Vaticano, Borgo Pio and Prati

Vatican City, Borgo Pio, Prati: these are the names of three fascinating Roman districts with their own unique historical landmarks and peculiarities, and they’re definitely worth a visit. The main attractions are all within short walking distance from the Atlante Star Hotel, which is already located in the Prati district. Here’s a guide to finding out what this part of the city has to offer.


This stylish area, characterized by elegant and spacious shopping avenues, Art Nouveau, and Umbertino architecture, will give you the feeling that you’re indeed in front of a modern European city! Yet, in a quite recent past, the area was no more than a succession of fields and swamps. While in the era of Emperor Domiziano it was cultivated with vineyards, with Nero it took the name of Prati di Nerone (literally, Fields of Nero ), and remained a marshy and noxious area until the late 1800s’. At this point, the newly established Kingdom of Italy reclaimed the land from nature, remediating the area and building some of the most important administrative centers of the country. The Palace of Justice located in the elegant Piazza Cavour certainly stands out. Although impressive, not everyone appreciates its stern, imposing looks, and eclectic mix of styles and Romans colloquially address it as the Palazzaccio (the Bad Palace ). In the same square, stands one of the oldest cinemas in town, the Cinema-Teatro Adriano , and the peculiar Evangelical Waldensian Church . Nearby, instead, on Lungotevere Prati the church of the Sacred Heart of Suffrage stands out as a virtually unique example of neo-gothic architecture in the Capital. Past the Palazzaccio , you will find the Mole Adriana (the original name of Castel Sant’Angelo ). Thought as a tomb by emperor Adriano, and used as a fortress by popes, this monument is impossible to miss. After all of these more or less sacred monuments, you might want to take a stroll in the eternally busy Via Cola di Rienzo, one of the main shopping arteries of the city, that stretches from Piazza Della Libertà to Piazza Del Risorgimento.

Borgo Pio and the Vatican City

Starting from Piazza Risorgimento, one of the main squares of the Prati district, reaching the Vatican is just a matter of minutes. Yet, before arriving at the famous Saint Peter’s Basilica, Borgo Pio , a picturesque street next to the sacred city is well worth a visit. You won’t find many worldly shops here, but something peculiar might attract your attention: it overflows with boutiques dedicated to everything sacred! Crosses in all shapes and forms, sacred figurines, holy water, and ecclesiastical clothes. You name it, you’ll find it. It is definitely an interesting experience regardless of your faith, and Borgo Pio makes the perfect place for a stroll and a refreshing visit at the suggestive Piazza delle Vaschette and it’s Acqua Angelica Fountain , before meeting the hubbub of tourists in Saint Peter’s square. In about 300 meters instead, rises the Vatican, and of course, Saint Peter’s Basilica. The stunning church is a true Roman emblem and gathers the faithful in large numbers every day. The Basilica itself hosts some incredible works of art, including the canopy, colonnade, and papal chair of Bernini. Yet, what creates the longest lines of tourists, already visible from Piazza Risorgimento, are surely the Vatican Museums. Conserving the massive amount of works of art, geographical maps, and cultural artifacts of all sorts collected by the popes from the seventeenth century onwards, it’s no wonder that they attract such a large number of tourists. To work around the problem, you can book a tour online.

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