Rome neighborhoods are all very beautiful because they each tell a slice of the city’s history. There are old neighbourhoods and more recent ones that demonstrate the evolution over the centuries of a city that in every corner has something to tell its visitors. Today we want to introduce you to one of them: Rione Prati.

Visiting even one of Rome’s neighbourhoods is like visiting an entire city. In every corner you can find buildings, monuments and atmospheres that let you discover many facets and interesting aspects from a historical, cultural and artistic point of view. The Rione Prati in Rome is one of them. Discover its history and mark out two places not to be missed during your walk.

Rome neighbourhoods: the history of Rione Prati

The Rione Prati was born after the famous Breccia di Porta Pia (1870), but its origin is much more distant in time and its name already hints at something.

This area was in fact covered with meadows (prati in Italian) and known as “Prati di Castello“, but also as “Prati di San Pietro” or “Prati di Nerone“. However, this was not the case until 1888, when building work began, leading to the construction of buildings and the disappearance of these green areas. 

Until 1870, therefore, vineyards, vegetable gardens and reed beds characterised this area of Rome, which in earlier times belonged to Domitia, the wife of Emperor Domitian. Only a few cottages and aristocratic villas stood in the natural landscape, but after the Breccia di Porta Pia the urbanisation of the area began, and at first it was used for military exercises, with the creation of an area called Piazza d’Armi.

Today, among Rome neighbourhoods, Rione Prati stands out for its wide streets, elegant Umbertino-style buildings and beautiful Art Nouveau villas.  

Among the places to see is Piazza Cavour (Cavour Square), with its statue dedicated to Camillo Benso and located in what used to be the ancient Prati Neroniani. Here you can admire fine buildings and monuments such as the Waldensian Church of Rome and Il Palazzaccio, or the Palace of Justice. 

A curiosity in the construction of the Rione: with a certain anti-clerical and Masonic irony, it was decided that the dome of St Peter’s should not be seen from anywhere. And so it is.

Discover now two places not to be missed during your visit to Rione Prati.

Chiesa Sacro Cuore del Suffragio (Sacred Heart Church of the Intercession)

It is impossible not to notice the Church of the Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, with its characteristic Gothic spires, reminiscent of Milan Cathedral.

Construction of the sacred building began in 1908 (and finished in 1921) on a project by engineer Giuseppe Gualandi, who decided to use the Gothic style, typical from north of the Alps. The interior has a nave and two aisles of six bays each, with a cross vault and separated by pointed arches resting on polystyle pillars with sculpted capitals.

Lighting from outside comes from three windows in the façade and 18 mullioned windows with polychrome stained glass.

The nave ends in a polygonal apse, the high altar is decorated with gilded bronzes and is surmounted by the tabernacle. Behind it is the altarpiece “The Sacred Heart and the Souls in Purgatory” by Giuseppe and Alessandro Catani.

The Museum of the Souls in Purgatory is also interesting. It was created after a miraculous event in 1897 in the chapel of the Sacred Heart Association of the Suffrage of the Souls in Purgatory. During a fire, it is said that the soul of a deceased person appeared to the devotees and that the effigy of this person was impressed on the wall. Thus Victor Jouët (the missionary who founded the Association of the Sacred Heart of the Suffrage of the Souls in Purgatory in Rome) decided to collect testimonies and relics relating to the manifestations of the souls in Purgatory in a space near the church.

Via Cola di Rienzo: The Avenue of Rome

Via Cola di Rienzo was built as a result of the 1873 town plan and connects Piazza del Risorgimento to Piazza della Libertà. Initially it had only a few houses. Then, in the 1920s, it became the Corso di Roma (The Avenue of Rome) thanks to its fashion shops, perfumeries, barber shops, delicatessens and grocery stores. 

A commercial street with historic shops. One of these is no longer there but has made the history of Via Cola di Rienzo. This is Caffè Latour, opened in 1924 by the Latour brothers, originally from Alsace and Lorraine, and renowned for the high quality confectionery of its chocolates. It was also a characteristic shop with a refined interior design that remained unchanged until it closed in the 1970s.

A street full of life, where you can find Romans and tourists at all hours of the day, all fascinated by this very special corner of Rome that has the Vatican in front of it, the Tiber and the centre behind it.

Gastronomic tour of the Rione Prati

The neighbourhoods of Rome are all fascinating. To fully experience the atmosphere of the Rione Prati that you have just discovered in all its beauty, there is an opportunity that you can take advantage of during your next visit to Rome or to keep in mind during the days when the Ryder Cup will be held in the Eternal City in 2023.

A gastronomic tour that you can already guess will be truly delicious. Take it easy and enjoy this 4-hour experience that takes place at sunset, a magical time for the city. With a local guide, you’ll be able to explore the culinary side of the Rione Prati after the artistic and historical ones. You will taste typical delicacies in five different gourmet restaurants and learn the cooking secrets of expert chefs who will give you tips and recipes to prepare extraordinary dishes that will remind you of the Roman atmosphere when you return home. 

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