at night is also very beautiful!
Once again, I would like to give credit to Eyewitness Travel's Top 10 Rome guide book for the useful information before, during and after the trip.
The adventure in Rome doesn't end here, check back for the next part on the historical center!