Rome Historical centre walk: the Corso

Rome Historical centre walk: The Corso and its neighborhood. A beautiful full day walk touching the most famous points of interest, Pincio, Spanish steps, Piazza Navona, Pantheon and more in the Rome Historical centre. This beautiful walk will test the ability and strength of the curious tourist. It is a rather elaborate walk to find out, in detail, the entire historic center of Rome, touching the most famous points of interest, but also monuments of undeniable historical value and churches little known but brilliant in their beauty.

Rome Historical centre walk: a lesson in urban planning

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - piazza-del-popolo

A stranger’s first lesson in Roman geography should be learned standing in the Piazza del Popolo, whence three streets branch off the Corso, in the center, leading toward the Capitol, beyond which lies ancient Rome; the Babuino, on the left, leading to the Piazza di Spagna and the English quarter; the Ripetta, on the right, leading to the Castle of S. Angelo and S. Peter’s. The scene is one well known from pictures. The space between the streets is occupied by twin churches, erected by Cardinal Gastaldi.The Obelisk of the Piazza del Popolo was placed on this site by Sixtus V. in 1589, but was originally brought to Rome and erected in honor of Apollo by the Emperor Augustus.

Rome Historical centre walk: get up early!

This route is actually very intense and dedicated to those who want to know in depth the historical center of Rome. If you are indefatigable walkers follow the route A+C, if you love to do things calmly follow the route B+C. To see all the churches, it’s necessary to start the walk not later than 10 am.

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Route A Ara Pacis

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - Ara-pacis

Historic Centre – Metro Flaminio

Porta del Popolo
When the Emperor Honorius rebuilt the walls in 402, a gate was opened in this direction and called the Flaminian gate. It was on the top of the hill in a strong but inconvenient position. Between the VI and VIII century , it was transferred to its present spot and in the XV century it assumed the name of Porta del Popolo from the adjoining church of St.Maria del Popolo. Under Pius IV in 1561 the external facade was decorated by Vignola on the designs of MichaelAngelo Buonarroti.

Piazza del Popolo
This large and splendid Piazza announces to the traveller his entrance into the metropolis of religion, of arts, and of the ancient Roman world. Between two large semicircles stands the superb Egyptian obelisk of Ramses II, brought to Rome by Augustus, on the sides are four buildings of the same style of architecture. On the left the Augustinian convent, the other two are private houses, all built by Valadier. The semicircles are embellished with fountains furnished by the aqueduct of the acqua Vergine and adorned with groups by Ceccarini, one representing Rome between the Tiber and the Aniene, the other Neptune between two Tritons, on the four pedestals which terminate the semicircles, are the seasons: Spring by Gnaccarini, Summer by Laboureur, Autumn by Stocchi, Winter by Baini. In front of the gate, between two churches of a similar design and adorned with a tetrastyle pronaus, three spacious streets lead to the city…

pBest walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - piazza del popolo
Piazza del Popolo, 12
St. Mary of the people
It was built by Paschalis ll towards the 1099 near the sepulcher of Nero buried on the collis hartorum (Pincio), and was restored by Sixtus IV. in 1447. The octagon cupola is the first erected in Rome. The Venuti chapel keeps still its former model; there are frescoes by Pinturicchio and the tumb of Card. De Castro is perhaps by Sangallo. The second chapel, of the Cibo family is adorned with sixteen Corinthian columns.  The third chapel was erected by Sixtus IV. The angels of the fourth chapel are by Bernini. The ancient Madonna, on the head altar is said to be of S. Luke. The frescoes on the roof are by Pinturicchio, and the chorus is by the famous Brabante.

Pincio – Trinita dei Monti
This ground, belonging perhaps to the family of the Pinci, was formerly a vineyard. In 1811 the french gouvernment transformed it in a public garden, under the direction of Arch. Valadier. A splendid panorama is to be seen there. We can admire many statues which flank the viali. Climb up to the Pincio if and only if you do not have the time to visit the Aventine. If it’s a beautiful sunny day, make sure you have a hat. To go up to the Pincio takes 15 minutes of ascent.

