The history of Prati neighborhood

The history of Prati neighborhood

At the end of the nineteenth century, the road structure of the neighborhood was defined, although not all the houses had yet been built. The central street was the long Via Cola di Rienzo (from Piazza della Libertà to Piazza Risorgimento), which was directly connected with the Margherita Bridge. Since Rome was governed by liberal, nonreligious politicians, the Margherita bridge was built to avoid the sight of St. Peter’s dome and Castel Sant’Angelo, which were seen as symbols of the past temporal domain.

The Fields of the Castle (Castel Sant ‘Angelo) began to be constructed after 1870. In 1879 the bridge, originally built in iron, was built, and went from the Ripetta stairs to the so-called ” Cahen district ” (around the actual Vittoria Colonna street). It took its name from a family of Belgian financiers who were related to the de Merode family, and the area expanded even more. An even bigger expansion was the consequence of the opening of three new bridges (Margaret, 1891 Umberto, 1895 Cavour 1901), which turned around the relationship between the right bank and left bank of the Tiber by linking the new area to the city center.

In the last two decades of the nineteenth century an agreement between the City and the Royal Army led to the construction of the five barracks between Julius Caesar avenue and the Milizie avenue. These buildings marked the final border of the Prati di Castello area beyond which there was the Piazzale delle Armi where the various military units carried out their trainings.

In those days interesting pieces of architecture emerge in the area, especially villas for rich bourgeois. As reported by Wikipedia, famous artists of the time, such as Cambellotti, decorator of D’Annunzio’s books or Galileo Chini, a good ceramic artist, gave their contribution in refining the villas. Thus villa Vitale and Cagiati were built in Via Alessandro Farnese, at the corner between Piazza della Libertà and Via dei Gracchi. At that time also influential protagonists of the emerging of liberty style in Rome, such as Senator Cefaly, Count Peter Chiassi and Cesare Danesi had their villas built. At number 38 of Via Crescenzio architect Fulgenzio Setti designed villa Roy which is in front of Sant’Angelo Guesthouse. Built in eclectic Parisian style, it fully represents the early twentieth century architecture, especially due to its spire which you can see from corner of Via Ovidio.

It is worth of note that Prati is an umbertinian district with very few additions from the fascist period or from the following decades. however very often people include in it the Delle Vittorie district which was built later, during the Fascist period. It is a district that today is referred to as Prati, even if it is not part of Prati.

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