Janiculum Hill: The Hidden Gem of Rome

You must visit Janiculum Hill if you’re looking for the most magnificent and complete view of ancient Rome. It is the highest hill in Rome and offers an unobstructed view of the Eternal City’s beauties and monuments.

Janiculum Hill

The Janiculum Hill is situated to the west of the ancient city and served as its natural boundary. Its maximum height reaches 88 meters (288ft), and on its slope, you’ll find the historic district of Trastevere. Apart from the breathtaking view, the Janiculum is also home to various monuments dedicated to Garibaldi and the volunteers of the Roman Republic.

One of the most spectacular sights on Janiculum Hill is the Baroque Fontana Paola, also known as Fontanone. The Renaissance Church of St. Peter accompanied by the Tempietto del Bramante is another must-see attraction, commemorating the crucifixion of San Pietro.

The ridge of the Janiculum is located on the right bank of the Tiber, adjacent to the huge public park of the Villa Doria Pamphili. The attractive Via Garibaldi is a must-visit spot, lined with small trees and raised pavements on either side, leading uphill to the Janiculum. As you walk up, you’ll come across various little shops and restaurants, making it an excellent place to stop for a bite or a souvenir.

If you want to experience the most breathtaking view of Rome, Janiculum Hill is the place to be. Don’t forget to take your camera along, as you’ll want to capture every moment of this fantastic experience!

How to get to Janiculum Hill

Are you ready to conquer Janiculum Hill? Let me tell you, there are a few ways to get there. But don’t worry, I’m here to guide you.

First things first, let’s talk about the easiest option – the bus. Hop on bus number 115 from Lungotevere dei Fiorentini and you’ll be on your way to the top of the hill in no time. Just make sure you don’t miss the bus or you’ll be stuck waiting for the next one like a lost tourist.

If you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to stretch those legs, the prettiest approach is on foot from Trastevere. Take Via Garibaldi or Vicolo del Cedro behind Piazza Sant’Egidio and enjoy the scenic route. Who knows, you might even stumble upon some hidden gems along the way.

But if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of something even more exciting – pairs of mounted police patrolling the hill. Yes, you heard that right, mounted police! So if you’ve always wanted to see police officers on horseback, Janiculum Hill might just be the place for you.

Church of Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori: Discover this Hidden Gem

Look at the entrance gate to Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori, an Augustinian convent. Even though there are only three nuns left here, the convent has been converted into a hotel, and the church is opened on request at the hotel.

The unfinished façade of the church, which dates back to 1646, was started by the famous architect Francesco Borromini in 1643. You can still admire the intricate curved design of the mellow brickwork, even though the stone facing is missing.

Once you step inside, you’ll notice that Borromini gave the church a rather unusual plan. It’s oblong with rounded ends, featuring two apses in the middle of the long sides and a continuous series of pillars connected by a heavy cornice. While the interior is undeniably fascinating, it can be a bit dark and gloomy.

Even though the church is relatively unknown to tourists, it’s a hidden gem that’s worth visiting if you’re looking for a unique experience. And who knows, you might just find that the tranquil atmosphere of the convent hotel provides the perfect respite from the bustling streets of Rome.

So, don’t hesitate to visit Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Borromini’s unique design. Just remember to request access at the hotel, and you’ll be all set for a remarkable journey through history!

We continue to Climbe the Gianicolo Rome

If you’re looking for a little slice of Roman history on the Gianicolo in Rome, that’s off the beaten path, make your way to Via di Porta San Pancrazio. Leave Via Garibaldi and turn right, and you’ll find an old marble sarcophagus that serves as a fountain, complete with a worn lion’s head. This fountain was put up here in 1627 by Urban VIII and is a true gem of ancient Rome.

But the real highlight of this area lies just up the road. As you continue straight uphill, you’ll come across a pleasant little Locanda on the right. Here, a short flight of steps leads down to the former entrance gate to the Bosco Parrasio. This wooded area was once owned by the Academy of Arcadia, which was founded in 1690 to continue the work of the academy that Queen Christina of Sweden had set up ten years earlier.

During the 18th century, the Academy of Arcadia had a profound influence on Italian literature. Some of the greatest minds in Italian history were part of this prestigious academy, including the likes of Goethe, who was admitted as a “distinguished shepherd” in 1786. You can still see portraits of these Arcadians at the Museo di Roma today.

Despite its importance, the Academy of Arcadia eventually lost its influence and was absorbed into the Accademia Letteraria Italiana in 1926. However, the Bosco Parrasio and the surrounding area still offer a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era. So, why not take a stroll through this historic area and imagine what it must have been like to be part of one of Italy’s most esteemed literary societies?

Queen Christian of Sweeden

Let me tell you about Queen Christina of Sweden – this lady was something else! She was the daughter of King Gustavus Adolphus, a.k.a. the “Champion of Protestantism”, and took the throne at just six years old. Can you imagine being crowned at such a young age? But that didn’t stop her from turning Stockholm into a hotbed of European culture during her reign – even the famous philosopher Descartes came to visit her court!

