[Visited: September 2005 and several times before]
Rome is an ancient city, which becomes clear wherever you walk in the Eternal City. A district which roughly has the road layout and planning of the classical era, is Pigna, or rione IX. Pigna is roughly situatued between the Pantheon, Via del Seminario, via del Corso, Piazza Venezia, via San Marco and Via di Torre Argentina. It takes it name from a roman bronze sculpture of a pine-cone. While it was standing on the Pantheon according to legend, it most likely served as a fountain in Agrippa's baths. Whatever its history, it can now be found in the courtyard in the Vatican Museums.
Apart from the Pantheon, the obvious highlight of this district, Pigna offers the visitor a stroll through narrow and quiet streets where cars are not allowed to drive, to crossing busy streets. You can stumble upon hidden churches, small squares, even a giant marble foot. The latter actually is the remains of an Egyptian temple, and it can be found in the aptly named Via del Pie di Marmo (Street of the Marble Foot). In Roman times, this area, the Saepta, was used for Republican meetings, and it also held temples. Some of these were dedicated to Egyptian deities. History has its hold on Pigna district.
But apart from these smaller remains of antiquity, there are churches like the Santa Maria sopra Minerva church, impressive especially when you enter through the rather small backdoor, the remains of the baths of Agrippa, which can clearly be seen blended in with the houses in the street, the Roman College, and the Piazza Sant'Ignazio. The latter was designed in the 18th century by Filippo Raguzzini, related to the pope. The square, best seen from the steps of the Sant'Ignazio church, is conceived like a theatre, a real exponent of Baroque Rome, and the central building, now in use by the carabinieri, is like a giant stage with side-wings, from which passers-by appear like actors in a real-life theatre show.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Pigna (Italy). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Pigna. Read more about this site.