Along with piazzas and fountains, wandering the magical streets of Rome is one of the favorite experiences tourists make in the eternal city. Steeped in history, quaint corners for a perfect postcard picture, and fantastic places to experience the Italian Dolce Vita, knowing the most famous streets in Rome will give your holiday the perfect kick.
Discover with us the most important and scenic streets of Rome as well as small alleys to experience the village-like vibe the eternal city managed to retain throughout the centuries.
Table of Contents
- 1 Via del Corso, one of the famous shopping streets of Rome
- 2 Via della Conciliazione, a spectacular Roman boulevard
- 3 Via Margutta, the artsy street of Rome
- 4 Via dei Condotti for luxury shopping
- 5 Via della Pilotta
- 6 Via Giulia, one of the most magical streets of Rome
- 7 Via Sacra, one of the most ancient streets of Rome
- 8 Via del Babuino
- 9 Via di Ripetta
- 10 Via Borgognona
- 11 Via dei Fori Imperiali
- 12 Via delle Quattro Fontane
- 13 Via Appia Antica, the queen of Roman roads
- 14 Via Biberatica
- 15 Via Vittorio Veneto
- 16 Via Panisperna
- 17 Via Sistina
- 18 Via Frattina
- 19 Via del Tritone
- 20 Via Urbana
- 21 Via Cavour
- 22 Via dei Serpenti
- 23 Via delle Botteghe Oscure
- 24 Via di Porta Angelica
- 25 Borgo Pio
- 26 Via dei Banchi Vecchi
- 27 Via dei Banchi Nuovi
- 28 Via Flaminia
- 29 Via del Governo Vecchio
- 30 Via dei Coronari, one of the prettiest streets in Rome
- 31 Via della Lungara
- 32 Via della Lungaretta
- 33 Via dei Giubbonari
- 34 Via della Reginella
- 35 Via del Moro
- 36 Vicolo Moroni
- 37 Via Merulana
- 38 Via Piccolomini
- 39 Via del Portico d’Ottavia
- 40 Corso Vittorio Emanuele
- 41 Via Nazionale
- 42 Via Ostiense
- 43 Via Marmorata
- 44 Via Aurelia
- 45 Via Bocca di Leone
- 46 Passetto del Biscione
- 47 Via dei Cappellari
- 48 Via Cola di Rienzo
- 49 Via del Boschetto
- 50 Via del Pellegrino
- 51 Via Trionfale
Via del Corso, one of the famous shopping streets of Rome
One of the most famous streets in Rome, Via del Corso is the main of the three roads that form triangular-shaped Tridente. Departing from the beautiful Piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso goes all the way to Piazza Venezia.
A long sequence of clothing, shoes, and accessories stores, from where plenty of quaint backstreets unravel, Via del Corso hasn’t always been its name. Originally Via Lata and partially Via Flaminia, it was renamed Via del Corso in the 15th century when Pope Paul II ordered that the horse races (“corse”, in Italian) for the Roman Carnival were held on this road.
Via del Corso overlaps four quarters (“rioni”), Campo Marzio, Colonna, Pigna, and Trevi, a feature that makes it close to several historical landmarks in the Centro Storico, as well as being next to Rome’s famous archaeological sites of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum reachable with a walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali from Piazza Venezia.
Between shopping and sightseeing, you can easily spend half a day wandering around Via del Corso, visiting the Alberto Sordi shopping gallery as well as the many brand stores, and heading to its back alleys to see famous landmarks such as the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
- How to reach Via del Corso: bus (30, 40, 46, 61, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 89, 119, 492, 628, 916), metro (Flaminio, line A), tram (2).
Via della Conciliazione, a spectacular Roman boulevard
Likely one of the first streets of Rome that you will visit, Via della Conciliazione is the long, obelisk-lined boulevard connecting St. Peter’s Square to Castel Sant’Angelo. A spectacular road near the Vatican, and even though it does offer a breathtaking view, especially from the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, its foundation is linked to the demolition of an old, fascinating quarter, Spina di Borgo, between the two streets Borgo Vecchio and Borgo Nuovo.
Via della Conciliazione was built in the ’30s as part of the urban planning that wanted to transform Rome from the former capital of the Papal States to the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Italy. While at first, it seemed possible to save Spina di Borgo (or dei Borghi), in 1936 the original plan was modified, and Mussolini himself commissioned the architects Piacentini and Spaccarelli to build a majestic entrance to the most important place of Christianity.
The name Via della Conciliazione (Resolution) is a reminder of the Lateran Treaty signed in 1929 between the State and the Church. But the demolition of the medieval and Renaissance palaces, as well as the narrow alleys of Spina del Borgo, probably sacrificed the whole perspective artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini aimed at when he designed St. Peter’s Square.
Some of the buildings were just demolished, including some churches and the beautiful Piazza Scossacavalli, while others were later rebuilt along the new Via della Conciliazione. One of these is Palazzo dei Convertendi, now at the number 34 and originally overlooking Piazza Scossacavalli and Borgo Nuovo.
The back lanes of Via della Conciliazione are narrow and dark alleys steeped in history connecting to the ancient papal road of Borgo Pio.
- How to reach Via della Conciliazione: bus (23, 40, 46, 62, 64, 982), metro (Ottaviano, line A), tram (19).
Don’t miss my article about the most beautiful masterpieces by Bernini in Rome.
Via Margutta, the artsy street of Rome
Via Margutta is known for being a lovely little street in central Rome, home to artists’ workshops, great restaurants, and exclusive boutiques. This is where the legendary Italian movie director Federico Fellini and his wife, actress Giulietta Masina lived for years.
Yet, the life of Via Margutta hasn’t always been flowers and poems. Originally, in fact, this was simply the backyard of the notable palaces of Via del Babuino. What does this mean? That this was the place for horses, carts, and stables.
Until at some point for some reason, an artist was inspired to open his workshop here starting a trend that lasted for centuries. Quickly, the street was part of a radical remodeling and the people were strongly invited to keep it clean. An 18th-century plate still existing suggests that fines and corporal punishments awaited those who pile up garbage and make it dirty.
In the 19th century, a Belgian priest, Francesco Saverio de Merode, bought the area, built the sewage and promoted the urban planning that turned Via Margutta into a proper street. This is around the time when it became the hangout of international artists in Rome.
Italian and international artists have stopped by or stayed here including painter Picasso, writers Zola, Moravia, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and musicians Wagner, Liszt, and Puccini, making it one of the most famous streets in Rome.
- How to reach Via Margutta: by metro (Flaminio, line A).
Via dei Condotti for luxury shopping
Via dei Condotti is the long street in front of the Spanish Steps. From here, you have one of the best views of the monumental staircase, but preferably when it’s not overcrowded, so preferably not in the high season.
Due to its great location and the huge variety of luxury brands, Via dei Condotti is one of the most famous streets in Rome. If you are ready to fork out good cash and feel like going on a lavish shopping spree, this is the place for you. You can enjoy Via dei Condotti even if you didn’t set much of a shopping budget, because window shopping is still pleasant and free of charge.
Some of the brands you can find in Via dei Condotti include Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Max Mara, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Falconeri, Bulgari, and more.
The current Via dei Condotti was a trait of the 16th-century road Via Trinitatis, called this way because it led to the church of Trinità dei Monti. Archaeologists have found parts of typical ancient paving, so this was actually an ancient Roman road that experienced the first level of urban planning in the Middle Ages with some ordinary houses.
From the 15th century all through the Baroque period, Via dei Condotti acquired the appearance it has now. It was given the current name when Pope Gregory XIII ordered that the pipes (“ductus” in Latin) of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct passed into its undergrounds.
- How to reach Via dei Condotti: bus (119, 628), metro (Spagna, line A).
