Last Updated on: 11th September 2023, 07:40 am

Have you ever heard about Trastevere, the trendiest neighborhood of Rome? What about the scenic Gianicolo Hill, also known as Janiculum Hill?

Discovering Gianicolo Hill on a hot June day was one of the highlights of my trip to Rome.

Rising above Trastevere’s vibrant streets, the tranquil Gianicolo hilltop offers a lovely respite from the bustling crowds while still being walking distance to iconic sites like St. Peter’s and the Pantheon.

gianicolo hill garibaldi statue

The statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi on horseback, on top of Gianicolo Hill

History and Significance of Gianicolo Hill

The Gianicolo Hill has been a strategically important site for centuries. Back in ancient Roman times, generals positioned their troops here for the optimal vantage point over the city.

During the Roman Republic era, the Gianicolo Hill played a key role.

Patriots defended the hill against French troops in 1849 during wars for Italian unification. To honor them, monuments were erected such as Garibaldi on horeseback, and the Porta San Pancrazio gate with cannon placements along the Passeggiata del Gianicolo walkway.

Today, the Gianicolo area is a charming residential district featuring some of the best parks in Rome, quaint streets and lovely old houses.

While tourists flock to crowded piazzas down below, the tree-lined lanes up on the hilltop feel like a tranquil retreat. After taking in ancient sites, make your way up to this off-the-beaten-path gem for beautiful views, delicious cuisine, and a relaxed neighborhood vibe.

The amazing Rome panorama on top of the hill is a nice bonus. You don’t even need a guided tour to get to Gianicolo Hill from Rome’s center. Here are my self-guided itineraries to help you plan your days in Rome.

Getting to Gianicolo Hill

Reaching the Gianicolo is easy from Rome’s historic center. From Piazza Venezia, take tram number 8 to Piazza Sonnino at the bottom of the hill in Trastevere.

Wind your way up the hill past ivy-wreathed villas and flower boxes dangling from iron balconies. There’s a bit of walking, so make sure you wear sunscreen and you have some water with you.

This is the exact route I followed to climb the Gianicolo Hill to enjoy the panorama of Rome by sunset.

rome terazza gianicolo

On my way to Terazza Gianicolo, I found intriguing street art

Small buses also connect the Gianicolo Hill area to the Vatican, including routes 23, 280, and 780.Nonetheless, I’ve been disappointed with the punctuality of public transport in Rome, so I’d rather walk or take a taxi.

Or for a scenic walk, cross the charming Ponte Sisto pedestrian bridge over the Tiber River from central Trastevere. On each side, stone steps flanked by orange trees lead uphill to the Passeggiata del Gianicolo pathway with panoramic lookouts.

Top Attractions and Things to Do on Gianicolo Hill

While meandering the neighborhood’s peaceful cobblestone lanes, keep an eye out for these Gianicolo Hill highlights:

Piazzale Garibaldi & Belvedere del Gianicolo

For iconic vistas over terracotta rooftops toward St. Peter’s Dome, head to Piazzale Garibaldi.

Street artists and musicians create a lively ambiance. Right below the balustrade, look for the small Fontanone or “big fountain” built into the retaining wall.

Enjoy the amazing views and try to identify and photograph the various Rome landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

gianicolo hill anita garibaldi statue

Gianicolo Hill – the statue of Anita Garibaldi

Janiculum Hill Monument

A towering monument honors the patriots who defended the Gianicolo and the short-lived Roman Republic against French forces in 1849.

Cannons and a bronze statue of Anita Garibaldi commemorate the hill’s military history. The adjacent open field is popular for picnics and kite-flying. The promenade is a romantic place, perfect for a late afternoon stroll, just before the dinner.

janiculum hill trees street

Passeggiata del Gianicolo

Passeggiata del Gianicolo

This peaceful, tree-lined pathway is fantastic for a tranquil walk above Trastevere’s winding lanes while appreciating views toward central Rome’s domes and bell towers. Benches line the route, perfect for resting or a romantic sunset picnic.

Parco Villa Doria Pamphilj

These sprawling public gardens just west of the hilltop offer a tranquil escape from Rome’s busy center. The grounds contain an aviary, fountains, sculpture-dotted walkways, and even a mini replica of the Pantheon. Have a picnic on the grassy lawns and admire the ornate villas.

