16.11.2019
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‘ROMAN HOLIDAY’ FILMING LOCATIONS

A MOVIE JOURNEY TO ROME

On the verge of the high-budget-peplum era (which had directed the eyes of the audience to the stories on Roman Empire), a romantic story about the European princess has become an international page-one movie for millions of the movie enthusiasts worldwide. From the Shakespearean story of Romeo and Juliet, drowned in blood warfare between their families, to a dear-heart heiress of a throne and an American reporter. All we have now, seventy years past, is a wild guess of how much representants of the past generations have visualized one’s trip to Italy over one’s desire to share a touch of the emotions between Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.  The travel topography of our well-loved characters along the streets of Rome comes over to grasp two dozens of filming locations, all set within a center part of the ancient city, in a walking distance one from another. Unlike the movies to come, including a pleiad of the inspired next comers, ‘Roman Holiday’ does a fine job in steering a topographical note of Rome and favors the indeed sets of the given locations, yet attaching new predestination to some of them (such as the Embassy or American New Service Office).

 

PALAZZO BARBERINI — PRINCESS’ EMBASSY 

The movie comes to light with an event of a rare significance for the admired citizens of Rome. A ceremonial marching keeping the spirit of the ancients manifestations, taken by a royal family, placed on a high grandstone. In a cinematic pursuit to dramatize the importance of the day, the camera takes out VIP-cars, which is leading one’s way through the incrusted gates of a building, can be only attributed as a palace. A few moments later, we could see both the privileged guests of the evening and the householders. A youngling princess Anne, subordinated in some measure with a family commitment, as well as to a lack of choice, welcomes the numerous VIP guests in a dignified manner.  As lately as a few hours later, Princess slips away from the Embassy in a way like a bird from the golden cage.

PALAZZO BARBERINI - PRINCESS’ EMBASSY 

As far as more than three centuries prior to the visit of the ‘Roman holiday’ filming crew and their eternal gift of a luxurious VIP ball, the very location, close to the heart of Rome,  had been known as a vineyard of the famous Sforza family. Subsequent to sell on the territory to another moneyed family, historically recognized as the Barberini dynasty, and the inauguration the household head with the highest title of the Roman Pope, the former open site was now accompanied with a luxurious palace, made as a distinct contrast to the biblical image of the followers of God. The subsequent three centuries witnessed a creation and constant accession of one of the most impression-kind collections of arts, accumulated by the representatives of the Barberini family. As late as in 1949, only four years prior to the filming of the ‘Roman holiday’, the place was bought by the state of Italy. Notwithstanding with the establishment of the museum, a number of rooms of the palace have been rented to the officer’s club of the Italian army for another half a century. Nowadays, the former residence of the Pope allocates ‘Gallerie Nazionali D’arte Antica’ with a collection, only 20% of which can be displayed within the halls of Palazzo Barberini. 

PALAZZO BARBERINI - PRINCESS’ EMBASSY. Roman holiday

 

THE ROMAN FORUM

Once broke the cover of the Embassy and self-proclaimed golden prison with a pure palace look, Anna takes notice of a loving couple on Vespa transport (motor-bicycle). This scene would be later recreated mirror wise with Joe. Her early enthusiasm is no being reversed with fear and a surprising desire not to be immune to sleeping pills. A few minutes from that scene, Joe, a character of Gregory Peck, is making his walking way along the streets of Rome off the scent of a card game with his friends. He gets around to a crossroad of two cozy streets: Via Del Tulliano and Villa Dell’Arco di Settimio to gain sight of a young girl, taking a relaxing sleep in the foothills of ‘Arco di Settimio Severo’ (The Arch of Septimius Severus).

This Arch of Triumph of white marble was erected as far as in 203 A.D. to glorify the victory of the Emperor Septimius Severus against the Middle-East Empire of that times. Princess Anne has subconsciously taken refuge at the foot of the monument of 23 meters high and 25 meters wide. Joe just can’t leave a girl on the street at night and he takes advantage of a taxi passing by, first to try to reveal girl’s address and then to take her to his apartment after comic and pointless efforts. The authentic street with both automobile and pedestrian movement, which had once passed along the Northern part of the Roman Forum, was preserved only partially, with restricted access for all comers. Current time, this part of the Forum is closed for visiting, yet it is enough reachable with the zoom of your photo cameras in a pursuit to gain all the photos of the ‘Roman Holiday’ filming locations.  

