The Piazzas of Rome

Around The World In 80 Minutes With The Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio


As we have said somewhere else, we are unabashed fans of the Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio.

Their story would be worth telling all the same had they disbanded after the release of the remarkable documentary that tells the tale of Mario Tronco, the director who assembled the orchestra recluting foreign musicians who lived in Rome -many of them in the multicultural neighbourhood of Piazza Vittorio- and brought their own sensibilities and personal idiosincracies into the mix.

But the Orchestra was more than a one-off, and it’s ready to perform its most recent project: an 80-minute musical journey through time, space and culture, a feat they are more than well-suited to accomplish.

The Orchestra will be playing at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome from January 21 to 26, 2014.

A Stroll Down Via del Boschetto

5901149111_3a046017da_zWhen it comes to eating in Rome there are many places where the guides and even locals will usually direct you: Trastevere, San Lorenzo and recently Pignetto. But there’s a place ( a couple of streets) not that famous that I would like to introduce you to.

Via del Boschetto and Via Dei Serpenti are located just off Via Nazionale (the big avenue that starts on Repubblica square, just beside Termini). The area is right in the center of the City, but is quiet and the atmosphere is easygoing. During the evenings you can see people sitting beside a fountain, having a beer, just like the more radical crowd do in San Lorenzo.

There are many places to eat and even some pleasant surprises: a takeaway Sushi place, a Japanese restaurant and a couple of Indian restaurants. If what you are after is Italian food you can try Osteria al 16, on Via del Boschetto 16. I have been there with friends a couple of times and I have never been disappointed. If like me, you enjoy a hearty meal, you will appreciate the spaghetti all’amatriciana (spaghetti with tomato sauce and bacon) and the meatballs with tomato sauce.

boschettoThe best is that this area is just a blocks away from the Colosseum, so if you are in the mood you can walk over there to put a perfect ending to your Roman serata.

And don’t forget to send me a line to tell me about your adventure, and to check our websites to get the best deals for accommodation in the best Hotels in Rome!

Rome Close-Up: The Ace of Cups of the Trevi Fountain


We’re inaugurating a new section, Roman Close-up. Here’ we’ll try to show you the story behind some details of the city.

The Trevi Fountain is a baroque explosion of stone, muscles and sea-horses. There are enough details on it to write entire books, but there is a specific part of the sculpture around which a little local legend has been created.

The story goes that during the construction of the fountain an overly critical barber who  worked accross the street used to overwhelm Nicola Salvi, the sculptor, with his suggestions and (usually negative) observations about the artist’s work. Understandably annoyed, Salvati proceded then to add to the fountain a vase strategically located to block the view of the fountain from the barbershop to put and end to


the unrequested artisical feedback.

The story doesn’t mention if a vase was enough to deter the artistically overzealous barber (maybe he was more into classicism– I cannot help but wonder how that reflected in his work), but the tale is popular among Romans, who call the vase “l’asso di coppe”, the ace of cups, after a figure in the Italian deck of cards.

Stayed tune for more Roman close-ups, and don’t forget to check our websites to find the best accomodation in the Eternal City!

Rome Meets The World 2013


Rome Meets The World is already a summer tradition in the city. The aim of the festival is to bring to Roman audiciences some of the best performers from the most diverse musical scenes. These are our picks for this year’s edition:

June 15, 2013
The music they played has been labeled “freak folk”. It’s an accurate description.

June18, 2013
The Ramblers and their folk sound are an institution in Italy.

July 14, 2013
She has a big bluesy voice and the looks of Zadie Smith; he seems ready to join Enrico Rava and Paolo Fresu in the olympus of great Italian trumpet players.

July 18, 2013
An Italian singer of Maroccan descent and one of the most interesting figures in the local pop scene.

July 19, 2013
A multicultural Roman phenomenon whose story is worth spreading.

July 23, 2013
The revered irreverent of Italy’s music scene.

The concerts take place at Villa Ada (Via Salaria 275) which can be reached from the Termini Station, just a few minutes away from Yes Hotel and Hotel Des Artistes with the bus 92. To read the full program, click here.

The Most Roman of Romans


It has always puzzled me that many people know about Rome and its greatness but so little is known about Romans. Compared to the Londoner or the Parisian, the Roman remains a mystery, probably because like his food, he is hearty but not sophisticated, shrewd but not always insightful.

Romanity, however, captivates those who get to get to know it. If you want to get a glimpse of it without having to stay a couple of years in the Eternal City then you have to read the sonnets of Gioachino Belli, who is in my book the most Roman of Romans.

Belli was born to a weatlhy family and earned a place in the Italian literary cannon with 2200 sonnets through which the low Roman class of the time its shown as it is, “salacious, sometimes cunning and always self-centerd” as the ruthless Italian Wikipedia article about Belli puts it.

The most striking feature of the sonnets is also the reason why they are not as known as they should: they are written in the Romanesco dialect which gives them a poignantly accurate flavor when read in Italian but also eludes translation. An English version of the sonnets its available at the Anglo-American Bookstore, my bookstore of choice in Rome or online, from this website where you will find gems like this:


Piazza Navona easily stands the comparison
With both St.Peter’s and the Spanish Steps.
This is not a square, it’s like the countryside,
It’s a theatre, it’s a fair, it’s gaiety.
It runs from Sant’Apollinare 2 to the central pathway,
And from the central pathway to Cuccagna street 3:
Everywhere you see things to eat,
Everywhere you see people who buy them.
Here three fountains stand in all their might,
Here is a spire 4, as solemn as a judgement,
Here the place is flooded when summertime comes .
Here the whipping-trestle is raised,
Where those who look for trouble get thirty lashes
On their arse, and five more for charity .

