Since the days of the Roman Empire, the capitol city has been divided by the authorities in different areas – known in Latin as regiones – that over time have increased in number, thus following the city’s expansion. This happened on a regular basis until 1921, when a total of 22 different districts were defined. As one can guess, the very term “district” comes from the Latin original epithet, of which it is a vulgarization.


Each district has its own characteristics, which often have determined the given name:

  1. Monti (mountains): the name comes from the three hills on which it extends (Esquiline, Viminal and Caelian). It is a very large district, which houses some of the most interesting remains of the ancient capital, as well as some of the more noticeable and now rare remains of the medieval city (the tower-houses)
  2. Trevi: owes its name to the Latin trivium, which indicated the conjunction of three roads in the Piazzetta dei Crociferi, located not far from the Trevi Fountain. The medieval city originated precisely from this area.
  3. Colonna (column): as is easy to imagine, the name derives from the presence of the Column of Marcus Aurelius located precisely in Piazza Colonna.
  4. Campo Marzio: not much remains of the ancient Campo Marzio, which in the past was extended also to the current Pigna district, apart from the name and the presence of green areas (the Pincio).
  5. Ponte (bridge): owes its name to the bridge Sant’Angelo, which originally belonged to the district, until it was absorbed, for wish of Pope Sixtus V, by the new-born Borgo district. In this ancient era it was the most densely populated district and also the only one that has been inhabited from the city’s origins until today.
  6. Parione: this district includes the famous squares Navona and Campo de’ Fiori. In ancient times it was full of commemorative monuments and it is precisly to these that the district owes its name (from the Latin pares which means “wall”)
  7. Regola: contrary to what you might think, the name of the district comes from the Latin arenula, to indicate the sand deposits that were created along the Tiber, which runs along its entire length.
  8. Sant’Eustachio: the characteristic square from which it takes its name is also at the origin of the dense urbanization that took place in this area already in ancient times.
  9. Pigna (pine): the origin of this curious name is due to the discovery of a gigantic pine cone located in medieval times near the Baths of Agrippa.
  10. Campitelli: this is probably the most touristic and frequented district, despite being the least populated. This is due to the many institutional objects in the area, including the Capitol and the Roman Forum. The name probably derives from the Latin campus telluris, or dirt field.
  11. Sant’Angelo: this district, home to the Jewish ghetto, is the smallest one and takes its name from the church Sant’Angelo in Pescheria.
  12. Ripa: the name suggests the location, at the bank of the Tiber immediately next to the Tiber Island.
  13. Trastevere (on the other side of the Tiber): one of the most popular districts, especially for its nightlife. Since ancient times the right bank of the Tiber hosted the main shops and was one of the hearts of the commercial town.
  14. Borgo (burg): located on the right bank of the Tiber, it expresses the typically medieval characteristic of calling its streets “borghi”.
  15. Esquilino: the Esquilino district was founded back in 1870 and was named after the hill on which it extends. In ancient times this area was located outside the city walls, but was annexed to the city in the Augustan age. The name comes from the Latin ex colere, literally “live out”.
  16. Ludovisi: the Ludovisi district, which in the Renaissance hosted numerous noble villas, including Villa Ludovisi, was made known to the whole world by Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita.
  17. Sallustiano: of the Horti Sallustani, the sumptuous gardens built in the first century BC by Emperor Sallustio, remains only the name. It is located on the northern part of the Quirinal Hill.
  18. Castro Pretorio: characterized by the presence of the Termini train station, it welcomes the main arteries of communication and trade.
  19. Celio: known worldwide as the district that is home to the Coliseum, its name recalls the presence of African legionnaires led by Scipio, stationed on the Celio hill.
  20. Testaccio: owes its name to the mount testaceus, a huge accumulation of debris created by the port of Ripa Grande in ancient times.
  21. San Saba: the district with the most recent denomination (even if it was a an already urbanized burg) and housed the monastery of the same name, for centuries the only inhabited site.
  22. Prati: in imperial times this area housed vineyards and farmlands, known as horti. It is adjacent to the Vatican.