Saturday, 25 March 2017

Rome 365 - Via Giulia

Via Giulia, which stretches for half a mile parallel to the banks of the river Tiber, is lined end to end with churches and elegant palazzi. It was commissioned in the early 16th century by Pope Julius II, after whom it is named, as a pilgrim route to St Peter’s basilica.


Start your walk at the Mascherone or mask fountain. This was commissioned by the Farnese family & was created by combining two ancient sculptures. It was said to have dispensed wine instead of water for Farnese parties – my sort of fountain!

The ivy covered archway that you see was designed by Michelangelo and was intended to connect Palazzo Farnese with Villa Farnese on the other side of the river but the project was never finished.

Immediately after the arch, on the left hand side of the street, is the church of Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte. This church was founded to collect the bodies of the unknown dead (usually fished out of the Tiber river) and give them a Christian burial. The Baroque exterior is covered with images of death.

Palazzo Falconieri.jpg

A little further along on the same side of the street is Palazzo Falconieri (now the Hungarian Academy) where two stone falcons glare at each other across the width of the facade.

Courtyard, Palazzo Falconieri.jpg

As with all of the palazzo that line this street, if you get a chance, peek into the courtyards.


At number 66 is Palazzo Sacchetti. If you turn left into Vicolo del Cefalo, just before you reach this Palazzo, and then turn right onto the Lungotevere, you will see the giant marble heads that line the garden walls of the palazzo. These will be familiar if you have seen the film ‘The Great Beauty’

At the end of the street sits the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. This was the national church of the Florentine community that lived here in Renaissance times.

If you would like to stay on Via Giulia then a couple of hotels would fit the bill - Hotel Indigo St George and D.O.M Hotel Both have lovely terraces on which to enjoy an aperitif after exploring this lovely street.

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