The Aventine Hill: why and how to visit this wonderful corner of Rome

by marta

All you need to know to visit the Aventine Hill (Aventino), one of the most beautiful places in Rome and one the original 7 hills of Rome.

The Aventine hill is one of the original 7 hills of Rome and one of the most beautiful places in the city.

Located just in front of another, most famous hill, the Palatine, the Aventine is now a wealthy, leafy residential area with some wonderful churches, beautiful streets, hidden gems and even stunning views over Rome.

While not undiscovered by tourism, it is still an area that attracted fewer visitors than many other.

However, it is one that usually leaves the strongest impression and, for many, one of the most beautiful places in Rome.

In this guide, you will learn all you need to know about the Aventine Hill, how to get there and what to see there.

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What is the Aventine Hill/ Aventino Rome?

The Aventine Hill or Colle Aventino or simply Aventino, as it is called in Rome, is one of the original seven hills of Rome and now a residential part of the city.

It is located close to the city center, immediately in front of the Palatine Hill and a short walk from the Colosseum.

It is a beautiful Rome neighborhood, mostly residential, and because of this nature, it is often overlooked by visitors, who tend to look for Rome areas with a higher concentration of attractions and more shops and restaurants for a break while sightseeing.

However, there are many reasons to visit the Aventine and they go beyond how pleasurable a walk here can be.

The Aventine also has woeful churches and attractions that are worth the trip.

view from Aventine Hill terrace

What to see on the Aventine Hill

These are the main things to see on the Aventino.

I have listed them in the order you will encounter them is climbing up the Aventino from the Aventino metro station or coming from the colosseum.

However, they are pretty close to each other and you will see all of them as you wander the area.

Rome’s Rose Garden (Roseto Comunale)

On the slopes of the Aventine Hill, on the side that overlooks the Circo Massino and the Palatine, sits the beautiful Rome’s Rose Garden, the Roseto Comunale.

This garden belongs to the Municipality and is entirely devoted to growing roses: it has over 1000 species of them and it a delight to visit.

The garden itself is one of the most romantic places in the city: the roses will the air and your eyes with their glorious colors and perfume and the position overlooking the Circo Massimo makes it one of the best viewpoints in the whole of the city!

The garden is usually open in the spring only, when the roses are in full bloom and is one of the best places to visit if you happen to be in Rome in April, May or June.

Rome’s orange garden (il giardino degli aranci)

A little farther up the road, you encounter one of Rome’s prettiest gardens, the so-called Garden of Oranges, or Giardino degli Aranci.

This is a small, well kept garden, open to the public and takes its name for the beautiful orange trees that decorate it.

It is a wonderful quiet oasis perfect for reading in the shade (there is no playground, so it is a garden for grown-ups rather than families) and also has something unique: a wonderful view over Rome!

Because of its position on the high part of the Aventine Hill slope, the garden is truly a terrace and offers wonderful views over the river Tiber, the city and St Peter.

You can find my guide and some interesting info about the Orange garden of Rome here.

Santa Sabina, church – Basilica di Santa Sabina

Just beside the Garden of Oranges, you have Santa Sabina, a wonderful basilica dating back to 425AD.

It is one of the most beautiful churches in Rome and also an important example of perfectly preserved V century Christian church.

During its long life, the basilica has seen many additions and modifications.

However, in the early 1900s, under Pope Sisto V, it was brought back to its original splendor and now flaunts gorgeous, original mosaics and Corinthian columns: a wonderful place to visit and a truly unique!

Aventino hidden gem: the fountain of the mask

Just outside Santa Sabina you find a peculiar fountain, one built in the shape of a large face spitting out fresh drinking water!

The fountain is not unique in its genre, you do have other somewhat similar in different streets of Rome (Via Giulia comes to mind) however it is a fun and unexpected hidden gem that is worth seeking out when visiting the Aventine!

Aventino Fountain

The Aventine Hill Keyhole

Another Rome hidden gem albeit one that is becoming less and less hidden over time, it the secret Aventine keyhole.

You find this famous keyhole at the very tops of the Aventine Hill, in Piazza Dei Cavalieri di Malta. Here, you find a large door with a perfectly round keyhole: if you peel through it, you will have a surprise!

The keyhole hides a garden with beautiful shrubs that frame perfectly the view of St Peter’s dome!

This is an unexpected and wonderful attraction on the Aventine and while you do occasionally have a short queue here, still one of those places many tourists miss. You can read how to find the Aventine Keyhole here.

Aventine keyhole
Aventine keyhole view

Sant’Anselmo, church

Just beside the keyhole you also have the access path to the church of Sant’Anselmo.

The church is quite recent however, the path leading to it is beautiful and, if you happen to be here during Sunday celebrations you may even hear the Gregorian chants the church is famous for.

The Aventine’s leafy streets

As you can see, the Aventine Hill has specific attractions worth seeing however, it is also a wonderful area for a walk.

The way up the Aventino is rather steep and most of its streets are at a slope.

However, coming here doesn’t require any special level of fitness: these are leafy, residential streets and you don’t have to hike to get here although you may feel it in your legs if you are not used to walking much!

There are not many restaurants or cafes here however, you will find all you need right at the bottom of the hill.

Where to stay on the Aventino Hill: best Aventine Hill Hotels

The Aventino can be a nice neighborhood to stay if you want to experience a different side of Rome, a slow paced one that brings you to one of the wealthiest residential areas of the city.

There are several nice hotels in the area:

Hotel Sant’Anselmo – with gorgeous, elaborately decorated rooms and wonderful staff

Hotel Villa San Pio – also on the tops of the Aventine, made up of 3 separate villas and with a beautiful garden

Fauno Urban Resort – a nice choice if you are looking for a secluded, modern resort in Rome with nice garden and seasonal outdoor swimming pool

What to see near the Aventine Hill

Several Rome attractions are near the Aventine:

How to get to the Aventine Hill by pubic transport

The easiest way to get to the Aventine Hill is by:

  • Metro – stop Circo Massimo or Piramide
  • Tram – stop Circo Massimo, Piazza Albania or Piramide

I hope you enjoyed this overview of the best things to see on the Aventine Hill and it inspired you to go visit the Aventino. Happy travel planning!

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