© Istock / Valerio Mei
© Istock / Valerio Mei

Rome, a tour in the iconic Garbatella District

4 minutes to read

In this story, I accompany you in Rome, on a tour in the iconic 100 years old Garbatella district. Some time ago, I guided you around the Coppedé district, another Roman district with magnificent architecture, but today it is time to explore the beautiful Garbatella.

This characteristic district, located in the Ostiense area, arose around 1920 as a popular neighborhood, but over time its magnificent architecture has become famous all over the world. The Garbatella district was designed on an ambitious urban planning project by the famous architect Paolo Orlando, who was inspired by the English model of the "garden cities." In fact, it is still called the "garden district" today: the whole area is divided into lots, occupied by buildings surrounding courtyards and gardens, with many common spaces to facilitate socialization among the inhabitants: sinks and drying racks, small artisan shops, and cellars, have always been a point of reference for the inhabitants and visitors.

© Istock / Valerio Mei
© Istock / Valerio Mei

Origin of the name

A legend says that this was an area of ​​great passage for pilgrims who wanted to visit the nearby Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura. For this reason, inns and taverns were born all along the route. One of these taverns was very famous because it was run by a very polite and beautiful woman (in Italian "garbata e bella"), nicknamed "la Garbatella."

© iStock / Giulio_dgr
© iStock / Giulio_dgr
The Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome
The Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome
Piazzale San Paolo, 1, 00146 Roma RM, Italia

A set for fiction

In recent decades, this historic district of Rome has become cool again when a TV drama "I Cesaroni" has been set here: the story narrates the difficulties of a Roman family who runs a bar-tavern. The bar really exists, and it is called "Il Bar dei Cesaroni." It is located in Piazza Giovanni da Triora, and it is very popular with fans of the Roma football team, and also a tourist destination not to be missed. In reality, the Garbatella district, due to its particular architecture, is well suited as a set for films and has been the backdrop for many more or less famous films over time. Among these also the international series "Suburra."

© Istock / Valerio Mei
© Istock / Valerio Mei
Bar I Cesaroni, Roma
Bar I Cesaroni, Roma
Piazza Giovanni da Triora, 6, 00154 Roma RM, Italia

The Scala degli Innamorati and the Fontana della Carlotta

The neighborhood is crossed by uphill and downhill roads, due to the presence of hills and valleys. Among one of these hills is the famous Scala degli Innamorati. According to tradition, many loves have been born on this staircase, starting a century ago and up to now. Even today, as a sign of good omen, the engaged couples walk this staircase with the hope that their love story will last forever.

At the foot of the staircase, there is the symbolic monument of Garbatella, a fountain built around 1930 and designed by the famous architect Innocenzo Sabatini. The fountain is composed of a large jar-shaped vase supported by a column, on which a female face with long hair is positioned: water flows from there into the tub below. Since its construction, this small tank was also used as a drinking trough for horses.

© Istock / Valerio Mei
© Istock / Valerio Mei
Fontana Carlotta, Rome
Fontana Carlotta, Rome
Piazza Ricoldo da Montecroce, 00154 Roma RM, Italia

The Suburban Hotels

Suburban hotels are one of the main characteristics of the Garbatella district. Around 1920, with the demolition of the houses in the Borgo district for the construction of the future Via della Conciliazione, and with the demolition of the houses around via Cavour, for the construction of the future via dei Fori Imperiali, thousands of families were displaced and found themselves in a housing emergency. For this reason, the so-called Suburban Hotels were built: 4 buildings with a very particular architecture were built in economically and intended precisely for these poor displaced families. These buildings, facing Piazza Michele da Carbonara, were composed of common spaces, such as kitchens or schools, and private spaces, such as bedrooms, and were erected with the philosophy of being a temporary arrangement, which instead over time became definitive. Characteristic is the clock overlooking the Albergo Rosso, which remained still for many years showing the time of the start of the Rome bombing, during World War II: at 11:25 am on March 7th, 1943.

© Istock / Valerio Mei
© Istock / Valerio Mei
Suburban Hotels Roma
Suburban Hotels Roma
Piazza Michele da Carbonara, 00154 Roma RM, Italia

A modern touch: Ponte Spizzichino

In contrast to the classic and simple architectural style of this district, a bridge has been built over the Rome-Lido railway at the end of Circonvallazione Ostiense, in a perfect modern style. The design of the structure was obtained using graphic processing techniques and 3D modeling software. Particular attention was paid to lighting. The construction works lasted three years. The bridge is dedicated to the memory of Settimia Spizzichino, the only survivor of women in the Ghetto of Rome raid, on the 16th of October 1943: she was deported to Auschwitz.

© Istock / Andrea Colarieti
© Istock / Andrea Colarieti
Ponte Spizzichino Roma
Ponte Spizzichino Roma
Ponte Settimia Spizzichino, 00154 Roma RM, Italia

Today we cheered you up in Rome, with a tour in the iconic Garbatella District. We hope you have enjoyed discovering another piece of this Eternal City, which never ceases to amaze with its thousand faces. Rome is always ready for you to show you its Great Beauty!


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The author

Mara Noveni

Mara Noveni

My name is Mara, I am Italian, born in Rome and raised in the wonderful Tuscany. Always in love with reading and writing, I completed this way of expressing myself through photography, especially street and travel photography. Thanks to my many and long travel experiences, I have enriched my mind and my inner life.

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