From Spanish steps to Santa Maria Maggiore

Piazza di Spagna, Trevi's Fountain, Quirinale, Piazza Barberini, piazza Repubblica, Santa Maria Maggiore

Taking the A metro line we will arrive directly to Piazza di Spagna. This square has a unique shape that observed from above resembles a butterfly. From the XVI century, this was the meeting place for  the travelers and artists that came from the north. After entering the city from the  Porta del Popolo (in piazza del Popolo) they would find hospitality in one of the numerous inns and hotels organized around the square. The church Trinità dei Monti, founded by the French, houses work by Giovanni da Volterra (the artist that censured the nudes of the Giudizio Universale in the Cappella Sistina, Michelangelo’s masterpiece).

 Continuing on the same road, we arrive to the terrace of Pincio, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view, and Villa Borghese. We will come back to this villa ... the park and Galleria Borghese deserve a specific visit and at least one entire afternoon! For now, let’s keep on going, we have a long journey ahead of us ...! Let’s go down the flight of steps and turn into via Condotti, a high class shopping area, also enriched by antique shops, such as il Caffé Greco, opened in 1760, and visited throughout the years by famous artists. If you are able to go through via del Corso without giving in to temptations, we can continue on via del Tritone. At approximately half way, we take a right and ... here we can experience a sudden and unexpected emotion: after a narrow alley, in front of us we can enjoy one of the most astounding artistic masterpieces made by humans:

la Fontana di Trevi (Trevis' Fountain).
The fountain is a jewel of rock and water that rests within the antique palaces of the city.  Its name derives from the crossing of the three streets (tre = three, vie = streets). The fountain was designed and started by Bernini but completed by Nicola Salvi. You can forget the romantic idea of enjoying the fountain alone. Put your wish to rest because over the 24hrs of the day there is only a short time when you can hope to be alone: around 4am! Did you toss the coin?  Good, now we can move towards the Quirinale. This hill experienced a re-birth after the medieval ages.  At the end of the XVI century a new growth of the city caused the development of new roads and the construction of new buildings. The Quirinale palace was the summer residence of the pope and today it hosts the President of the Italian Republic. Now it is time to turn into via XX Settembre, where, at the crossing with via delle Quattro Fontane, we find four little fountains that represent four divinities laying down: the river Tevere (Tiber) with the female wolf, the Nile, Juno and Diana. 

Let’s follow the road down to Piazza Barberini. The luxurious homonymous palace hosts the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica (National Gallery of Antique Art), which houses paintings from the XIII to the XVIII centuries. In this square, in the XVI century, the corpse of people with unknown identity where exposed so that parents and friends could identify their loved ones. From the square, decorated with the Fontana del Tritone (by Bernini), starts Via Veneto, famous in the '60s for the numerous luxury hotels and nightclubs that were featured in "La Dolce Vita," a famous movie by Fellini. Now we can follow Via Barberini to Largo di Santa Susanna, where the homonymous baroque church and the Fontana del Mosé are located.

We arrive finally to an elegant square, piazza Esedra (or piazza Repubblica). The Terme di Diocleziano, built from 296 to 306 a.C. were bigger than those of Caracalla and were able to host three-thousand people (it extended from da Piazza della Repubblica, to Piazza dei Cinquecento and adjacent roads). What remains of the Terme is now in the Museo Nazionale Romano and the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, built by Michelangelo and then modified in the XVIII century by Vanvitelli. We are starting to feel the miles we walked today but fortunately we are almost back to Rhome86 for a nice shower!

First ... let’s stop quickly in Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four main basilicas built on the Esquilino hill. It was commissioned by Papa Liberio, whom, according to the legend, in 356 a.C. saw the Virgin Mary in his dreams who told him where to build the basilica through an unusual snow fall that occurred in the summer on the Esquilino hill (from here the nick name of Santa Maria of the Snow or also Basilica Liberiana). One peculiarity of this church is the bell, known as “La Spedruta” (the lost one). This name is attributed to a fact that occurred in the XVI century: a young female shepherd (that the legend described as blind) got lost in the fields around the Esquilino hill, while attending her sheep flock. It was evening when the bell of the basilica started to ring to help her find her way back home. The young shepherd never got back home but the bells continue to ring at 7pm every night. To date, the tradition is maintained and the Basilica rings the bells for the “sperduta.” 

Do we want to eat in one of the best trattorias (taverns) of the area with traditional roman’s cusine? Welcome to: Trattoria Monti: via Carlo Alberto. Trattoria Angelino: via Machiavelli 64. Vecchia Roma: via Ferrucio. Danilo: via Petrarca. Cecio: via Emanuele Filiberto 118.

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