Saturday, June 27, 2020


Via Nazionale

Connection between Termini Station and Via del Corso layed out following the route of the ancient Roman road Vicus Longus, along the valley of S. Vitale, after the capital of the Kingdom of Italy was transfered to Rome in 1870

The Vicus Longus was in the valley in between The Quirinal and Viminal Hills 17 m (56 feet) below the level of Via Nazionale today
The area was very little inhabited at the time and the land had been purchased by the Belgian Monsignor Francesco De Merode purposefully in anticipation of this use

The first part of today's Via Nazionale, urbanized by De Merode, was called STRADA NUOVA PIA (New Pius Road)
The historical STRADA PIA was the road called today Via XX Settembre, rebuilt and enlarged by Pius IV Medici (1559/65) to create a scenic perspective between Porta Pia and the papal residence of the Palazzo del Quirinale

The idea was to open a fast and straight as possible link between the central station of the capital and the Tiber River, beyond which was expected, since 1873, the intensive urbanization of Prati di Castello
This intention was put into practice in 1886, with the resolution of a second wide route between Piazza Venezia and the river, which became the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Along Via Nazionale were built in the last three decades of the 1800s several important buildings:

Large hotels in the upper part including the Hotel Quirinale (1865)

Church of St. Paul's Within the Walls (1880), the first non-Catholic Christian church built in Rome after the unification of Italy

Exhibition Palace (1883)

Eliseo Theater (1901)

Palace of the Bank of Italy also called Palazzo Koch, headquarters of the Bank of Italy (1892)

Residential properties for the new middle class of the capital city

Works for the construction and urbanization of Via Nazionale demanded, among other things, the demolition of the Teatro Drammatico Nazionale (National Drama Theater), which allowed the discovery of exceptional bronze statues, the “Hellenistic Prince” and the “Boxer” now at Palazzo Massimo and the excavation of the northern part of the garden of Villa Aldobrandini, with the construction of the retaining wall
During these same works (1875) traces of Porta Sanqualis of the Servian Walls emerged currently visible in the middle of Largo Magnanapoli

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