Rome in 3 days – Day 3.

Your stay in Rome

You should make advance reservations for your stay, you have many choices to choose from, you can do your comparison shopping for:

Rome palace – Photo © Silvia Massetti
Rome palace – Photo © Silvia Massetti

The third and last day in Rome is devoted to the Renaissance centre of the city. We begin with Santa Maria Maggiore, founded in the 5th century and continually altered throughoutthe succeeding centuries, until Fuga built the present facade in 1743. The interior keeps the lines of the original building; the Cosmati floor (12th cent.), the carved ceiling attributed to G. da Sangallo, statues by Arnolfo da Cambia and beautiful 13th century mosaic in the apse are noteworthy. Behind Santa Maria Maggiore, cross Via Cavour into the piazza beyond and take the first turning to the left. Here, on the right, down a flight of steps, is the 4th century church of Santa Pudenziana (ancient mosaic).

From here we reach Piazza della Repubblica (or delFEsedra) thorugh Via Viminale and Piazza Cinquecento (Station); there is a fine fountain (1901) in Piazza della Repubblica and beyond it are the Baths of Diocletian (306 AD), the largest of ancient Rome. In 1561 Michaelangeto transformed part of them into the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. On the right of the church is the entrance to the National Roman Museum, the most important archaelogical collection (statues, mosaics, frescoes) in the city.

Taking Via V. E. Orlando as far as the Baroque Fountain of the Rivers we arrive in Via Venti Settembre which ends to the N.E. at Michaelengelo’s Porta Pia; turning left we arrive at the Quattro Fontane (Four Fountains) crossroads and turning right we go down the steep Via Quattro Fontane to the 17th century Palazzo Barberini, with an elegant loggia opening on to the garden. 11 houses the National Picture Gallery.

Piazza di Spagna – Photo © Sabin Uivarosan
Piazza di Spagna – Photo © Sabin Uivarosan

Crossing over Piazza Barberini with the Triton Fountain in the centre, we follow the continuation of Via Quattro Fontane, the elegant Via Sistina, built in the 16th century to arrive in the piazza in front of the church of Trinita dei Monti (noteworthy Mannerist canvases by Daniele da Volterra in the interior), at the head of the marvellous monumental staircase known to English-speaking visitors as the “Spanish Steps”.

A little farther on is Villa Medici (16th cent.) which Napoleon gave to the French Academy (fine garden) and then Piazzale del Pincio, masterpiece of Roman nee-classicism, by Valadier. The terrace overlooks Piazza del Popolo, which forms part of the same design; and before us is St Peter’s in the distance. In the wooded park of Villa Borghese, the largest in Rome, rises the Casino Borghese, built by o Vasanzio, which houses an important collection of sculpture (classical, Bernini, the Pauline Buonaparte by Canova etc.) and painting- Crossing the length of park we arrive at Villa Giulia, built by Vignola in the 16th century for Pope Julius III which houses the Etruscan Museum, the most important in the world. Going back along the Via Flaminia we now reach Porte del Popolo by Vignola and Bernini (1561 and 1655) through which we enter the superb piazza del Popolo, planned together with the Pincio above by Valadier, with an Egyptian obelisk in the middle surrounded by four fountains. In the nearby church of Santa Maria del Popolo frescoes by Pinturic-chio, two famous Caravaggios (Crucifixion of St Peter and Conversion of St. Paul), paintings by Sebastiano del Piombo and sculpture by Sansovino, Bregno, Mino da Fiesole and Bernini.

On the far side of the piazza, where the Corso, Via del Babuino and Via di Ripetta converge, twin churches with theatrical, domes. From bereonecanseethewhole length of the Corso to the Capitol in the distance. Taking Via del Babuino, with its line antique shops, or turning off it left into Via Margutta, the artists’ street, we arrive in Piazza di Spagna, Here we can lunch before resum-ing our tour again down Via Condotti into the Corset to the Baroque Church of San Carlo al Corso, with its high dome. Behind the church, in Piazza Augusta Imperatore, is the Mausoleum of Augustus (27 BC) Further towards the river, in Via Ripetta, in a modern concrete building, are the friezes of the Ara Pacts Augusta (13 BC).

The Antiques Market on the Piazza Borghese – Photo © Lidia M.
The Antiques Market on the Piazza Borghese – Photo © Lidia M.

From here make for Piazza Borghese, full of second-hand book stalls and print-sellers, and the maiestic Palazzo Borghese. Following Via della Scrota we reach the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, famous for Caravaggio’s Calling of St Matthew. Going back along Via della Scrota and turning right into Via Sant’Agostino, we reach the church of this name with another canvas by Caravaggio. Then we go to Via dei Corona, lively and picturesque with its many antique shops, and follow it as far as Via del Banco ell Santo Spirito, which brings us into Corso Vittoriu Emanuele, where there are many monuments; leaving the river, on the left, we find the Chiesa Nueva, with the Oratory of the Filippint by Borromini; a little farther on, to the right, is the austere Palazzo della Cancelleria by Andrea Bregno and Bramante with courtyard by Bramante (1511).

Farther on, to the left, in Palazzo Massuno delle Colonne by Peruzzi (1536) and on the right, the fine church of Sant’Andrea della Valle, whose dome is the highest in Rome after that of St Peter’s. Go back along Corso Vittoriu Emanuclc to the Palazzo della Cancelleria and turn left, to emerge into the picturesque Campo dei Fiori, centre of city life in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (monument to Giordano Bruno on the spot where he was burned). From here it is a step to Piazza Farnese, dominated by the Palazzo Farnese, perhaps the finest piece of Renaissance civic architecture, by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and Michelangelo, and now the French Embassy.

Behind Palazzo Farnesc we are in the aristocratic Via Giulia, the most elegant street of Papal Rome; it is worth while walking the whole of its length, to absorb the atmosphereof its Renaissance architecture- Turning left along Via Giulia brings us to the Lungotevere, then to Porte Garibaldi, and turning left down Via Arenula, to Largo Argentina, with Roman Republican temples at its centre.

Taking Via de’ Cestari from here brings us to the Pantheon beside which is the Church of Santa Maria supra Minerva, the only Gothic church in Rome; before it, a curious obelisk supported on an elephant’s back. Going through ViaPie’ di Marino brings us again to the Collegio Romano and the magnificent Palazzo Doria, the finest Baroque palace in Rome (1734) with its great Picture Gallery.

To the left, in the Corso we see the elegant facade of the church of San Marcello: taking the street to the left of the church brings us into Piazza Saint Apostoli with the basilica of the same name. In the Palazzo Colonna which rises beside it there is a Picture Gallery. From here we go to Via Quattro Novembre and turn left into Via della Pilotta for the Salim del Datari; climbing this we emerge into the Piazza del Compote in front of the Palazzo del Quirinale, first a Papal Residence, then a royal palace, now the residence of the President of the Republic; the Palazzo della Consulta, masterpiece by Fuga (1734) stands opposite: in the piazza are the fountain with its Hellenistic group of the Dioscuri and an Egyptian obelisk. Going down the same flight of steps and street and turning to the right, we reach the Trevi Fountain, a most appropriate place to end our last evening in Rome.

Rome in three days – first day
Rome in three days – second day