Central Italy and Rome, Handbook for Travellers

By Karl Baedeker | Go to book overview
I. The Hills to the North and East: Pincio, Quirinal, Viminal, and Esquiline, the more modern city, the N. part of which is the strangers' quarter.
II. Rome on the Tiber (left bank), the city of the middle ages and following centuries, with the Corso Umberto Primo as its main thoroughfare; now much altered by the construction of new streets.
III. Ancient Rome, the southern quarters, containing the chief monuments of antiquity.
IV. The Right Bank of the Tiber, including the Vatican, St. Peter's, and Trastevere.

I. The Hills to the North and East: Pincio,
Quirinal, Viminal, and Esquiline.

The Pincio (Mons Pincius; p. 175), the northernmost height in Rome, was covered in antiquity with parks and gardens, and played no conspicuous part in history; but the Quirinal, adjoining it on the S.E., is mentioned in the earliest traditions of Rome. On the Quirinal lay the Sabine settlement whose union with that on the Palatine formed the city of Rome. The Servian Wall (see p. xxx and the Plan of Ancient Rome, p. 268) ran along the N.W. side of the Quirinal, and then to the S.E. and E. behind the Baths of Diocletian and the railway-station, enclosing besides the Quirinal the Viminal (to the S.E.) and a part of the Esquiline (the Cispius and Oppius). According to the division of the city by Augustus (p. xxxii), this quarter comprised two districts, the Alta Semita (Quirinal) and the Esquiliae (Esquiline). The building of Aurelian's wall shows that this quarter was afterwards extended. In the middle ages these hills were thinly populated and formed a single region only, named the Rione Monti, the most spacious of the city. Its inhabitants, called Montigiani, differed, like those of Trastevere, in some of their characteristics from the other Romans. In the latter half of the 16th cent. Pius IV. constructed the street from the Piazza del Quirinale to the Porta Pia. The second main street, intersecting this one almost at right angles and leading from the Pincio to Santa Maria Maggiore, was made by Sixtus V., who also provided the hills with water. With the exception of these inhabited quarters almost the entire E. part of Rome was until lately occupied by vineyards and gardens. But the selection of the city as the capital of the kingdom of Italy in 1870 gave a strong impulse to its extension, and this quarter has assumed quite a new aspect since that event.

The region known for ages as the Strangers' Quarter lies at the W. base and on the slope of the Pincio, its central point being

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