In 1871, when it was decided to name a street for the biggest hero of the Unification of Italy, Garibaldi, the first thought had gone to the Via di Ripetta. Since the defense of the city had mostly taken place along the slopes of the Janiculum Hill it was finally decided to choose the street beginning at the Porta Settimiana and meandering up the hill to the Piazzale di Porta San Pancrazio.
Before this street was baptized into Via Garibaldi it used to be called the Via della Fornaci, probably because of the Manifattura dei Tabacchi that Benedict XIV had built along this street.
Tourist attractions along the Via Garibaldi:
- Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori (Via Garibaldi, 27): Convent belonging to the Sister Order of the Agostiniane Oblate del Bambin Gesù. The church in its courtyard was commissioned by Camilla Savelli Farnese, designed by Borromini and finished by Francesco Contini.
- The fountain at the Via di Porta San Pancrazio crossing bears an inscription saying that in 1629 the Barberini’s paid for reconstruction work to the Church of San Pietro in Montorio. The fountain, which stems from the same period, was itself restored by the city of Rome, in 1936. The area around the vessel is tiled with pieces of ancient marble.
- Those fallen for an Italian Rome are honored a little bit further up the road, through the Monumento ai caduti per la causa di Roma Italiana. Initially this monument was to be found on the Piazza di San Pietro in Montorio and consists of a portico on a square base with three arches on each side and the Roman she-wolf and the letters S.P.Q.R. in the center. The 4 corners of the monument are inscribed with the names of the battlefields. The facade and the back display the words Ai Caduti per Roma (For those who fell for Rome) while the sides claim Roma o Morte (Rome or Death). One of Rome’s most famous heroes, called Goffredo mameli, is buried near the monument.
- Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, aka the Fontanone.
- Villa Vaini-Giraud-Ruspoli: This villa used to be owned first by the Vaini family, then by the Giraud family and finally by the Ruspoli’s. Nowadays the Spanish ambassador lives here, which means that when the man wakes up and opens the curtains of his bedroom, he will be able to admire one of the most beautiful panorama’s in Rome.