The obelisk
The obelisk is placed on a quadrangular base with four lions of modern work in the Egyptian style at the angles, which pour water into four cups. It is of red granite covered with hieroglyphics, and with the pedestal is 143 palms high, without it 108. It was originally raised by Ramses, the Sesostris of the Greeks, at Heliopolis in Lower Egypt, to serve as a decoration to the temple of the Sun to which the obelisk itself was dedicated. After the battle of Actium and the conquest of Egypt, Augustus ordered it to be carried to Rome and placed on the spina of the Circus Maximus, renewing its dedication to the Sun as we read on the pedestal. In 1587 Sixtus V excavated it from the ruins of the Circus where it was found broken into three parts, and after its restoration raised it in its present place under the direction of the architect Domenico Fontana.

Via del Babuino

Vicolo Margutta
Via Margutta
A corner of ancient Rome still intact where once there were the shops of artists and artisans, an oasis of greenery and tranquility, a piece of 1800 in the chaotic Rome.
Via dell’Orto di Napoli
Via del Babuino 150A/B

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - Tadolini
Tadolini museum restaurant and bar
You absolutely must visit Tadolini and stay a while, even just for a coffee. It is a very nice place where you can dive in the classic, colossal sculptures and small ones surround you almost like a hug.

Via Vittoria
Via del Pontefici

Piazza Augusto imperatore
Lungotevere in Augusta
Ara Pacis museum

Via del Corso, 437
 SS. Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso

Via delle carrozze
Piazza di Spagna
It was so called because there were some buildings belonging to the Spanish Court. On a side is the column of the Conception, erected by Pius IX.: the statue was modeled by Obici, and cast by De Rossi under designs by Poletti. At the centre of the square is a fountain built by Bernini.
Follow the route C

Route B Piazza di Spagna

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - Spanish steps

Starting point: Historic Centre – Metro Flaminio
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo, 12
St. Maria del Popolo

Via del Babuino 150A/B

Piazza di Spagna
It was so called because there were some buildings belonging to the Spanish Court. On a side is the column of the Conception, erected by Pius IX.: the statue was modeled by Obici, and cast by De Rossi under designs by Poletti. At the centre of the square is a fountain built by Bernini.
Follow the route C

Route C Trevi fountain

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - trevi-fountain
Via di Propaganda
Via di S. Andrea delle Fratte, 1
Sant’Andrea delle Fratte
It took is name by the kitchen-gardens and vineyards, vith hedges, which there were untill the XVIII century. Its architecture is by John Guerra, the steeple by Borromini. The facade was accomplished in 1826 by Card. Consalvi, on designs of Pasquale Belli. The two large angels at the sides of the balaustrade are by Bernini.

Piazza di Trevi
Trevi Fountain
It is nourished with the Vergine water, which Agrippa conducted into Rome. For eight centuries the water ceased coming into Rome but Nicholas V., in 1455, charged Leon Battista Alberti to bring the water again. From the word trivio, which designed this Rione, the water was called Trevi. Pius IV. restored the acqueduct and Clement Xll. caused the beautiful facade to be erected by Niccolò Salvi. The statue of Ocean is by Bracer, and those of Health and Abundance are by Valli.

Via delle Muratte
Via di Pietra
Vicolo De Burrò

Via del Caravita
St. Ignatius di Loyola
It was begun in 1626 by Card. Ludovisi and finished in 1685, from the design of Domenichino; the facade is by Algardi, the cupola is unachieved, the paintings on the grand vault -striking for their perspective effects- are by father POZZI; S. Luigi Gonzaga and the tomb of Gregorio XV., by Le Gros, are worthy of notice.

Pozzo, Glorification of Saint Ignatius, Sant’Ignazio: Fra Andrea Pozzo, Glorification of Saint Ignatius, ceiling fresco in the nave of Sant’Ignazio, Rome, 1691-94
Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris & Dr. Steven Zucker

If you’re tired, you can skip the next two steps and head directly towards the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, a must visit.

