Recently I made reference to the Coppedé neighborhood in Rome. It’s such a magical place that it’s worth writing about even though my fotos don’t do it justice. And if you’re in Rome and interested in architecture, it’s a MUST SEE.
The district, between Via Tagliamento and Corso Trieste, was designed by the Florentine architect, Gino Coppedé (1886-1927), Rome’s Mischievous Architect. It is mystical & magical thus often included in the Esoteric Tours of Rome. Known locally as Quartiere Coppedé, the architecture is a mixture of Assyrian Babylonian, Baroque, Tuscan medieval, Gothic, Art Nouveau and much more. Some decorative elements imitate scenes from the 1914 film “Cabiria”. Even spooky movie film director, Dario Argento, was so fascinated by Quartiere Coppedé that he used it as a location for two of his films, “Inferno” and “The Bird with Crystal Plumes”.
the entrance of the Coppedé neighborhood as seen from via Tagliamento
the arched entrance
wrought iron lamp hanging at the entrance
Gino Coppedé was born in Florence and, after studying Industrial Decorative Arts, he began working at his father’s studio. He also taught at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (where I also was lucky enough to teach one year) and the University of Pisa.
Coppedé designed many buildings in Italy but is probably best known for the Quartiere Coppedé. Built between 1915 and 1927, the district is composed of various buildings and villas. Apparently, Coppedé intended to give every building a unique and mysterious aura of its own influenced by esoteric sciences. So full of relief sculptures, affrescoes and inscriptions, not even a dictionary of symbolism can help one understand everything represented.
a view of the Villini delle Fate (Fairy Cottages)
For example, there’s the Spider Palace thus named because of a spider on a web that could symbolize The Great Mother and her weaving the destiny of man.
On another building there’s the representation of a chalice with dice that many have interpreted as the Sacred Graal.
Since Coppedé was from Florence, it may explain why he included representations of Dante and Petrarca as well as views of the city itself. But he also gives tribute to Venice because the neighborhood is full of lion’s heads jutting out from the wall and the lion is often associated with the lion of San Marco. Another affresco shows Rome’s famous she-wolf nursing Romolo and Remo.
corner relief sculpture
Piazza Mincio and its Frog Fountain
Frogs adorn the rim of the upper fountain; whereas, the lower fountain is composed of four huge shells held up by men on their knees who are spitting out water.
mosaics and eagles are abundant as well
the door framed with the words “OSPES SALVE” which roughly translates as “welcome”
Coppodé is not only rich in relief sculpture and affrescoes, but it’s also full of words and phrases written and sculpted on the walls (mainly in Latin).
notice the lions’ heads above the window columns
back part of the main entrance, Via Tagliamento
Coppedé died in Rome in 1927. Some say from gangrene of the lungs whereas others say he committed suicide.
relief sculpture in the style of Greek tragedy masks
one of the many Coppedé bees
Pope Urban VIII was Pope from 1623-1644. He came from the Florentine family Barberini. Their symbol was that of the bee. So, with the help of his favorite artist, Bernini, Urban took advantage of his power to have bees embellish the buildings of Rome.
lego street art at Coppedé
Legos have been used for some time now to create street art. And above is an example found at Coppedé! For more examples of lego street art, see Jan Wormann’s Dispatchwork
If you are in Rome and want to visit the area, you can get there with Tram 3 or 19 or bus 223, 86, 92. The stop is at Piazza Buenos Aires. And, depending upon what kind of shape you’re in, it’s within walking distance of Villa Ada and the Catacombs of St. Priscilla.
A nice day in “Quartiere Coppedè” video