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Gianicolo: from Rome’s eighth hill, the most beautiful view of the city

The Janiculum, which towers over the right bank of the Tiber from a height of 88 metres, is not one of the seven Capitoline hills to the left of the river. In its ancient history it has always had a defensive function in the territory and was annexed to Rome by Anco Marzio across the Ponte Sublicio.

The bridge over which the road leading to Etruria, the future Via Aurelia, was to pass. The hill, located between the popular districts of Trastevere and Monteverde, has never had a real residential vocation.

A place of great historical relevance

In 1849 it was of strategic importance in the heroic defence of the short-lived Roman Republic against the French called by Pius IX to reconquer Rome. After the Unification of Italy, it became a large public park and a memorial to the Risorgimento.

From its Promenade you can enjoy one of the most enchanting views of the historic centre of Rome. For many, it is a better view than those of the Pincio and Monte Mario.

Romantic, atmospheric but above all very pleasantly touristy

The current vocation of the Janiculum is undoubtedly that of a tourist destination, also by the Romans themselves, who never cease to be amazed by this. From Porta San Pancrazio, one of the southern gates that opened into the Aurelian Wall, now the Museum of the Roman Republic, to the equestrian monuments of Giuseppe and Anita Garibaldi (lying in the basement), the attractions are many.

The Janiculum Lighthouse, also known as the Lighthouse of Rome or the Lighthouse of the Italians of Argentina, was donated by the latter in 1911 as a memorial.

If it is noon on your visit, don’t be alarmed by the blank bang of the famous cannon audible throughout the centre of Rome. The custom was introduced by Pope Pius IX in 1847, to make the bells of Rome’s churches ring out neatly together.

The villas in the area also deserve a mention and a visit: above all Villa Lante and Villa Barberini, artistic vestiges of the power of Roman families. Just as one cannot fail to mention the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, more popularly known as ‘Il Fontanone’ and the Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio, also known as the Tempietto del Bramante, a small circular building located in the centre of one of the courtyards of the convent of San Pietro in Montorio

To combine business with pleasure, food and wine culture also requires attention

The urban expansion of the city, of which the Janiculum was not formerly a part, led the hill to an increasingly central location. Thus the character of the restaurants has also changed profoundly, raising the quality. Hearing the cannon we are therefore close to lunchtime; there is no lack of restaurants serving typical Roman cuisine in the area.

Among the most famous, one that has been active as an osteria since 1849 is “Scarpone” (big shoe), a name due to the large shoes full of mud with which the innkeeper also worked in the fields. A place where Garibaldi, “the Hero of the Two Worlds” would refresh himself after the bitter local battles, calling the innkeeper by the future name of the restaurant.

With the Blog of Rome and Latium Region, Around Rome guides you to discover the territories for the pleasure of satisfying curiosity and putting culture at the service of people and businesses.

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Edited by il NETWORK | text Andrea Franchini | photo Ezio Bocci

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