Via del corso 306
Santa Maria in via Lata church and crypt 

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - palazzo doria pamphili
Via del corso 305
Dora Pamphili Gallery
It was constructed under Eugene I (1426) and belonged to Card. Acciapacci and, afterwards, to The Aldobrandini Pamphily families and finally to the Doria family. The courtyard was constructed by Bramante, the facade on the Corso was erected after designs of Valvassori (1690), the other on the Piazza del Collegio Romano is by Pietro da Cortona, the third facade is by Paolo Amali and the fourth by Busiri.

Via di Piè di Marmo

Best walk in Rome: spending the afternoon in the Navona area

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - santa-maria-sopra-minerva

Piazza della Minerva, 42
Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
It was founded on the remains of Minerva Calcidica, the statue of which is now at the Vatican Museum. Since the VIII century there was a Basilians monastery with a small church said of S. Maria in Minervium, in 1820 it was restored in gothic style by the Dominicans Fra Sisto and Fra Ristori the architects of· S. Maria Novelle of Florence. Then it was enlarged by Card, A. Barberini and Card. Borghese there added the two organs. The latest restauration was made by Girolamo Bianchedi from 1849 to- 1854. It is the richest for painting of sculptures of the XIV and XVI century. We can admire works of Bandinelli, Bigio, Lippo and Giovanni da Fiesole. In the church is the corpse of Santa Caterina da Siena.

Best walk in Rome: the Corso and its neighborhood - Pantheon

Piazza della rotonda
Read more.

The Pantheon: The Pantheon, Rome, c. 125 Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris, Dr. Steven Zucker

Piazza Sant’Eustachio, 82
Sant’Eustachio Il Caffè

san luigi de francesi
Piazza di Sant’Eustachio
Via della dogana vecchia

Piazza di San Luigi de’ Francesi
San Luigi dei Francesi
It was erected in 1859 by the French nation under designs of Giacomo della Porta. In 1750 it was decorated with marbles by Derizet. The statues on the front were sculpted by M. Lestasche. The chapel of S. Cecilia has some frescoes by Domenichino, a copy by Reni and the beautiful picture of the high altar by Francesco Bassano.

Caravaggio, Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi: Caravaggio, Calling of St. Matthew, c. 1599-1600, oil on canvas (Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome). A Smarthistory video by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker


Corsia agonale
Piazza Navona
It occupies the large area of the ancient circus of Domitia.n. Its name derives from nagone, t. i. in agone (fight). In the XV century was surrounded with gardens; one house of that epoch is on the left comer of Via dei Lorenesi. In 1477 the market was transferred there. Among the feasts which took place in that place, is to be remembered that one for the election of Pope Paul III. Gregory XIII decorated it with the two fountains at the extremity and Innocent X ordered Bernini the statue said the moro (black man), which is at the southern side. The fountain in the middle of the place was executed by Bernini under Innocent X. The obelisk, found out near Cecilia Metella is said to be of the Domitian time. The four statues represent the Ganges by Adam, the Nile by Faucelli, the Rio de la Plata by Baratta and the Danube by Lombardo. ‘The other fountain -on the northern side was decorated in 1878; the statue represents a man fighting against a seamoster, work of Della Bitta, the sirens and genius are by Zappala.

Chiesa di Sant’Agnese in Agone
It was erected just on the place where St. Agnes was exposed to the public derision; the Pamphily family re-built it in XVII century. The interior and cupola are by Rainaldi and his son; the belfry and the facade is by Borromini. This church is rich with marbles: the sepulcher of Innocent X. by Maini is to be seen.

Statue of Pasquin
Among Rome’s more colorful stories are the talk-ing statues. The most famous is Pasquino, whose notoriety grew between the 16th and the 19th centuries. The statue is what remains of a work from the 3rd century B.C. that once decorated the Stadium of Domitian (which stood on the exact spot and with the exact form as the Piazza Navona).

