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For centuries Via del Corso has been the main road of access to the city for pilgrims coming in from the north. Originally, it was known as Via Flaminia during the time of the Roman Empire, and then went on to be known as Via Lata in the Middle Ages. This road, measuring 1500 meters (4921.26 feet), connects Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo. Here, among other things, you can find elegant palaces dating back to ancient times. Most tourists today love taking a walk down this road only to lose themselves in ancient history and the essence of this culturally rich city.
Via dei Condotti is one of the most elegant streets in the capital. It gets its name from conduits that used to take water to the baths of Agrippa near the Pantheon. On this street, which runs from Via del Corso to Piazza di Spagna, there are many upscale shops: Bvlgari, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton, to name but a few. The shops are patronized by tourists and upper class Romans. The Caffé Greco, whose elegance and character are not to be missed, is also found on this street.
Piazzale Ugo La Malfa (originally known as Piazzale Romolo e Remo) lies not too far from the Aventino hill crossed by the Viale del Circo Massimo. Today it is dedicated to Giuseppe Mazzini, the first man to govern the modern country of Italy. The attractive panorama takes in the Palatine hill in front, the Alban hills in the distance to the right, and the majestic dome of St Peter's to the left. The piazzale also faces the remains of the Circus Maximus, today a huge grassy area of about 500 meters in which the ruins of steps, tiers and fornexes are still visible. The monument to Mazzini by Ettore Ferrari was inaugurated about 20 years after the centenary of the Roman republic in 1949. The bronze statue stands on a tall marble base decorated with large relief figures. Mazzini is shown seated and in deep thought.
This is a street that has lived through alternate fortunes. In the early 20th Century it was a fashionable street for strolling, with elegant venues such as Caffé Bussi and Caffè Rosati and smart hotels such as the Majestic, l'Eden, l'Excelsior and l'Ambasciatori Palace. After a relatively quiet period, in the 1960s, in particular, the film La Dolce Vita, put Via Veneto back into the limelight of society life, with the antics of the stars and the audacious chases by paparazzi led by Tazio Secchiaroli. Today, Via Veneto has returned to peace and quiet, and its famous open-air cafés are frequented by tourists.
It is strange to think that this area of Rome was originally built to be a city port where storehouses held goods at the time of Augustus and continued to do so until the end of the 19th Century. Trastevere then became a downmarket residential quarter and has now developed into a very desirable quarter. The heart of the district is Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere with its lovely church, a 17th-century palazzo and a fountain in the middle which is probably Rome's oldest, having been designed by architects such as Bernini, Fontana, and Della Porta. There are still some well-conserved medieval houses. On Sunday mornings, you can visit the VII Corte dei Vigili in Via dei Salumi, and if you enter the guards' rooms, you will see graffiti on the walls written by Roman soldiers who served the emperors from Septimus Severus to Caracalla, in addition to notations of their guard duty.