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Trevi Fountain Neighborhood – The complete guide

Is the Trevi Fountain neighborhood a good place to stay? 

If you stay in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood, it's easier to get up at 6 am and see the iconic fountain like this.


You might be surprised to find that besides the eponymous fountain, there are many things to see, do, and explore right in this fascinating rione of Rome’s Centro Storico (historic center). 

What is a Rione? 

In Rome, we often talk about the 7 hills of Rome.

There are more than 7 hills in Rome, but the 7 hills we refer to are the ones used since Ancient Rome to delineate different areas of the city. They are actually hills. 

We also have rioni, which is based on the Latin word for region.

This was also used in Ancient Rome to delineate different neighborhoods. There used to be just a handful back then. Today there are 22. 

And finally, we talk about “Rome Neighborhoods.” Most Romans today identify where they were born and raised, and where they live, as a neighborhood. 

Roman hills, rioni, and neighborhoods do not always sync but they often overlap.

Now let’s talk about what is the Centro Storico of Rome.

Centro Storico means “historic center.”

This is the area that has been almost continuously inhabited since the founding of the city. In this area, you will find ancient structures like the Pantheon along with buildings from different eras like the Medieval, the Renaissance, the late 19th and early 20th century, and right up to modern times.

On this page, we will talk about the Trevi Rione, which is mostly on the Quirinal Hill.

The Trevi Fountain neighborhood you might think of today, the one most Romans think of, is the more densely packed area of little streets mostly right around the fountain itself. 

The Trevi rione actually stretches up past Piazza Barberini and towards Via Veneto, a decidedly more elegant, Baroque area of Rome that seems to have little to do with the cute Trevi Fountain neighborhood you might be thinking of when you wonder if this is where you should stay in Rome.

Here’s a map:

Trevi Fountain Neighborhood - So much more than just a tourist spot

The Trevi Fountain is surely on most people’s top ten lists of things to see in Rome if not all of Italy. 

Want to know more about the history and the meaning? Read about it on my page here.

Besides being a gorgeous backdrop for Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, and a “bucket list” fountain to take your picture in front of, there is much more to this compact area of Rome.

This is a great place to stay in Rome if you:

  • Love being able to walk everywhere
  • Want to be close to public transportation (Metro line A – Barberini)
  • Want to be right in the center of Rome, including its hustle and bustle
  • Have visited Rome before and want to take some time to explore the many beautiful and historic things there are right in this area
  • Have never visited Rome before and want to get a sense of what the historic center is like, especially in early morning or late evening

For our suggestions for places to stay in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood, visit our page here. You can also check directly on booking.com.

Trevi Fountain Neighborhood – Things to see and do

It may seem like just a really busy and crowded touristy spot in the heart of Rome. 

But if you stay in this area, you will be blessed with a wide variety of excellent places to eat, a fantastic location that puts you within easy walking distance to many other of Rome’s must-sees, and an extraordinary wealth of things to do right here.

Just in this tiny area you can explore ancient Roman history, underground ruins, stunning art, beautiful churches, and a wide variety of architectural styles. Start your exploration here:

Must-see Rome sites near the Trevi Fountain

The pantheon is less than a 10-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain.

The Trevi Fountain really is right in the heart of Rome’s historic center. This means it’s within walking distance of many “must-see” sites.

In about 10 minutes' walk you can reach the PantheonSpanish Steps, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Barberini, or Piazza Navona.

In about 20 minutes' walk you can reach Piazza del Popolo or the Colosseum.

Churches in the Trevi Fountain Neighborhood

Rome has nearly 1,000 churches. A majority of these contain works of priceless art or could be considered masterpieces themselves. 

There happen to be some stunning churches right in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood that are worth visiting. A visit inside doesn’t need to take long so even if you have limited time in Rome, if you are in this neighborhood you should try to visit at least one of these churches:


Saints Vincenzo and Anastasio

I love this church from the outside. It's also a great spot to stand and take pix of the fountain.

What's special - It's right on the same square as the fountain. It contains the hearts of nearly 30 popes.

The main church on the piazza where the Trevi Fountain sits is the Baroque church Santi Vincenzo and Anastasio (Saints Vincent and Anastasius.)

Inside this church are the hearts, yes, the actual hearts of nearly 30 popes, from Sixtus V (1590) to Leo XIII (1903).

By the main altar, you can see two large plaques that list of the names of the popes whose hearts are guarded by this church. (Don’t worry, you won’t see the hearts themselves!)

I actually love to look at this church from across the piazza. The Baroque façade with its over-use of columns is strange and unique.

Address: Vicolo dei Modelli, 72.


Santa Maria dell’Archetto

What's special - It's the smallest church in Rome. The Madonna icon supposedly moved its eyes and wept.

