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Via Veneto

Via Veneto (32)

The Via Veneto drops in a sinuous curve from the Porta Pisciana, a fortified way out that leads to the Villa Borghese, until the Piazza Barberini, one of the busiest areas in the city.

In Antiquity it was a residential area, in which the most powerful men had their large villas with extensive gardens. The most renowned were those surrounding the home of the general and scholar Sallustius, known as Horti Sallustiani.

During the 5th and 6th centuries AD the barbarian invasions and wars caused the areas to be abandoned for more central parts. However, in the 17th century, the suburbs once again took on an important role, and it was the Ludovisi family that took over the area.

In 1879 the Ludovisis sold their large property as a result of the big increase in construction in Rome and which began the process towards the development of modern urban planning.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Via Veneto had become the most elegant street in Rome, and it housed the best hotels and restaurants. In the 50s and 60s it became the centre of what is called “la dolce vita”, when the actors, directors, singers, and millionaires in general filled its bars and terraces. Some of the stars that frequented the venues on this street were Sofia Loren, Vittorio de Sica, Liz Taylor, Richard Burton or Ingrid Bergman, normally besieged by the unavoidable paparazzi.

This golden period was reflected in several films of the time, but the most famous was undoubtedly Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”. In it, Anita Ekberg was harassed by a photographer, whose best friend was called Paparazzo. And that is the precise origin of what today is the well-known profession of paparazzi.

Today, in the Via Veneto one no longer experiences this atmosphere of “dolce vita”, but it is still one of the most charming avenues in the city. If you fancy, you can have a coffee in one of its mythical establishments, such as Doney’s or the Café de París. Fill up your wallet first though, as they are not exactly cheap. 

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