Via della Pilotta
This is one of the quaint central streets of Rome easy to reach from Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso, or the Trevi Fountain. Its name was given after a ball game, “gioco della pilotta”, and if you enter from Via Quattro Novembre you are going to see a lovely sequence of arches that connect Palazzo Colonna with the gardens of Villa Colonna.
The whole area is populated by the buildings belonging to the Colonna family, including a stronghold for the battles among clans that were quite frequent in medieval times. Inside Villa Colonna are still visible are the ruins of a temple built by Caracalla in the 3rd century.
- How to reach Via della Pilotta: bus (40, 62, 64, 81), metro (Spagna, line A).
Via Giulia, one of the most magical streets of Rome
Via Giulia is truly one of the most beautiful streets in Rome. Crossing two neighborhoods (“rioni”), Ponte and Regola, this 1-km road was designed by the great Renaissance painter and architect Donato Bramante.
It’s a very ancient street in Rome. In the Middle Ages, it was known as “magistralis” because of its importance, even though it was always muddy and not easy to walk. Until the 15th and the 16th centuries, when two popes, both from the Della Rovere family, decided to restore it.
The main remodeling was made in 1508 when Pope Julius II commissioned Bramante to design what was the longest straight street back then. Known under different names such as Strada Recta (straight) and Strada Julia after the pope, Via Giulia quickly started to display the crests of the most important families of the time, including the Chigi.
Throughout the centuries, other changes were made. One of these involved the beautiful fountain that today we see in Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere and that originally was leaning over a palace in Via Giulia that has been demolished due to the building of the Tiber barriers.
Today, in Via Giulia we can see the famous Fontana del Mascherone but its most distinctive feature is what is known as Arco Farnese, Farnese’s arch. This, according to a project by Michelangelo, was supposed to connect Palazzo Farnese to Villa Farnesina on the other side of the Tevere river.
- How to reach Via Giulia: Bus (23, 40, 46, 62, 46, 280, 916).
Via Sacra, one of the most ancient streets of Rome
Built during the Roman kingdom, before it became an empire, Via Sacra is one of the most ancient roads and was the most important street of the Roman Forum. According to the local tradition, it was named Via Sacra after the war provoked by the so-called Abduction of the Sabine Women.
Being so ancient, it’s very difficult to piece together its route, especially the initial one, because it was modified several times depending on the local events, new buildings, and different urban plannings. Throughout history, along Via Sacra were erected important buildings such as the Cloaca Maxima and meanwhile, the road served different purposes such as trading and as a residential quarter even chosen by kings.
Unlike the Appian Way, considered the queen of consular roads, today Via Sacra, totally the queen of the roads inside the city, is not currently in use. It’s rather a landmark part of the Roman Forum archaeological park so definitely one of the most famous streets in Rome.
- How to reach Via Sacra: bus (51, 75, 85, 87, 117, 118), tram (8), metro (Colosseo, line B).
Via del Babuino
One of the three streets of Rome’s Tridente area together with Via di Ripetta and the central Via del Corso, Via del Babuino is lined with elegant clothing stores and cars parked all along its sidewalk.
Connecting Piazza di Spagna with Piazza del Popolo, Via del Babuino takes its name from a statue representing what in Rome is known as “Sileno”, a sort of genie/divinity of fountains and springs. The statue became famous because a cardinal living nearby would take off his hat to pay respect every morning when he went out of his home (probably he thought it was something else), but it was so ugly that Romans gave it the moniker of “er babuino”, the monkey.
Some of the stores you can find in Via del Babuino in case you are feeling like forking out good cash are Pinko boutique, Gente Roma, Chanel, Sandro Ferrone, Kenzo, Moschino, and Pollini (fantastic for purses and bags). If you are hungry, you can stop at Da Edy (Via del Babuino 4) or at Jardin de Russie, the luxury and expensive restaurant of the 5-star Hotel de Russie (Via del Babuino 9).
- How to reach Via del Babuino: bus (61, 89, 119, 120F, 150F, 490, 495, 590, 628), tram (2), metro (Flaminio and Spagna, line A).
Via di Ripetta
Together with Via del Babuino and Via del Corso, Via di Ripetta is one of the three roads of the Tridente, the triangular-shaped zone in Rome’s city center. This is the street of the Tridente that’s closer to the riverside.
Starting from Piazza del Popolo, it goes all the way to Via della Scrofa near Piazza Navona, passing through important landmarks such as the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis. Its history might even be linked to the tomb of Rome’s first emperor because Via di Ripetta was part of a long Roman road built around the same time as the mausoleum in 29 BCE.
Via di Ripetta was fully remodeled in the XVI century under the rule of Pope Leo X Medici and, because of this, for some time it was called Via Leonina. In time, it changed a few names, and its current title was adopted when Pope Clemens XI ordered the building of the river port that was called Porto di Ripetta.
Steeped in history and local tales, today Via di Ripetta is one of the most exclusive streets of Rome lined up with historical buildings, churches, elegant shops, and restaurants.
The hungry tourists are bound to find something for every taste and preference in Via di Ripetta, and when lunch or dinner time approaches, some of the best places to eat here are La Buca di Ripetta, Taverna Ripetta, Il Marchese, Trattoria al Gran Sasso, Il Porto di Ripetta, and the excellent (and pricey) fine-dining Ristorante Ad Hoc.
- How to reach Via di Ripetta: bus (61, 89, 119, 120F, 150F, 490, 495, 590, 628), tram (2), metro (Flaminio and Spagna, line A).
The origins of the name of Via Borgognona are not clear, but what we know for sure is that up until 1566, it was a street mainly populated by prostitutes. That year, the Tiber river flooded their homes and during the rescue operations, many prostitutes were killed to rob their valuables.
The pope of the time, then, decided to move the survivors to another area nearby and Via Borgognona became popular among the local aristocracy. In ancient Rome, Via Borgognona was mainly a countryside land, and only in the 17th century notable palaces started to rise.
Stretching from Via del Corso to Piazza di Spagna, Via Borgognona is one of the most famous streets in Rome among tourists. Even though not too long, there is a fair share of restaurants and nice shops. If you are here at lunchtime, you can stop at Ginger for a healthy casual meal or at Tartufi&Friends for more gourmet fares.
- How to reach Via Borgognona: bus (628), metro (Spagna, line A).
Via dei Fori Imperiali
It’s pretty easy and straightforward to understand what Via dei Fori Imperiali takes its name from. This is the road that goes from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum all along the imperial fora, namely the fora of Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Nerva, and the Temple of Peace.
The first of the emperors’ fora to be built was Caesar’s one in 54 BC because the Roman Forum started to become inadequate for the needs of the rulers. So, in less than two centuries, besides the more ancient Roman Forum was a stunning, monumental center for administrative, judiciary, and political purposes.
Via dei Fori Imperiali offers a fantastic stroll around the places that made Rome famous and the capital of an empire. Between ancient ruins and modern monuments, this is one of the most famous streets in Rome and one that no one on their first trip can miss.
- How to reach Via dei Fori Imperiali: bus (40, 51, 62, 64, 75, 85, 87, 117), metro (Colosseo, line B), tram (8).
Via delle Quattro Fontane
Like Via Sistina, Via delle Quattro Fontane was a piece of the long road known with the name of Strada Felice after Pope Sixtus V Felice Peretti ordered its building from Trinità dei Monti to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. Its purpose was to connect the Pincio Mount to Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica.
Via delle Quattro Fontane earns its name from the four scenic fountains set in the four corners of the crossroad with Via del Quirinale. Stretching from Piazza Barberini to Via Nazionale, the most important building on this central Roman street is 17th-century Palazzo Barberini. Built by Pope Urban VIII Maffeo Barberini for his family, the palace boasts the collaboration of the most important architects and artists of their time, Carlo Maderno, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Francesco Borromini.