Along the tiny street via di San Marcello, you can see a narrow nameless alleyway with a small church at the end. It is in fact the smallest church in Rome (not a chapel). 

The tiny church was built in the nineteenth century to house a miraculous image of the Madonna that was previously located under a nearby narrow arched passageway. In 1696, the image was reputedly seen to move her eyes. This was observed by several people over the next centuries. Some even said they saw the icon weep. 

The church is a rare example of Neo-Renaissance architecture in Rome.

The cupola has frescoes by Constantino Brumini, the same artist who painted the frescoes in the US Capitol. 

The church is open daily at around 6:30pm – 7 pm for a short mass.

Address: Via di S. Marcello, 41.


Santi Apostoli – The basilica of the Twelve Apostles

What's special - Michelangelo was once buried here. The underground crypt is fascinating. Don't miss a visit to the hidden chapel of Cardinal Bessarione! And there's more . . .

The basilica of Santi Apostoli was founded in the 6th century. Its name comes from the two saints buried here, Philip and James of Alphaeus.

It was damaged and restored over the centuries and finally rebuilt entirely in the Baroque style in the 1700s. The ceiling was painted by Baciccio (1707). The church also contains the tomb of Pope Clement XIV (1787), a design by Antonio Canova.

It’s worth a visit to see the huge space inside, admire the portico (which contains another small Canova engraving), and also to visit the crypt where the apostles the church is named for are buried.

My favorite thing about this basilica is the secret chapel, called the Bessarione Chapel.

It was owned by a cardinal of the same name in the Renaissance but only discovered in 1959. You can visit this chapel on Friday and Saturday mornings between 9am – 12pm. The cost is 4€. Photos are allowed.

To the left of the basilica you will find a doorway that leads to a cloister that’s part of private property.

If you ask the porter, they usually let you in.

Tell them you want to see where Michelangelo was temporarily buried when he died in Rome in 1564. The engraving is not large, and in fact, Michelangelo was buried inside the church itself. But you can see his name on the tombstone. The reclining figure is not Michelangelo even if it looks like him.

Michelangelo’s nephew Leonardo came to Rome and “spirited” his uncle’s body on a cart back to Florence, where he was given a lavish funeral and buried.

Address: Piazza Dei Santi Apostoli, 51.

Visit their official website here.


Santa Maria in Via

What's special - the water from a holy well. The intricate nativity scene on permanent display.

This small unassuming church contains a well where supposedly an image of the Virgin Mary appeared in the Middle Ages. 

The water is said to have the power of performing miracles.

Paper cups are available to drink from the well if you like.

My favorite part about this church is the huge yet intricate permanent Nativity Scene in the back.

The permanent nativity scene in the back of Santa Maria in via is often overlooked, as the church is more famous for its well with holy water.

Address: Via del Mortaro, 24.

Hours: Mon - Sat 7.15 am - 8 pm; Sunday 8.30 am - 10 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Sant’Andrea delle Fratte

What's special - the cloister and Bernini's angels

Technically this church is not inside the Rione Trevi. But it’s so close to the Trevi Fountain I am including it here. 

The church is special for several reasons. 

First, there are two sculptures of angels by Bernini. These were the models for the angels that now span the Angel Bridge in front of Castel Sant’Angelo (none of those angels are by Bernini although they were made during the Baroque era of the 1600s and modelled after the ones you see in this church.)

Second, there is a sweet, peaceful little cloister in the back. It’s a lovely spot for a short stroll and some quiet contemplation.

Address: Via di Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, 1.

Hours: Daily 7.30 am - 12 pm; 4.30 pm - 7.30 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Santa Maria in Trivio

What's special - the ceiling vault!

Santa Maria in Trivio was founded by the Byzantine general Belisarius in the 6th century. Between 1573 and 1575 the architect Giacomo del Duca rebuilt the church including the interesting pediment above the entrance.

There is a side altar by Pietro Perugino (one of the Renaissance artists who painted the sides of the Sistine Chapel before Michelangelo came along.)

The main reason I want to tell you to visit this church is to take a look at the ceiling. Painted by Antonio Gherardi, it’s one of the most stunning ceilings of a church I’ve ever seen.

Address: Via dei Crociferi, 49.

Hours: Sun - Fri open in the morning and afternoon. Saturday 4.30 pm - 8 pm.


Oratory of the Crucifix

What's special - it feels like a secret place. The Mannerist paintings are beautiful and powerful.

The Oratorio del Santissimo Crocifisso or the Oratory of the Most Holy Crucifix is hiding in plain sight just a couple of blocks from the Trevi Fountain.

The structure was built by under-appreciated architect Giacomo della Porta in 1568, near the church of San Marcello, for the Confraternity of Crucifix, which itself was founded to venerate the crucifix from the nearby church. The confraternity members were among the wealthiest men in Rome at the time.

