Via Giulia in Centro Storico underneath the Arco Farnese, looking along the ivy clad walls of the Palazzo Farnese on the left.

Geoff Stringer

Via Giulia

Centro Storico

Designed by Bramante in 1508 as part of an urban development program ordered by Pope Julius II, Via Giulia is one of Rome's most charming streets, an elegant, largely car-free strip of churches, colourful Renaissance palazzi and discreet fashion boutiques.

At its southern end, the 17th-century Fontana del Mascherone features the face of a man seemingly surprised by water spewing from his mouth. Just beyond it, and spanning the road, is the Arco Farnese, an overhead arch designed by Michelangelo as part of an unfinished project to connect Palazzo Farnese with Villa Farnesina on the opposite side of the Tiber.

Continuing north, on the left, down Via di Sant’Eligio, is the lovely Raphael-designed Chiesa di Sant’Eligio degli Orefici.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Centro Storico attractions

2. Museo Criminologico


Check out Rome’s dark side at this macabre museum of crime. Housed in a 19th-century prison, its gruesome collection includes torture devices, murder…

3. Chiesa Nuova

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Hardly new as its name would suggest, this imposing landmark church boasts a distinguished 17th-century facade and a vast baroque interior. Of particular…

4. Triumphs & Laments

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This vast and fading frieze adorns the River Tiber walls between Ponte Sisto and Ponte Mazzini. The creation of South African artist William Kentridge, it…

5. Arco Farnese

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An overhead arch spanning Via Giulia, the Arco Farnese was designed by Michelangelo as part of an unfinished project to connect Palazzo Farnese with Villa…

6. Torre dell'Orologio

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Built by Borromini between 1647 and 1648, this landmark clock tower, after which the piazza below is named, was designed for the adjacent convent of San…

7. Palazzo Farnese

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Home to the French embassy, this towering Renaissance palazzo, one of Rome's finest, was started in 1514 by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, continued by…

8. Arco degli Acetari

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For one of Rome’s most picture-perfect scenes, head to this dark archway just off Campo de’ Fiori. The arch in itself isn’t especially memorable...