All around there are several landmarks to visit, often included in Rome’s classic tours or underground expeditions. Some of these are the Capuchin Crypt in Via Veneto, the Trevi Fountain and the same Via Veneto curvy tree-lined road. While going towards Via Quirinale, near the crossroad, you can visit San Carlino alle Quattro Fontane church, one of the masterpieces of Francesco Borromini in Rome.
- How to reach Via delle Quattro Fontane: bus (52, 53, 61, 62, 63, 80, 83, 85, 100, 150F, 160, 492, 590), metro (Barberini, line A).
Via Appia Antica, the queen of Roman roads
The Appian Way, often dubbed the queen of Roman consular roads (“regina viarum”), is also the best-preserved ancient streets of Rome. Via Appia was founded south of Rome by censor Appio Claudio Cieco in 312 BC.
At first, Via Appia was built up to Capua in the Campania region, in 268 BC was extended to Benevento, also in Campania and finally, around 191 BC, up to Brindisi in the Puglia region to make trading with the Orient, current Asia, easier, as well as serving as a strategic road in case of war and conflict.
From its early stage, Via Appia Antica has hosted several family burial chambers such as those of the Scipioni, Servilii and Metelli. One of the landmarks along the Via Appia Antica is, in fact, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella. Along with the family graves, also collective burial chambers started to appear as well as the catacombs of the early Christians when Christianity was still not allowed in Rome. Still now, Via Appia Antica hosts some of the most important catacombs including St. Callixtus, St. Sebastian, and Domitilla.
One of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Rome is actually here and it’s known as Parco dell’Appia Antica. It includes the ruins of several ancient aqueducts, where the Barbarians settled before invading Rome, several green areas to walk or bike also with kids or to have a picnic such as Valle della Caffarella, Tor Fiscale and many more.
Because of its position far from the main landmarks, Parco dell’Appia Antica sees much fewer tourists that the city center. However, even though a little far, it’s not difficult to reach with public transport or if you rented a car.
Keep in mind that Via Appia Antica is very long and the things to see and do in the area are many and far from each other and there are several different itineraries you can follow. So, if you are using local public transport, you need to check which are the buses that take you to the exact spot rather than generally looking for Via Appia. Also, don’t forget that there is also Via Appia Nuova, so when you search your location on Google Maps, make sure you specify which Via Appia you are aiming to.
- How to reach Via Appia Antica: bus (87, 118, 218, 628, 660, 665, 671, 714, 720, 765), metro (Circo Massimo, line B + 30 minutes walk, San Giovanni, line A + 30 minutes walk).
If you want to rent a car, make sure you read our extensive guide to driving in Rome.
A bit like Via Sacra, also Via Biberatica is not a modern Roman street but an ancient one that we can still walk on. To visit Via Biberatica, however, you need to enter the archaeological site of the Trajan’s Markets because it’s part of this large complex.
The name is probably not too old, but what’s agreed upon is that it comes from “biber”, Latin for drink. This suggests that probably some of the shops of the area were “tabernae”, so places where to eat and drink.
From inside the Markets you can actually walk on Via Biberatica, which connects the lower and upper floors.
- How to reach Via Biberatica: bus (40, 60, 64, 70, 117, 170, H).
Via Vittorio Veneto
Better known simply as Via Veneto, this gorgeous winding road is located in the Ludovisi quarter and goes from Piazza Barberini all the way to Porta Pinciana gate and Villa Borghese. Via Veneto is actually very modern, dating back only to the 19th century to connect Via del Tritone to Villa Borghese park.
Home to several luxury hotels, I enjoy walking along Via Veneto which, even though still one of the most famous streets in Rome, I think it lost some of its charm and for sure popularity. Back in the ’60s it was a favorite hangout among Italian and international celebrities, teeming with paparazzi on the lookout for the juiciest shots and curious locals trying to spot actors, singers, and the occasional luxury car.
Now, it’s an elegant, residential street the large sidewalks of which offer a pleasant walk. If you are hungry, though, I don’t suggest eating here because the restaurants mainly look like tourist traps maybe except Brunello (n. 70A), Marriott Hotel’s Flora Restaurant, and Harry’s Bar (n. 150), which, however, is quite expensive. In Via Veneto is also Rome’s Hard Rock Cafe, not my favorite place to eat but an evening hangout place for tourists.
Among the landmarks to visit nearby is the church of Santa Maria della Concezione and its famous “bone” Capuchin Crypt, and the already mentioned Villa Borghese, Palazzo Barberini, Fontana di Trevi, and the Spanish Steps.
- How to reach Via Veneto: bus (52, 53, 61, 62, 63, 80, 83, 85, 100, 150F, 160, 492, 590), metro (Barberini, line A).
The long and beautiful Via Panisperna goes from Via Urbana to Salita del Grillo next to the Trajan’s Markets near Piazza Venezia. The origins of the name are pretty fuzzy, with theories ranging from the names of the ancient house owners to local events, or festivals held in the area.
If you do happen to walk in Via Panisperna, don’t miss a visit to the ancient church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna, allegedly built on the site where the saint was martyred. Apart from this church, there are several other important landmarks on this street including a few notable palaces including the important Villa Aldobrandini, and a fountain.
Walking along Via Panisperna you can find clothing stores, antique shops, a vintage homeware shop perfect for some original gift shopping in Rome, and also nice restaurants such as Ai Tre Scalini (Via Panisperna 251) and Ristorante Tema (Via Panisperna 96/98).
- How to reach Via Panisperna: bus (40, 60, 64, 70, 71, 117, 170, H), metro (Cavour, line B, and Repubblica, line A).
Via Sistina is a central street of Rome home to exclusive shops, a famous theater, restaurants, and hotels. Connecting Piazza Barberini and Trinità dei Monti, it crosses two Roman “rioni” in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Rome.
The short street that today we call Via Sistina until the early 19th century was just the last part of the long road known as Strada Felice. Extending for almost 3 km (2787 meters, roughly 232 feet), Strada Felice was named after Pope Sixtus V, Felice Peretti, to connect Trinità dei Monti to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme Basilica. Strada Felice was finally divided into chunks and each of them is now an individual street, including Via delle Quattro Fontane.
It’s likely that you are going to pass through Via Sistina because very close to the Spanish Steps, but if you don’t happen by chance, I surely suggest you plan a stroll. Among the monuments you can see in Via Sistina is 16th-century Palazzo Zuccari with its “monster” facade and home to the rich Biblioteca Hertziana library.
If you are interested in shopping, you will be pleased to know that Via Sistina is also home to lovely clothing and shoe stores.
- How to reach Via Sistina: Bus (52, 53, 61, 62, 80, 95, 116, 119, 492), metro (Barberini, line A)
Via Frattina is one of the most elegant famous streets in Rome popular among tourists and in the 50s a favorite stop among celebrities. Very likely, where is now Via Frattina was an ancient Roman road used to get to the city center from Pincio Hill.
The urban planning that saw several palaces rising along Via Frattina was launched around the end of the 16th century. In perfect line with the neighborhood, also Via Frattina counts several high-end fashion boutiques such as Pennyblack, Luisa Spagnoli, Falconeri, and Patrizia Pepe, and offers a great walk.
- How to reach Via Frattina: metro (Spagna, line A).
Via del Tritone
The name of Via del Tritone, one of the most famous streets in Rome’s city center, was given after the beautiful Triton Fountain by Bernini located in Piazza Barberini. Now a wide, straight road, originally, Via del Tritone was narrow and quite winding.
The main changes in its structure and appearance happened between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Its name was also changed a few times, every time depending on the local events.
