Posted by: Debra Kolkka | December 15, 2012

A bird’s eye view of Rome…and a history lesson

,Head to Gianicolo from The Vatican or Trastevere for an amazing view over Rome. The area is on the second highest hill in Rome. In ancient times it was where Janus was worshipped. It became an area filled with sacred woods and buildings…a place for priests to observe the sky and be close to god.

Now it is a quiet place to walk and enjoy magnificent views, particularly at sunset. We were a bit early for that and it wasn’t a particularly sunny day, but the city still manage to look great.




In 1849 Gianicolo was the scene of an important battle, where Giuseppe Garibaldi fought the French troops. The hill is dominated by an impressive statue of Garibaldi on horseback.



Off to one side in a smaller park there is a memorial to Garibaldi’s wife, Anita, who fought beside her husband in many battles.



The monument was inspired by an event during the war fought for the freedom and independence of the Rio Grande do Sul Republic. While Garibaldi was away, his camp was attacked during the night. Anita managed to escape by jumping onto a horse and galloping away with her new born baby.

One of the panels depicts Anita leading soldiers across the Pampas.


Another shows Anita searching for Garibaldi among the bodies of soldiers in the battle of Curitibanus.


The north side panel depicts an ill and exhausted Anita in Garibaldi’s arms, having escaped from the Austrians after the defence of Rome. Anita died on 4th August 1849 on a farm near Ravenna. She was 28. Her body lies in the base of the monument.


Lining the road leading to Trastevere there are busts of partisans.



This chap seems popular.


There are some spectacular moustaches on display.







Garibaldi seems to have recruited a Finn to fight for the cause. He is now in front of the Finnish Embassy.


A little further down the hill towards Trastevere is the Aqua Paola fountain built in the late 17th century to celebrate the reopening of a Roman aqueduct created in 109ad by Emperor Trajan.


Further downhill is the impressive War Memorial.


The crypt of the mausoleum holds the remains of those who died for Rome to become the capital of a united Italy. In the list of the fallen, carved in marble, are the names of all those heroes, men and women, famous and obscure, from the officers to the drummer boys, 16, 14 and 11 years old.

Don’t miss Gianicolo if you go to Rome, for the view and the history.

Click here to see another great view of Rome, or look in the Rome category for lots more on this gorgeous city, and click here to see where Garibaldi spent his last days.


  1. A great post! I lived just near there for six months in 2007 in Trastevere – it certainly is a special part of Rome. It’s great to walk up from Trastevere – quite a few stairs but a good way to work off all the gelato! Gianicolo is also a bit of a lovers lane late at night 😉
    OMG you blog is snowing! That is so cool!

  2. Reblogged this on unwillingexpat and commented:
    A beautiful history lesson

  3. I’m sad to say that during our trip to Rome (5 years ago), we didn’t get to Gianicolo, but a definite must for next time! Thanks for the beauty and the history.

    • I have been many times to Rome, but this was my first visit to Gianicolo…it won’t be my last.

  4. Very nice. I love the range of expressions in all this sculpture.

  5. Yes a beautiful history lesson indeed. I have yet to explore Rome, all my trips to Italy for business keep me in the north! But one day…

    • Rome is a fabulous city. You could spend a lifetime there and not see everything.

  6. What a fantastic and dramatic love story. It must be so moving to read the names of the little drummer boys especially. I so enjoy my travels with you. – these photos even provide the back drop for my dreams!

    • The monument made me want to know more about the Garibaldis, they certainly had an adventurous life. Garibaldi went on to have a couple more wives, but I think Anita was the love of his life.

  7. My husband I spent 2 weeks at the American Academy this summer–it’s up on the hill around the corner from the fountain–and we had that view you captured over Rome from the bedroom/studio. (I left kicking and screaming.) The fountain was a backdrop for many newlyweds…

    • Lucky you! They would have had to drag me away too.

  8. Great views from the Giannicolo! It also houses a beautiful church, San Pietro in Montorio, which marks the place where St Peter was crucified. The famous and beautiful “”Tempietto” by Bramante was built on the crucifixion’s site.

    • I haven’t been to the church…an excellent reason to go back to Gianicolo.

    • I haven’t been to the church…an excellent reason to go back to Gianicolo.

  9. I wish I had your patience Debra but I love your eye for detail. Roma looks so beautiful from that angle, whatever the weather.

  10. Lovely pics! 🙂

  11. Love the Anita part. I thought back in the day, they don’t allow women to fight in battles. I guess the dates are sooner?
    Anywho, what I would give to go back and see an overview of Rome. Very nice view indeed, Debra.

    • I’m sure it was most unusual for women to be fighting beside their men even in the 1830s and 1840s. I think Anita was special and clearly loved Garibaldi and shared his beliefs.

  12. As always, beautiful pictures!

  13. This brings back wonderful memories of strolling through the Trastevere and up here last May, the views really are amazing!

    • It is a gorgeous area of Rome…I will certainly go back on my next visit.

  14. Rome is the best place to visit in Italy, I’ve always thought. And now you’ve added another wonderful ‘must-see’ to the already long list for future visits. Thank you!

    • Rome certainly has lots to offer. I don’t think I could pick my favourite place in Italy, there are too many.

  15. “How very happy I am here in Rome when I think of the bad days
    Far back there in the north, wrapped in a grayish light.
    Over my head there the heavens weighed down so dismal and gloomy;
    Colorless, formless, that world round this exhausted man lay.
    Seeking myself in myself, an unsatisfied spirit, I brooded,
    Spying out pathways dark, lost in dreary reflection.
    Here in an ather more clear now a luster encircles my forehead.
    Phoebus the god evokes forms, clear are his colors by day.
    Bright with the stars comes the evening, ringing with songs that are tender,
    And the glow of the moon, brighter than northern sun…”

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