The paintings are all in the Mannerist style and make a strong counter-reformation statement showing the Triumph of the Cross.

Address: Piazza dell'Oratorio, 68.

Hours: Daily 7. 00 am - 12 00 pm; 4.30 pm - 07.00 pm.

Visitors are not allowed during Mass (religious services).


San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

What's special - Borromini's façade and geometric ceiling. And there's more . . .

As you might have noticed by now, rival Baroque artists and architects Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini completed a lot of work in this area in the mid-1600s. You often find their works near each other (as at Piazza Navona and Palazzo Barberini), although this was not always intentional.

One of the jewels of the Baroque is the small church by Borromini called San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane. It’s sometimes affectionately called San Carlino, because it is indeed a small church.

This church was the first independent contract for Borromini as sole architect. He’d worked side by side with renowned architect Carlo Maderno for years, on such projects as Saint Peter’s Basilica, Palazzo Barberini, Sant’Andrea della Valle, and others.

With this commission, Borromini was to make a church as part complex of monastic buildings for the Spanish Trinitarins, an order dedicated to the freeing of Christian slaves.

He had very little space to work with, but by bucking Renaissance conventions of straight lines, squares, and triangles, Borromini added curves, ovals, and an undulating façade to turn this project into a masterpiece.

The ceiling is one of the marvels of Rome.

Take a very close look at it and then head out to the via Nomentana to the under-visited Mausoleum of Santa Costanza. You will find this design on the curved ceiling, made in the 4th century.

San Carlino also has an underground crypt and a small cloister you can visit as well. 

Address: Via del Quirinale, 23.

Hours: Mon - Fri 10 am - 1 pm; 3 pm - 6 pm. Saturday 10 am - 1 pm. Sunday 12 pm - 1 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Sant’Andrea al Quirinale

Just down the street from Borromini’s San Carlo is Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

This church was made a few years after San Carlo.

It’s very unusual in that it’s longer across than it is deep. Once you step inside you feel as if you’ve entered a giant Fabergé egg.

This was one of Bernini’s favorite works of art of his, and he came here often in his old age to sit and contemplate what he’d created.

Address: Via del Quirinale, 30.

Hours: Tue- Sun 9 am - 12 pm; 3 pm - 6 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Visit their official website here.


Santa Maria della Vittoria

What's special - Bernini's sculpture of Saint Teresa in Ecstasy.

This gem of a church would be easy to miss as it’s small and on a corner kind of away from major tourism sites.

It would be such a shame as it has one of the most stunning works by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.

Not only that but the church itself is jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Address: Via Venti Settembre, 17.

Hours: Mon - Sat 8.30 am - 12 pm; 3.30 pm - 6 pm. Sunday 3.30 pm - 6 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Underground sites to see in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood

So much of what we think of as Ancient Rome lies beneath the Rome you see today. As evidenced by long-term works to spread out Rome’s metro lines, every time they dig, they find something from antiquity. This is one reason we have so many fantastic things to see underground in Rome. 

In the Trevi Fountain neighborhood there are only a handful of underground sites you can visit.

Palazzo Valentini

Palazzo Valentini belonged in the 16th century to a noble family by the same name. It happened to lie above an ancient Roman domus, or home, which has since been excavated. A visit to this site is a marvelous way to get a sense of the layers of Roman history and architecture. 

It’s also a really fun experience because of the use of multi-media and enhanced reality technology

A word of advice – if you are prone to vertigo or easily affected by flashing lights, this may not be the right experience for you.

I loved it but found myself having to place my hands on nearby walls to steady myself. You don’t actually move but the variation in light around you can make you lose your bearings at times. 

Address: Foro Traiano, 85.

Hours: Wed - Mon 9.30 am - 6.30 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.

Visit their official website here.


Vicus Caprarius

While the Trevi Fountain is truly amazing to see, you may also want to see where the water comes from. Luckily, there is a very cool underground spot right around the corner from the fountain. It’s not too big, it’s inexpensive, and you will definitely escape the crowds.

You can buy the 3€ ticket right on the spot. There is no need to book this in advance.

You can also take a tour, which I did, and that makes a huge difference. This depends on you and how much in-depth history you want about ancient Rome.

Even if you just go on your own, there are pictures and short explanations of what you are looking at.

Once you buy your ticket, you head down a metal staircase to the ruins and water. The space is underground but it’s also a large open space, so it’s definitely not claustrophobic.

The site is called Vicus Caprarius after the street that used to be here, which today is underneath via di san Vincenzo.

There are some ruins of a medieval settlement which were in turn built with recycled materials from ancient Rome.

One section is an excavated apartment building from Ancient Rome. It was later turned into a noble residence with a staircase that you can discern.

You will also see the storage facilities for the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, which today feeds the Trevi Fountain as well as other fountains in the area.

There is a small museum with some artifacts found when they excavated in 1999.