Today, Via del Tritone is a large road lined up with great shops. It might not be pedestrian, but it offers a pleasant walk because its sidewalk is nice and large on both sides. Some brands you can find in Via del Tritone include Class and Sandro Ferrone women’s clothing stores, Doppelganger men’s clothing store, Luisa Spagnoli, as well as La Rinascente department store.
- How to reach Via del Tritone: bus (52, 53, 62, 63, 71, 83, 85, 117, 160, 492, 590), metro (Barberini, line A)
One of the cool streets of Rome’s Monti neighborhood, Via Urbana is not very large but a nice lane for a pleasant stroll. Lined up with local shops, nice restaurants, and the only raw vegan pastry shop in Rome, Grezzo, this is a great stop during your sightseeing or a perfect hangout in the evening after your day tours.
Built on an ancient Roman road, this street was given this name in the 17th century when Pope Urban VIII Barberini commissioned extensive works of remodeling. In Via Urbana, you can visit the important Santa Pudenziana Basilica, a very ancient church devoted to the young Christian martyr.
Built on top of the house of her father, Pudente, a Roman senator who converted to Christianity, their home became a worship place to honor the Christian martyrs, an activity that led also to the martyrdom of Pudente, Pudenziana, and her sister, Prassede. The Basilica devoted to Santa Prassede is not far from here and both churches feature some of the most beautiful mosaics in Rome.
There are so many things to see and do in Via Urbana that you can easily spend there half a day. Plenty of delicious restaurants, even a Japanese street food place, and great artisan shops selling unique pieces whether it’s clothes or home décor.
- How to reach Via Urbana: metro (Cavour, line B)
Via Cavour is one of the most modern streets of Rome and goes from Largo Corrado Ricci all the way to Piazza dei Cinquecento, so Termini Station. So, crossing Monti and Castro Pretorio neighborhoods.
The project for this large road was approved by the Roman council in 1873, three years after the city was annexed to the new Kingdom of Italy. Within the same project, it was also decided to name it after Camillo Benso di Cavour, considered one of the most important figures of the Italian Risorgimento.
The first piece between Termini Station and Piazza dell’Esquilino was part of the 1873 urban plan. In 1883, the new urbanization project included the building of the remaining piece of Via Cavour that was started in 1886 and reached the area of the Roman Forum and Colosseum.
Since its inception, Via Cavour has been home to tall buildings and several important hotels including Hotel Mediterraneo and Hotel Massimo d’Azeglio. These hotels are both 4-star and owned by the Bettoja group founded by the Bettoja family, involved in the accommodation business for almost 150 years.
Today, given its strategic location between Termini Station and the Colosseum archaeological area, it’s an important hub for tourists. If you are in the mood for a good shopping spree, Via Cavour is home to plenty of clothing and shoe stores, and if you need to buy some gifts, there are also souvenirs shops.
If you are hungry, rest assured that here you won’t starve. Along Via Cavour, you can find restaurants like Centro (Via Cavour 61), L’Archetto di Cavour (Via Cavour 197), and Trattoria Da Valentino (Via Cavour 293), among many others.
- How to reach Via Cavour: bus (38, 40, 50, 64, 66, 70, 71, 75, 82, 85, 92, 105, 117, 170), metro (Cavour, line B, and Termini, line A and B).
Via dei Serpenti
The name might sound creepy, “Street of the snakes”, but don’t worry, there is nothing dangerous going on in this lovely lane of the exclusive Monti quarter. Starting off Via Nazionale, Via dei Serpenti goes all the way to Via Cavour and existed already in the XVII century when the two roads were not even built.
Before reaching Via Cavour, Via dei Serpenti crosses the absolutely lovely Piazza della Madonna dei Monti, a favorite hangout for locals and tourists who always love an aperitif in this elegant and hip neighborhood. Nearby, giving the name to the piazza, is the church of Santa Maria dei Monti, one of the landmarks to visit in Via dei Serpenti.
This Roman street, too, is quite touristy and attracts locals and visitors for aperitif and dinner, especially on the weekend, when it’s practically impossible to find parking! If you are in the mood for a nice eat, in Via dei Serpenti you can try La Licata for great traditional food, Antico Forno Serpenti for fresh bread and pastries, where you can also have a casual lunch or dinner, and Fuorinorma deli for scrumptious platters of cheeses and cold cuts.
And those of you who enjoy international flavors can try the Nippo-Brazilian fusion restaurant Temakinho, the Japanese Hasekura, or the Indian Maharajah.
- How to reach Via dei Serpenti: bus (71, 75, 117), metro (Cavour, line B).
Via delle Botteghe Oscure
Via delle Botteghe Oscure is a pretty central street in Rome between Largo Argentina and Piazza d’Aracoeli (near Piazza Venezia). We are quite certain that its name comes from the moniker it earned because of the windowless, so dark (“oscure”) workshops (“botteghe”).
Along what’s now Via delle Botteghe were found the ruins of the ancient Teatro di Balbo opened in 13 BC with a capacity of more than 11,000 people. From Via delle Botteghe Oscure you can enter the archaeological site of the Crypta Balbi, part of the complex of Teatro di Balbo and today one of the venues of Museo Nazionale Romano.
Via delle Botteghe Oscure is also home to 16th-century Palazzo Caetani originally commissioned by Alessandro Mattei to be part of what’s known in Rome as “isola Mattei”, a cluster of buildings owned by the Mattei clan.
This is not a very long road and doesn’t feature shops or restaurants. If you are passing by the area it won’t take you long to visit but it does make for an interesting stop to delve deeper into Rome’s history and society. Here, you can also visit the ancient church of St. Stanislao dei Polacchi that Pope Gregory XIII offered to the Polish cardinal Stanislao Osio to aim at hosting and helping Polish pilgrims.
- How to reach Via delle Botteghe Oscure: bus (30, 40, 46, 62, 64, 70, 80, 81, 87, 190F, 492, 628, 916), tram (8).
Via di Porta Angelica
Via di Porta Angelica is the pedestrian street in the historical Borgo quarter that goes from Saint Peter’s colonnade to Piazza Risorgimento all along the Vatican walls. This street was named after Porta Angelica gate built in the 16th century by Pope Pius IV for the pilgrims who reached the Vatican to visit the tomb of Saint Peter.
Apparently, until 1840, Porta Angelica gate was used also to hang the heads of the criminals that had been sentenced to death as a warning for the entire population and also the visitors. The gate was demolished in 1888 and parts of its decoration have been added to the Vatican walls overlooking Piazza Risorgimento.
Lined up with souvenir shops, if you are visiting the Vatican you will likely pass Via di Porta Angelica a few times. While it’s perfect for religious-themed gifts and souvenirs, I would probably not recommend to stop here for lunch because too touristy. But fret not, because very close are the Trionfale and the Prati neighborhoods and they are full of great restaurants.
- How to reach Via di Porta Angelica: bus (23, 49, 429, 590, 913, 982), tram (19), metro (Ottaviano, line A).
Borgo Pio is a lovely picturesque pedestrian street in the Borgo quarter connecting Via di Porta Castello to Via di Porta Angelica. Its name was given after Pope Pius IV because he was the one ordering its construction in 1565. From the beginning, the purpose of this new street close to the Vatican was to build a healthy and salubrious place higher than the Tiber to avoid floods and even equipped with a sewage.
Walking along Borgo Pio is a great way to feel the bygone Papal States. In fact, you will see many original shop signs, the street pavement and also many buildings that survived the later urban planning.
While I would probably avoid eating right here, despite its great location right next to the most popular Vatican landmarks, especially because in the nearby Prati area you can find better places, I definitely suggest not to miss the great artisan gelato from Hedera (Borgo Pio 179).
