I f you are looking for somewhere to live in this part of town head for the charming Via Margutta nestled under the Pincio hill. It was once a warren of artists’ studios, but is now an upmarket area where you will be paying over the odds. There are picturesque apartments on the numerous streets that lead from Via del Babuino to Via del Corso but they are almost inaccessible by car. It is still the best, most fashionable and most expensive shopping area in town and you can wander from Bulgari, to Gucci, Fendi, Max Mara, Armani and plenty more in just a few minutes. It is full of restaurants, which are no longer as good as they used to be, but this is the place for the city’s top hotels such as the Hassler, d’Inghilterra, the Plaza and de Russie. Head towards Piazza del Popolo if you are looking for some quiet or up the Spanish Steps to the area around the French Academy at Villa Medici. There is a busy metro stop in Piazza di Spagna and one just off Piazza del Popolo; there are always plenty of taxis but hardly any buses.
THINGS TO SEE
Set at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, the Barcaccia was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII (1623- 1644), allegedly inspired by a boat washed up there during a flood of the river Tiber. The travertine fountain was built in 1626-29 and is accredited to Pietro Bernini, father of the more famous Gian Lorenzo who possibly assisted in creating the monument. The most recent restoration of the fountain was in 2014, but then it had to be repaired again when it was damaged by rioting football fans the following year.
Basilica of S. Maria Del Popolo
This church contains works by several famous artists including Bernini, Caravaggio and Raphael. The basilica was consecrated in 1477, although its origins date back to 1099. In in the mid-17th century Bernini added a baroque façade. The Cerasi Chapel inside the basilica has two of Caravaggio’s most famous works: the Crucifixion of St Peter and Conversion on the Way to Damascus. Piazza del Popolo 12.
This small museum is dedicated to the lives of English Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Located at the foot of the Spanish Steps, the museum contains one of the world’s largest collections of memorabilia and manuscripts relating to Keats and Shelley, as well as Lord Byron, Wordsworth, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Oscar Wilde.
Via Del Corso
Linking Piazza Venezia with Piazza del Popolo, this is Rome’s main shopping area and most of the city’s luxury shops are located in the narrow streets to the left and right. The 1.5-km thoroughfare also passes close to the Trevi fountain, the chamber of deputies, the Pantheon and Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.