Address: Vicolo del Puttarello, 25.

Hours: Tue, Thu and Sat 3 pm - 7 pm. Wed, Fri and Sun 10 am - 2 pm. Closed on Mondays.

Visit their official website here.


San Lorenzo in Lucina

The basilica of San Lorenzo in Lucina is a lovely medieval church one one of Rome’s most popular pedestrian piazzas of the same name.

I recommend visiting the church just to see the Guido Reni painting above the alter. There are chapels designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and you will also see the resting place of French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665).

Probably the most fascinating part of this basilica is underground. 

There are ruins of houses from the time of the emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century. There are also remains of the original paleo-Christian church.

It’s not that easy to access, as it’s open only at 16:30 on the last Saturday of the month (if that doesn’t work for you, you could try to find the custodian and ask him to let you in.) The cost is less than 5€.

You can also take a tour as I did, in which case you will get a fabulous introduction to Ancient Roman history as it pertains to this neighborhood (more the Campo Marzio rione than the Trevi one, but still.)

Address: Piazza di S. Lorenzo in Lucina, 6.


Rinascente

Rinascente department store is one of the largest in Italy. After years of renovation, they opened a huge flagship store on via del Tritone/via Due Macelli. It’s a lovely space with a food court on the top floor and a rooftop bar with beautiful views.

Of course, when they were digging to build the foundations, they came across Roman ruins.

They chose to highlight them so when you visit the basement of Rinascente (housewares, gifts, Tax Free office, and more) you can easily see this stretch of Ancient Rome across one wall. 

This is the Aqua Virgo aqueduct inaugurated by Rome’s first emperor Octvian Augustus in 19 BCE. The Aqua Virgo still works today, and feeds most of the fountains of Rome’s center such as the Trevi Fountain.

Every few minutes, a light show plays on the ruins, showing you bits of the history of the aqueduct and the surrounding area. You can even stay for a snack or a drink, as there is a bar down here as well.

Address: Via del Tritone, 61, Via dei Due Macelli, 23.

Hours: Open daily 10 AM - 10 PM.

Visit their official website here.


Roman ruins near the Trevi Fountain

One of the amazing things about Rome is that it’s literally an open-air museum. You can just walk around the city and you will come across monuments and ruins from Ancient Rome. 

Here are a few easy-to-spot, free places to see Roman ruins in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood:


Piazza Colonna

Just a couple of blocks from the Trevi Fountain you will come to Piazza Colonna.

The giant carved column in the middle is called the Column of Marcus Aurelius.

Built sometime in the late 2nd century C.E., this column may have been built during the emperor’s lifetime or just after he died.

In any case it tells a story of Marcus Aurelius’ conquest in battle.

You can see a similar, older column nearby, right outside the Domus Romana at Palazzo Valentini, or looking down the steps from Trajan’s Market.

That one is Trajan’s Column and tells the story of a battle against Dacia (today Romania) which of course Trajan and Rome won.


Rinascente

As described above, you can visit the flagship Rinascente department store and head to the basement to check out a stretch of 2000-year old aqueduct inaugurated by Roman Emperor Augustus.


Hadrian’s temple

In Piazza di Pietra, only about 5 minutes’ walk from the Trevi Fountain, you can find the ruins of Emperor Hadrian’s temple. (Many people think mistake this for l.)

This temple was built by Hadrian’s adoptive son and successor, Emperor Antoninus Pius, and dedicated to the deified Emperor Hadrian in 145 CE.

The building is now incorporated into the Palazzo della Borsa (Once the stock exchange, today the Chamber of Commerce). All that remains of the ancient temple is the northern side with eleven columns. 

One very interesting aspect of this temple is that if you get up close to it, you can look down and see the original street level of ancient Rome.

Some of the intricate reliefs of the temple are housed in the Archeological museum in Naples, another museum in Italy well worth visiting.

It’s normally not possible to visit the inside of this building.

However, on occasion there are special events and you may find it open (and usually free to visit).

If you do go in, you can see more details, some of the original temple flooring, and a well-designed model of the original temple.

Address: Piazza di Pietra.


Servian Walls

In the center of the Magnanapoli roundabout you can see some remnants of the Servian walls. 

They state “from the times of the kings”, meaning the kings of Rome, which put these walls in the 4th century BCE more or less.


Torre della Milizie

The Torre delle Millizie is one of the oldest surviving medieval bell towers in Rome. It’s one of those structures you can see from most vantagepoints around Rome. It’s 50 meters (160 feet) tall, but it used to be even taller. In 1348 an earthquake caused the top two floors to topple. It also made the ground sag and gave the building its current tilt to one side.

If you visit Trajan’s Market, you can get up close to this monument and appreciate how solid and imposing it really is.