- How to reach Borgo Pio: bus (40, 62, 81), metro (Ottaviano and Lepanto, line A).
Via dei Banchi Vecchi
Similar to other streets starting with “Banchi” including Via dei Banchi Nuovi, also Via dei Banchi Vecchi was the place where several types of professionals such as bankers, traders, shopkeepers, and even writers.
For its history and the landmarks it houses, Via dei Banchi Vecchi is one of the most fascinating streets in Rome. Originally, it was divided into two sections, one devoted to court-related offices and one where the famous “race of the Jews” took place on the occasion of Roman Carnival before being moved to Via del Corso.
One of the most important historic palaces in Via dei Banchi Vecchi is Palazzo Sforza Cesarini that originally hosted the Papal Mint (“Zecca Pontificia”) before it was transferred to Via dei Banchi Nuovi. Hence the name of this street Via dei Banchi Vecchi (of the old working desks), because bankers, traders and other professionals moved their desks from here to the new venue.
Palazzo Sforza Cesarini was actually built for Rodrigo Borgia, the future, infamous Pope Alexander VI who, once he became the leader of the Papal States, gave it to the cardinal Ascanio Sforza following his support for his election. The palace changed several owners and served many different purposes throughout the centuries, changing appearance a few times following the urban planning that involved the adjacent roads such as Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
Via dei Banchi Vecchi is truly packed with important and historical buildings. Some were the residence of wealthy families, some buildings were used for public services such as Casa dell’Ospizio dei Pellegrini Boemi, an institute to host German pilgrims, and churches.
Foodies will be glad to know that here there are some pretty great restaurants including Il Pagliaccio for fine-dining (expensive) meals, Supplizio, one of the most popular street food places in Rome, and the pretty affordable Labottega Pastificio con Cucina (n. 48) and Zucchero e Farina for pizza by the slice (n. 105/107).
- How to reach Via dei Banchi Vecchi: bus (40, 46, 62, 64, 115, 916).
Via dei Banchi Nuovi
Via dei Banchi Nuovi is one of the famous streets in Rome’s Centro Storico. Close to the Vatican, this was the beginning of the ancient Via Papalis where the parade of the new pope towards San Giovanni in Laterano Basilica took place.
Apparently, it was called Via dei Banchi Nuovi (of the new banks or working desks) when the city’s mint was moved to the nearby Via dei Banchi di Santo Spirito and Florentine bankers opened here their offices. The same Agostino Chigi, the famous patron of Renaissance artists such as Raphael, gathered his fortune in this very street. Shrewd entrepreneurs took advantage of the privileged location of these streets close to Saint Peter’s Square and Basilica where the continuous flow of pilgrims allowed businesses to thrive.
A stroll in Via dei Banchi Nuovi is a true throwback in Rome’s history. Between history and tradition, you can see the plate that reminds curious travelers that the great architect Carlo Maderno lived here and enjoy a delicious meal in the heart of the city.
Some of the best restaurants in Via dei Banchi Nuovi are Bistrot del Mare for a gourmet seafood meal and Alfredo e Ada for more affordable traditional fares.
- How to reach Via dei Banchi Nuovi: bus (46, 62, 64, 115, 916).
Starting from Piazza del Popolo and carrying on in the Flaminio neighborhood, Via Flaminia was one of the most important roads of the Roman Empire. Connecting Rome to the eastern and northern provinces of Italy, Via Flaminia crossed regions such Umbria and Piceno and carried on towards the Adriatic Sea to Fano, Pesaro, and Rimini.
If you are visiting Via Flaminia in Rome, I suggest you venture more north than Piazza del Popolo and explore some of the Flaminio quarter because it’s very interesting and fascinating. Much more modern than the strict historic center of Rome, along Via Flaminia and its many back lanes you can visit places such as the MAXXI museum of contemporary art, the contemporary architecture of the Olympic Village built on the occasion of the 1960 Olympic Games, but also the ancient Ponte Milvio bridge, one of the oldest bridges in Rome.
- How to reach Via Flaminia: bus (32), tram (2), train (Flaminio).
Via del Governo Vecchio
Whether it’s your first trip to Rome or not, it’s very likely you will end up wandering Via del Governo Vecchio more than once, and not only because of the great gelato you can have at Frigidarium! Easy to reach and strategically located close to both Ponte Sant’Angelo and Piazza Navona, Via del Governo Vecchio is one of the most famous streets in Rome city center.
One of the quaint historical lanes of the Centro Storico, Via del Governo Vecchio is in the Parione quarter and connects Piazza dell’Orologio to Piazza Pasquino where you can see Pasquino, Rome’s most famous talking statue.
Via del Governo Vecchio is lined up with small boutiques, second-hand clothing shops, and nice restaurants such as Cantina e Cucina (n. 87), Mimì e Cocò (n. 72), and Da Tonino (n. 18-19). Do you want to snap some Instagram-friendly selfies and memorable postcard pictures from Rome? Take a walk in Via del Governo Vecchio and nothing will be easier.
- How to reach Via del Governo Vecchio: bus (40, 46, 62, 64, 190F, 916).
Via dei Coronari, one of the prettiest streets in Rome
Via dei Coronari is one of the most beautiful streets of Rome. Narrow, steeped in history, and packed with landmarks and folk tales, this picturesque lane is a treasure trove of things to see and quaint photography-friendly corners.
Known as “Via Recta” in ancient times because of its shape of a long straight road, Via dei Coronari owes its current title to the sellers of religious objects who settled here their business because close to the Vatican and on the way to Saint Peter’s Basilica for many pilgrims.
The beautiful Via dei Coronari was founded by Pope Sixtus IV Della Rovere in the late 15th century and became the largest straight road in the maze of narrow, tortuous alleys that was the area in the Middle Ages and that, luckily, has been kept until now.
The overlapping of historical layers, and architectural and urban planning styles is what makes this one of the most charming streets in Rome. Take a stroll in Via dei Coronari and you will be able to experience the Middle Ages in its serpentine alleys, and the Renaissance and Baroque styles in its buildings and decorations.
If you want a break from your sightseeing, enjoy the modernity of Via dei Coronari in its many local shops, mainly antiques, good restaurants, and fantastic gelato shops. If you are looking for a full meal, try places such as Fresco Coronari, I Supplì dei Coronari, Bistrot Le Jardin, and Pasta Imperiale street food place. If it’s a hot day and you need a sweet break, I guarantee you there is nothing better than artisan gelato from two of the best gelaterias in Rome that have their shop here, Hedera and Gelateria del Teatro.
- How to reach Via dei Coronari: bus (46, 62, 64, 115, 280, 916).
Via della Lungara
A long street in Rome’s Trastevere, Via della Lungara stretches for about 1 km (slightly more than half a mile) and is very old. Built on an ancient road off Via Aurelia towards the Vatican, Via della Lungara changed a few names depending on its function of streets used by pilgrims or location below the Janiculum Hill.
The modern road was started by Pope Alexander VI Borgia at the early Renaissance and completed by Julius II Della Rovere at the beginning of the 16th century. Today, it stretches from near Piazza della Rovere up to Porta Settimiana ancient gate.
Via della Lungara is an interesting street and, since it’s pretty ancient, is home to many wonderful notable palaces. One of the most important palaces in Via della Lungara is certainly Palazzo Corsini, famous for having welcomed guests of the likes of Christina queen of Sweden, Michelangelo, and Dutch Renaissance scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam.
Today, Palazzo Corsini hosts the Accademia dei Lincei and is one of the venues of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica together with Palazzo Barberini. In 1883, the beautiful gardens of Palazzo Corsini were acquired by Rome’s council and are now the venue for the city’s Orto Botanico.
