The Via Giolitti is the street that runs along the south side of the main railway station Termini in Rome. It starts at the Piazza dei Cinquecento and ends at the Piazza di Porta Maggiore. The street is important for travelers, since it is where the airport buses arrive and depart.
Via Giolitti Rome
Points of interest
The entrance to the Laziali part of Termini, where most regional trains (including the one to the cruise port of Civitavecchia) leave, is just before the halfway point. Most buses to the airports of Ciampino and Fiumicino also leave from the Via Giolitti.
Foodies can visit the Mercato Centrale (Via Giovanni Giolitti, 36), a food court and market in one. Obviously, being inside the railway station does not make it the cheapest place in the area, but there are restaurants of all kinds, serving fresh, locally produced food.
History and description
The Via Giolitti is a relatively new street, as it was constructed at the same time Termini was built. It might not even have existed at all, since the initial idea was to have the central station built in the historical center. This was around 1850, Italy did not exist yet as a country, and the church was all-powerful. The proposed site, next to the Diocletian Baths, was deemed not close enough to the Vatican by the papal authorities.
However, in the end the present location was chosen and Via Giolitti became the third main thoroughfare of the Esquilino district. The others were the Via Merulana and the Via Carlo Alberto–Via Conte Verde–Via Santa Croce in Gerusalemme axis (then known as the Via Felice). Another street, connecting the Santa Bibiana and Sant’Eusebio churches, was demolished.
At the time the street was not called Via Giolitti yet. The part closer to Termini was called Via Principe di Piemonte and the part closer to Porta Maggiore was the Via Principessa Margherita.
In the 1930s, the increased number of trains arriving at Termini made it necessary to adapt the infrastructure in the area. In 1939, at the Universal Exhibition in New York, the architect Angiolo Mazzoni presented a model for the new station. The war intervened, however, and work had to be stopped.
Work started again as soon as the war was finished. There were some changes to the original project, however. The main one was the covered sidewalk the architect Vitellozzi added to the main entrance.
What did not change were Mazzoni’s plans to change the area near the present Via Giolitti exit. The idea had been to make the Via Giolitti into a connection between the greatness of the past (symbolized by Porta Maggiore) and the present (Termini station). The street was to be widened all the way to the Piazza della Repubblica.
In order to achieve this, the already existing buildings near the Via Giolitti exit needed to be demolished. This is the reason why the buildings in this part of the street are much lower than the ones in the surrounding area.
The Via Giolitti nowadays
Unfortunately, what could have been a beautiful street is marred by the presence of the railway station. There is a lot of garbage in the street and petty crime is rife. It is still worth visiting, though. The Santa Bibiana Church contains multiple Bernini statues and the Temple of Minerva Medica is quite unique. The last stretch, before you reach Porta Maggiore, is lined by several interesting palaces.