Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain: Shops, restaurants, and sights

Since the 18th century, this has been one of the most popular ex-pat areas of Rome, full of Brits and Germans and lots of passeggiata (evening stroll) action.

It's no coincidence Rome's top hotels cluster at the Steps' summit, or that the American Express used to be on Piazza di Spagna itself (and that Italy's first McDonald's opened a few doors down in 1986, nearly inciting a riot by Italian food traditionalists—both have since been replaced by a Valentino store).

Moving about this neighborhood is often an exercise in weaving between large clots of camera-clicking tour groups, but the area certainly stays animated and most roads are blessedly closed to cars. It's one of the most touristy areas of the center, with "public living rooms" and patented tourist draws like the graceful baroque off-center sweep of the Spanish Steps and the gushing mountain of white marble called the Trevi Fountain.

Although hotels and restaurants in the Tridente tend to be expensive and touristy, it's a pleasantly pedestrianized zone with some good budget values if you look hard enough.

The north end of the tourist's city is the oval Piazza del Popolo. From this obelisk-sporting square, three major roads radiate south (which is why this area is called "The Trident"): Via del Babuino, Via del Corso, and Via di Ripetta. The middle one, Via del Corso (usually just called "Il Corso"), divides the heart of the city in half.

To the east of the Corso lie the Spanish Steps (whence leads art-gallery-lined Via del Babuino) and the Trevi Fountain. The streets around Piazza di Spagna (which how Italians refer to what we call the Spanish Steps) comprise the heart of Rome's most stylish shopping scene, with boutique-lined streets like Via de' Condotti (running straight from the Spanish Steps to the Corso) sporting the biggest names in Italian and international fashion.

The southern boundary of the Tridente is really the large Fascist piazza around the ancient Ara Pacis altar and adjacent Augustus' Mausoleum. However the Corso keeps going, past the Tiber Bend area described below, to end at what is, for all intents and purposes, Rome's center: Piazza Venezia. This major traffic circle and bus juncture is marked by the overbearing, garishly white Vittorio Emanuele II Monument ("Il Vittoriano"), which you can now climb for free (until sunset) for low-angle city panoramas.

Sights in Tridente

The Spanish Steps (Photo by Martin Furtschegger)
Spanish Steps
Rome: Tridente

The Spanish Steps, Piazza di Spagna, Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti—by whatever name you call it, this is one of Rome's prime outdoor living rooms, an elegant gathering place for locals and tourists alike

The crowds at the Trevi (Photo by Oleg Brovko)
Trevi Fountain
Rome: Tridente

The Fontana di Trevi just may be the world's most famous wishing well—certainly one of the most lucrative, what with every tourist tossing "three coins in a fountain"

The Cerasi Chapel, with paintings by Annibale Carracci (center) and Caravaggio (left and right) (Photo by Frederick Fenyvessy)

Rome's church of Santa Maria del Popolo is like a primer on the development of art and architecture from the early Renaissance through the baroque

The Ara Pacis (Photo by Damian Entwistle)
Ara Pacis
Rome: Tridente

Emperor Augustus' ancient Altar of Peace in Rome, Italy

 (Photo by WolfgangM)
Piazza del Popolo
Rome: Tridente

The "People's Square" marks the northern edge of the tourist's Rome, anchoring the Tridente neighborhood and flanked by the amazing church of Santa Maria del Popolo and above it, the greenery of Villa Borghese park

The laghetto with an 18C Temple of Aesculapius (Photo by Pierre-Selim Huard)
Villa Borghese
Rome: Tridente

The Villa Borghese is Rome's version of Central Park—only with more museums

The Mausoleum of Augustus as it was in 2016 (ongoing works are transforming it so it can open to the public) (Photo by Ethan Doyle White)
Mausoleo di Augusto
Rome: Tridente

The tomb of the emperor Augustus

The main doorway (Photo by Sonse)
Palazzo Zuccari
Rome: Tridente

The monstrous details decorating Palazzo Zuccari

 (Photo by Simone Ramella)

This triumphal column reads like an ancient Roman comic strip of the Emperor's accomplishments


Experiences in Tridente

The stalls (Photo by Dietmar Rabich)
Mercato delle Stampe
Rome: Tridente

Antique books, maps, and prints

Market stalls (Photo courtesy of Radio Colonna)
Borghetto Flaminio
Rome: Tridente

An antiques market just N of Pizza del Popolo


Lodgings in Tridente

A room at the Hotel Art (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Hotel Art
Rome: Tridente

Avant-garde lodgings by the stylish Spanish Steps

A room at the 939 Hotel (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
939 Hotel
Rome: Tridente

An inexpensive inn offering 18th century class at 17th century prices in Rome

A room at Hotel Panda (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Rome: Tridente

Cheap lodgings a stone's throw from the Spanish Steps

A room at the Hotel Pensione Parlamento (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Pensione Parlamento
Rome: Tridente

Professional service, perfect location, priced to please


Dining in Tridente

 (Photo by Tony L.)
Birreria Peroni
Rome: Tridente

A German-style beer hall restaurant

The original Gelateria San Crispino, near the Trevi Fountain (Photo Public Domain)
San Crispino (Trevi)
Rome: Tridente