Facing Palazzo Corsini is the other beautiful villa of Trastevere, Villa Farnesina. The palace was commissioned by the wealthy banker Agostino Chigi to architect Baldassarre Peruzzi from Siena, while among the interior decorations we can see the famous frescoes by Raphael.
Another building worth mentioning in Via della Lungara is 17th-century Palazzo Torlonia near Porta Settimiana. Formerly used as the storage for a mill that worked with the water from the Aqua Paola aqueduct falling from the Janiculum Hill, it was bought by the Torlonia family to serve as their residence.
Counting a few shops and a few restaurants, Via della Lungara is one of those Roman streets worth visiting for their long and illustrious past.
- How to reach Via della Lungara: bus (23, 280), tram (8), train (Roma Trastevere).
Don’t miss our tips on the best things to do in Trastevere.
Via della Lungaretta
Like Via della Lungara, also Via della Lungaretta, its short version, travels on the urban plan of an ancient road. Via della Lungara was built in the 2nd century BC starting from Pons Aemilius bridge (today Ponte Rotto because broken) and carrying onto the Janiculum Hill.
Measuring 700 mt (roughly 2300 ft), it’s slightly shorter than Via della Lungara. It goes from Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere to Piazza in Piscinula and, since 1886, is crossed by Viale Trastevere.
Along Via della Lungaretta are a few religious historic buildings including the church of Sant’Agata where the statue of the Vergine del Carmelo is kept and brought out every year on the occasion of the “Festa de Noantri”, the most important festival in Trastevere.
Another church in Via della Lungaretta is the one devoted to the martyrs Rufina and Seconda and was probably built on the site of their martyrdom. From one of the bell towers, the army of the Vatican fought against the rebels in 1867 who blew up Serristori barrack. The rebels organized the attack in the nearby woolen mill and when the Vatican troops learned about it, after the fights all rebels were killed, including Giuditta Tavani Arquati, whose statue was put on the facade of the former wool factory, together with her husband and 12-year-old son.
Apart from this dark page of Roman history, Via della Lungaretta also offers some cheerful moments, especially at the number 96 where Fiordiluna will treat you with one of the best artisan, all-natural gelato in the area.
- How to reach Via della Lungaretta: bus (23, 63, 280, 8BUS, H), tram (8), train (Roma Trastevere).
Via dei Giubbonari
If you go to Campo de’ Fiori, you will almost certainly end up taking a walk in Via dei Giubbonari lured in by the many shops line up one after the other all along the way. Via dei Giubbonari takes its name from the artisans who made the “gibboni”, the bustiers part of women’s clothing style back in the day in Rome.
Via dei Giubbonari is quite an old road and one of the important historic palaces is the one that belonged to the powerful Barberini family. Stretching from Campo de’ Fiori to Piazza Benedetto Cairoli, even though not very long, this street steps over three neighborhoods, Parione, Sant’Eustachio, and Regola.
The shops of Via dei Giubbonari are for the main part selling inexpensive clothes and accessories, but towards to end of Piazza Cairoli you can also find some more interesting boutiques, even though not artisan and unique.
If you are hungry, I suggest you don’t stop at the first “tourist menu” you find and opt for a more local eating such as Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina (Via dei Giubbonari 21) or Dar Filettaro a Santa Barbara in Largo dei Librari for a great baccalà (salted codfish).
- How to reach Via dei Giubbonari: bus (23, 30, 40, 46, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 190F, 280, 492, 628, 916).
Via della Reginella
Via della Reginella is one of the most picturesque alleys in the historical Sant’Angelo quarter and connects Via del Portico d’Ottavia to Piazza Mattei in the Jewish Ghetto. It wasn’t always part of the Jewish quarter but was incorporated in the 19th century when Pope Leo XII allowed the expansion of this neighborhood due to the increased population.
On this occasion, new gates were added, one of which was called “della Reginella” just like the tiny street. Still today, at the numbers 29 and 30 of Via della Reginella it’s possible to see where was the ancient gate because it was kept in the original marble frame.
This narrow and somehow dark street of Rome is very revealing of the conditions in which the Jewish population of the ancient ghetto used to live. Via della Reginella is picturesque indeed, but it shows how small was the space granted to the residents with the buildings almost looking as if built on top of each other.
- How to reach Via della Reginella: bus (H, 63), tram (8)
Via del Moro
Via del Moro is a slightly more spacious street in the Trastevere neighborhood if compared to the tangle of the other alleys. On this road, on the corner with Via della Pelliccia, you can see one of the historical coffee shops of Rome, Caffè del Moro, that opened in the late 19th century and is still operative. It seems that Via del Moro has been bearing this name since the 16th century so it’s likely that the coffee shop was named after the street, instead of the other way around.
One of the main streets in Trastevere, Via del Moro displays an eclectic mix of styles and historical times. Paying attention, you can spot Renaissance, Baroque and medieval buildings, as well as homes linked to contemporary figures of Roman society.
Opening up from Piazza Trilussa, today Via del Moro hosts several shops and, for the pleasure of the sweet tooth in you, the traditional Valzani pastry shop.
- How to reach Via del Moro: bus (23,280), tram (8).
Vicolo in Italian means alley, so it’s immediately clear that from Vicolo Moroni you shouldn’t expect large spaces. As a matter of fact, this is a short and narrow alley in Trastevere near the river and the Lungotevere Farnesina.
Its name was given after the Moroni family who lived there since the end of the 15th century when Cardinal Giovanni Moroni bought his residence right here before moving shortly after to the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere where he was put in charge.
Even though you will totally breathe a village-like air, Vicolo Moroni has a pretty artistic past. The residence of wealthy local families, since 1888 it has been home to a rudimentary theater called Nuovo Politeama Romano, a local osteria, and the “Lega dell’Ortografia”, an association of writers and artists.
As a little token for history buffs, this small alley has also the space to host a small part of the Aurelian Walls in their Tiber trait.
- How to reach Vicolo Moroni: bus (23,280)
Via Merulana is a long, tree-lined road in the Esquilino neighborhood. Apart from the many clothing stores and boutiques, in Via Merulana you can find one of Rome’s historical bakeries, Panella, serving also causal meals together with its delicious freshly baked bread and cookies.
This famous street of Rome was named after the Meruli or Merula family that owned a large land between the Lateran and Santa Maria Maggiore that incorporated where Via Merulana is. Originally, Via Merulana was different, starting roughly at the current crossroad with Via Labicana up to the ancient “Porta Esquilina” gate of the Servian Walls, today Gallieno Arch in Via di San Vito.
The current Via Merulana was designed in the 16th century under the rule of Pope Gregory XIII first and then Sixtus V. The goal was to create an easy connection between Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterano Basilicas.
Among the landmarks you will find in Via Merulana are several churches that testify to the ancient history of one of the lesser-known yet important streets of Rome. These include the 19th-century Basilica of Sant’Antonio da Padova, also known as Basilica of Sant’Antonio al Laterano, Ss. Marcellino e Pietro al Laterano, one of the oldest churches in Rome entirely remodeled, and the 19th-century, neo-Gothic church of S. Alfonso all’Esquilino.
- How to reach Via Merulana: bus (16, 75, 117, 714), metro (Vittorio Emanuele, line A), tram (3, 8)
Make sure you read our article on the lesser-known but amazing churches in Rome.
Located near Villa Pamphilj park in the Aurelio quarter, Via Piccolomini is a small residential street that wouldn’t capture much attention if it wasn’t for the secret it beholds. In fact, here is a truly hidden gem of Rome pretty much only locals know about and where you will see little to no tourists.
You will find Via Piccolomini near Via Aurelia Antica and Via Leone XIII so very close to the Vatican. Once there, you can enjoy a great view of the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica. But this is not it. The more you get close, the smaller the dome becomes. The further you get, the bigger the dome becomes.
