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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

Walking Rome

One of my favorite aspects of living in the centre of a city is my ability to walk anywhere I need to go. I think walking everywhere, although not always efficient, is one of the best ways to explore a new city. This fall has presented me with the perfect opportunity to do just that, and although now my studio days are becoming longer and my walks are becoming shorter, I had plenty of time to roam through Rome at the beginning of the semester. Here are some of my favourite walking experiences.

Through Trastevere and along the crest of Janiculum Hill
Because I live on the central side of the Tiber River, I haven’t had the chance to explore Trastevere as much as I would like. Whenever I did go on a walk through the quaint neighbourhood, though, I somehow got vaguely lost and by chance discovered streets just around the corner from one another that I didn’t know existed. One of those times I came upon the Passegiata del Gianicolo, which snakes along the edge of the hill and offers great views of the city from above. After walking back downhill, I ended up close to the Vatican, and walked back home along the river.

Along the Tiber to Ara Pacis
This is a route I ran along a few times, but it would also make a nice walk. It was my favourite during the hot summer months, because the thick trees along the edge of the river were a welcome relief from the sun. Walking along the river from any location to another is convenient because it’s impossible to get lost, and the walk can be as brief or long as you want to make it. The only bad part about running here is that it’s a also popular route for tourist families, so much of my jogging consisted of dashing into Lungotevere traffic to dodge wide rows of people.

Home from Termini train station on a Friday night
This was a walk I did more out of necessity than to enjoy a nightly stroll, but it ended up being very enjoyable. When we flew back into Rome after fall break, Carly and I took a bus from the airport to Termini. At Termini, we decided that we were much too impatient and excited to come home to wait for more public transport. Stretching our legs and walking the length of the city along its monumental, brightly-lit streets, and seeing Romans enjoying the first night of their weekends was the best welcome back we could have asked for.

North along Via del Corso and past Piazza del Popolo
To get the full experience, this walk should be done at the peak of the tourist season. For sanity’s sake, however, I would recommend going at off-peak hours. This route takes you from the monumental centre of the city and out of the Aurelian walls into a residential district. It starts at the Vittorio Emanuele II monument, and takes you along the busiest shopping street, Via del Corso. The obelisk at Piazza del Popolo, at the other end of the axis, is visible along the length of the street. Past the piazza, however, the city abruptly changes. Gone is the noise, the tourists, and the chain stores, and enter the quiet residential life of apartment buildings and little shops. The juxtaposition of the two areas of Rome is interesting to see. Depending on how far you want to walk, you can follow the same axis to reach Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum or Renzo Piano’s Parco della Musica concert hall.

Exploring Villa Borghese park
The Villa Borghese park is near Piazza del Popolo. It was designed as gardens to the villa. The park itself has nice trails and lots of trees, and looks like the perfect spot for a picnic (something I haven’t done but would love to do). The park also contains a number of museums and attractions. The most famous of these is the Galleria Borghese, located in the villa itself, which has, among other things, beautiful sculptures by Bernini. The other nearby museum I have visited is the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, which houses a large collection of 19th and 20th century Italian art.

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