Nowadays there are 22 districts of Rome in total. However, since the period of the ancient Roman Empire, Rome has been divided by the authorities in different areas known as “regiones” (Latin) that have raised in number over time, following the expansion of the city’s territory.
In 1921, the total of 22 different districts was defined
Each district has its own features as individual coat of arms:
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Monti (mountains) has its name from the three hills on which the district extends (Esquiline, Viminal and Caelian). Its territory is large and houses many remains from the period of Roman Empire as well as remains of the medieval city. The district stretches from the Colosseum to Via Nazionale. It is very picturesque and has an amazing location. There are many wine bars and boutiques as well as there is a walking distance to many of the most important points of interest of Rome.
Trevi district has its name from the Latin trivium, which indicated the conjuction of three roads in the Piazzetta dei Crociferi, located nearby the Trevi Fountain. What to see there? Actually, there are many famous palaces as Palazzo Odelaschi, Palazzo Colonna, Quirinal Palace, Palazzo Barberini, Palazzo Antamoro. At the same time, there are many churches as Santa Maria in Trivio, church Maria in Trivio, church of St. Vincenzo and Anastasio, Santi Apostoli church (which temporarily kept the tomb of Michelangelo).
Colonna district (column) has its name from the presence of the Column of Marcus Aurelius, which is located right in the center of Piazza Colonna. Moreover, in a square adjacent to Piazza Colonna locates the Palazzo di Montecitorio, which is the seat of the Lower Chamber of the Italian Parliament. Its name derives from the Latin “Mons Acceptorius” or “Mons Citatorius”, an artificial embankment created by pre-Roman dwellers with purpose to reclaim what was previously a swamp, and build dry huts on less wet soil. However, during the centuries, the original height of it flattened down, while the pavement leading to the Parliament’s building is still sloping.
Palazzo di Montecitorio was drawn by Gian Lorenzo Bernini around 1650, but the construction was completed half a century later
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Campo Marzio area exists from the time of ancient Roman Empire. However, not much remains of it can be found nowadays. The 4th Rione of Rome was the most populous in the middle ages. The north of the district is Flaminio (the ancient Roman Via Flaminia passed through the Porta del Popolo and ended at the Via del Corso).
Note: the house and studio of artist Antonio Canova is situated at the corner of Via Antonio Canova and the Via delle Colonette, while several of his works are located in the Borghese Gallery
Another popular point of interest located in Campo Marzio district is the Spanish square with its 138 Spanish Steps. There is the 17th century fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia, located in the middle of the square.
Ponte (bridge) has its name from the bridge Sant’Angelo, which originally belonged to this district before the absorption by the new-born Borgo district (decision of Pope Sixtus V). Interestingly, in ancient Roman times this area belonged to the Campus Martius (Campo Marzio). The bridge started having a compelling strategic importance when in 400 emperor Honorius turned Hadrian’s tomb into a stronghold, so that the Aurelian wall (275) could be kept under guard.
Parione district includes famous Navona and Campo de’ Fiori squares. The name of the district comes from the fact that in this area previously was a huge ancient wall, which probably belonged to the stadium of Domitianus. People gave the “Parietone” (“big wall” in ancient Italian) nickname to this wall. Moreover, during ancient Roman Empire period, it belonged to the IX Augustan region called Circo Flaminio.
Regola district has its name from the Latin arenula, which indicated the sand deposits that were created along the Tiber River, since it runs along its entire length. Nowadays there is a fusion of Renaissance architecture and contemporary buildings and restaurants. Moreover, the district is famous for leather and suede tanners who used deer skin to make clothes in the Middle ages. This is the main reason why the symbol of the Regola became a deer.
Sant’Eustachio was the central part of Campus Martius in ancient times. However, nowadays it is a separate rione of Rome. During the Middle Ages the area was rebuilt, so today one can see many small private houses inhabited by the low and middle classes. The district’s coat of arms represents the head of a stag with a cross between its antlers, which is the symbol of Saint Eustace.
Pigna (pine) has its name because of the discovery of a gigantic pine cone located in medieval times near the Baths of Agrippa. The huge pine cone once decorated a fountain in ancient Rome next to the Temple of Isis. The Pigna was moved first to the Old Basilica of Saint Peter, where Dante saw it and employed it in the “Divina Commedia” as similarity for the giant proportions of the face of Nimrod. In the 15th century it was moved to the upper end of Bramante’s Cortile del Belvedere, which is nowadays usually called the “Cortile della Pigna”, linking the Vatican and the Palazzo del Belvedere.