Best walk in Rome: enjoy your dinner in the Navona area


Vicolo di Montevecchio 8
Osteria del pegno
Tripadvisor review
Piazza del Fico, 29
Da Francesco
Tripadvisor review
Via dei coronari 160
Pasta imperiale
Great location for a quick and cheap meal, with-out sacrificing quality (5 € for a plate of home-made pasta with the sauce). Clean with helpful and friendly staff. Only 8/10 seats but, if you are informal, they will give you a takeaway packet. This pasta takeaway is located on the way back.
Tripadvisor review

Rome Historical centre walk:notes and opening hours

Museo dell’Ara Pacis
Opening hours
Tuesday-Sunday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm
24 and 31 December: 9.00 am – 2.00 pm
Last admission 1 hour before closing time
Closed Monday; 1 January; 1 May; 25 December

San Carlo Borromeo
In the church of S. Carlo Borromeo in the Corso, is a very large painting of the Virgin Mary with its remarkable inscription presented. The Inscription is as follows:” Tu sola interemisti universas hereses”. Thou alone hast destroyed all heresies.”The ascription of such a power to the Virgin Mary, the ascription of such a divine power to one, who at the best was but a creature—is in itself one of the greatest of heresies. The ascription of such a power to the Virgin Mary -the ascription of such a divine power to one, who at the best was but a creature—is in itself one of the greatest of heresies.

San Rocco all’Augusteo
Opening times
Weekdays 7.30am-9.00am 4.30pm-8.00pm
Holidays 8.30am-13.00pm

San Girolamo dei Croati
Opening times
Every day 7.00am-900am 5.00pm-7.00pm
Sunday 10.00am-1.00pm 5.00pm-7.00pm

SS. Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso
Opening times
Open 07.00 am-19.00 pm

Go for Museo restaurant Tadolini for a coffe
(near Piazza del Popolo)
Via del Babuino 150A/B
Sant’Andrea Delle Fratte
Opening times
06:30-12:30 / 16:00-19:00
06:30-12:30 / 16:00-20:00
06:30-12:30 / 16:00-20:00

Go for Ciampini for an ice cream
(near via Tomacelli)
Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina 29
May I suggest you a nice place for a gelato? At Ciampini are few tastes, mostly classics, all great and genuine. The ice cream is creamy and very tasty. Ciampini is located at Pi-azza San Lorenzo in Lucina 29, in between the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon.

Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola in Campo Marzio
Opening times
Mon. – sat. 7:30 to 19:00 (in august 9:00 to 19:00)
Sunday and fest. 9:00 to 19:00

Dora Pamphili Gallery
Entrance: Via del Corso, 305
Full price: €11,00 (audio guide included – subject to availability)
Opening times
Open every day from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Last entry 6.00 p.m.
Closed: 25th December, 1st January, Easter.
The Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is open to the public November 1st, April 25th, May 1st.

Go for Il Gelato di San Crispino for an optional ice-cream
(near Fontana di Trevi)
Via della Panetteria 42

Santa Maria in via lata
The church is open every day from 17 to 22.45. (summer 18)
Visiting the crypt
From Tuesday to Sunday: 16-19 (winter 15-18)
Saturday morning: even hours 10-13
Monday closed

Santa Maria sopra Minerva
Open 07:10am-07:00pm
Sunday 08:00am-12:00pm 02:00pm-07:00pm

Opening times
Monday-Saturday: 8.30 am – 7.30 pm
Sunday: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
Midweek Holidays: 9.00 am – 1.00 pm
Closed: January 1, May 1, December 25

Open 09:00am-12:00pm 04:00pm-07:30pm

San Luigi dei Francesi
Open 10:00am-12:30pm 04:00pm-07:00pm
Thursday 10:00am-12:30pm

Sant’Agnese in Agone
Opening Hours
weekdays from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm
and from 15.30 to 19.00
holidays from 9.00 to 13.00
and from 16.00 to 20.00
closed on Mondays

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Rome Historical centre walk: The Corso and its neighborhood. A beautiful full day walk touching the most famous points of interest, Pincio, Spanish steps, Piazza Navona, Pantheon and more in the Rome Historical centre.