Explore The Fantastical Quartiere Coppedè In Rome

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Rome is full of amazing architecture, but not much of it is modern. So the Quartiere Coppedè comes as a surprise. Not just because it is unapologetically 20th century, but also because it is an astonishing mishmash of different building styles.

What Is The Quartiere Coppedè?

Located in the Trieste district of Rome, the Quartiere Coppedè was designed by Gino Coppedè in the 1920s. He was already known for his distinctive architectural style, and he was commissioned to create a new residential area that would pay homage both to the city’s Roman heritage and to contemporary trends.

Large building of the Quartiere Coppedè, with geometric features, including ornate windows and balconies, and a tree in front
A typical building of the Quartiere Coppedè

Based around a central square with a fountain, the Coppedè district includes 18 palaces and 27 villas and other buildings. Coppedè seems to have been given free rein to indulge his creativity to the full: the result is an eclectic mixture of styles, symbolism and whimsical features.

A Walk Around The Coppedè District

If you stand in the central Piazza Mincio, you’ll find yourself surrounded by Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles. There are turrets, frescoes and sculptures, wrought iron balconies and mythological references. And, as if to emphasise the point that all of the early 20th century is here, walk a little way from the piazza and you’ll encounter some classic functionalist architecture.

The area might be small, but the architectural detail is endless in its variety. No matter how often you visit you are likely to spot something different each time. The whole place has a slightly unreal quality, feeling a bit like a fantasy creation rather than a place where people live and work.

Mosaic with four classical style figures
Look for details both inside and outside the buildings, like this mosaic spotted inside a doorway

I Palazzi Degli Ambasciatori

If you approach from the junction of Via Arno and Via Tagliamento you’ll enter the Coppedè via the archway of the Palazzi degli Ambasciatori (Palaces of the Ambassadors). These were originally built as embassies but were never used as such (Coppedè himself lived in one of the palazzi for a while).

Very ornate building with a road passing through a central gateway. The building has external design features including arches, balconies and sculptures
The Palazzi degli Ambasciatori forms the entrance to the Coppedè

The buildings are grand and imposing, and are adorned with all manner of statues and carvings. There are pillars and balconies, and a rooftop garden. As you walk beneath the arch look up to see the chandelier above your head.

Piazza Mincio

Notable buildings in the Piazza Mincio include the Palazzina del Ragno (named for a large spider above the doorway) and the Villino delle Fate (see below).

The centrepiece of the piazza is the Fontana delle Rane (Fountain of the Frogs), said to be a homage to Bernini’s Fontana delle Tartarughe. The base is a tangle of figures, animals and shells, and water gushes out from the mouths of frogs and nymphs around the edge.

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Villino Delle Fate

The Villino delle Fate (Villa of the Fairies), on the corner of Piazza Mincio, is one of the most eye-catching buildings in the whole of the Coppedè. It is hard to characterise this one, but it is a sort of Art Nouveau fusion of Gothic and classical elements.

Asymmetrical building with turrets and irregular windows and roofs. The outside is covered with paintings. In front of it is an ornate fountain with carved frogs
The fantastical Villino delle Fate, with the Fontana delle Rane in front

The asymmetrical villa has arches and balconies, and a turret with a clock. The exterior is covered with murals depicting a variety of themes, from Romulus and Remus to the poets Dante and Petrarch.

Visiting The Quartiere Coppedè

The Quartiere Coppedè is just outside the historical centre of Rome, but easy to reach on foot. If you want to use public transport, you can take a bus to the nearby Piazza Buenos Aires. Note that the area is primarily residential and that you will not find restaurants or bars in the Coppedè district.

Stone surround to a doorway with elaborate decoration including carved heads and scrolls
Don’t forget to look at the architectural details!

If you want to explore more fantastical architecture you could take a short walk to the nearby Villa Torlonia, with its extensive grounds and the eccentric Casina delle Civette (House of the Owls). It is also possible to take a guided tour of the Coppedè and the Villa Torlonia.

And, finally, have a look at some more suggestions for exploring lesser known places in Rome.

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

About Bewitched by italy

Bewitched By Italy is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), but Italy remains one of my favourite destinations. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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