Thanks to the recent film “The Great Beauty” the viewing spot on the Janiculum hill overlooking Rome has become well known. But what about the lesser known viewing spots, where you can have an aperitivo overlooking the city lights, or take a romantic walk at sunset without the tourist crowds ?
Since Rome is the city of seven hills (and more) there are some excellent panoramic viewing spots. Painters of the past have immortalized the views from Sant’Onofrio , the Janiculum , Villa Barberini, Villa Medici and Il Pincio .
My artist friend Justin Bradshaw recently sent me this photo of Mt. Soratte (about 30 kms. away ) seen from the Quirinale Palace in downtown Rome… proving that artists are still very interested in landscape, views and capturing the essence of the Eternal City and the surrounding countryside of Lazio.
Pilgrims arriving from the north were overwhelmed when they caught their first view of St. Peter’s dome from Monte Mario.
Let me share here my favorite spots, discovered in these 50 years living in and writing about the Eternal City .
- Lo Zodiaco -set at the end of a narrow road atop Monte Mario, this bar, restaurant and lovers walk with views over Prati area and the Vatican has been a favorite of couples for over 50 years. Located within Parco Mellini not too far from the massive Hilton Hotel (now Waldorf Astoria) it shares the green hillside with the historic Rome observatory used as prime meridian for centuries until this honor was given to England’s Greenwich observatory .
2. Aventine hill has several parks with panoramas of Rome: one is near San Anselmo’s church and another is the spot of the famous keyhole view from the gate of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta .
3. Roseto Comunale- the city Rose Garden, perfect place for a late afternoon wander, especially in May and June. The view includes Circus Maximus, the Domus Aurea and Palatine hill .
4. St. Peter’s church roof is not as high as a Roman hilltop but does offer views back over the city and far away to the Castelli Romani.
5.Il Pincio- Linger on the Pincio, just above Piazza del Popolo, at sunset time and you can catch the sun as it descends behind the cupola Michelangelo designed for St. Peter’s .