Now, Christina was a smart cookie, but she had no interest in getting married (rumors even circulated that she was into the ladies). So, she abdicated in 1654 and did something even more scandalous – she converted to Roman Catholicism, which was prohibited in Sweden. But you know who welcomed her with open arms? Pope Alexander VII, that’s who! He even let her stay in the Vatican when she arrived in Rome.

After that, she moved into the Palazzo Riario alla Lungara and became the talk of the town, with all the big-shot artists and writers flocking to her doorstep. In 1680, she founded an academy for discussions on literature and politics, but she soon became critical of the Counter-Reformation movement and started hanging with a group of cardinals who were against certain aspects of the Roman Church.

Despite all this drama, she still left her library to the Vatican and is buried in the crypt below St. Peter’s Basilica. Can you believe it? That’s quite a story for one woman!

Our climb up Gianicolo Hill continues

At the Gianicolo Hill, Via di Porta San Pancrazio continues uphill past a large school and ends at a flight of steps that lead up to emerge by the wide (open) gateway into the Passeggiata del Gianicolo and the monumental Acqua Paola, whose abundant waters fill this spot with their sound.

Fontana dell Acqua Paola

Have you ever heard of the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola? If not, you’re in for a treat! This incredible fountain, located in the Trastevere district of Rome, is a must-see for anyone visiting the city.

Built-in 1612 by Giovanni Fontana and Flaminio Ponzio for Pope Paul V, this fountain is a true masterpiece of engineering and design. It was constructed as the terminus (or mostra) of the Acqua Paola, a subterranean aqueduct that was restored by the pope himself. The aqueduct, which is fed by springs near Lake Bracciano, provides much-needed water to the Trastevere district.

One of the most striking features of the fountain is the beautiful inscription in the attic, which commemorates the pope’s restoration of the aqueduct. The inscription is a testament to the importance of water in Rome and the vital role it plays in the city’s infrastructure.

But that’s not all – the fountain is also adorned with ancient marble from the Forum of Nerva, and four columns from the facade of Old St. Peter’s. These ancient elements give the fountain a sense of history and grandeur that is truly awe-inspiring.

In the central niche of the fountain, there is a longer inscription that describes a further restoration carried out by Alexander VIII in 1690. This restoration added even more beauty and elegance to an already magnificent structure.

And let’s not forget about the large granite basin, which was added by Carlo Fontana in 1690. This basin collects the water from the aqueduct and adds a serene element to the overall design of the fountain.

All in all, the Fountain of Acqua Paola is a must-see for anyone visiting Rome. Its stunning design, rich history, and importance to the city’s infrastructure make it a true marvel of engineering and architecture.

What can you see from Janiculum Hill?

What can you see from Janiculum Hill? From this elevated viewpoint, you’ll get a sweeping vista of the city, complete with some of its most iconic landmarks.

Take a seat on one of the travertine benches and soak in the view of the Vittoriano and Villa Medici, which both stand out against the skyline. And if you’re lucky enough to be there on a clear winter day, you might even spot the snow-capped Apennines in the distance to the east.

Directly below the belvedere, you’ll see the stunning 18th-century Villa Giraud (Ruspoli). This majestic villa has been expanded and renovated several times over the years, and today it’s painted in bright yellow and brown. And guess what? It’s been the official residence of the Spanish ambassador since the end of World War II!

From here there is a choice of ways:

Okay, so here’s the deal: we’ve got a few different options from this point. It all depends on what you’re in the mood for!

First up, we could head west towards Porta San Pancrazio and Villa Doria Pamphilj. This is a nice route that takes you through some charming neighborhoods and past some beautiful buildings. Plus, if you’re up for it, Villa Doria Pamphilj is a great park to check out.

Another option is to head north along the Passeggiata del Gianicolo. This one is a bit more challenging, but the views from the top are worth it. You’ll get to see some of Rome’s most iconic landmarks from a whole new perspective.

Finally, if you’re feeling adventurous, we could head downhill toward San Pietro in Montorio. Along the way, we’ll come across a pretty impressive monument by Giovanni Jacobucci that commemorates the Italian Republic fighters from back in the day. And just behind it, there’s this hidden gem called the Mausoleo Garibaldi. It’s got some cool patriotic inscriptions and a gorgeous golden mosaic ceiling. Plus, you can pay your respects at the tomb of Garibaldi’s aide Goffredo Mameli while you’re there.

So, what do you think? Ready to explore some of Rome’s hidden gems?

Gianicolo Hill Overlooking Rome

If you find yourself near the Acqua Paola fountain, you might want to take a stroll along the Passeggiata del Gianicolo. This tree-lined avenue, which was once part of the Villa Corsini’s grounds, offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Don’t forget to check out the Piazzale del Gianicolo, where you can find a terrace with busts of Risorgimento heroes and a massive equestrian statue of Garibaldi himself. The statue is surrounded by four bronze groups depicting scenes from his exploits.

