Named for the Via Flaminia, the Quartiere Flaminio lies just north of the center of Rome, where the Tevere makes a big bend as if it were trying to circle back towards the city center.
(In Rome a rione is a neighborhood of central Rome while a quartiere is a neighborhood on the outskirts. The Quartiere Flaminio is considered the first outskirt--the frilly one close to the skin one presumes.)
In any case, this part of Rome isn't about the ancient Romans. It's about modern art, about Mussolini's expansion of the Eternal City--and about sports and fitness and the tiniest, cutest sandwiches you'll ever see. That's not to say the quartiere is devoid of interesting Roman history or architecture; the Ponte Milvio crosses the Tiber as it did when it was built in 115 BC, marking the place where Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, a watershed moment that propelled Christianity toward its domination as a State religion. More recently, the bridge has become clotted with the padlocks of the lovelorn.
Renzo Piano's Auditorium Parco della Musica is here, and with the appearance of the the new MAXXI Modern Art Museum by Zaha Hadid the Flaminio has been re-made in ways that would have been impossible in the city's ancient center.
Sports fans flock to the Flaminio Stadium and the Stadio Olympico in the Foro Italico, a Fascist-era sports complex named Foro Mussolini before the war. You don't have to be a sports fan of any sort to wander the Foro and look at the modern interpretations of mosaic art and the obelisk inscribed with the words "Mussolini Dux".
The Flaminio - Villagio Olimpico area shown on the map is about a kilometer north of the city center between the Villa Borghese and the Tiber. The ancient Via Flaminia trends north-south through the center of the Flaminio.
In the center of the quarter is the whopping 27,000 square meters of MAXXI, the Museum of the Arts of the XXI Century, on Via Guido Reni, 4/A. The recently opened museum took ten years to complete. It was designed by architect Zaha Hadid. While the modern art and architecture have sometimes received chilly reviews, many come back for the experience of being inside the extraordinary building. You'll also find a cafeteria, auditorium and bookshop inside. Closed Monday.
Just to the east of MAXXI is the Auditorium Parco della Musica designed by Renzo Piano, a "city of music" complex inside a 30,000 square meter park. From the official site linked above:
"The three constructions that make up the Parco della Musica complex rise from this plain on an elevation of +24.85 creating a sequence of three distinct constructions, of different sizes, yet belonging to the same architectural family. These three "resonance boxes" are set in a vast park of trees, at right angles around the large open-air theatre, the Cavea, facing the Villaggio Olimpico. From this side, along the Viale Pietro de Coubertin, a consistent daily use of the overall complex is encouraged by the way the different constructions seem to open out to invite access to activities and events usually associated with day to day city living."
The site offers an RSS feeds for events and news, a virtual tour, and other information.
The entire complex is accessable to those with motor disabilities.
You need to go to Mondi near the Milvian Bridge. It's a hoot. If you like snacky things, check out the miniature sandwiches. It's like being in a dreamy little food court except that the bites are exquisite. Trust me. And it's not just sandwiches, there are ice cream flavors and creations galore. It's a sprawling place with outside tables for those sunny days.
For a more formal meal, you might try the Osteria Flaminio to catch a modern version of the traditional Roman osteria, as befits the neighborhood.
The Tree Bar at Via Flaminia 226 is especially useful on Mondays, when the big attractions like MAXII are closed. The Scandinavian inspired bar in a wooden building inside a park offers "We Like Monday" with a live DJ and aperitivo buffet from 7-10 pm. You can have dinner, then the place turns into a lounge.
A major portion of Flaminio was widely used in the monumental 1960 Olympic Summer Games, the first games to be internationally televised, the first with a doping scandal (which resulted in the death of Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen), and it marked the first time an athlete was paid to wear a particular brand of running shoes. It was a time of Cold War and racial tension; an 18 year old American boxer named Cassius Clay wowed crowds of fans peppered with spies, and Russia, whose athletes weren't allowed to speak to Americans, dominated the medals competition.
The Olympic committee wanted to impress visitors and athletes alike by setting the venues in both ancient and modern Rome; wrestlers tangled in the Basilica of Maxentius; gymnasts twirled and flopped in the Baths of Caracalla, while stadium events were took place in the north east section of our map--Mussolini's Olympic Stadium and the Stadium of Marble were major venues for the 1960s games. The chance to make sure he was given credit, Il Duce made sure his "title" was written in the paving mosaics and repeated:
The westernmost map marker points to the Olympic Village, now condominiums. North of the marker, which sits upon a viaduct created for the space, was the Olympic men's housing--south of the marker was women's housing; there were beds for 6500 people. The area is the Tiber flood plain, and the architecture reflects modern pile dwellings.
The Stadio Flaminio was designed by Pier Luidi and Antonio Nervi and built in 1957 over the site of a previous stadium which was built over a 2,000-year-old necropolis. It's now the home of the Italian Rugby team but was used for the football final in the 1960 Olympics.
Villa Ada to the east in our map is Rome's second larges park and features walking trails, a recreational lake, an ancient archaeological site mostly destroyed when Forte Monte Antenne was built on the highest prominence to defend Rome. You can rent canoes, bicycles, and horses to ride.
The two bedroom ultra light and ultra modern "Luxury Apartment with Garden and Spa" garners fantastic reviews. Imagine touring Rome and returning for a soak in the hot tub!
The two bedroom Casa Flaminia Vacation Apartment is NOT in the Flamino but near Prima Porta, mentioned above, where you can see Livia's villa.
Cross the Aurelian Wall just north of the the Piazza del Popolo and you'll come upon a station named Flaminio - Piazza del Popolo (the southernmost map marker). Northbound urban trains leave every 10-15 minutes--suburban trains take you all the way to Viterbo.
The first stop for all trains is Euclide, where you can walk to the attractions described here and which is shown on the map. Other interesting stops are Monte Antenne (mentioned here) and Prima Porta, where you can visit the small museum and Villa di Livia.
There is also a tram from the Flaminio station heading north up the Via Flaminia.
From central Rome, bus 910, which starts at the station in front of Stazione Termini takes you past the Borghese Gardens and on to the Via Flaminia in Flaminio. The Reni/Flaminia stop is in the center of the action near MAXXI.
On the map you'll find the taxi stands in Rome. This is the preferable way to procure a taxi, as in most of the tourist areas of Rome you'll not be able to flag down a taxi. Be careful at Termini Station; you'll want to find an official taxi if you don't fancy getting ripped off. See our guide: Rome Taxis.
Find out about other Rome neighborhoods, see our neighborhood map and guide