(While this monument is not exactly a ruin from “ancient Rome”, I’m including it in this section since it is a pretty old ruin, and because you can visit it while visiting Trajan’s Market which is from Ancient Rome.)

Address : Salita del Grillo, 37.

Hours: Mon - Sat 9 am - 5 pm. Closed on Sundays.


Museums in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood

In a city full of museums, there is a high concentration of art and history museums within a stone’s throw of the Trevi Fountain.  

Galleria Doria Pamphilj

I often suggest people visit this museum when they think they have seen all the important museums in Rome. The gallery of mirrors alone makes this museum worth a visit.

You essentially visit the home of the wealthy noble family Doria Pamphilj.

You will see their grand ballrooms, bedrooms, and gilt corridors the way they looked when the family lived here, with art covering nearly every inch of wall space. 

You will find works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Bruegel, Filippo Lippi, and one of the most famous pieces, a painting of Pope Innocent X Pamphilj by Diego Valasquez.

Address: Via del Corso, 305.

Hours: Sat - Mon 9.30 am - 7 pm. Friday 11.30 am - 11 pm. Tue - Thu closed.

Visit their official website here.


Palazzo Colonna

Palazzo Colonna is one of the largest and most ancient noble mansions.

Like the Doria Pamphilj, this enormous residence holds stunning works of art while also being a work of art in and of itself.

Galleria Colonna by Sailko, Wikimedia Commons

There is also an impressive art collection that includes works by Pinturicchio, the Carracci brothers, Guido Reni, Tintoretto, Guercino, Veronese, and others.

You can also opt to include a visit to the enormous gardens, which reach all the way up to the Quirinal Hill.

Address: Via della Pilotta, 17.

Hours: Saturday 9 am - 1.15 pm.

Visit their official website here.


National Academy of St. Luke

The national academy of Saint Luke holds some interesting artwork and occasionally has temporary exhibits.

I love to go inside to admire the helicoidal staircase by Baroque architect Franceso Borromini.

Address: Piazza Accademia di S. Luca, 77.

Hours: Mon - Sat 9 am - 6 pm. Closed on Sundays.

Visit their official website here.


Palazzo Barberini

Palazzo Barberini was once the palace of the noble family by the same name. This is without a doubt one of the richest art collections in Rome. 

You’ll find paintings by Raphael, including one of his most famous, La Fornarina, and many other famous artists including Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Domenichino, Pietro da Cortona, and so many more. 

You can also just visit the two outer staircases without going inside the museum. One is by Francesco Borromini and the other by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. 

There is also a lovely garden in the back where you can wander freely. Access to the garden and the staircases is free.

Address: Via delle Quattro Fontane, 13.

Hours: Thu - Sun 10 am - 6 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Casino dell'Aurora Pallavicini Rospigliosi

On the first of every month (except January 1), part of this private noble residence is free and open to the public. 

You can walk the small gardens and then head inside to see the sumptuous Guido Reni painting of Aurora on the ceiling. No photos are allowed, but you will definitely get an eyeful.

Address: Via Ventiquattro Maggio, 43.

Visit their official website here.


Scuderie

The Scuderie were once the stables of the Quirinale palace.

Today they house a lovely exhibition space where you can see shows most of the year.

Scuderie del Quirinale museum - MM, Wikimedia Commons

Different shows have included works by Caravaggio, Raphael, Bernini, and many others.

Address: Via Ventiquattro Maggio, 16.

Hours: Sun - Thu 8 am - 11 pm. Fri - Sat 8 am - 1 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Other fountains in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood

The Trevi Fountain is obviously the main attraction of this area and certainly of this specific neighborhood guide. But Rome is a city of fountains, many of them monumental. Right here in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood you can admire these famous and less-famous fountains:

Four Fountains

The Four Fountains were designed in the late Renaissance and are part of an intersection just a few blocks from the Trevi Fountain.

One interesting aspect of this intersection is that if you stand in the middle of it, you can see 3 ancient obelisks.

One is at the top of the Spanish Steps. Another is in the back of the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The third one is in the Quirinale square.

Each fountain has a little water basin and a god/goddess with symbols that show us what (we think) they represent.

Two are river gods, as evidenced by the always-present cornucopia and reclining bearded god. (There is a possibility that the two women represent not goddesses but also rivers. 

Goddess Juno
Tiber River
Aniene River
Goddess Diana

Unfortunately, we have no documentation as to the intention of Pope Sixtus V who commissioned them, so we take a guess):

The Goddess Juno (by Domenico Fontana) is a symbol of Strength.

The Tiber river (by Domenico Fontana) is one of the symbols of Rome. The other symbol of Rome, the she-wolf, was added to this fountain in the 20th century.

The Aniene river (by Domenico Fontana) is a tributary of the Tiber.

The Goddess Diana (by Pietro da Cortona) is a symbol of Chastity.

Address: Via delle Quattro Fontane.


