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Piazza di Spagna / Trevi

Via della Dataria - The palace road

Via della Dataria - The palace road

The architecture of Rome is very scenic, not just because it’s pretty and makes for great photo opportunities, but because much of it was actually planned with its dramatic potential in mind.

The city resembled a terrifying labyrinth of streets and alleys that somehow always ended up in a bright, airy and wonderfully fresh open space; a piazza presided over by a church. The light of god saves from darkness and perdition. Naturally, this all makes perfect sense considering that Rome was the epicentre of Catholicism, although it does seem just a wee bit megalomaniacal to build a city in order to visually explain a rather basic concept of any religion. However. Go for a walk in the historical centre of Rome. Without internet, gps or any kind of indications. Feel the city grow around you in your poor human ignorance. Then walk onto a random piazza with its church. Suddenly you will realize where you are, because, hey, that piazza is famous and you’ve seen it a million times online, but also, god showed you the way (naturally). More or less that was the planned effect, and it is surprisingly real even to modern city folk like ourselves.

That feeling is exactly what makes certain roads so fun because you get to fall into renaissance rabbit holes and fall onto a baroque church, where (thankfully) only a few harmless tourists will be waiting for you and no evil head-chopping queen. One of those funky streets is Via della Dataria, it is uphill, so don’t come here at midday during the summer.

The street is a rather harmless looking one, leading from behind the Trevi Fountain, up to the Quirinale Palace. The palace is only partially visible from the bottom, and as you near the top its imposing magnificence becomes ever more overbearing.

The grand palaces on the left used to be the Apostolic Dataria, an office of the Curia Romana. After the fall of the Papal States and the establishment of a United Italy, the Dataria, and naturally the Quirinale, which up until then was the papal palace, were abandoned by the catholic head of State. However, the palace didn’t stand empty for long since the royal family of Italy, the Savoia, accepted it as their royal residence in the newly (re)born capital of Italy. More or less the same thing happened after the proclamation of the Republic of Italy in 1946, only that this time the grand palace became the residence of the president of the Republic.

Once arrived on top of the street, and having climbed the few marble steps to get onto the courtyard of the palace, a grand spectacle opens up. No church, just air and a far reaching view.



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