- The Ludovisi neighbourhood is one of Rome’s newer neighbourhoods, developed in the early 1900s. Upon the unification of Italy, the niche area was designated for businesses and upscale apartments and palazzos. And then was immortalised by director Federico Fellini in La Dolce Vita, when the neighbourhood became symbolic of luxury lifestyle. Still a luxury destination, Ludovisi is home to most of Rome’s four and 5-star hotels.
A pocket neighbourhood…
Ludovisi is an oddly shaped rectangular area below Villa Borghese, on the descent of the Pincio hill toward Piazza Barberini. This pocket neighbourhood is defined by the Aurelian wall/Corso Italia as northern perimeter. Via di Porta Pinciana/Via San Francesco Crispi is its southwest boundary, and Via Cernaia in the southeast. Best points of reference include Piazza Barberini and the serpentine Via Vittorio Veneto that moves toward Villa Borghese. In addition, the large and lovely Villa Ludovisi (now the American Embassy in Rome) is an excellent landmark for the western area of Ludovisi.
Ludovisi’s neighbours are Campo Marzio, Pinciano/Parioli, Castro Pretorio and Nomentana. To its west is Campo Marzio, Rome’s historic shopping area. Pinciano/Parioli, north, is part large park, part residential neighbourhood. To its south is Castro Pretoria, a vibrant, student area.
Know your neighbours
Ludovisi may be one of the harder areas to get to know your neighbour. The central part of the district is comprised of embassies, offices, banks, shops, and luxury hotels, along with private residences. While the atmosphere most evenings and weekends is quiet and relaxed, weekdays mean the neighbourhood is busy and bubbling. The best suggestion for getting to know the neighbours and the neighbourhood is to chat with the representatives at the local newsstand, and make sure to grab a cappuccino at the local bars.
Via Veneto is the best-known shopping area of the neighbourhood, primarily for its high-end items. Supermarkets are slightly harder to find, though are readily available, as are pharmacies. Via Barberini, Via Bissolati and Largo Santa Susanna are a cache of very interesting shops from luxury such as Brioni to home wares, furniture and paper. In the northeast corner of Ludovisi, the straight Via Piave has a variety of shopping - from clothing and make-up to home goods and electronics - and at all affordable prices.
Ludovisi is well connected with most neighbourhoods in Rome, whether by walking into the centre or taking public transport. Metro stops Barberini and Spagna connect the area with Prati and Termini, and there are several buses on Piazza Barberini and Via Veneto heading in directions Trastevere, Testaccio, Centro, Parioli, Nomentana, and Termini and Tiburtina stations.
Buses 52, 53, 62, 63, 85, 116, 175, 492, 630 connect the neighbourhood with Centre, Vaticano, Prati, Parioli, Nomentana, Termini and Tiburtina stations and Testaccio, as well as the neighbourhood immediate to the Olympic stadium. Metro A stops Barberini and Veneto of the Linea A (red line) link the neighbourhood with Vatican and Termini areas - Veneto has an excellent underground tunnel direct to Piazza di Spagna.
- Ludovisi’s reputation as an upmarket business area should not put you off taking a walk through this elegant area. Its history begins as the famous Gardens of Sallust, a 1st-century AD historian who acquired the illustrious gardens upon the death of Julius Caesar. Though there is not much to be seen of the gardens, the gentrified neighbourhood is rich in museums, churches and, to no surprise, shopping.
Though Ludovisi is home to most of Rome’s luxury hotels, banks and businesses, it has several must-see sights. Via Veneto has the popular Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, which is perhaps best known for its bone-detailed crypt. And around the corner on Via Boncompagni is Museo Boncompagni Ludovisi, an early 20th-century palazzo with a collection of decorative arts, fashion and costumes.
Head down Via Veneto to Piazza Barberini, with its famous Bernini-sculpted Triton fountain. Adjacent to the piazza is Palazzo Barberini, a museum with its vast collection of paintings and other artwork on par with the Borghese Collection. The Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, near Largo Santa Susanna, has Bernini’s most infamous sculpture - St. Teresa in Ecstasy.
Unbeknownst to many, Ludovisi has quite a collection of great food options, despite the overpriced restaurants lining via Veneto and near Piazza Barberini. For your morning cappuccino, Bar Lotti, just off the via Veneto, is a welcome change for those staying in the western area of the neighbourhood, and also UJuice on via Boncompagni for those in need of fresh fruit. Good restaurants are harder to find and come in a range of prices. Best bang for your buck are San Marco, a trendy pizzeria, with great pastas and Tullio, with great steaks. Please read blogs ParlaFood.com and ElizabethMinchilli.com for up-to-date reviews.
Ludovisi nightlife is an interesting collection of hotel bars, like Harry’s Bar and any of the street-side bars along via Veneto, gentlemen’s clubs, and Babel, a discotheque literally under Villa Borghese. Most locals would suggest you either enjoy your time at any of the bars, restaurants or piazzas of the Centro along with the discos of Testaccio.
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