Tritone

One of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s most famous and, in my opinion, most beautiful fountains in Rome, is the Tritone in the middle of Piazza Barberini. 

Bernini made this sculpture, Triton, in 1644, once he was finished working on Palazzo Barberini. 

Note the bees on the papal crest. This tells you the patron of this fountain was Pope Urban VIII, Barberini, one of Bernini’s most ardent fans and employers.

Address: Piazza Barberini.

Visit their official website here.


Clamshell

In the corner of the piazza you can find another fountain by Bernini. It’s in the shape of a large clam-shell. You can spot the Barberini bees once again.


Moses fountain

At the height of the Roman Empire, 11 aqueducts fed Rome’s fountains.

Not long after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Goths destroyed the aqueducts in 537 CE. Rome didn’t have clean water again for over a thousand years.

During that time, only one of the ancient Roman aqueducts kept functioning. This was the Aqua Vergine (which feeds the Trevi Fountain, among others.) The Romans had to use a small fountain in this area for clean water.

When Pope Sixtus V became pope in 1585, among his many city improvement projects was to bring back clean water to Rome. He renamed one of the aqueducts he had repaired, Acqua Alessandrina, after himself, calling it Acqua Felice (his non-papal name was Felice Peretti.)

The fountain to mark the terminus of this restored aqueduct was constructed by the pope’s favorite architect/engineer, Domenico Fontana in the form of an ancient Roman triumphal arch. The sculpture of Moses was added a few years later.

The fountain had several important implications: It was a statement of the power of the Catholic Church that was serving the people, unlike the Protestant Reformation. It was also fundamental to the rebirth of this area, and helped launch its transformation into a thriving city neighborhood.


Cordonata

In the early 1870s, the newly-born municipality of Rome began installing small drinking fountains around Rome. These are called “fontanelle” or “nasoni.”

Nasone means “big nose”, which indicates the shape of some of these fountains. Since that time, the number of fountains has shrunk from around 5,000 to around 2,000. 

They are an excellent source of free, cold, clean drinking water and a great way to stay hydrated when walking around Rome.

There were many different shapes, and differently-shaped nozzles. 

The one on via della Cordonata is one of the oldest in Rome, and one of only 3 to retain its original dragon-head shaped nozzle.


Piazza del Quirinale 

The piazza in front of the Quirinal palace is pretty huge and feels almost bare.

In part this is to be able to hold events, concerts, and ceremonies there, since this is where the President of Italy lives today.

This huge palace, one of Europe’s largest, was once home of the popes in the 16th century. It then became the royal palace when Italy had a monarchy. Since 1948 it is the home of the President (not the Prime Minister.)

The fountain in front has two large statues of Castor and Pollux, demigod twins who are harbingers of war.

They are always shown with their horses.

These are copies of statues found in the Roman Forum. The obelisk in the center is 2000 old and is Roman, not Egyptian.

Address: Piazza del Quirinale.

Visit their official website here


Secret Bernini fountain

Just a couple of blocks from the Trevi Fountain, on via della Panetteria no.15, there is a private condominium. Sometimes the doors will be open and you can try to get a glimpse of the fountain in the courtyard. This was also designed by Bernini. It’s not huge but it does have twin tritons blowing onto conch shells, a bit reminiscent of his two fountains in nearby Piazza Barberini.


Interesting architecture and little streets in the Trevi Fountain neighborhood

Galleria Sciarra

The Galleria Sciarra was once built as a private courtyard of a palazzo of the same name.

Today it houses some offices and a few shops. 

It’s such a treat to bring people here and watch their faces as they contemplate this stunning space. This 19th century painting style is called Art Nouveau and it’s one of the few examples we have of it in Rome.

Address: Via Marco Minghetti, 10.


Via della pilotta

This lovely street with its 4 arched walkways takes its name from a game played in Ancient Rome, called pilotti or pilotta. The balls were called pilae triagonales because the participants would form a triangle to play the game. (Some sources say the name comes instead from a game played here in the 16th century, similar to the Spanish pelota, which is in turn related to the Basque game of Jai Alai.)

The arched walkways connect Palazzo Colonna to its private gardens along Quirinal Hill. 

Vicolo del Monticello

Vicolo del Monticello is a tiny street connecting just two blocks from the Trevi Fountain. It would be easy to miss, but you shouldn’t. And when you walk along this alleyway, look up and around. The angles, the light, and the surprise glimpse of the adjacent church’s bell tower make this a very photographable spot.

Quirinale staircase

The Quirinal Palace is high on top of the Quirinal Hill. To reach it from the Trevi Fountain there is a wide staircase from via della Dataria. There is another little staircase that is quiet and picturesque. You can see it on Scalinata Via della Panetteria. If you were to take this staircase it would not take you to the piazza of the Quirinal Palace but rather to a set of stairs going down the back side onto the busy via del Lavatore, one of the main streets leading to the Trevi Fountain.