Campitelli is considered as the most touristic district, while it is the least populated. The reason is simple: there are many famous Roman points of interest as the Capitol and the Roman Forum. Here’s the list of churches located in the Campitelli:
Sant’Angelo district is a home to the Jewish Ghetto and is the smallest rione of Rome. It has its name from the church Sant’Angelo in Pescheria. During the Middle Ages, because of the Tiber Island‘s bridges, Sant’Angelo was the only passage inside the Aurelian Walls. Therefore many artisan’s small shops and baronial houses became to appear. However, there was a long reconstruction process in the early 20th century.
Ripa district has its name after the former river harbor, the Ripa Grande. Nowadays the area contains many important tourist attractions. The territory of the district used to be bigger, but in 1921 it was divided and Testaccio en San Saba got their own quarters. Some of the famous tourist attractions of the Ripa rione are the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita), the Circus Maximus and the Roseto Comunale.
Trastevere district located on the other side of the Tiber River. It is one of the most popular areas of Rome because of its bars and restaurants. If you want to feel the real Italian atmosphere, you should definitely go to Trastevere since there are lots of old buildings, tiny streets and local small shops. Read about the best restaurants in Trastevere district.
Borgo (burg) has been home to Pope Benedict XVI, Raphael, Michelangelo Buonarotti and many other famous persons. The district is located between Prati, Trastevere, the Tevere, Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican City. Its coat of arms represents a lion (after the name “Leonine City”, which was also given to the district), lying in front of three mounts and a star.
Esquilino district houses the largest of Rome’s seven hills. Moreover, in ancient Roman times, it was one of the imperial neighborhoods. After the unification of Italy in 1870, this district became the home of wealthier classes who copied the architectural style of Torino’s royal class and built many spacious public squares ringed with porticoes. However, nowadays Esquilino is one of the most multicultural areas of Rome and is the best place where to try international foods. Also, you can visit its farmers market.
Ludovisi district hosted numerous noble villas in the Renaissance, including Villa Ludovisi. Nowadays its main point of interest is Via Veneto, one of the Rome’s most beautiful and richest streets. Via Veneto is especially popular because of Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita. The bigger part of the rione was reconstructed after the unification of Italy. Recommended attraction to visit is the Santa Maria della Conciliazione Church, where you will see five chapels decorated with bones and skeletons of dead Capuccin monks.
Sallustiano district has its name for the Gardens of Sallust (Horti Sallustiani). These are former gardens that had been commissioned by Gaio Sallustio Crispo, a historian and senator of the Roman Republic. Moreover, the rione is located on the northern part of the Quirinal Hill. Sallustio’s villa was destoryed by the Visigoths in the early 5th century. Also, Algeric’s warriors destroyed the aqueducts that fed the area and made inhabitants to move to other areas.
Sallustiano came back to life when Pope Sixtus V had one of the aqueducts repaired
Castro Pretorio is located north of the main railway station Roma Termini. Also, the main points of interest are the Santa Maria degli Angeli Church and two seats of the Museo Nazionale Romano. When Rome was first divided into rioni, the Castro Pretorio did not exist yet. Its current name derived from the ruins of the Castrum Praetorium, during the Emperor Tiberius’ reign the barrack of the Praetorian Guard.
Celio is well-known area since famous Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine are located in this district. The rione has its name from the hill Celio, which was one of Rome’s original seven hills. Until 1921, when Rome’s borders were re-divided, this district belonged to the rione Monti and in part to Campitelli. The coats of arms of the area is the profiel of an African warrior with a head-covering in the shape of the head of an elephant. It became a symbol of the rione because empire’s African legionairs used to live on the Colle Celio.
Testaccio district has its name to the mount testaceus, an accumulation of debris created by the port Ripa Grande in ancient times. Nowadays the rione is one of the most visited by tourists areas since there are many night clubs and bars. At the same time, Testaccio is a working class neighborhood with a lot of local flair. There you will find many osterie and pizzerie with fantastic local Roman dishes as well as one of the biggest farmers markets in Rome.
San Saba district is also called Piccolo Aventino (small Aventine). It has its name from the main church in the rione with its adjacent covent, which dated back to the 8th century AD. In the beginning of the 20th century, part of San Saba was designated to become a zone of houses for the middle class.
Prati district is famous for its wide streets, elegant buildings and modern European atmosphere. It is one of the most modern and distinctive areas of Rome. Moreover, there you will find many bars, restaurants and this rione is a good choice for shopping.
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Author: Kate Zusmann
For the last 6 years I live in the Eternal City. Traveling, exploring new things, writing blogs, shooting vlogs are my main hobbies, but the thing that I like even more is to share my experience and thoughts with you! Explore Rome with Us :)
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