Vatican, Prati & Piazza Navona
What are you going to do?
This walk will take you through a typical residential neighborhood, as well as the dynamic city center, with the Vatican as its main attraction. The leaders of this tiny autonomous state have invested in art for centuries, and there is an abundant display of works at the Musei Vaticani and Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica).
Prati, the neighborhood adjacent to the Vatican, is posh and upscale, with extraordinarily straight streets and stately homes. For those who are uninterested in art, this neighborhood still has plenty to offer. Via Cola di Rienzo is especially great for shopping.
You'll find the impressive Palazzo di Giustizia on Piazza Cavour. Almost adjacent lies Castel Sant’Angelo. This was once a mausoleum for imperial families, but is now home to part of the Museo Nazionale Romano. Bernini’s angels on the Ponte Sant’Angelo guide visitors across the Tiber River.
Here narrow streets lead to Piazza Navona, once the athletic stadium of Emperor Domitian. This was a favorite spot for young aristocracy to visit during their Grand Tour of Europe during the second half of the 20th century. Nowadays many people come here for an afternoon stroll, to go out at night, or to have their portrait painted by one of the many street artists. You'll find all kinds of
shops and places to eat on Via del Governo Vecchio. There are also many churches, fountains, and museums in this neighborhood. And the fun continues until well after sunset—you'll be amazed by the number of plastic cocktail glasses deposited carelessly on top of parked cars, especially around Piazza del Fico.