THE ROMAN FORUM. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck

THE ROMAN FORUM. The roman holiday movie locations in Rome

 

VIA MARGUTTA 51 — JOE’S APARTMENT

Upon a comedian dialogue with a taxi driver and a piece of semi-useful information on his family and trio of ‘bambinos’ (children), Joe finally announces his address in Rome as Via Margutta 51. This cozy street once found its place between two well-known Roman squares, which are Piazza Del Popolo and Piazza Di Spagna. A foot pass across narrow courtyards indeed resembles the authentic atmosphere, which has been preserved even sixty years after the movie was made. It is easy than a challenge to trace the route of our characters, yet the apartment itself, as well as the staircases, were created as a studio set. Some picturesque terraces of the district, in fact, give you a chance to satisfy with panoramic panoramas over the everlasting Rome, still without recognized landmarks such as the Coliseum, Roman Forum, and Spanish steps. 

VIA MARGUTTA 51 - JOE’S APARTMENT

VIA MARGUTTA 51 in Rome

VIA MARGUTTA 51 - JOE’S APARTMENT Rome

 

GALLERIA ALBERTO SORDI — AMERICAN NEWS SERVICE OFFICE

All while a beautiful stranger woman comes to life in Joe’s apartment, he makes his way to the office of the American New Service and his boss Mr. Hennessy in a bit to talk a lot of nonsense on his presence at the yesterday’s dinner party at the Embassy. Similar to a scene within Joe’s apartment in Rome, the interior of the News office was no more than a studio set, including the outside look of the office window with ALL THE NEWS / ALL THE TIME inscription. On the other hand, a panorama from the window to the streets gives us a clear understanding of the indeed location in Rome. We can notice Fontana di Piazza Colonna, a Roman fountain with a four-century history, which had once provided the citizens with clean water as a life-serving alternative to muddy water from the Tiber river. One of the shots also includes a perspective over the Colonna di Marco Aurelio, a column of 40-meter high erected back in II century to honor the victory of Marcus Aurelius. 

AMERICAN NEWS SERVICE OFFICE Roman holiday

GALLERIA ALBERTO SORDI - AMERICAN NEWS SERVICE OFFICE

Fontana di Piazza Colonn. Roman holiday locations

Fontana di Piazza Colonn Rome

 

TREVI FOUNTAIN AND A BARBERSHOP

Our delighted princess, charmed with a city and her freedom, unveils walkings along the streets of Rome. Anne is being enveloped with a simplicity of a street life full of children under one’s feet, fish merchants and watermelons of 10 kg weight.  Now being accompanied with her new sandals, bought just on the street, Anne takes a turn from Via Del Lavatore street to be magnified with a famous Fontana Di Trevi, an architectural complex with more than two centuries of history, gull of city legends, charming tourists traditions and bearded beliefs. Even considering the fact, that back in 1953 the square was not so constantly crowded with tourist as nowadays, Joe succeeds in spying a stranger girl without her notice. Anne makes a stop just in front of a barbershop with a respective BARBIERE sign. A mirror inside the improvised showcase as well as drawings of the hairstyles draw Anna’s attention and hands her to the mastery of Mari Delani.  Present-day, almost seventy years after the ‘Roman Holiday’ was filmed, the location accommodates a leather store with handbags and purses, now attracting new generations of girls and women. 

