Via Nazionale, 1890.






Via Nazionale is an integral part of the project which at the time of Pio IX, in mid-nineteenth century, laid the foundations for the central station and a connection between this and the center of the town. Cardinal De' Merode, very active in those years, gave start to the purchase of land surrounding the area of Termini and the creation of the first buildings and in the first part of the route of the via Nazionale. The City of Rome, who took over the land and the project, he completed the works by extending the route to Piazza Venezia. The route follows the trend of the ancient Vicus Longus, the road passing between the slopes of the Viminale (Interior Ministry) and the Quirinale, the Baths of Diocleziano connected with the area of the Fori Imperiali. Via Nazionale, the first major street in the capital, is lined with buildings whose size and architecture had to be a clear signal of the transformation of small, rural city of popes in the capital of Italy.


The history of via Nazionale began with the acquisition, by Monsignor Francesco Saverio De Merode, the valley known as "S. Vitale", which then corresponded almost entirely to areas surrounding the route of the road. The monsignor was pro-minister weapons but most of the papal arms and tunic seduces him huge gains, so that in 1880 carve up the land which he owned. His dream was to create a modern quarter but managed only to build three buildings on top of today's via Nazionale, but then called Nuova Pia in tribute to pope Pio IX. De Merode sensed the importance of connecting Termini Station to the center of the city: indeed, he devised a way between the churches of Santa Maria degli Angeli and San Vitale that led to Piazza Venezia.


Between 1867 and 1872, De Merode agreed the sale of land with the City of Rome, who was able to carry out the works for the opening of the street, which was called the via Nazionale in honor of the young nation Italy. In the 1901 map of Rome, Via Nazionale arrived, as the project of De Merode, up to Piazza Venezia: only after the First World War off after the stroke Magnanapoli was called Via IV Novembre (in memory of the victory) and Via Cesare Battisti (in honor of Trentino hero hanged by the Austrians). The opening of the road led to the demolition of the last remnants of the ancient Baths of Constantine and the cutting of an embankment supported by a wall, on which rested the Baths: is the same upside that still serves as the basis for Villa Aldobrandini.


These Baths are still only plants and some renaissance sculpture that belonged to its decoration: the Dioscuri that adorn the fountain in Piazza del Quirinale, the statue of Constantine in the portico of the basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano and the two statues of the Nile and the Tiber that adorn the facade of the Senatorial Palace in Piazza del Campidoglio. Via Nazionale, defined as the largest road building renewal of the “New Rome”, belongs to two districts: from Piazza della Repubblica at the intersection with Via delle Quattro Fontane to the Castro Pretorio district; from that intersection to the Via XXIV Maggio, the Monti district.


The 1874 is the next building, now home of the hotel Quirinale, the work of Partini for initiative by Domenico Costanzi: is the first major hotel in the new capital, combined, through an underground passage to the rear of the Opera House, built on behalf of the same hotel-keeper in 1880. The hotel guests, of course, musicians and famous artists, as indicated by the inscription “In the hotel he used to take room Giuseppe Verdi, and from this window will show the people cheering on his arrival in Rome for the first perfomance of Falstaff, April 13, 1893”.


On the same side rises St. Paul within the walls, the American Episcopal Church of the Anglican Communion, work of the architect George Edmund Street (1873-1880). Access to the church goes through a portal with a double passage dominated by a mosaic (in 1909) depicting “St. Paul that teaches the Gospel to Rome”, by George Breck.

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