Quartiere Coppedè is a little-known area of Rome. It is the perfect backdrop for a stroll and a bit of a treat for architecture lovers and people looking for a different side of Rome, away from the crowds
If you are in Rome and looking for an off-the-beaten track experience, then you should explore the little residential area of Quartiere Coppedè (the Coppedè district)
Located outside of the historical center of Rome, Quartiere Coppedè is reasonably well known by the locals but not by mass tourism.
It is a tranquil, leafy area with something very special. It has a fairy tale type of architecture unique in Rome that will transport you in a magical world of pinnacles and pointy roofs!
I grew up down the road from this area and today, I am going to share with you what I love about it and why I consider it a true hidden gem.
What is Quartiere Coppedè
Quartiere Coppedè is a small, architecturally significant area of Rome that takes its name form its creator, Italian architect Gino Coppede’ who built it between 1915 and 1927.
It was commission by the Cerruti and Becchi families and it was built by a team of architects that included Gino Coppedè himself but also Paolo Emilio Andre’, who took over the works after Coppedè’s death in 1927
The area reflects the love of his creator for elaborate and unusual decorations and is an interesting mix of architectural styles and influences.
If you look closely, you will be able to spot references to architecture from Assyrian-Babylonian times, ancient Roman times, Baroque styles, all the way to the more recent Art Nouveau movement.
The result is intoxicating.
These buildings are whimsical and you can get lost for ages admiring their details: here you will find carved animals, leaves, geometrical shapes and human faces, all coming together in an immensely creative vision unique in Rome.
How long do you need to see Quartiere Coppedè
Quartiere Coppede is small and can be visited in about 30 minutes: in this time you can see all the main landmarks in this itinerary and get nice photo opportunities
However, I suggest you spend a morning in the area, so you can take in its unique atmosphere and also that you take the time to also explore the area immediately around it, which has nice streets (seek out Via delle isole) and beautiful parks such as Villa Torlonia.
How to get to the Coppedè district
Quartiere Coppedè is immediately outside Rome city center. The best way to reach it is by bus or tram and the closest stop is Piazza Buenos Aires (also called Piazza Quadrata).
Buses serving this area are 63, 86, 92, 630
Trams 3 and 19 also connect this area with Villa Borghese on one side and Ostiense on the other.
Blow you have a map of Quartiere Coppedè: zoom in or out for main landmarks location and wider Rome overview.
What to see in the Coppedè district Rome
The best way to visit the area is to take a stroll with your nose up and take in the magical atmosphere.
However, there are some landmarks you should look out for.
They are all close to each other so, while you want to know what to look for, you can be sure you won’t miss any – part of the charm of this area is that is is very contained!
Coppedè entrance arch
The first building you are likely to encounter is the impressive arch that marks the entrance to this cute little area.
The arch opens on Via Tagliamento and it is truly impressive. From outside, you quickly see the two turrets and the elaborate windows all across its facade but the true surprise comes once you step under it.
If you look up, you will see an amazing painted ceiling and outdoor candelabra that will make you feel like you just stepped into a royal palace!
The effect is slightly dampened by the many scooters parked on the side of the road however, the arch is sure not to disappoint!
Fontana delle rane in Piazza Mincio
The second landmark you will encounter is the fontana delle rane (fountain of the frogs).
This sits in the center of Piazza Mincio, the heart of quartiere Coppedè and is a beautiful fountains with incredible details.
Look out for the frogs that give it its name but also for the funny faces that spit water from puffed cheeks!
The fountain is said to be a homage to the more famous Fontana della tartarughe in Piazza Mattei, in Romes’ Jewish ghetto which indeed has a similar shape and animal theme
The fairy house
Just in front of the fountains sits probably the most distinctive of all the buildings by Coppedè, the ‘casina delle fate’ or ‘Villino delle fate’, aka the fairy house.
This building has a tall turret with pointed roof and it is so full of details you cannot help but thinking they made our of ginger bread!
Despite its children book look, the house has many cultural and architectural referencing conjuring up its current look: seek out the medieval looking porticoes and the frescoes to get a sense of the depth of thought behind this creation.
This house is privately owned but its inhabitants do not usually mind the odd tourist taking photos.
It happens just about rarely enough for it to be ok (but don’t go overboard, the area is getting more popular every day)
Palazzo del ragno
Another interesting building overlooking PIazza Mincio is palazzo del ragno, the spider building.
There is no prize for guessing where the name of this house comes from: above its main entrance there is a massive decoration of a spider you simply cannot miss!
The choice of a spider may seem peculiar.
However, it is said that Coppedè chose this animal as an ode to the labor of the architect and the patience and precision that goes into the architectures craft.
The spider is impressive in itself but even more so if you look at tour surrounding: the grand entrances of these palazzi are an unexpected backdrop for a decoration such as this one: the mismatch is intentional and powerful
Via Brenta and via Olona
Piazza Mincio is the heart of this little area but don’t leave the Coppedè district without taking a stroll on Via Brenta.
This road has several interesting buildings and also has the gate to a small impressive road, Via Olona
Via Olona is private but even from outside of its elaborate iron gates it is worth seeing.
The building at its end has many of the architectural detailing typical of this area and the small road leading up to it framed by greenery is picture perfect
Who lives in Quartiere Coppedè
When visiting this ara you cannot help but wondering who lives here and how the houses must look like inside.
The answer may surprise you.
Some of these houses are now embassies and this probably is to be expected, considering how grand and beautiful they are.
However, there are not all just for show. One of these buildings now hosts a public secondary school and many others are apartment blocks (indeed, wealthy ones)!
While completely unique, this is very much a living and breathing part of Rome with an authentic soul!
I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of this lovely area get to experience my neighborhood on your next trip to Rome. safe travels!
This post was originally published in 2014 and has now been fully updated (September 2019)