The Gianicolo ☆☆

A view from the Gianicolo, The Gianicolo, Rome, Italy (Photo by Elena Gabrielli)
A view from the Gianicolo

The Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo) is one my favorite spots in all of Rome, Italy

The Garibaldi Monument, The Gianicolo, Rome, Italy. (Photo by Notafly)
A view from the Gianicolo, The Gianicolo, Rome, Italy. (Photo by François MORARD)
A view from the Gianicolo, The Gianicolo, Rome, Italy. (Photo by Elena Gabrielli)

Rising above Trastevere, south of the Vatican, is a long ridge paralleling the Tiber called the Gianicolo (Janiculum), which is famously not one of the Seven Hills of Rome.

There are a few sights up here (plus a merry-go-round about halfway between the Acqua Paola fountain and Piazza Garibaldi), but the most attractive feature is simply the sweeping view of Rome across the river from 82m (269 feet), taking in everything from the Pincio gardens of the Villa Borghese on the left past the domes of the city center beyond the curve of the Colosseum on the right. 

This panorama is thrilling by day and beautiful by night, when the Gianicolo doubles as Rome's Lover's Lane (lots of steamy Fiat windows and lip-locked lovers stationed every ten feet along the vista-kissed walls).

At the top of the hill rises a paved piazza around a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the general in charge of Italy's revolutionary troops during the unification efforts of the 1860s and 70s (sort of like the Italian George Washington, only he never got to run the country after he won, since Italy became a unified monarchy).

If you happen to be around at noon—precisely—you can hear three soldiers fire a cannon to mark the hour—an 1846 initiative of Pope Pius IX to help Romans keep track of the time (it started at Castel Sant'Angelo), the cannon has been fired from the Gianicolo since 1904.

Bramante's Tempietto (Photo by Quinok)
San Pietro in Montorio
Rome: Trastevere

Bramante's Tempietto is a doll house–sized Renaissance church halfway up the Gianicolo hill

 (Photo by Torvindus)
Acqua Paola
Rome: Trastevere

THE spot for Roman wedding photos

 (Photo by Gianfranco)

The puppet theater on the Janiculum Hill

Photo gallery
  • A view from the Gianicolo, The Gianicolo, Italy (Photo by Elena Gabrielli)
  • The Garibaldi Monument, The Gianicolo, Italy (Photo by Notafly)
  • A view from the Gianicolo, The Gianicolo, Italy (Photo by François MORARD)
  • A view from the Gianicolo, The Gianicolo, Italy (Photo by Elena Gabrielli)
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How long does the Gianicolo take?

Give yourself at least an hour, preferably 90 minutes, to walk up and over the Gianicolo from Trastevere to the Borgo district around St. Peter's.

Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
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
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

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.).




Lest you think my labeling the Gianicolo "one of my favorite spots in all of Rome" is hyperbole, I submit the purplest piece of prose I've ever penned, a veritable love letter to the view from up here at night that I wrote back in college, when I was about to leave life in Rome behind for a second time.