Rome - Around Town : Campo de’ Fiori to the Capitoline (part 2) - Best of the Rest, Shops

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Roman Culture, Layer upon Layer

Because of church opening times, you should take this walk (two to four hours) starting at about 10am or at 4pm. Starting with the Theatre of Marcellus, notice the soaring buttresses that support the palace, added in the 16th century. Heading round the next corner, in Santa Maria in Campitelli use binoculars to espy the oak leaves depicted in the altar’s tiny icon. Continuing west, as you approach the Fontana delle Tartarughe, listen for the sound of splashing water echoing off the medieval walls. To the north, the Crypta Balbi Museum has fascinating displays about the neighbourhood’s history. One block north is the awe-inspiring Gesù.

For one of the best cappuccino-cornetto combinations in town, stop off at Bernasconi (Piazza Cairoli, 16).

At Sant’Andrea della Valle look up at the unusual barrel-vaulted ceiling. Then head south to Via di Grotta Pinta for the remains of the Theatre of Pompey . A block northwest, in the piazza of the Palazzo Farnese , admire the twin fountains, composed of stone tubs from the Baths of Caracalla. Walk across Campo de’ Fiori to Palazzo della Cancelleria to contemplate its Renaissance perfection.

End with a drink at La Curia di Bacco set in 1st-century BC vaults of the Theatre of Pompey.

Best of the Rest

  1. Palazzo Farnese

    One of Rome’s largest palaces is graced by superlative Michelangelo creations, such as the wonderful cornice ..

    • Piazza Farnese

    • 06 686 011

    • Open by appt–call ahead to book

    • Adm

  2. Palazzo Spada

    Home in the 17th century to two brothers, Bernardino and Virginio Spada, who amassed a fine collection of paintings, the building now houses the Council of State and a gallery .

    • Piazza Capo di Ferro 13

    • Open 8:30am–7:30pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

  3. Il Vittoriano

    The pastiche of motifs on this monument to Victor Emmanuel II is so out of sync with the city that Romans give it nicknames such as “The Wedding Cake”.

    • Piazza Venezia

    • Open 9:30am–4:30pm (winter), until 5:30pm (summer) daily

  4. Palazzo Venezia

    Pope Paul II, who built this palace, watched the carnival horse races from the balcony. From the same, Mussolini shouted his Fascist harangues .

    • Piazza Venezia

    • 06 6999 4318

    • Open 8:30am–7:30pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

  5. Portico d’Ottavia

    Built in honour of Octavia, Augustus’s sister, this was an entrance to the Circus Flaminius. Despite the archaeological digs, you can pass through the ruins on scaffolding.

  6. Museo Barracco

    This palazzo houses a small but important collection of ancient sculpture .

    • Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 166

    • 06 6880 6848

    • Open 9am–7pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

  7. Via Giulia

    Fashionable street laid out by Bramante in the early 16th century. The ivy-hung viaduct was designed by Michelangelo, but never completed.

  8. Synagogue

    This 1904 synagogue has a museum that traces the history of Rome’s Jewish community (see The Jews in Rome).

    • Lungotevere dei Cenci

    • Open Jun–Sep: 10am–7pm Sun–Thu (until 4pm Fri); Oct–May: 9am–5pm Sun–Thu (until 2pm Fri)

    • Adm

  9. Palazzo della Cancelleria

    Sublime Renaissance structure, once the Papal Chancellery.

    • Piazza della Cancelleria

    • Open by appt only

    • Adm

  10. Santa Maria in Campitelli

    Home to one of the most lavish tabernacles in Rome.

    • Piazza Campitelli

    • Open 7:30am–noon, 4–7pm daily

    • Free

    Tabernacle, Santa Maria in Campitelli


  1. Marble and Tile Bottega

    This is certainly one of the most fascinating of a nest of authentic workshops. Particularly appealing are the 18th-and 19th-century Neapolitan floor tiles.

    • Vicolo Cellini 16

  2. Il Goccetto

    Considered by connoisseurs to be Rome’s premier wine shop, more than 500 labels are available to try by the glass. The proprietor’s expertise is at your disposal when selecting which bottles to take home.

    • Via dei Banchi Vecchi 14

  3. Antichità

    One of the most appealing antiques shops on this street. An assortment of furniture and small knick-knacks at good prices.

    • Via dei Banchi Vecchi 47

  4. Libreria Babele

    Rome’s first gay and lesbian shop has a selection of books in English, plus information concerning goings-on about town.

    • Via dei Banchi Vecchi 116

  5. Sciam

    This incredible shop has a Middle Eastern bazaar atmosphere. Hand-blown glass is a speciality.

    • Via del Pellegrino 55

  6. Fahrenheit 451

    Cinema, art and photography books galore.

    • Campo de’ Fiori 44

  7. Brooks

    Modern classics for men in this little boutique, on the street known to have the best, most fashionable bargains in town.

    • Via dei Giubbonari 69

  8. Momento

    An eclectic boutique for just about every taste, with chiffon ball gowns, floor-sweeping wool coats and tops in wild prints, as well as a collection of funky and fun accessories.

    • Piazza Cairoli 9

  9. Orologeria Mazzella

    Looking for a nice watch that won’t blow your budget? This friendly proprietor sells name brands at about 30–50 per cent below regular retail prices. Strong on Swatch watches.

    • Via dei Pettinari 41

  10. Libreria Rinascita

    Once the Communist Party’s headquarters, this building now houses a well-stocked bookshop. Every Sunday one section of the store is entirely devoted to children, who are free to play and read.

    • Via delle Botteghe Oscure 1

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