Via del Governo Vecchio in Rome

people look in a window on a Roman street

Via del Governo Vecchio is one of my favorite streets in Rome. The street near Piazza Navona is one of the best places for shopping in Rome, but it is also filled with charming wine bars, vintage stores, and coffee bars that feel untouched by time. You can find Via del Governo Vecchio between Piazza di Pasquino and Piazza del Orologio. 

purse on display at shop on Via del Governo Vecchio

The name “Governo Vecchio” or “old government” comes from the fact that the Papal government was indeed once based at a palazzo on this little street. The government activities took place at No. 39 Via del Governo Vecchio until the mid-1700s. 

via del governo vecchio street sign

Most of the buildings on the street date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The effect is very old-Rome and it is hard not to be charmed by the feel of the cobblestone street as it curves and reveals itself little by little. 

But pay attention as you walk along and you will find some little wonders that most people miss on their wanders through Rome. For example, at No. 66 you will find what is considered the smallest house in Rome. The ground floor is a shop, but the first level is teeny and smushed between two other buildings. All you can see is one window to the street and a little terrace above. I am dying to get a glimpse inside. 

portraits on building in Rome

However, the palace that always stops me in my tracks is located at Via del Governo Vecchio, 104. This building was recently restored so it is easier to see all of the pretty friezes added to the exterior. The building belonged to a lawyer, who had it decorated with striking portraits of famous jurists.

via del governo vecchio building with portraits

Rumor has it that the artist Raphael once had a mistress of this street, so you can only imagine all of the other famous footsteps that have come before you as you walk along.

bar on via del governo vecchio

Some of my favorite places to visit along this street are Enoteca Il Piccolo (which really is as small as the name suggests, but feels like a local hang out despite the crowds nearby), and one of my preferred Irish pub in Rome – The Abbey – is also up the street. 

Keep going and you will spot lines for gelato at Frigidarium, where the gelato can be dipped in chocolate, as well as at Il Baffetto. I like the gelato but usually skip the pizza, to be honest.

street scene on Via del Governo Vecchio Rome

I like to shop at Beatrice C (No. 60), and there are also fantastic vintage stores all along Via del Governo Vecchio. Of course, the Otherwise Bookshop is also a must for literature lovers.

vintage on via del governo vecchio

Be sure to stop at the corner with Via della Chiesa Nuova for a moment of calm, as well.

madonna in Rome on Via del Governo Vecchio

Want to explore more of Rome’s prettiest streets? Wander up to Via dei Coronari on the other side of Piazza Navona.

fiat on Via del Governo Vecchio

Do you have any other favorite streets in Rome?

5 thoughts on “Via del Governo Vecchio in Rome

  1. Robert Klein says:

    On the cover of the April 2015 SMITHSONIAN there is a headline entitled “WALK DOWN THE BEST LITTLE STREET IN THE WORLD”. The article is entitled “VIA DOLCE VIA”. It’s a beautiful long article consisting of many many pages of text with beautiful full page pictures of VIA MARGUTTA. My Favorite street in BELLA ROMA. I lived at No. 33 for 10 years. The last verse of the song “Arrivederci Roma” is sung “Via Margutta”. But the film “ROMAN HOLIDAY” took Via Margutta beyond the reach of others. Via Margutta will always be Via Margutta The Eternal Street in The Eternal City… Thank you So So much…. As always. You are Numero Uno.. Robert Klein

  2. Morton Levitt says:

    Write one….
    A hope skip and jump from Canova, Pizza R√©, Via del Babuino, and of course One of the Most Famous Pizzas in the World…
    PIAZZA DEL POPOLO…
    p.s. Please WRITE IT and SEND IT…I want to read your Name…ūüėć

  3. Jim O’Brien says:

    My wife printed out your 17 July “Best Quotes about Florence “. I must say it was a special treat to see Pitti Palace, Boboli Garden, Duomo, SM Del a Foote, Ponte Vecchio. We were supposed to be there in April but had to cancel due to the Virus. Thank you, Thank you for brightening up our Quarantine. Ciao, Jim and Colleen O’Brien

  4. Thomas says:

    A 15-year resident of Rome, there are many piazzas, streets, and little tucked-away corners I miss, spending so much time at home to keep safe. But yesterday afternoon bright back the sun after a very rainy week and I simply couldn’t resist. Where did I head? Via del Governo Vecchio (I second every point you made) and the adjacent via dei Banchi Nuovi, where I had tea and homemade biscuits at Caff√® Novecento. As always, many thanks, Nathalie!

  5. MORETTI says:

    Bonjour, je viens juste de tomber sur votre blog en cherchant de l’info. Tout ce que vous dites est vrai sur la beaut√© du vieux Rome et de Governo Vecchio… Mais en bonne fran√ßaise je voulais relativiser un tout petit peu le paysage idyllique que vous brossez de la ville de Rome. J’y suis arriv√©e fin ao√Ľt pour une ann√©e et je tiens √† dire que s’installer √† Rome n’est pas un long fleuve tranquille ! L’administration y est incomp√©tente et cependant incontournable et omnipr√©sente (vous ne pouvez rien louer √† l’ann√©e sans faire des d√©marches dignes de Kafka, obtenir le droit de stationner sa voiture est un parcours du combattant etc, etc…). Par ailleurs il faut avoir l’honn√™tet√© de dire que la ville est tr√®s sale, excessivement bruyante √† toute heure du jour et de la nuit (choisissez vraiment bien votre quartier si vous voulez dormir !) et que les romains sont assez peu accueillants vis √† vis des √©trangers (ceux qui ne sont plus des touristes !)… Je ne vous parle m√™me pas du syst√®me scolaire (ma fille va au lyc√©e italien, c’est une catastrophe !)… En tous cas notre changement de vie est une excellente exp√©rience pour prendre conscience du peu d’existence concr√®te de l’Union Europ√©enne d’un pays √† l’autre !!! … Je pr√©cise que mon mari est italien (de France) et que je n’ai rien contre l’Italie que je connais depuis fort longtemps en tant que “vacanci√®re”… La vivre au quotidien est une autre chose malgr√© ses grandes beaut√©s !

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