Walk through the arched entrance (photo below) to the Coppedè district of Rome into a world of architectural whimsy. Named after its architect, but also known as the Dora Quarter, this small art deco neighborhood is often described as surreal or fairytale-like; some say the style is reminiscent of Spanish architect Gaudi. There’s nothing ancient Roman about it: less than 100 years old, it was built to be a working-class neighborhood, and today in addition to residential buildings, there’s just an embassy or two.
On the other side of the entrance arch, the Fontana delle Rane, or Fountain of the Frogs marks the main square, Piazza Mincio. In front of the fountain is Palazzina del Ragno, or spider building, with its amazing spiderweb mosaic (photo). And don’t miss the magical Villa delle Fate, or Fairy Villa.
This isn’t an area buzzing with cafes and restaurants, though you’ll find something around Piazza Buenos Aires. If you don’t want to just wander and hope to get lucky, see the map below for food suggestions: I’ve marked an inexpensive panino place and a nice restaurant.
- Visit the gorgeous art and architecture in the park setting of the Villa Torlonia. Its museums are worth seeing, as is the fantastical guest house Casina delle Civette, or Villa of the Owls (photo) with its unique stained glass windows. And, an interesting piece of history: Mussolini lived at the Villa Torlonia during the 1920s.
- Villa Borghese: one of Rome’s most famous art museums, the Galleria Borghese is in the huge park of the same name.
- MACRO is Rome’s museum of Contemporary Art.
- In the park of the Villa Borghese is one of Rome’s most visited attractions, the Bioparco, aka the Zoo.
For more detailed information on the art nouveau style and history of the neighborhood, this is a great article.
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