The Quartiere Coppedé District of Rome
In between visits to the must-see famous attractions of Rome, it’s wonderful to get away from crowds and see sides of the city that provide a more local flavor with glimpses of life in the city. During our last visit to Rome, we got a recommendation from a local about a Roman neighborhood that would show us a different side of Rome not on most visitor itineraries. In fact, if we hadn’t had the insider tip, we wouldn’t have known about it at all. We loved our afternoon walking around this small secluded neighborhood within the Trieste district, Quartiere Coppedé, and are happy to share it so that you can consider it for your next visit. But let’s keep it our secret.
Quartiere Coppedé is located within easy reach from central Rome by public transportation and within walking distance of Villa Borghese. Strolling through the district, I felt almost immediately that it had an ambiance different from other areas of Rome we visited. It is an exclusive neighborhood of expensive residential apartments and upscale business offices with intriguing architectural designs.
The diverse and fanciful architecture by Florentine architect Gino Coppedé is captivating. Coppedé was commissioned to design buildings here in 1919 and given free rein to create in any style he liked. His creativity abounds with various architectural styles (Art Nouveau, Byzantine, Classical, Medieval, etc.), whimsical and dramatic touches (such as recurring themes incorporating bees, lions, and gargoyles), and colorful murals and other unexpected details that accentuate his eccentric character.
A walk in Quartiere Coppedé
A grand arch designed by Coppedé (pictured in the top photo above) is the main entrance to the quarter on Via Dora. Some of the interesting detail of the arch is shown in the photos below, including the striking iron chandelier with seahorse decorations hanging in the center.
Notice in the photo at the top that the two buildings that anchor the arch are not identical as one would expect— just one of the ways Coppedé shows his freedom of style in the district. What you see at the entrance is representative of what is yet to come as you explore the area.
Just through the arch is the main square of the district, Piazza Mincio with eye-catching sights all around.
We didn’t have a chance to go inside any of the Coppedé buildings, but I would love to see the interior of the building shown above. Wouldn’t you? I’m guessing that it’s just as unusual as its exterior.
I can imagine the fun that Coppedé must have had conjuring up the design of the Fountain of the Frogs in the center of the piazza. Eight large whimsical frogs (like the moss-covered one seen below) and other characters spurt water in the fountain.
One of the most prominent buildings across from the fountain is the five-story Palazzo del Ragno (Palace of the Spider) displaying a gold spider insignia beneath entrance arch.
It is the Fairy Cottages that really take you into a different world. They certainly seem aptly named for the magical and whimsical aspects of their designs and frescoes.
Other homes and offices along the tree-lined streets in the area (such as those in the photo below) are also colorful and inviting. They bring to mind a quite elegant and comfortable lifestyle that made me imagine a stay (or at least a look inside) any of the beautiful places we passed and admired.
If you like finding something off the tourist radar when you visit a place, be sure to put Quartiere Coppedé on your list of places to go in Rome.
Getting to Quartiere Coppedé tip: The number 3 and 19 trams stop at Piazza Buenos Aires. We took the 19 tram from Piazza del Risorgimento, about a 20-minute ride (shown in the map below). It was a pleasant ride as we passed by the Borghese Gardens, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, and other interesting sights of Roman life. Buses also operate from the city center to Quartiere Coppedé.
Lunch tip: Arriving just in time for lunch, we found STREATART, a small and contemporary place for innovative pizza with fresh ingredients (to eat in or take out). It’s near the tram stop on Piazza Buenos Aires. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is upbeat, and the pizza is delicious!
Mingle with the locals tip: Within the district, there are many shops, cafes, and restaurants on and near Piazza Buenos Aires. Before heading back to the city center and other wonders of Rome to experience, we stopped for coffee and pastries at one of the cafes near the tram stop on Viale Regina Margherita, a lovely tree-lined boulevard, where our fellow customers seemed to be locals, perhaps on their way home from work or just enjoying a latte with friends.