Everyone's favorite "secret" ice cream parlor near the Trevi Fountain

 (Photo courtesy of the cafe)
Rome: Tridente

Perhaps the most famous gelateria in Rome, going strong since 1900

 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
Al 34
Rome: Tridente

A classic restaurant in Rome's shopping district

 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

An old hole-in-the-wall restaurant near the Spanish Steps

 (Photo )
Rome: Tridente

An abruzzese restaurant

Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for rail travel

English (inglese) Italian (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...train station la ferroviaria [or] la stazione lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah [or] lah stat-zee-YO-nay
ticket un biglietto oon beel-YET-toh
first class prima classe PREE-mah CLAH-say
second class seconda classe say-CONE-dah CLAH-say
one way solo andata SO-low ahn-DAHT-tah
round trip (return) andata e ritorno ahn-DAH-tah ay ree-TOUR-noh
Just the supplement Soltanto il supplemento soul-TAHN-toh eel sou-play-MEN-toh
Just a seat reservation Soltanto una prenotazione soal-TAHN-toh oo-nah pray-no-tah-tsee-YOH-nay
I have a Eurailpass Ho il Eurailpass oh eel YOO-rail-pahs
sleeping couchette una cucetta oo-nah koo-CHET-tah
berth in a sleeping car un posto nel vagone letto oon POH-sto nell vah-GOAN-nay LET-toh
track binario been-AR-ree-yoh
train treno TRE-no
car (carriage) carozza ka-RO-tza
seat posto PO-sto
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay
left luggage deposito bagagli day-PO-zee-toh ba-GAHL-yee
punch your ticket timbrare il biglietto teem-BRA-ray eel beel-YET-toh
Is this the right platform for the Rome train? E questo il binario per il treno à Roma? ay KWAY-sto eel been-AR-ree-yo pair eel TRE-no ah RO-ma? 
delayed in retardo een ree-TAR-do
strike sciopero SHO-pair-oh
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
City / Train station names
English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Main station
Rome Roma Termini
Florence Firenze Santa Maria Novella
Venice Venezia Santa Lucia
Milan Milano Centrale
Genoa Genova Porta Principe
Naples Napoli Centrale
Leghorn Livorno Centrale
Turin Torino Porta Nuova

Useful Italian for air travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)   Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
the airport l'aeroporto LAHW-ro-port-oh
the airplane l'aereo LAIR-reh-oh
terminal terminal TEAR-me-nahl
flight volo VOH-lo
gate uscita d'imbarco oo-SHEE-tah deem-BARK-oh
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
departures partenze par-TEN-zay
arrivals arrivi ah-REE-vee
delayed in ritardo een ree-TAR-doh
on time in orario een oh-RAH-ree-yo
early in avanti een ah-VAHN-tee
boarding imbarco eem-BARK-o
connecting flight la coincidenza la ko-een-chee-DEN-za
check-in accettazione ah-chet-ta-zee-YO-nee
immigration controllo passaporti cone-TRO-lo pah-sa-POR-tee
security check controllo di sicurezza kohn-TRO-lo dee see-kur-AY-tzah
customs dogana do-GA-na
shuttle la navetta lah na-VET-tah
boarding pass carta d'imbarco kart-ta deem-BARK-o
baggage claim ritiro bagagli ree-TEER-oh bah-GA-lyee
carry-on luggage bagaglio à mano bah-GA-lyo ah MA_no
checked luggage bagalio bah-GA-lyo

Useful Italian for car travel

English (inglese) Italian  (italiano)  Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
car automobile ow-toh-MO-bee-lay
scooter/motorboke un motorino oon mo-tair-EE-no
gas station stazione di servizio stah-zee-YO-nay dee sair-VEE-tzee-yo
gas benzina ben-ZEE-nah
diesel gasolio [or] diesel gah-ZOH-lee-oh [or] DEE-zell
Fill it up, please al pieno, per favore ahl pee-YAY-noh, pair fa-VOHR-ray
Where is... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the highway l'autostrada lout-oh-STRA-dah
...the state highway la statale [written "SS"] lah sta-TAHL-eh
...the road for Rome la strada per Roma lah STRA-dah pair RO-mah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
keep going straight sempre diritto SEM-pray dee-REE-toh
to cross attraversare ah-tra-vair-SAR-ay
toll pedaggio peh-DA-jo
parking parcheggio par-KEH-jo
road map carta stradale kar-ta stra-DA-lay
where can I pay the fine? dove posso pagare la multa DOH-veh Po-so pag-GAR-ray la MOOL-tah

Typical road signs / terms » more

English (anglais) French (français) 
Stop Stop
Exit  Uscita
Staffic light Semaforo
One-way Senso unico
Dead-end Strada senza uscita
Parking prohibited No parcheggio or parcheggio proibito
Pedestrian zone Area pedonale
Limited Traffic Zone (you pay to drive in) ZTL or Zona Traffico Limitato

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah

* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).