Galleria Alberto Sordi

This shopping gallery was initially planned in 1872 and finally inaugurated in 1922. It later fell into abandon and disuse and was finally renovated towards the end of the 1990’s.

The restoration work was supervised by the City of Rome to ensure the original décor was maintained. This early style called “Art Nouveau” is not that common in Rome but there is another example of it, also described in this section, in the Galleria Sciarra. The floor, skylights, lamps, and other decorations are all in this original style.

The Galleria Alberto Sordi was finally inaugurated in 2003. It’s named for the famous Roman actor who also died in 2003.

Today you will find some shops and cafés. Feltrinelli bookshop takes up the center space. It is open from 8:30 to 21:00 from Monday to Saturday and from 9:30 to 21:00 on Sunday.

Address: Piazza Colonna.

Hours: Open daily 8.30 am - 9 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Coppede

Many people have written about the whimsical neighborhood of Rome known as Coppedè, named for Art Nouveau Florentine architect Gino Coppedè.

It is indeed a fascinating little spot to visit in Rome if you want to do something different and off the beaten path.

Few people know that the architect also created a building right on Piazza Barberini.

You can spot it at the bottom of via Veneto, right behind Bernini’s clamshell fountain.

Look up and you will see the sign with Coppedè’s name and the year of his death, 1927.

Address: Piazza Mincio.


Via dei Giardini

The Quirinal Palace has private gardens (which are now visitable via guided tours). There is a long street that runs along the outer wall of these gardens. I love to take this street and see the condo buildings, flowers, and beautiful doorways back there.

The best Rome views near the Trevi Fountain

I'm often asked where to get the best views in Rome. Sometimes this has to do with New Years Eve and wanting to catch fireworks, sometimes it's for having a romantic moment in Rome, and sometimes it's because, well, Rome's panoramas are simply stunning.

The Trevi Fountain may be part of, or at least at the bottom of the Quirinale Hill, considered the highest or second-highest hill in Rome (the other contender is the Esquiline Hill.)

In any case, the Trevi Fountain is a low level in Rome’s historic center, and you won’t find lots of options for views.

Quirinale

By far the best view of Rome near the Trevi Fountain is from the Quirinal Hill, an easy climb from the Trevi Fountain. 

You can see Saint Peter’s dome and when the sun is setting, it’s really beautiful.


Trinità dei monti

Not far from the Trevi Fountain is the top of the Spanish Steps, the Trinità dei Monti.

You'll get some lovely views from there as well. It can be a little crowded so you may want to keep going a little further along the Pincio Hill for even lovely views.

Address: Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 3.

Hours: Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri and Sat 10 am - 8 pm. Wednesday 12 pm - 8 pm. Sunday 9 am - 8 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Campidoglio

Piazza Venezia is only about a 10-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain.

On the far side you will see the ramp that leads to Capitoline Hill, or Campidoglio.

From there, head to the back for the most iconic views of Rome over the Roman Forum.

Address: Piazza del Campidoglio.

Visit their official website here.


Rooftop bars near the Trevi Fountain

Rinascente

Besides the Hotel Fontana, which does not have a public bar, there is no hotel with a view right over the Trevi Fountain. And since, as I said, the Trevi Fountain is at a pretty low sea level in Rome, you won’t find that many options for really excellent rooftops bars near the Trevi Fountain.

One option is the Up Sunset bar at the top of the flagship Rinascente department store. It’s not my favorite rooftop bar (it’s a little disorganized) or my favorite view, but it’s pretty gorgeous for where it is. 

Address: Via del Tritone, 61.

Visit their official website here.


Hotel de Cesari

Probably my favorite rooftop bar near the Trevi Fountain is the one atop the unassuming Hotel 9 Cesari. 

You could easily pass by the main door on the street, but once you get to the roof, you will not be disappointed. While it does not boast of killer view of Saint Peter’s dome or other major monument, it’s a very welcoming space, with a wonderful view of Saint Ignatius church on one side, and other Rome rooftops on the other. 

Drinks are affordable for a rooftop bar and there is a limited snack menu.

Address: Via di Pietra, 89/a.

Hours: Open daily 6 pm - 12 am.

Visit their official website here.


Singer Palace Hotel

Address: Via Alessandro Specchi, 10.

Hours: Open daily 5 pm - 11.45 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Best shopping street near the Trevi Fountain

The two main streets leading to and from the Trevi Fountain are pretty much chock-a-block with very touristy junky shops. This is not where you are going to get much quality shopping done unless you are looking for small affordable souvenirs.

Via del Corso

Via del Corso is the huge thoroughfare that essentially runs through the middle of Rome. It was once the via Flaminia in ancient Rome (and believe me, underneath are many ruins waiting to be excavated, some day.) 

