Quirinale: What to see on the important Quirinal Hill in Rome

by marta
outside of Quirinale Palace Rome with flags

All you need to know to visit Quirinale (Quirinal Hill), one of the seven hills of Rome. What to see, how to get there, why you cannot miss it.

Colle Quirinale (Quirinale Hill or Quirinal hill) is one of the 7 hills of Rome and one of the most interesting for visitors.

Located in Rome city center, immediately above the Trevi Fountain, the Quirinale hosts several museums and churches worth seeing as well as a beautiful viewing terrace. It is also the home to the Quirinale Palace, where the president of the Italian republic resides, a beautiful and important Rome building worth knowing.

Here is all you can see on Quirinale Hill.

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Where is Colle Quirinale / Quirinale Hill and how to get there

The Quirinale is in Rome city center, a few minutes walk from Piazza Venezia and the Trevi Fuuntain.

You can access it from Porta Pia or climbing up from Via Nazionale and  Trevi Fountain.

The closest bus stops are in Via Nazionale, Via Quattro November and  Via del Tritone, while the nearest metro stop is Barberini.

Attractions nearby are:

  • Trevi Fountain
  • Piazza venezia
  • Santa Maria della Vittoria (church, famous for Bernini’s Extais of St Therese’s sculpture)
  • The COlosseum and Roman Forum are about 10-15 minutes walk downhill from the main Quirinale Piazza

What to see on Colle Quirinale / Quirinal Hill: main attractions

The Quirinal hosts several attractions that are worth including in your Rome itinerary. These are the most important.

Piazza del Quirinale and its terrace

At the top of the quirinal hill lies a large, beautiful piazza, Piazza del Quirinale.

Large and monumental, the piazza is overlooked by two important buildings, Palazzo del Quirinale and Palazzo della Consulta, and has a tall obelisk in its center, decorated by two equestrian statues representing g the Discuros, Castor, and Pollux.

The square is beautiful and also offers stunning views over the city. If you come here at sunset, you can see Rome slowly turning orange in the rays of the setting sun and let your eyes catch the shape of St Peter’s Dome, dominating the landscape like a stunning focal point!

Sunset in Rome from Piazza del Quirinale

Palazzo del Quirinale (Quirinale Palace)

The north eastern side of the square is occupied by the beautiful Quirinale Palace.

The Palace dates from the 1500s and has an interesting history that saw it used as a private home, as the summer residence of the Popes, then designated imperial residence for Napoleon (this use never came to be), then royal palace and finally home to the president of the Italian republic!

As this quick overview of the history of the palace shows, the Quirinal Hill has a long history as seat of official pwers and this is not by chance.

History tells us that, in Roman times, the Quirinal Hill was home to the temple to the God Quirino and the Goddess Salus (health), invoked to protect the wellbeing of the state

Whil the temple as such doesn’t exist anymore, this original vocation stands and, in a way, lives on in the Quirinale Palace, one of the symbols of the Italian Republic.

The Palace is wonderful inside and out and it is open to the public. You can find tickets, prices and booking system here (official site).

Top tip! Every Sunday, at 4pm in winter and 6pm in summer, it is possible to witness the ceremony of the changing of the guard in front of the Quirinale Palace. The presence of horses and guards in high uniform plus the solemnity of the event makes it worth seeing – this is a free, easy and fun thing to do in Rome with kids.

The Quirinal Obelisk

Ion teh center of Piazza del Quirinale stands a tall obelisk with, at its base, two tall statues representing two young men with horses.

Obelisk on Quirinal Hill with Palazzo della Consulta in the background

The obelisk is one of the 13 Egyptian obelisks in Rome, it is 14,63 meters tall and a basement that gets it to reach the height of 28,94 meters. Make of red granite, the obelisk was originally in Assuan and seems to have be brought to Rome in the I century AD, probably by order of Emperor Domitian.

The statues at its feet represent the Dosiscuros, Castor and Pollux, sons of the Sun, and they are believed to date from the V century AD.

Scuderie del Quirinale

Scuderie del Quirinale (lit. Quirinale’s stables) is the large building immediately down the road from the Quirinale Palace.

Originally the stables of the Quirinale palace, it is now one of the most beautiful and important art exhibition spaces in the city, regularly hosting high-caliber exhibitions (the incredible Raffaello’s Exhibition was here in 2020).

If you love art, this is an address to keep an eye on: you can find the program on their official site here.

Palazzo della Consulta

Palazzo della Consulta is the large, beautiful palace on the southern side of Piazza del Quirinale and it is a large, baroque building commissioned by Pople Clemens XII and finished n the late 1700s. The building is the seat of the Constitutional Court and it is only open for visits of ‘school, universities and subject matter experts’ (info here).

Since early 2020, Palazzo della Consulta is illuminated outside with the colors of the Italian flag.

Facade of Palazzo della consulta illuminated with Italian tricolour and fountain in the foreground

Church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

Only a short walk down the road from Piazza del Quirinale, stands the Church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, aka San Carlino.

The church dates to the XVII century and was designed by architect Borromini, who received the commission for its creation by cardinal Francesco Barberini, who used to live in the palace nearby.

The church is considered one of the most significant examples of Rome baroque architecture and is indeed worth seeing to familiarise with the art of one of the most significant figures in the history of Rome’s art.

Sant’Andrea al Quirinale

On the same street as San Carlo stands another church worth seeing, this one by another Rome great: Bernini.

The church was one of Bernini’s last creations however it was also one he himself was very proud of: indeed, he thought this church was his best work, as it achieved a perfect balance or architectural, sculptural and painted element.

Considering that Bernini is the genius creator of, among other things, St Peter’s Square, indeed this is a church not to be missed!

The Four Fountains (Quattro Fontane)

Again close to the Quirinale Palace and precisely where Via del Quirinale meets Via delle Quattro Fontane, stand a group of 4 fountains representing 4 rivers.

These fountains stand each at one corner of the small crossroad between these two streets and date to the Renaissance period, when they were commissioned by Pope Sixtus V.

The crossroad here is rather busy so a visit the the fountains is rather stressful however, they are beautiful and so close to the palace, they are easy to include in your itinerary of this area.

Good to know! These 4 fountains represent 4 rivers however, they should not be confused with a fountain by a similar name in Piazza Navona, the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Yes, the names are confusing!).

The fountains here are 4 different fountains, each at a different corner of the street intersection, while the famous fountain of the four rivers is one fountain with 4 statues.

The latter is by Bernini and it is in Piazza Navona, about 20 mins walk from Quirinale).

The best time to visit Quirinal Hill

My favorite time to see the Quirinal Hill is sunset. If you can, I recommend you make a booking for the Scuderie in the late afternoon so you can spend the time before your visit exerting the area, and then finish with stunning sunset views over Rome from the museum and/or the piazza.

Where to stay near Quirinal Hill

The Quirinal Hill is in a very central location and you can choose between several hotels. Addresses we like are:

Palazzo Scanderbeg (apartments): just below the Quirinale Hill, in a wonderful location in a quiet street near the Trevi Fountain

Salotto Monti: a pretty and friendly boutique hotel in a perfect location close to Quirinale, with a wonderful rooftop terrace perfect for summer evenings

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