Witness a hidden world of whimsical and strange beauty in the smallest district in Rome, Quartiere Coppedè.
Forget the secret garden, this is the secret neighbourhood of Rome. Tucked behind the main streets of Quartiere Trieste between piazza Buenos Aires and via Tagliamento, is the bizarre and elaborate district of Coppedè. I was shown this magical place by my Roman man, obscured from the view of daily passers-by I was unaware it existed. Ok, so Rome is full of stunningly majestic monuments anyway. But this architecture is a wholly ‘other’ and wonderfully odd thing.
Off the tourist trail, the Coppedè district is a corner of Rome with unexpected and bizarre features, a fantastic mixture of Art Nouveau or Liberty, Art Decò, with influences of Greek, Gothic, Baroque and even medieval art.
Coppedè, brainchild of Florentine architect Gino Coppedè (built 1913-1927), is a jumble of historic style all whipped together in a dramatic frenzy. Nature is the principal inspiration; daring and eccentric curved lines seek freedom from tradition, coexisting with modern sensuous ironwork. Coppedè is Rome’s answer to the Gaudì structures of Barcelona.
There are no cafes or restaurants in the area – Quartiere Coppedè is simply for exploring. There are no metro stations close by, the easiest public transport would be to catch a tram (3 or 19) or bus to the stop Buenos Aires.
Best Things to See at Quartiere Coppedè
– The arch at the entrance to Quartiere Coppede
The dramatic arched entranceway (pictured in the photos below) is the main entrance to the quarter on Via Dora. A hanging iron chandelier of floral twisted tendrils and seahorse motifs beckons the eye into a hidden world.
– The Fountain of the frogs and the spider Palace
The Fontana delle Rane (fountain of the frogs) was designed in 1924 by the architect Gino Coppedè. The work was intended to be a tribute to Bernini’s fountains and actually the low level of the pond and the well-structured lively composition are features that remind us of those works.
The Palazzo del Ragno (Spider Palace) is a fun building on Piazza Mincio 4, it gets its name from the large spider decoration above the wooden doorway. Standing back there are lots of other intriguing decorations to observe, a large face, lion heads, griffins, a variety of columns, a balcony on a higher level with a loggia, there are also frescoes on the facade.
– The Fairy Houses
The Villino delle Fate (fairy houses) are located on via Aterno 4, piazza Mincio 3 and via Brenta 7-11.
between Piazza Buenos Aries and Via Tagliamento
Take trams 3 or 19 to Piazza Buenos Aires.
Enter under a big arch on Via Tagliamento (in front of Piper Club) on the corner with Via Dora.
We came upon Coppede almost by accident and now suggest any of our friends visiting Rome to check it out. Certainly a very different part of Rome and it gets people away from the old centre and more into contemporary Roman life. Thanks for the article.
I was lucky enough to grow up minutes away from this area and I was always very fond of it: the fontana delle rane and villino delle fate have always been magical for me as a kid and this is one of the areas I still now drag visitors to see – it always makes an impression and if you add a stroll to Piazza Caprera and Villa Paganini, then I feel you really treat them to something special! Any time I hear people saying ‘you don’t need more than 3 days to see Rome’ I feel oh I wish I could show what Rome can be like, if you look into its hidden neighborhoods!