Upper Tiber Bend

The area around Piazza Navona and the Pantheon

West of the Corso and north of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is the tourist-jammed Upper Tiber Bend area.

This is the true heart of Medieval Rome, home to landmarks such as the bustling Piazza Navona and the ancient Pantheon and a host of other sights and monuments: countless churches hiding Caravaggio paintings or Michelangelo sculptures, a few small museums, and plenty of pedestrian-only elbow room.

This area is chock-a-block with great restaurants and—surprisingly—has some good, inexpensive lodging. You're also within easy walking distance of both the Vatican and the ruins of Ancient Rome.

It's a toss-up between this and the Spanish Steps area when it comes to choosing the absolute best place to base yourself in Rome (sightseeing fanatics will want to book here; shoppers nearer the Spanish Steps).

Sights in Upper Tiber Bend

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Inside the Pantheon (Photo by Rodney Campbell)
Free
The Pantheon
Rome: Tiber Bend

The glorious Pantheon is Rome's only intact ancient Roman temple

 
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Piazza Navona at sunrise (Photo by Giuseppe Moscato)
Free
Piazza Navona
Rome: Tiber Bend

Bernini fountains, caffés, street performers, artists, and a carnival of life crowd Rome's famous Piazza Navona

 
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The loggia (Photo by Miguel Hermoso Cuesta)
Palazzo Altemps
Rome: Tiber Bend

The Palazzo Altemps branch of Rome's Museo Nazionale Romano has sculptures and other ancient art installed in the frescoed rooms of a 16th-century palace

 
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The distinctively Gothic nave (Photo by Saint Joseph)
Free

Sculptures by Michelangelo and Bernini, the bodies of Fra' Angelico and St. Catherine, and the tombs of two Medici popes—so why isn't this church right behind the Pantheon more famous?

 
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The Contarelli Chapel with its Caravaggio paintings on "The Life of St. Matthew" (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Free
San Luigi dei Francesi
Rome: Tiber Bend

The church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome is a festival of Caravaggios

 
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The courtyard and facade (Photo by Mstyslav Chernov)
Free
Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza
Rome: Tiber Bend

The swirling, curling lanterns atop the dome of this baroque church plays peek-a-boo with pedestrians on the surrounding streets—good thing, as the church itself is hidden in a courtyard

 
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The Hall of Mirrors (Photo by Andy Rusch)
Galleria Doria-Pamphilj
Rome: Tiber Bend

Rome's Galleria Doria-Pamphilj is a princely private collection

 
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An arch from the Stadium of Domitian visible from the street (Via di Tor Sanguigna) (Photo by Lalupa)
Stadio di Domiziano
Rome: Tiber Bend

The ancient Stadium of Domitian echoed by Piazza Navona above

 
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Pasquino, near Piazza Navona, is the most famous statua parlante (talking statue) of Rome (Photo by Emanuele)
Free
Pasquino
Rome: Tiber Bend

The Pasquino is the most famous of Rome's "Talking Statues"

 
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Borromini's St. Agnes in Agone Church (Photo by Bgabel)
Free
Sant'Agnese in Agone
Rome: Tiber Bend

A stylish baroque Piazza Navona church with free concerts and a sobering saintly history

 
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The nave (Photo by David Bramhall)
Free
Sant'Agostino
Rome: Tiber Bend

The church has works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Sansovino—and lies just off Piazza Navona—yet sadly sees few visitors

 
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Raphael's Sibyls in the Chigi Chapel (Photo by Peter1936F)
Free
Santa Maria della Pace
Rome: Tiber Bend

A tiny church off Piazza Navona decorated by Raphael and Peruzzi with architecture by Bramante and Pietro Da Cortona

 
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The nave and Pozzo's frescoes (Photo by sarahtarno)
Free
Sant'Ignazio di Loyola
Rome: Tiber Bend

The "dome" in this church is a masterpiece of trompe-l'oeil

 
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 (Photo by Simone Ramella)
Free

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

 
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 (Photo by Dennis Jarvis)
Free
Ponte Sant'Angelo
Rome: Tiber Bend

The statue-lined "Bridge of Angels" across the Tiber River

 

Experiences in Upper Tiber Bend

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

Antique books, maps, and prints

 

Lodgings in Upper Tiber Bend

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A room at the Hotel Mimosa al Pantheon in Rome (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Mimosa Pantheon
Rome: Tiber Bend

Comfy rooms at rock-bottom rates in a fab location halfway between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona

 
★★☆
A room at the Hotel Albergo Abruzzi (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
€€
Albergo Abruzzi
Rome: Tiber Bend

A room with a view...of the Pantheon

 
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A room at the Hotel Raphael (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
€€€
Raphael
Rome: Tiber Bend

Five-star, ivy-clad luxury just off Piazza Navona

 
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A room at the Grand Hotel de la Minerve (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
€€€
Grand Hotel de Minerve
Rome: Tiber Bend

The Grand Hotel della Minerva offers five-star luxury just behind the Pantheon

 
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A room at the Hotel Smeraldo (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Smeraldo
Rome: Tiber Bend

Loads of amenities on a quiet street in the heart of Rome

 
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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

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

Professional service, perfect location, priced to please

 
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A room at Fraterna Domus (Photo courtesy of the property)
Fraterna Domus
Rome: Tiber Bend

A killer location, cheap meals, and plenty of Jesus at this religious hospice between Piazza Navona and the river

 

Dining in Upper Tiber Bend

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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€
Da Baffetto
Rome: Tiber Bend

A legendary, convivial pizzeria near Piazza Navona

 
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 (Photo )
€€
Da Tonino
Rome: Tiber Bend

A near-perfect trattoria near Piazza Navona

 
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The ceiling in the piano nobile dining room (Photo by Maggi R.)
€€€
L'Eau Vive
Rome: Tiber Bend

Fine French cuisine and a hymnal singalong provided by a lay sisterhood in a frescoed palazzo

 
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 (Photo )
San Crispino (Pantheon)
Rome: Tiber Bend

Everyone's favorite "secret" ice cream parlor near the Pantheon

 
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The tartufo (Photo by Casey O.)
Tre Scalini
Rome: Tiber Bend

Classy cafe on Piazza Navona serving the classic homemade tartufo

 
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 (Photo )
Fraterna Domus
Rome: Tiber Bend

A family dinner with the lay sisters in a Roman convent near Piazza Navona

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the cafe)
Giolitti
Rome: Tridente

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

 
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 (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Caffé Sant'Eustachio
Rome: Tiber Bend

Some say this is the best cappuccino in all of Rome

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€
Enoteca Corsi
Rome: Tiber Bend

A traditional, inexpensive wine-bar restaurant

 
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 (Photo )
Il Delfino
Rome: Tiber Bend

A cafeteria-like restaurant off Largo Argentina offering fast food, Italian-style

 
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 (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)
€€

Sometimes you just want a salad—and Insalata Ricca is one of the few solid choices for vegetarians in Rome

 

Topics about Upper Tiber Bend

Befane at the Piazza Navona Christmas Market (Photo by Daniele Ciabattoni)
Entirely the Wrong Witch
Rome: Tiber Bend

La Befana, Babbo Natale, and the shifting focus of Christmas traditions in Italy

 
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.).