If you’re around at noon, be sure to watch the cannon firing ceremony. Soldiers wheel out a cannon from a storeroom below the terrace and fire a blank shot, which can be heard throughout the city. This tradition is loved by the locals and is a great reminder that it’s time for lunch. When a new President is sworn in, a salvo of 21 shots is fired from the same cannon.

As you continue your walk downhill, you’ll pass more busts and come across the beautiful Villa Lante. This villa, now home to the Finnish Embassy, was built by Giulio Romano and has stunning loggia. On the left side of the avenue, you’ll find the bronze equestrian statue of Anita Garibaldi, who was Garibaldi’s wife. This statue was presented by the Brazilian government in 1935 to honor her Brazilian origins and includes her tomb.

Be sure to stop and take in the stunning view of Rome from this point. It’s even better than the one from Piazzale del Gianicolo above since no trees are blocking the view. If you continue down the avenue, you’ll come across a memorial tower by Manfredo Manfredi, which was presented to Rome in 1911 by Italian residents of Argentina.

The Risorgimento in Rome

Rome has a long and fascinating history, and the Risorgimento period in the 19th century was certainly one of the most significant. During this time, Italy was experiencing a political and cultural renaissance, with a strong focus on freedom and independence. Some of the most influential figures of this period were Giuseppe Garibaldi, Camillo Cavour, and Giuseppe Mazzini.

In 1849, a republic was declared in Rome, and the pope fled to Gaeta, leaving the French to support the papal government. Garibaldi, a renowned military leader, made a famous stand on the Janiculum hill, declaring “Roma o Morte!”, or “Rome or Death!” Unfortunately, the stand was unsuccessful, and Rome remained under papal control for some time.

Garibaldi made another attempt to rouse the Romans against the papal government in 1867, but it was also unsuccessful, and many lives were lost in the process. However, in 1870, the French garrison finally withdrew, and the Italian army entered Rome through a breach in the walls beside Porta Pia, ending papal rule of the city.

Nowadays, there are many memorials and museums in Rome that commemorate this important period in Italian history. If you’re interested in learning more about the Risorgimento, I highly recommend visiting the mausoleum and museum at Porta San Pancrazio on Janiculum hill. It’s a fascinating way to gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal moment in Rome’s past.

Porta San Pancrazio

If you’re interested in learning more about Rome’s role in the Risorgimento, you should check out the Museo della Republica Romana e della Memoria Garibaldina! It’s located at the top of the Janiculum hill, near Porta San Pancrazio, and it’s a great way to delve deeper into this fascinating period of Italian history. The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 2 pm, and on weekends from 9 am to 6 pm (but unfortunately closed on Mondays). Inside, you’ll find all sorts of mementos and artifacts that help tell the story of Rome’s struggle to establish a republic independent of both France and the Church. Worth a visit if you’re in the area!

Villa Aurelia

As you make your way down Viale delle Mura Gianicolensi, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of walls that stretch out as far as the eye can see. It’s an awe-inspiring sight that puts the scale of the city into perspective. If you continue along the road, you’ll come to Via di San Pancrazio, where you’ll find the ruins of the Vascello. This Baroque villa was the site of a tragic event in 1849, when Goffredo Mameli, one of Garibaldi’s aides, was fatally wounded in a last-ditch effort to defend the city. He was only 22 years old, but he had already made his mark on history as the author of the Italian national anthem, which we know as “L’Inno di Mameli”. If you’re a fan of patriotic music, you’ll recognize the rousing refrain: “Fratelli d’Italia”, or “Brothers of Italy”. Mameli is buried on Janiculum hill, so it’s a fitting place to pay your respects and reflect on the sacrifices that were made during the Risorgimento.

The Park Of Villa Doria Pamphilj

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Villa Pamphili is a must-visit spot. It’s the largest park in Rome and stretches over 9km! The park was designed in the mid-17th century for Prince Camillo Pamphili, and today it’s partly owned by the state and partly by the Comune of Rome.

As soon as you step through the orange archway erected in 1859, you’ll feel like you’re in a different world. The park is full of meadows and gorgeous trees, including some of the most magnificent umbrella pines you’ll ever see. And the views! You can take in the countryside surrounding Rome and also catch a glimpse of the city itself.

If you’re a fan of Baroque architecture, you’ll want to check out the Casino del Bel Respiro. It’s a stunning building surrounded by a formal garden, and it was designed by Alessandro Algardi (with possible assistance from Bernini). Algardi also carved the stuccoes back in 1646. While it’s not open to the public, the Casino is sometimes used for receptions by the Italian state.

So there you have it, folks! Janiculum Hill, or as some may call it Gianicolo Hill, is an absolute must-see when visiting Rome. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of breathtaking views, or simply looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, this hill has got you covered.

And with easy access via bus or a picturesque stroll through Trastevere, there’s no excuse not to visit. Just make sure to keep an eye out for those mounted police pairs as you climb to the top!

So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera, a bottle of water, and your sense of adventure, and head on up to Janiculum Hill. Trust us, the views are well worth the climb.

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