TREVI FOUNTAIN AND A BARBERSHOP

TREVI FOUNTAIN AND A BARBERSHOP and Roman Holiday

TREVI FOUNTAIN AND A BARBERSHOP. Rome movie sites

TREVI FOUNTAIN

 

THE SPANISH STEPS

A few seconds after a change of the scene, the camera follows Anne on her way along  Via Dei Condotti, a merchant street which opens the famous front panorama at Piazza Di Spagna, as well as the legendary Spanish steps. The movie grants us with the most breath-taking perspectives over the legendary Roman landmark, from Santissima Trinità al Monte Pincio, a french church over the Spanish steps in Italian Rome, to Fontana Della Barcaccia, a recognized fountain, created with a talent of two representatives of the famous Bernini family. In the same way, as millions of tourists before and after the movie was filmed, Anne falls in a sweet temptation to taste the legendary GELATI ice-cream, just on the foot of the Spanish steps. The princess takes her time on one of the stone platforms of the architectural complex, a place is now forbidden for taking any food, including the famous Tiramisu. In a comic contrast, Anne leaves an empty waffle of her gelati right on the steps. A few moments later, Joe walks up Anne and this scene would later become of the most recognized shots of the ‘Roman holiday’ movie.

Piazza Di Spagna. Roman holiday 1953

Piazza Di Spagna

THE SPANISH STEPS. Joe and Anne

THE SPANISH STEPS in Rome filming locations

 

ROCCA CAFE

Subsequent to a friendly pact on the mutual walking leisure along the streets of Rome, the duo of our characters finds a stop-location within one of the street cafe of Rome, just a few steps from the magnificent PANTHEON. Roca cafe has once found its place on the VIA DELLA ROTONDA street, named after Santa Maria Rotonda, the Christian name of the church, once placed inside the ancient landmark. For a span of no less than five centuries, the open site around the ancient temple had been a refuge for merchants and a pedestrian arteria within a heart of Rome. Joe, Anne and a photographer Irving Radovich, spend their day time chatting a few meters from the columns of the Pantheon. They choose to order a glass of champagne and a cold coffee and only a few minutes later the Princess takes her first (and probably the last) cigarette in her life. Present days, Via Della Rotonda 25 accommodates REPLAY fashion store.

ROCCA CAFE and the pantheon

ROCCA CAFE and Roman Holiday

ROCCA CAFE and Replay shop

 

COLISEUM

Irving failed to gain a strict answer of the upcoming destination of Joe and Anne, yet the scene is being passed into another one on the motorbike. The movie duet passes the TEATRO MARCELLO, an ancient theater with a history of two thousand years, often misregarded as the Coliseum. This city landmark is located within easy distance to Piazza Venezia square. The background panorama of the upcoming scenes includes a part of Vittoriano (Vittorio Emanuele II Monument) far behind. Finally, another shift of the camera interspaces the shot with a magnificent Coliseum, a world-wide recognized landmark of Rome, a reminder of the once vanished glory of the Roman Empire. The scene takes Joe and Anne from behind, all while they are moving along Via Dei Fori Imperiali up to the legendary arena. A movie visit to Coliseum turns out to be a source of some breathtaking panoramas with the best inner dimensions and angles of the arena, had once seats for 50 000 of people. 

COLISEUM 1953

COLISEUM nowadays

COLISEUM. Joe, Anne and Irving

COLISEUM Roman holiday 1953 where was filmed

 

PIAZZA VENEZIA

Paying additional attention to the previous scene, our loving duet had already had the joy to see an astonishing panorama of the transport heart of Rome. Nevertheless, the upcoming sequence takes us behind the Joe-Anne pair, who make their way along the Via Del Corso, a street, which had been used as a link in a transport chain between ancient Rome and the Adriatic coast as far as in III century A.D. The camera reveals an awe-inspiring panorama of the Piazza Venezia and the Vittoriano monument. This pompous background in some sense dominates the Vespa motorbike of our couple.

PIAZZA VENEZIA. Where Roman holiday was filmed

PIAZZA VENEZIA Rome

 

POLICE STATION

As an effect to a vertigo-kind, if not to say a shattering ride along the streets of Rome, Joe and Anne find themselves within a local police station, no less than in a role of peace-breakers and trouble-makers for the citizens of the ancient city. A few seconds prior to a semi-infamous final the Capitol hill has inflicted the scene of a Vespa chase.  Later on, the conflict is to be settled and Joe, Anne, and Irving find oneself within an open terrace of the police station. This filming location could be easily found at the ‘Piazza Della Bocca Della Verità’ square. The background image of a site is to be determined by Tempio Di Portuno, an ancient temple of the I century B.C., later turned into a catholic church for centuries. Another effort of our attentiveness reveals a silhouette of the Foro Boarino (Forum Boarium), named after an age-old cattle merchant nearby. 

