Beyond Trastevere: Aventino

The Aventine Hill

JCU Beyond Trastevere: AventinoWe all know that Rome was built on seven hills, but how often do we spend time really exploring those hills? If you live in Rome, you’ve surely stood at the top of one of them looking out on the panorama of the Eternal City at some point, but it can be easy to focus on the view and overlook the neighborhood itself. The truth is, these famous hills are so much more than an incline of the earth. They mold the identity of Rome. They are whole neighborhoods, different worlds all tucked into one incredible city. One of these districts is the Aventino neighborhood located atop the Aventine hill.

When you study at John Cabot University, it can be tempting to stay in Trastevere most of the time. You will follow a routine and schedule, and have your regular spots close to home. Trastevere is comfortable. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. But it is important to get out, leave your comfort zone, and explore different parts of the city as well! Take advantage of all that Rome has to offer, and embrace it as your “home” city! Why not start by heading over to the Aventine Hill to see what it has to offer?

The Orange Garden

Rome’s southernmost hill, Aventino, has many interesting and well-known sights to visit. One of the most prominent places is the Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden). This beautiful garden is the perfect place to start out your stroll through the neighborhood on a sunny day. Although this oasis is wonderful at any time of year, the best time to go is in the spring when the orange trees are blossoming. The park is serene and covered by shady umbrella pines, making it a great place for a picnic. However, the garden’s best feature is definitely the panorama view, overlooking Trastevere and the Gianicolo Hill, as well as other parts of the Roman skyline! On your way in, make sure to check out the mask fountain at the entrance of the park, which dates to the 1500s.

The garden is an easy walk away from Circo Massimo, Testaccio, or the Mouth of Truth.

The Keyhole

As you leave the garden and continue strolling through the neighborhood, you will notice that Aventino has a different feel than the rest of Rome. It is quieter, greener, and more upscale, with its elegant buildings and tree-lined streets. Head to the nearby Piazza of the Knights of Malta for a mysterious and gorgeous view through Rome’s famous “keyhole.” Initially, it might just look like a big green door leading to an ornate villa closed off to the public. But make sure to take a peep through the keyhole for a spectacular view of the garden framing the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Just look for the line of people standing in front of the door! Even a quick glimpse through the doorway will give you a jolt of excitement and leave you in awe of the secret gardens and hidden gems that Rome has to offer on every corner.

Here are a few more cool sights to check out around Aventino:

  • The Basilica di Santa Sabina
  • The Rose Garden (only open to the public in the spring)
  • The Sant’Anselmo church and monastery (stop in their shop to purchase chocolate and liqueur made by monks!)
  • The Basilica dei Santi Bonifacio e Alessio

Beyond Trastevere: Aventino

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