The mystery is quickly solved as this is simply an optical illusion. However, no one has really understood how this was achieved in the first place. For sure, if you are either staying in the area or your trip is longer than a day or two, this is one of the cool experiences to have in Rome.
- How to reach Via Piccolomini: bus (982).
Via del Portico d’Ottavia
One of the main streets of the Jewish Ghetto, Via Portico d’Ottavia takes its name from the archaeological site of the Portico d’Ottavia rebuilt by emperor Augustus between 27 and 23 BC on the site of a more ancient portico and named after his sister Octavia.
This ancient site is a fast way to connect the Jewish Ghetto to the Theater of Marcello, another archaeological site near Capitoline Hill.
Via del Portico d’Ottavia is packed with traditional kosher restaurants famous for the delicious Roman Jewish specialties. Some of the restaurants you can try in the area are Nonna Betta, BaGhetto, Renato al Ghetto, and Giggetto.
- How to reach Via del Portico d’Ottavia: bus (23, 280), tram (8).
Corso Vittorio Emanuele
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the longest and largest streets in Rome’s city center named after the first king of Italy. Built in the late 19th century to connect the Vatican to Piazza Venezia, Corso Vittorio Emanuele starts after Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II bridge and Piazza Pasquale Paoli and ends in Largo Argentina.
Crossing over four neighborhoods, this long road features many historical buildings, hotels, restaurants, and shops. Shortly after crossing the Vittorio Emanuele bridge, on your left side, you will find the Piazza della Chiesa Nuova and the 16th-century church of Santa Maria in Vallicella where is the motor-powered painting by Pieter Paul Rubens. Next to it is the Baroque-style Oratorio dei Filippini by Francesco Borromini.
Some of the shops I think are worth checking out include The Gallery Rome, Damiani Roma, and Stravaganze Romane for clothes, and La Fiorentina Minerali for jewelry and objects made with precious and semi-precious stones.
Among the places to eat in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the best one (and most expensive) is the fine-dining restaurant Pipero, but there are also other very nice eateries that are certainly more affordable such as the vegan Buddy Veggy Restaurant Cafe, Pasta In Corso, Pasta-Eat, and Ristocaffè for good breakfast and casual meals.
- How to reach Corso Vittorio Emanuele: bus (40, 46, 62, 64, 190F, 916), tram (8).
Via Nazionale is the long road lined up with clothing and shoe stores that goes from Piazza Repubblica to Via Quattro Novembre towards Piazza Venezia. The project to build Via Nazionale, originally called “Nuova Pia” as a tribute to Pope Pius IX, originated from the need to connect Stazione Termini to the city center.
Apart from the many shops, Via Nazionale is also home to Palazzo delle Esposizioni, one of Rome’s largest museums, next to the early-Christian Basilica of San Vitale. At the end of Piazza della Repubblica is the beautiful Michelangelo’s church of Santa Maria degli Angeli and from here you can easily reach Museo Nazionale Romano in its main venue set in the Diocletian Baths.
Being close to the Termini Station (about 600 mt, some 2000 ft, from Piazza della Repubblica), to famous streets in Rome such as Via delle Quattro Fontane, and to important landmarks such as Palazzo Quirinale, you are likely to cross Via Nazionale at least once during your Rome trip.
- How to reach Via Nazionale: bus (40, 60, 64, 70, 117, 170, H), metro (Repubblica, line A).
Make sure you read my article on the most important churches in Rome.
Via Ostiense is the main road of the cool Ostiense neighborhood and was one of the most important roads in imperial times because it connected Rome to the port of Ostia, the outlet to the sea essential for Rome’s economy and food supply. Built between the 2nd and the 3rd centuries BC, Via Ostiense is some 24-km long even reaching the GRA (raccordo anulare), the ring road/highway all around Rome.
The part travelers would likely be more interested in, however, is the one near Piramide and Testaccio. This is where many of the factories, warehouses, general markets, and power plants of Rome were. Most places have been dismissed so now this area of Ostiense is a fantastic place to visit if you are interested in industrial archaeology.
Between the same Via Ostiense and the back lanes all around, you can spot great street art work of Italian and international urban artists, modern landmarks such as Centrale Montemartini, the former power plant turned into a museum, as well as great restaurants to grab a bite. Some of these include Tigelleria Romana for a quick bite on the go, Trattoria Zampagna, Bacetto Bistrot, Trattoria Pennestri (Via Giovanni da Empoli 5), Romeow Cat Bistrot (Via Francesco Negri 15).
- How to reach Via Ostiense: bus (23, 30, 77, 83, 280, 715, 716, 718, 769), metro (Piramide, Garbatella, and San Paolo Basilica, line B), train (Ostiense).
Don’t miss my article on the best things to do in Ostiense.
Via Marmorata is one of the main roads of the Testaccio neighborhood and takes its name from the large storage of marble (“marmo” in Italian) that reached Rome via the Tiber river and from here was dispatched to other parts of the city. There are traces of this activity even up until the 17th century so it was something that lasted in the centuries.
Via Marmorata goes from Ponte Sublicio bridge and Piazza dell’Emporio up to Porta San Paolo and Piazzale Ostiense. It’s a fascinating street where you can find traces of ancient Roman trading, and local lifestyle faith due to the nearby presence of the tomb of St. Paul in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
Testaccio is a traditional, working-class area of Rome, so along Via Marmorata and in the whole neighborhood is really a feast of delicious authentic Roman dishes. Some great restaurants you can try in Via Marmorata include Il Grottino, Mastro Donato Pizza Gourmet, as well as the lovely cafes Tram Depot and Il Gianfornaio.
- How to reach Via Marmorata: bus (23, 30, 75, 280, 716), tram (8), metro (Piramide, line B), train (Ostiense)
Make sure you read our tips on the best things to do in Testaccio.
In Rome there is Via Aurelia Antica (the ancient Aurelian Way) and Via Aurelia (the new Aurelia road).
Via Aurelia Antica is a long consular road built in the 3rd century BC by consul Gaio Aurelio Cotta, from whom it takes its name. Its initial purpose was to connect Rome to Cerveteri, important Etruscan center, by merging smaller existing roads and at the same time to make it easier to reach the new settlements north of Rome up to Genoa and Gaul (France).
During the 5th century invasions, the Goths destroyed important posts of the Via Aurelia especially along the coast causing its gradual decline. Via Aurelia Antica, however, still exist and in Rome, you can visit it, drive through it, and see the ruins still standing all along, including rests of ancient aqueducts.
One of the landmarks you can see in Via Aurelia Antica, one of the longest and most famous streets in Rome, is Porta San Pancrazio gate (formerly Porta Aurelia) close to the tomb of the saint and the catacombs named after him. But linked to this road are also the Janiculum Hill and Pons Aemilius, known as Ponte Rotto, built around 240 BC simultaneously with the construction of the same Via Aurelia.
Near Villa Pamphilj park is also a tortuous segment of Via Aurelia Antica (not my favorite road to drive through). Here, you can see the ruins of the aqueduct emperor Trajan built in 109 BCE funneling the waters from the Bracciano Lake to supply water to the area of Trastevere.
The new Via Aurelia is also very long and reaches the GRA ring road. In Largo Tomaso Perassi, Via Aurelia Antica detaches from Via Aurelia that continues towards Piazza Irnerio, Via Baldo degli Ubaldi, then more up to Viale Vaticano up to Via di Porta Cavalleggeri at the doorstep of the Vatican.
Both Via Aurelia and Via Aurelia Antica are very long, so depending on where you are going, there will be different buses. Not all buses stop along the entire road. By car is the best way to travel the Roman Aurelian roads.