Teatro Vascello

Dating back to the 1950s, this outdoor amphitheater hosts music, dance, and drama productions in summer. Pack a picnic dinner and catch an open-air show under the stars. The modern theater has an intimate, informal vibe.

rome orto botanico

Orto Botanico

The University of Rome’s botanic gardens contain 7,000 species of plants, a Japanese garden, and a peaceful bamboo grove. Don’t miss the lush tropical greenhouses. Special exhibits and workshops are also held here periodically.

In fact, Orto Botanico di Roma is in Trastevere, at the foot of Gianicolo Hill. It can be the ideal place to spend a few hours surrounded by beautiful plants.

Museum of the Roman Republic

Housed in a former monastery, this small but engaging museum chronicles the birth of the Roman Republic. See uniforms, documents, weapons, and more. An avid historian gives insightful tours by appointment.

manfredi lighthouse janiculum hill rome

Manfredi Lighthouse on Gianicolo Hill

Accommodations on Gianicolo Hill

Thanks to the hilltop’s tranquil ambiance paired with proximity to Rome’s main attractions, it’s a wonderful area to call home during your Italian sojourn.

The closest neighborhood to pick for your stay is Trastevere, particularly the area near Orto Botanico, which is only a short walk away from Gianicolo Hill.

Top pick: Horti 14 Borgo Trastevere

Horti 14 Borgo is a small and comfy hotel with private parking and modern, fully equipped rooms. This hotel is only 1km away from Campo de Fiori and 10 minutes’ walk from the central square in Trastevere. Horti 14 Borgo is also fairly close to the Vatican.

Click here to choose your dates and to see the room prices as of today, [todaysdate].

Molly Home

Molly Home is a bed and breakfast that scores positive reviews and high ratings from many of their guests. It is only a short walk away from, the Belvedere del Gianicolo Hill.

Check out their availability and room prices here.

Getting Outdoors on Gianicolo Hill

With its shady parks, peaceful pathways, and panoramic viewpoints, the Gianicolo Hill is ideal for outings on foot, bike, or picnic blanket:

janiculum hill rome wall of the constitution

Thew Wall of the Constitution on Gianicolo Hill

Iconic Lookouts

Walk up to Passeggiata del Gianicolo or Piazzale Garibaldi for iconic postcard views spanning Rome’s sea of terracotta rooftops to the dome of St. Peter’s on the horizon. Sunsets here are magnificent.

Villa Doria Pamphili – Meander through this sprawling hillside park’s tree-lined trails, ornamental fountains, sculpture gardens, and grassy fields for picnics. The villa grounds make a lovely setting for a long weekend stroll.

gianicolo hill tree

One of the oldest trees on Janiculum Hill

Bike Rentals

Rent a bike on Via Garibaldi to zip around the atmospheric lanes of Trastevere before coasting downhill back across the river. Add a child seat attachment for family cycling adventures.

Janiculum Hill

Work up an appetite climbing the staircases up through manicured gardens to this commanding hill with sweeping vistas from San Pietro to the Monti district.

gianicolo hill streets

Climb your way to the panorama on Gianicolo Hill

gianicolo hill panorama

Can you spot Palazzo Venezia in this Gianicolo Hill panorama of Rome?

Jogging Route

Lace up your running shoes and tackle the three-mile (five kilometer) running route up the Gianicolo Hill from Trastevere. The path has mileage markers. Reward yourself with gelato in Piazza Trilussa.

With its outstanding city views, refined yet relaxed ambiance, and wealth of cultural attractions, Rome’s Gianicolo Hill shouldn’t be overlooked when visiting the Eternal City.

Absorb inspiring vistas and colorful history by day, then linger over laidback dinners al fresco after the sightseeing crowds have left.

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Perfect sunset views of Rome from Gianicolo Hill

Have you had the chance to discover the Gianicolo Hill’s charms? What are your favorite things to do in this lesser-known Roman neighborhood?

Before you go:

Climbing the Gianicolo Hill is an absolute must if you want to enjoy scenic views of Rome. Read my next article to see what kind of accommodation you can find in Gianicolense or Trastevere, to be close to this panorama spot.

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Violeta Matei