Monti – Rome’s Heart and Soul

Monti is one of the most renowned neighbourhood in Rome. Its little roads, its vintage shops and the many bars where one can enjoy a glass of wine are a popular threat to the visitors of the Eternal Town.

Less known is what lies behind this fascinating corner of Rome. There are few places in the world where history is so densely packed like here, where the visitors literally walk over more than two thousand years of history.

Monti’s history

Monti’s roots are to be found in the first years after Rome’s foundation and the neighbourhood’s spirit has always been very folkloristic and sincere. Here lived the poorest Roman families, the streets were narrow and the fires could spread any time.

Monti - Rome, Italy

Monti’s original name was Suburra, which means ‘under the town’. It was an infamous quarter, commonly associated with assassins, thieves and prostitutes. But at the same time it is the birthplace of Julius Caesar, since the upper part was a very exclusive area were patricians used to built their luxurious villas.

During the centuries Monti’s appearance changed and the old buildings left room for medieval buildings and then palaces of the Renaissance era. The narrow streets were replaced by new roads and churches were built on the sites of the ancient temples.

Monti - Rome, Italy

In Via Baccina there is one of the many Madonnelle di Roma (‘Rome’s little Holy Mary’), witness of the strong popular devotion. The statue is linked to two different miracles: the first one is related to flowers which would never wither although the extreme summer heat, and the other dates back to a French invasion, when the statue started to cry desperately.

Monti - Rome, Italy

If you continue on Monti’s charming roads, through the dwellings of prominent artists and unforgotten historic figures, you will arrive at the Borgia Staircase which stretches under a building that belonged to the well renown Roman family. Lord Byron used to imagine the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia look out from the windows of the building, but unfortunately the deadly lady never lived here.

Monti - Rome, Italy

This is also a place commonly related to assassins and criminals, since it was here that Tullia killed her father Servio Tullio, the sixth king of Rome, running over him with her carriage.

At the top of the staircase there is Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli and its beautiful cathedral, and into the church there is the Horned Moses, one of Michelangelo’s most magnificent sculptures, which decorates Pope Julius II’s grave.

Next time you stop in Rome for 2 days or more, don’t forget to pay a visit to Monti and to look for the many testimonies of the Italian capital’s history. Also

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