The Vatican district, more popularly known as Rione Borgo, is one of the most central neighborhoods in Rome. We can say that it 'borders' the Vatican State for a part and for this reason it is one of the most chosen destinations for tourists to stay overnight.
Where is the Vatican District?
It is the ancient district around Via della Conciliazione, from Castel Sant'Angelo to the Vatican, and partly enclosed within the Leonine walls. It is beautiful to get lost in the alleys that branch off from Via di Borgo Pio and immerse oneself in its atmosphere that tastes of the past. Wandering around the neighborhood, it will not be difficult to come across the famous fountains with which the borough is littered, a few old artisan shops that have survived the difficulties that have increased over the years, many religious shops and some beautiful churches.
A charming area of Rome that deserves to be explored.
The district is also a famous 'shopping street', along Via Cola di Rienzo we can find shops for all tastes from Lui Jo to Nike, from Coin to The North Face.
As we say in Italy, you're spoilt for choice!
But let's discuss what you can visit in the area.
What not to miss in the Vatican District
Certainly the most interesting thing to see is Castel Sant'Angelo
Originally built as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and as a mausoleum for the Antonine family, it was transformed into a fortress, included in the Aurelian walls for the defense of the city. Later it was used as a political prison and took the name Forte Sant'Angelo.
After the unification of Italy it became a military barracks, and in 1925 it became the National Museum. The most interesting part of our journey inside the castle is the 'Passetto di Borgo', a raised walkway about 800 m long connecting the Vatican to Castel Sant'Angelo. Finally in 2000 the passetto was restored and open to the public and today is visitable just with a guided tour.
Also the bridge in front of Castel Sant'Angelo, the Ponte Sant'Angelo, is certainly worth a visit. At the beginning of the bridge, on the bank opposite the castle, are statues of St Peter and St Paul. The former holds the keys to heaven and the latter clutches a sword.
The angels on the bridge show men the instruments of Christ's Passion.
There are five pairs of angels plus from the statue of the Archangel Michael towering above Castel Sant'Angelo. According to some interpretations of the Scriptures, the Archangel Michael will sound the trumpet announcing the second coming of Christ to Earth.
Some of the best restaurants in the Vatican District
At this point after a long day of sightseeing and shopping, I guess you are hungry, right?
Here are some tips for eating where the locals eat and not feeling like a tourist.
- Ted's lobster burger: a different, very young place, where you can taste their iconic lobster roll. the cocktails are also noteworthy, not at all trivial, and go very well with the food.
- If you are looking for a more refined experience, we recommend Ristorante Arlù. It is characterized by great care in the presentation and choice of ingredients. Truly exquisite dishes and a fine wine list
- If you want to have an after-dinner cocktail, we recommend 'Il sorpasso', the historic club in Rome, where you cannot book but have to queue to get your seat.
What more can we say, come to Rome and discover the Borgo district with one of our Private Vatican Tours.