Guide Location: Italy » Rome
Guide Type: Self-guided city tour
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 5 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 11.2 km
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Roman Holiday Trailer Screenshot
"Roman Holiday" (1953) has been one of the most beloved movies for generations. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, this film won three Oscars, giving Hepburn a boost to her glorious film career. The main storyline centers around a day of escape in the beautiful Italian capital by Princess Ann. Filmed entirely in Rome, take the following tour to live the happiest day of her life!
Tour Stops and Attractions
1) Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin (The Mouth of Truth)The Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita), considered the funniest scene in the movie, is where Joe Bradley puts his hand into the sculpture's mouth at Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin. According to legend, it would nip off the hand of a liar who'd put it its mouth. In the film, Audrey Hepburn's reaction to the nipped Gregory Peck's hand was not an act, as he decided to pull a gag without telling her beforehand. Located at Piazza della Bocca della Verita, the Byzantine style basilica was built in the 6th century, later rebuilt in 1124 and got a new façade in the 18th century. The Mouth of Truth is located at its portico. The 1st century sculpture is believed to represent an ancient god of the Tiber River and was originally part of a fountain. It was relocated to Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the 17th century.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Mac9
2) Roman Forum (Joe Encounters Ann)The Roman Forum would be a convenient place for Princess Ann and Joe Bradley to meet: she, on the escape from the palace; he, from a poker game at Irving Radovich's apartment. As Ann feels the effects of a sleeping pill, she rests on a brick bench near the Temple of Saturn (4th century BC) and the Arch of Septimus Severus (203 AD). That's where Joe finds her, takes pity on her and tries to take her home. Never managing to get her address, he takes her to his place by taxi. The road seen in the film, close to the ancient arch no longer exists. There used to be a road running along the northwest edge of the Roman Forum, but it has been closed for quite some time, part of it remaining as a cul-de-sac. The Temple of Saturn and the Arch of Septimus Severus are parts of the Roman Forum, a complex of the oldest and most significant constructions of the ancient city.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Lily15
3) Palazzo Colonna (The Interview)Palazzo Colonna, featured in the final scene of the film, is where Princess Ann gives her interview to the press, finally choosing duty over love. One of the largest palaces in Rome, Palazzo Colonna acquired its present Baroque design in the 17th and 18th centuries, although some parts have been there since the 13th century. Facing Piazza dei Santi Apostoli, today it hosts the Colonna Art Gallery. Palazzo Colonna is distinguished for its famous Sala Grande Galleria, where the actual interview took place. You might vividly remember the closing scene when the interview is over and everyone has left, Gregory Peck walks alone through the empty hall, his steps echoing, with several levels of paintings on remarkably high walls.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Lalupa
4) Palazzo della Consulta (Int. Police Station)As Joe, Ann and Irving take off from G. Rocca Café, the wild Vespa ride through the city begins! And while Joe has no trouble driving the stylish vehicle through Rome’s traffic, Ann smashes into a few sidewalk café tables and some street vendor stalls. Palazzo della Consulta is the where the police station they were taken to was. While not much of it is seen, it is evidenced in the glimpses of Fontana dei Dioscuri, the fountain and obelisk in front of Palazzo della Consulta at Piazza Quirinale. The late Baroque palace was built between 1732 and 1735, designed by Ferdinando Fuga. Originally built as the Papal Tribunal, today it is the Constitutional Court of the Italian Republic.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Arpingstone
5) Barber Shop at Trevi Fountain (The Haircut)After leaving Joe Bradley's apartment, Ann goes for a walk back to her palace. As she is enjoying her stroll through Rome’s narrow streets looking into shop windows and observing street life, her eye is caught by a young Italian woman with a short, trendy haircut coming out of a barber shop. She doesn’t hesitate to enter and ask the barber, Mario Delani, to cut her hair. That shop was located east of Trevi Fountain (1629), at Via della Stamperia 85, just left of the large rectangular entrance. Today it is a leather shop. Joe Bradley tres to steal a camera from a little American girl at Trevi Fountain to snap a shot of Ann getting her hair cut. Nowadays, as in 1953, the largest Baroque fountain in Rome is full of tourists. This fountain was also featured in Fellini’s "La Dolce Vita" in 1960.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and NH53
6) Galleria Alberto Sordi (American News Service Office)In the film, Joe Bradley is a journalist at the American News Service Office in Rome. And if you have ever wondered where the actual headquarters is, it was located in Galleria Alberto Sordi (formerly Palazzo della Galleria Colonna) at Piazza Colonna. Although the actual filming of the interior of Mr. Hennessey’s office was shot in the studio, the view through his window is unmistakably the marble Column of Marcus Aurelius (193 AD) and the fountain in Piazza de Colonna (1577) in front of Galleria Alberto Sordi, a 1914 Art Nouveau building which is now contains a shopping arcade on the ground floor and offices on the upper floors.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and D.C. Elliot
7) G. Rocca Cafe at Pantheon (Meeting Irving)After Joe runs into Ann eating gelato at the Spanish Steps, and the two of them agree to spend a holiday, "sit at a sidewalk café and look in shop windows, walk in the rain—have fun, and maybe some excitement," Joe claims to know "just the place. Rocca's" to fulfill her first wish. G. Rocca Café next to the Pantheon (126 AD) at the northwest corner of its façade, is the place where Ann drinks champagne at breakfast, meets Irving Radovich, Joe's colleague and photographer, and smokes her first cigarette. At the corner of Via della Rotonda, it is no longer a café but a trendy fashion store.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and nafmo
8) Oratorio dei Filippini (The Bell Tower Moment)If you happen to be on one of Via Margutta's numerous balconies facing south, you can see the beautiful Baroque bell tower seen from the window of Joe's apartment. The one that rings to awaken Joe the day the Princess' interview is canceled. It is really located on the opposite side of downtown. The bell tower, which is actually a turret, belongs to Oratorio dei Filippini, built between 1637 and 1650 by Francesco Borromini. This fabulous turret was added in 1649 and faces Piazza dell'Orologio.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Jensens
9) Castel Sant'Angelo (Night of Dancing on the River)You surely remember when Princess Ann is invited to a night of dancing on a barge on the Tiber River by Mario Delani, the barber who gave her the new haircut. The excitement and fun of the scene is truly terrific, especially the scuffle and mess created by secret agents chasing the Princess, and her priceless move, hitting an agent with a guitar, making him the "crowned head" of the night. Although it is no longer there, the barge used to be moored between Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II (1886) and Ponte Sant'Angelo (134 AD), located at the foot of Castel Sant'Angelo, a 2nd century mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Over the centuries it has served as a castle, papal residence, prison and is now the National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo. The night of dancing ends with an escape jump into the river.