Today this street is probably the longest shopping street in Rome. What it lacks in charm it makes up for in the sheer number of shops of all kinds. 

Don’t look for cute one-off boutiques or vintage shops, but you will find something for everyone – leather and other accessories, menswear, children’s clothing, womenswear, lingerie, souvenirs, pottery, shoes, hosiery, eyeglasses, and more.

Via Frattina

If you are looking for more of a “shopping” experience, head to the streets around the Spanish Steps, only about 15-20 minutes’ walk from the Trevi Fountain. This is where you will find the best concentration of shops ranging from big designer names to small, affordable boutiques to charming leather shops and more. I chose via Frattina as one of my favorites but it’s one of many streets in this area that make up Rome’s most famous “shopping zone”. 

Galleria Alberto Sordi

Parks and Gardens in the Trevi Fountain Neighborhood

One thing lacking in the area near the Trevi Fountain is a lot of green space. There are a few private gardens you can visit on occasion, but public parks are harder to come by. Here are the parks and gardens in the Trevi Fountain Neighborhood.

Villa Carlo Alberto at the Quirinale

This little park just across the street from the Quirinal Palace has an equestrian statue of Carlo Alberto, King of Sardinia and father of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy.

Address: Via Piacenza, 4.


Garden of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale

Along the same street as the above park you will find another small park, just next to the Bernini church by the same name. In the center of this park you can see a sculpture dedicated to the Carabinieri, Italy’s military police force, founded in 1814.

Address: Piazza del Quirinale.

Hours: Tue - Wed and Fri - Sun 9.30 am - 4 pm.  Monday and Thursday closed. 

Visit their official website here.


Villa Aldobrandini

I consider this park to be one of the “secret” gardens in Rome. Most people have no idea it’s there, as you have to climb some stairs to get to it. But it’s really worth it if the gardens are well-kept (sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.) My favorite thing about these gardens is the view, and feeling like I’ve discovered a special place right in the center of Rome.

Address: Via Mazzarino, 11.

Hours: Daily 7 am - 6 pm.

Visit their official website here.

Gardens of Galleria Colonna

The gardens of Galleria Colonna are private. You can pay to visit them on Saturday mornings. This is a really beautiful place to visit, but not in the same category of a park or green space to come and relax. 

Address: Via della Pilotta, 22.

Hours: Saturday 9 am - 1.15 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Gardens of the Quirinale Palace

Once open only once a year, it’s now possible to visit the Quirinal Palace and the gardens

You must go on a guided visit, but it’s worth it to see these sumptuous, beautifully kept gardens.

Address: Piazza del Quirinale.

Hours: Tue - Wed and Fri - Sun 9.30 am - 4 pm.  Monday and Thursday closed. 


What to do with kids near the Trevi Fountain

Time Elevator

This Disney-esque experience allows you to experience a kind of time travel with 3 different “full immersion” shows – The History of Rome, Evolution of Life, and a Horror Show. 

Each show takes less than an hour and is available in 6 different languages. This is a great way to entertain children and teenagers as well as adults. – TIQETS LINK

Address: Via dei Santi Apostoli, 20.

Visit their official website here.


Palazzo Valentini

I love visiting the Domus Romana in Palazzo Valentini for the history and the amazingly well-preserved ruins and mosaic floors.

Kids will love the way it’s all presented, with the multimedia light shows and plexiglass floors that allow you to see the ruins beneath your feet. – TIQETS LINK

Address: Foro Traiano, 85.

Hours: Wed - Mon 9.30 am - 6.30 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.

Visit their official website here.


Leonardo da Vinci Experience

Only 20-30 minutes' walk from the Trevi Fountain is the stunning Piazza del Popolo. This area is more a part of the Spanish Steps neighborhood, but there is a fantastic thing todo with kids right here in the piazza.

Address: Via della Conciliazione, 19.

Hours: Open daily 9 am - 8 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Wax Museum

It may be a bit corny but a wax museum can be another fun way to spend an hour or so in Rome and entertain kids.

And it’s so close to the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Venezia you can easily combine it with other things.

Address: Piazza Dei Santi Apostoli, 68/A.

Hours: Open daily 9 am - 9 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Capuchin Crypt

Just off Piazza Barberini is a very special church.

But what’s fun for kids and adults alike is visiting the crypt that displays the bones of thousands of monks

They are not just on display – they are placed in decorations on the ceilings, and some are even fully-dressed skeletons. It’s macabre but fascinating. GYG tour

Address: Via Vittorio Veneto, 27.

Hours: Open daily 9 am - 6.30 pm.

Visit their official website here.


Multisala Barberini – movies in English

The multisala Barberini movie theater often shows movies in original language and you will often find an English-language blockbuster playing here.

Address : Piazza Barberini, 24/26.

Visit their official website here.


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