Culture Week Rome 14 – 22 April



Every year in the eternal city of Rome the “Culture Week” or “Settimana della Cultura” is held in the month of April. This means that for one full week all state-run museums, galleries and acheological sites will be free to enter. And thats not all, museums and galleries that are normally closed to the general public will open their doors for a rare opportunity to see art works that are normally kept under lock and key. There will also be a variety of confrences, workshops, guided tours and concerts.

Among the list of sites and museums that are included are “The Colloseum”, Roman Forum” and “Palatine“, The Baths of Caracalla, Villa dei Quintili and the mausoleum of Cecilia Metella. Also included are the “Meuseo Nazionale Romano”, “The National Gallery of Modern Art“, “The National Museum of the Middle Ages”, “The Galleria Borghese“, “The Pallazo Venezia Museum” and “Castel Sant’Angelo“.


Make sure you don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to experience the rich artistic heritage of Rome and remember for more information and to find a place to stay, you can visit us at Hotel Des Artistes. Hope you enjoy.


Piazza Navona

Squar of RomePiazza Navona is one of the most famous and beautiful of the many other Roman squares.
It is build like such in 16-th century.
Before that on its place has stayed the stadium of Domitian,built by emperor Domitian in 86 AD.stadium of Domitian
It used to hold up to 30 thousand spectators. Also it is known that it had larger arena than the Colosseum.
The stadium was used for festivals and sporting events. It is known also as Circus Agonalis.
In the 15-th century the stadium was paved over to form the Navona square.
Even today there are still visible some remnants of Domitian’s stadium.


There 3 magnificent fountains at the square and also the baroque style church of S. Agnese.
One of the fountain is made by the great architect and sculptor Bernini between 1648 and 1651.
It is called the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) and is in the center of the square. It is like huge rock coming out of the water.

piazzas of Rome

Another fountain is Fontana del Nettuno. It is created by Giacomo Della Porta around 1576.
It is situated on the north side of the square, exactly opposite of the third fountain: Fontana del Moro which is on the south side.

fountain of Navon SquareToday Piazza Navona is a beautiful popular place where people go out for a walk or to visit some of the best restaurants and coffee places and enjoy the view created so many years ago by some of the best artists.

Piazza Navona Rome

Piazza Navona Rome

For any one in Rome, visitor or resident, Piazza Navona always will have an enchanting atmosphere, and if you wish to know all about it then a tour is in order. The Navona Piazza follows the plan of an ancient roman circus which used to be called the Stadium of Domitian, then was later used as a market place and nowadays is the pride of the Baroque Rome.

Piazza di Spagna the Spanish Steps RomeThis walking tour starts indeed in Piazza Navona, where both Bernini and Borromini have left grand masterpieces of architecture : Mainly the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini placed in the middle of the square, and across the church Sant’Agnese in Agone by Borromini. The square is near the Spanish Steps and Via Veneto, close by Rome B&B De Cappuccini and the Rome American Embassy.

You will start off with the visit of the Dome of Santa Ivo alla Sapienza, which was realised by Borromini then you will stroll towards the Saint Louis of the French where Caravaggio has famous canvases.

Rome Pantheon

The tour ends in The Pantheon, one of Rome’s major architecture prowess of the ancient times, located in the historical centre of Rome, in easy reach from your Yes Hotel Rome. It was originally built as a temple in 27 BC and had adjoining baths and gardens. The Pantheon then became a christian church as from the 7th century still running nowadays. 2 kings of Italy are buried : Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I.

The tour is daily and lasts about 3 hours and you can book your Piazza Navona Rome tour here.

Christmas market Piazza Navona

Christmas market

 Fontana dei Fiumi

When ? Between 1 december 2006 and 6 january 2007, all day long until late at night.

What ? This year again in Piazza Navona in Rome is taking place the traditional Christmas market. The star of this event is no doubt the “Befana�, the witch children adore so much ! The Befana is represented in many ways and looks.
The square fills up with stalls that propose food specialities, other that have the Christmas socks with a wide choice of chocolates and sweets for all tastes. You will also find artisans that have on show and sale the traditional Christmas decorations and mangers to put under your tree.
An old Austrian roundabout with its horses play music and go round and round for the fun of the younger and older crowds.
And in the middle of Piazza Navona is a huge manger, different every year.
Fontana del Moro

The atmosphere is light and festive, and people of all ages will just love it. And if you have a sweet tooth you cannot miss this event.
Apart from this event you will be able to admire the beautiful fountains designed by Bernini who also has numerous works exposed in the Galleria Borghese ; the most impressive fountain in Piazza Navona is certainly the Fontana dei Fiumi.

Where ? Piazza Navona is in the centre of Rome, not far from the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps and for those who prefer a guided tour you can book here. It is in easy reach of our accommodation and hotel My Hotel Rome.

How to get there ? From our hotel My Hotel, walk to Termini station, where an exceptional exhibition of Caravaggio is taking place and take bus 70. A 15 min trip, and you get off in Corso Rinascimento : Piazza Navona is just behind.