“Ingredere has aedes quisquis es; amicus eris. Hospitem sospito”
Come into this house, whoever you are: you’re a friend. I protect the host
(maxim of the of architect Gino Coppedè, engraved on “Hospes Salve” building)
A charming walk through esoteric symbols and allegories
In addition to Rome’s historic centre, its extraordinary palaces, monuments, churches, there are other places, other areas, other buildings in Rome that absolutely deserve a visit for their extraordinary beauty. You are sure to be immediately taken aback by the amazing assortment of 17 villas and 26 buildings adorned with Tuscan turrets, liberty sculptures, Moorish arches, gothic gargoyles, frescoed facades and palm tree-laden gardens that stand out for their style (imaginative, unusual, and original, yet highly elegant) right in the heart of Rome’s residential “Trieste/Salario” neighbourhood. Concentrated around Piazza Mincio, they offer an oasis of unique style within the city landscape. This is the “Quartiere Coppedé” neighbourhood, named for the Tuscan architect and sculptor Gino Coppedè, commissioned by Società Anonima Edilizia Moderna, who designed and built it in the first decades of the twentieth century. The architect died in 1927, ten years after building this urban area that radicalized the fashion of the times, filling it with stylistic quotations and imaginative creations, from art nouveau to neoclassicism. On the side accessed from Via Tagliamento, a large archway connecting two buildings serves as the neighbourhood’s entry portal. At the centre of the arch is an enormous wrought-iron lamp with its fabulous chandelier. And at the centre of Piazza Mincio is the magnificient “Fontana delle Rane” (the frogs fountain). Some of the constructions are reminiscent of the city of Florence and its buildings; in particular, the housing compound called “Villini delle fate” (villas of the fairies) also bears references to Dante and Petrarch. A short distance away, on Via Brenta side, the city of reference is Venice, with the Lion of St. Mark, and a depiction of a sailing ship. The materials that characterize the constructions are terracotta, travertine, marble, glass, iron, wood, and brick. All the buildings in the district are elegant and evocative, with decorations here and there depicting a spider, a rooster, or a she-wolf, amid towers and loggias, small gardens, bas reliefs, and painted walls. A location of this kind could not go unobserved by the film-making professions, which have been a Roman mainstay for almost a century. In particular, Dario Argento set his movies “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” and “Inferno” here. An unforgettable experience is strolling through quartiere Coppedè’s streets while looking up to admire the buildings’ decorations, and the details of their facades, which always yield fun and pleasant surprises. You will be catapulted into a suspended time, where architectural and decorative elements, unexpected and asymmetric, will surprise you. In contrast to the monarchical “umbertine” architecture (monumental and rational) and the dominant culture of that time (Fascist), Coppedè gives us a worthy architectural example of the artistic tradition of the capital. Medievalism, references to the Renaissance, esotericism, allegories, chivalrous scenes, mythological figures, statues, friezes, masks, ashlars… all combined with an original and suggestive decorative streak. A must-see for travelers to Rome who enjoy eclectic architecture.
Find out more, visit the Trieste-Salario District