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Areas of Rome: | The Vatican | Capitoline hill | Palatine hill | The Forums | Villa Borghese & Villa Giulia | Piazza del Popolo | Pantheon | Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori | Quirinal hill | Esquiline hill | Caelius hill | Aventine hill | Trastevere & Janiculum hill | Via Veneto | Outside the city walls |
|This beautiful avenue was rendered famous in 1960 by a film called "La Dolce Vita" by Federico Fellini. It is worth a visit more than anything for the relatively attractive chic bars, upper class hotels and a handful of shops. The American embassy is also on this street.|
In ancient Roman times this part of town was dedicated to exclusive aristocratic villas and their sumptuous gardens. The most famous of these gardens was called the Horti Sallustiani, part of which was uncovered under Piazza Sallustio square. The entire area was abandoned after the fall of Rome in the fifth century until the Barberini family built their villa there in the 17th Century. As well as the paintings collection the villa is remarkable for the beautiful frescoes by Pietro da Cortona. There was another villa called Villa Ludovisi which has long since been demolished as a consequence of expropriations and exorbitant taxes.
Towards the bottom of the street there's a little surprise for lovers of Gothic and Noire: the Capuchin monks have a church (Santa Maria della Concezione) on the left hand side of the road with an annexed cemetery/crypt. The crypt contains some four or five chambers full of polished (human) bones carefully laid out into artistic shapes, mounds of skulls and chandeliers. The odd skeleton in monk's habit holds a bible and stares blankly at the visitors. The decorative sense is striking to say the least. A sign at the end of the corridor says something along the lines of "What we once were you now are, what we are now you will become."
The piazza Barberini at the bottom of Via Veneto used to be extremely beautiful. In our opinion its only remarkable feature is the "Fontana del Tritone" fountain, sculpted by the highly accomplished Bernini. Remaining on the subject of Bernini, it is worth visiting the church Santa Maria della Vittoria to see its altar. Bernini designed this as a theatre complete with side boxes for the audience (congregation). Centre stage is devoted to Saint Teresa in ecstasy. It is highly acclaimed and striking: the Saint's ecstasy is very realistic in appearance as she is repeatedly struck by an arrow (Freud might have something to add) by an angel whose expression is loving or malevolent depending on the spectator's angle of view.
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"Rome areas and districts" was written by Giovanni Milani-Santarpia for www.mariamilani.com - Rome apartments IXX/X/MMVI