Rome's Bartaruga closes its doors

Bar is latest Rome landmark to close

The popular Bartaruga bar in Piazza Mattei in Rome's Ghetto district has closed down, like many other commercial activities in the historic centre of Rome thanks to high rents and slow custom during the recession.

Bartaruga was known for its baroque interior with velvet couches, chandeliers and opulent murals, as well as its piano players, bohemian clientele and pricey drinks list. The bar, which overlooked Bernini's famous turtle fountain, gained international attention in 2012 when it featured in Woody Allen's movie "To Rome With Love."

Situated between Largo Argentina and Portico d'Ottavia, Bartaruga is the latest in a number of well-known Roman shops and bars to close in recent times. The historic Caffè Maneschi on Via del Corso closed late last year, while the Luciano Viganò hat shop on Via Minghetti, which opened in 1873 and counted Garibaldi among its first customers, closed its doors in July.

Other Rome landmarks that have faced the threat of eviction recently include the Bazzocchi shirt shop, on Via del Tritone, and Bar della Pace near Piazza Navona.

Associations for the protection of the capital's historic shops have appealed to the city to offer assistance to the centro storico shop keepers, many of whom are struggling to pay high rents during a time of economic crisis.