- How to reach Via Aurelia: bus (34, 46, 49, 246, 247, 490, 791, 889, 916, C6), metro (Cornelia, line A)
- How to reach Via Aurelia Antica: bus (31, 33, 115, 791, 870, 982).
Via Bocca di Leone
Via Bocca di Leone is a street in the Campo Marzio neighborhood close to Piazza di Spagna. It goes from Via Vittoria, crosses Via dei Condotti and Via Borgognona and ends in Via Frattina. This is a quaint street steeped in history and where until not long ago there used to be some market stalls.
All along Via Bocca di Leone are several historical buildings such as the 17th-century Palazzo Nuñez-Torlonia built for the marquis Francesco Nuñez-Sanchez probably from a design by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Some two centuries later, the palace was bought by the Torlonia family and a large remodeling followed.
Part of the restoration was also the addition of the large fountain in front of the entrance gate. Built in 1842 by Antonio Sarti, the marble fountain has a sarcophagus shape with bas-relief tritons and nereids and is supported by two large lion paws.
- How to reach Via Bocca di Leone: metro (Spagna).
Passetto del Biscione
Passetto del Biscione is not exactly a street but a covered passageway that in ancient times was used to connect the Theater of Pompeo with the exterior. Today, it connects Piazza del Biscione with Via di Grottapinta close to Campo de’ Fiori. Its name “del biscione” was given because of the large snake in the crest of the Orsini family owner of one of the nearby palaces.
Since the 17th century, Passetto del Biscione has been displaying an aedicula with a painting portraying the holy Mary, even though throughout the centuries the image of the Madonna has changed a few times. The original painting from the 17th century, now preserved in the church of San Carlo ai Catinari, was replaced with a painting of a Madonna breastfeeding the Child.
This painting became the object of devotion and pilgrimage because it was declared a sacred image since the madonna was seen to cry due to the French invasion of Rome. But the passageway was so narrow and difficult to find that the popular wit invented the expression in Roman dialect “cerca’ Maria pe’ Roma”, meaning “looking for Mary in Rome” and standing for “looking for a needle in a haystack”.
- How to reach Passetto del Biscione: bus (46, 62, 64, 916), tram (8).
Via dei Cappellari
Maybe not one of the most famous streets in Rome, but definitely a cute, lovely back lane between Campo de’ Fiori and Via del Pellegrino. Narrow and so Italian-style, if today we find it picturesque, it wasn’t always the case. Not so long ago, in fact, around 200 years ago, the local reports didn’t miss to notice how dark, dirty and “perpetually muddy” the alley was.
Now that the mud has been collected, this alley steeped in history is all to be enjoyed. You are not going to find big restaurants or boutique stores here, but definitely a charming piece of popular Roman history.
Named after the many hat makers who had here their workshops since at least the 17th century, Via dei Cappellari still displays original houses such as a cloister-like domus for an association of laical religious women founded by the daughter of doctor Giovanni Antonio de’ Calvis in the 15th century. Here is also the house where local poet Pietro Trapassi, known as Metastasio, was born in 1698.
Walk Via dei Cappellari to step back in time and experience the village-like atmosphere a huge metropolis like Rome can offer, now just like centuries ago.
- How to reach Via dei Cappellari: bus (46, 62, 64, 916).
Via Cola di Rienzo
Via Cola di Rienzo is the long road starting from Piazza Risorgimento. We are in the Prati neighborhood and the street is famous for being a shopping hub among locals. A little like Via del Corso, here, you can find many clothing and shoe brands from Liu Jo to Benetton, from Intimissimi lingerie shop to Geox shoe store.
The back lanes around Via Cola di Rienzo are lined up with plenty of great restaurants, cafes, gelaterias, and also boutique stores selling lesser-known brands and more unique pieces. If you are visiting the area, don’t stop in Via Cola di Rienzo but do venture also to nearby streets like Via Germanico, Via dei Gracchi, Via Marcantonio Colonna, and Piazza dei Quiriti.
- How to reach Via Cola di Rienzo: by bus (32, 70, 81, 87, 280, 590), by metro (Lepanto and Ottaviano, line A), by tram (19).
Via del Boschetto
Located in the Monti quarter, Via del Boschetto is a favorite hangout whether you are in for some good shopping or a tasty meal. This narrow street of Rome goes from Via Nazionale to Via degli Zingari and owes its title to the gardens and vineyards Cardinal Gonzaga ordered to be planted around the area.
Historically, despite the efforts, the street remained seldom inhabited, but now, if you are looking for the handmade, unique piece of clothing for you or to buy as a gift, Via del Boschetto is a great place to start. Some of the shops you can check out here are Kokoro, Tina Sondergaard, and the local artisan creations of Le NoU at the number 111.
If you are hungry and need a break from all the shopping, grab a bite at Trattoria Valentino, Satiro Vino e Cucina, Serotonina Comfort Food, or a flat sandwich from La Piadineria street food place.
- How to reach Via del Boschetto: bus (64, 70, 117, 170, H), metro (Repubblica, line A).
Via del Pellegrino
Via del Pellegrino is the historical narrow lane that goes roughly from Via dei Banchi Vecchi to Piazza della Cancelleria and Campo de’ Fiori in the Parione quarter. After changing a few names mainly due to the professions being practiced on site such as goldsmith or market sellers, this tortuous street in central Rome earned its current name “of the pilgrim” either from a small tavern that was here called “del Pellegrino”, or because it’s close to Saint Peter’s Basilica so a popular passageway for pilgrims.
Either way, Via del Pellegrino has always been a busy street welcoming pilgrims and locals due to the market that has taken place there for centuries until 1939 when it was cleared of all the stalls and crumbling dwellings due to public hygiene concerns.
Like many of the streets around the Vatican, also Via del Pellegrino features different buildings linked to some popes. Among the 15th-centuries houses lined up in Via del Pellegrino we can see at the number 58 the one known as Casa Peretti because bought by the Peretti family. But this in origins was where Vannozza Cattanei, the mistress of Pope Alexander VI Borgia, lived and where likely at least one of their sons, Cesare Borgia, was born.
Via del Pellegrino is in a very touristy area so it’s packed with restaurants. If you happen at lunch or dinner time, you can try places such as Osteria da Fortunata, Trattoria Settimio, Maccarone il Pastificio, Forno Monteforte for a street food meal, or Sciam Syrian-Lebanese restaurant.
- How to reach Via del Pellegrino: bus (46, 62, 64, 916).
One of the longest and most famous streets in Rome, Via Trionfale begins in the Trionfale neighborhood near Via Andrea Doria and the Prati neighborhood and ends when it meets Via Cassia, another one of the major Roman roads. Long some 11 km, almost 7 miles, Via Trionfale crosses many different neighborhoods, intersects several other important streets, and alternates parts where it’s a one-way or two-way road.
Some of the neighborhoods it crosses or borders include Balduina/Medaglie D’Oro, Monte Mario, Ottavia, and La Giustiniana.
We live in a backstreet towards the end of Via Trionfale before arriving to the Cassia road and La Giustiniana quarter north of Rome, so we know and drive through this long street quite a lot. When it’s peak hour, traffic gets heavily stuck, so if you know you need to get there, I strongly suggest using the F3 railway train that has a few stops along the way.
Originally called Via Triumphalis, this was the consular road that connected Rome with the ancient Etruscan city of Veio. Its name probably was given after the victory of Furio Camillo over Veio.
For most of its length, Via Trionfale comes in the shape of residential areas but obviously you can also find some nice restaurants and pizza by the slice, either directly in the street or in its back lanes.
- How to reach Via Trionfale: bus (46, 446, 907, 911, 913, 980, 990, 998, 999), metro (Ottaviano, line A), train (Gemelli, Monte Mario, San Filippo Neri, Ottavia, Ipogeo degli Ottavi)