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Yair Haklai
10) Via Margutta 51 (Joe Bradley’s Apartment)Joe Bradley’s apartment on Via Margutta 51 is a famous address. And while the apartment's interior, along with the spiral staircase were a studio set, all the outside features of its courtyard are real. The arched wooden entrance is just two doors north from Vicolo dell'Orto di Napoli. If you go inside you'll find yourself in a wide court, on the right is the apartment that was featured as an artist’s studio, and far in the back a tunnel passageway (note the eagle sculpture atop the entrance) leads up to another landing. This landing is featured in the film when Joe lends Ann money and you can spot the landlord's balcony above the tunnel. If you want to find Joe's apartment door you'll have to go up several flights of stairs, keeping to the right. The view we get from Joe's terrace was surely shot from one of these courtyard apartments.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Alvaro De Alvariis
11) Piazza di Spagna (Joe Meets Ann Again)Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps are among the most popular tourist attractions in Rome, a popular meeting point for many. Completed in 1725, these famous 138 famous steps (the widest staircase in Europe) link Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità dei Monti with Chiesa della Trinità dei Monti. Fresh after a haircut, Princess Ann sits on the steps, enjoying the sight, eating gelato. After taking compliments for her new look, she confesses to Joe Bradley that she had run away from school and takes his proposal to spend the day together before she returns. And here the holiday begins!
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Arpingstone
12) Palazzo Barberini (Princess Ann's Embassy)Palazzo Barberini, Via delle Quattro Fontane, is where Princess Ann’s Embassy is during her stay in Rome. This magnificent Renaissance palace completed in 1633, with several generations of architects working on its design, Carlo Maderno and Francesco Borromini among them, today houses Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica. Note its wonderfully ornate gate featured in the film welcoming Princess Ann’s delegation, and also in the scenes of her escape from the palace. Either due to availability issues or for aesthetic purposes, interior shots were made in Palazzo Brancaccio, though the interior of Palazzo Barberini was not featured in the film.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and zak mc
13) Palazzo Brancaccio (Princess Ann's Embassy)Palazzo Brancaccio was the filming location of all the interior shots of Princess Ann’s Embassy. Although the location is supposed to be Palazzo Barberini (and we see its exterior in the movie), Palazzo Brancaccio's rooms were chosen to be the inner set. Built in 1880 and considered to be the last noble palace of Rome ever constructed, several rooms are featured in the film. Most remarkable would be the magnificent Baroque room where the Reception Ball was held, Her Highness' dormitory and the Hall of Mirrors. Remember Ann, looking through the window at people dancing in the nearby garden party and wishing she were there? This shot, along with the general view from the window were surely filmed from Palazzo Brancaccio. You might also remember Ann escaping her room from the balcony. Some of the palace's exterior decorations can also be seen. Palazzo Brancaccio is located on Viale del Monte Oppio, between the Colosseum and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Image Courtesy of Flickr and Alvaro De Alvariis
14) Castra Praetoria (Wall of Wishes)One of the most mythical places on this tour, as legend says, in the first years after the war a grateful Roman citizen installed plaques on a special wall to commemorate good luck and dreams fulfilled. Although the plaques are no longer there, the Wall of Wishes actually existed. The original one was located on Piazzale Brasile, though wasn’t there in 1953 when "Roman Holiday" was filmed. The wall was recreated especially for the film, which was located on Viale del Policlinico, between Piazza Girolamo Fabrizio and Via Castro Pretorio. Called Castra Praetoria, it is part of an ancient Roman fortification, Mura Aureliane (Aurelian Wall), built in 23 AD. As you remember in the film, Viale del Policlinico was much narrower, with larger sidewalks and trees on its edge. You only have to imagine Princess Ann looking longingly upon the Wall of Wishes, full of plaques, desperate for an impossible dream to come true!
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia and Joris van Rooden
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