Rome center. Where today is the city center of Rome, was once the Campus Martius. In antiquity, the city was bordered by the Capitol Hill and the field of Mars spread from the ghetto on the Tiber along to today’s Piazza del Popolo. There it was bounded by the hill of Pincius and further south by the Quirinals Hill.
Under Augustus, the area came to the city of Rome and was used primarily as a sports and cultural center. The result was an athletic stadium, the Domitian stadium, which can still be visited today under Piazza Navona. Next to it was an Auditorium, the Baths of Nero and the Pantheon. Further north is the Ara Pacis and the Mausoleum of Augustus, in the east is Hadrian’s Temple. On the via Piè di Marmo you can admire the marble foot of an Egyptian goddess and below the Capitol there is the theater of Marcellus.
In the center of Rome, the use of public transport is difficult. The buses run irregular and only on the few major roads.
Usually one will set off on foot to explore this area. If you only want to see the main attractions, you can also go by bicycle, by Segway or by an electric vehicle such as a golf cart. You can also rent a limousine with a driver and drive around with it. The only attraction you can’t get to by car is the Trevi Fountain.
Here I give you a small overview of which routes best connect the main attractions, where the Hop on hop off buses stop and where you can find public transport.
Rome center · The trident
From Piazza del Popolo, three streets radiate into the center, the Tridente. The central street is Via del Corso and goes up to Piazza Venezia. On the left Via del Babuino leads to the Spanish steps, on the right Via di Ripetta and further Via della Scrofa up to the back of the Senate building. From there, on the right is Piazza Navona, on the left the Pantheon.
The Tridente is a particularly traffic-calmed zone and a popular shopping area. On the left side of Via del Corso, it ends up at the Via del Tritone, on the right side, it ends up at the Parliament building.
Rome center · Walking
In the map above you will find some routes for your orientation.
- Light blue: from Castel Sant’Angelo to Piazza Navona, passing the bridge of the angels and the Via dei Coronari, with many antique dealers. This is the fastest path between Vatican City and the area around Piazza Navona. Photo gallery Via dei Coronari at Christmas
- Red: From Piazza Navona, pass the Senate to the Pantheon and continue pasing at San Ignazio or, with a light sleigh to the left, passing the Parliament and the seat of government to the Trevi Fountain. I have better described this route in my article Three days in Rome.
- Yellow: from Piazza Navona to the Campo de’ Fiori and from there further to the Ghetto or passing Ponte Sisto to Trastevere. From the ghetto you can walk through winding alleys to Piazza Venezia, the Theater of the Marcellus or the Bocca della Verità.
- Dark blue: Via Veneto, the Boulevard of the Dolce Vita in the time of Fellini and Pasolini. There are the American Embassy, the Hard Rock Cafe, luxury hotels, bars and restaurants.
Rome center · Hop-on-hop-off bus stops
All lines except the yellow buses of “Roma Christiana” stop at the Angel’s Bridge, at Via Ludovisi and Piazza Barberini. From Angel’s Bridge, you can go to Piazza Navona and on the other side of the bridge to the Vatican. Via Ludovisi is above the Spanish Steps. Piazza Barberini is the closest stop to the Trevi Fountain and to the bottom side of the Spanish Steps.
The yellow buses of “Roma Christiana” stop on Corso Vittorio Emanuele between Piazza Navona and Campo de ‘Fiori. Another stop, in the direction of Piazza Venezia / Termini, is Piazza SS. Apostoli. From there it is not far to the Trevi Fountain. The Angel’s Bridge stop of the yellow buses is on the other side of the bridge between St. Peter’s and Castel Sant’Angelo.
Rome center · Subway metro line A
The metro has three stations in the center on the side of the Pincio Hill.
The Barberini station is closest to Via Veneto and Trevi Fountain. From Barberini Square, climb up to the Quirinal on one side and on the other side to the Trinità dei Monti church above the Spanish Steps.
The Spagna station is near the Spanish Steps and the posh shopping street Via dei Condotti. The station has a tunnel passage to Villa Borghese and the top of Via Veneto.
The Flaminio station is near Piazza del Popolo and the end of the Campus Martius. Near the station is an entrance to the park of Villa Borghese.
Rome center · ATAC buses
Buses can be found in Piazzale Flaminio opposite the Flaminio metro station. On Via del Corso, the buses go to via del Tritone (there also Piazza San Silvestro). Buses also run in Piazza Venezia, on the Corso del Rinascimento between Piazza Navona and Senate, and on Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
Around the center of Rome, parking is difficult. On the Via del Muro Torto there is a very large parking garage, “Parcheggio Villa Borghese”. From there, you can pass through underground corridors to Via Veneto, the Spagna Metro station and the Spanish Steps.
You can find more information about parking in Rome in my article By car in Rome.