POLICE STATION. The Roman holiday 1953 movie tour

 

THE MOUTH OF TRUTH

Joe, Anne and Irving resume their Rome walking to the south of the previously visited locations, next to the Forum Boarium. The trio of the characters do a little much than a few dozens of steps to reach the famous Bocca Della Verita, an antique marble plate of the I century A.D. The aureola of the face delivers ancient presentation of the Triton, a son of Poseidon, in Greek mythology, as well as Ocean, a later roman analog to a godhood of the Hellas. Throughout the last three centuries, an antique artifact has been kept on this very place, against the wall of the Santa Maria Cosmedin catholic church. Inasmuch as Anne does not ready to reveal her royal heritage to Joe, she finds a poor enthusiasm to probe an age-lasting superstition dealing with the possible amputation of a hand for the liars. However, Joe lightens the mood and takes the heat of the situation off with a joke. Once you have decided to visit the famous landmark, you should take into consideration the fact, that an early visit would probably face you with a bar, since the site is to be open no early than at 9.30 a.m.

THE MOUTH OF TRUTH Roman holiday

Bocca Della Verita Rome. The mouth of truth

 

THE WALL OF WISHES

Another Vespa ride is to be followed by a scene near a godlike wall with an underpart covered with inscriptions and plates with the wishes of people. Joe narrates a short story, which relegates the moment to the years of the Second World War, a period of a humiliating defeat for Italy. This very location is distanced to the maximum extent according to other ‘Roman holiday’ filming locations. This very section of the wall could be found along the Viale Del Policlinico street and these days represents only a preserved fragment of the ancient city wall of the III century A.D., attributed as the ‘Aurelian Walls’. As for the tablets with the wishes, they were moved to be preserved within Santuario Del Amore church, 15 km distanced from Rome, a few years after the ‘Roman Holiday’ was created. 

THE WALL OF WISHES Roman holiday

THE WALL OF WISHES in Rome

 

SANT’ ANGELO

In the evening light, Joe and Anne use a horse ride to reach one of the most gorgeous panoramas of Rome, which open for admiration from the bank of the Tiber towards the Ponte Sant’ Angelo bridge as well as Castel Sant’ Angelo fortress. The night restaurant from the movie has found a place beneath two of the architectural icons of Rome, yet attributed among the most visited places in the whole Italy. A castle, alternatively known as a Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian with its two-thousand-year history and a pedestrian bridge over Tiber river, once embellished with the statues of the apostles. This evening peace and harmony for Joe and Anne were not destined to work out for long and the men in black suits arrive to take the princess back home. The persistent mercenaries soon find themselves in the waters of Tiber river and in hands of the Roman police, as well as Joe and Anne find the way out. 

SANT’ ANGELO and the Roman Holiday movie set

SANT’ ANGELO in Rome

 

THE FINAL SCENE — PALAZZO COLONNA

Just a few hours after a free-will coming back to the bosom of her family, Anne finally takes part in the postponed acquaintance with the press, delayed till things expected to go better for the royal dynasty. The movie implicated the idea, that we are now back into the same building of the embassy, has been depicted within the first scenes, while the story takes us to another palace, known as Palazzo Colonna, once erected on the ruins of the antique temple. The awe-inspiring palace had been in possession of the Colonna family for centuries and had been added on and renovated for the span of the Roman history. It is the main gallery of the palace, attributed as Galleria Colonna, which accommodates the final scene of the movie. One among the most remarkable exchange of views in a movie history symbolizes the fact that Anne has listened to reason and duty, leaving her warm sentiments to Joe as sweet memories on her days in Rome. 

THE FINAL SCENE - PALAZZO COLONNA

THE FINAL SCENE - PALAZZO COLONNA in Rome

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