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via del Babuino

Posted on Feb 21, 2009 | 5 comments

Last week I took these photos on the via del Babuino, one of the three streets that forks off of Piazza del Popolo, forming the Tridente. This ugly little guy up top is the reason behind the name of the street. While it most likely is a statue of Silenus (one of Bacchus’ partners in crime), he was nicknamed il babuino—the baboon—because of his ugly appearance. It’s located on the corner of via del Babuino and via dei Greci and is actually as fountain, as the sculpture rests above a marble tub of water. The statue was one of many “talking statues” in the city used for citizens to post their satirical criticisms of the popes. In this history on the Babuino, you can see he was still being used for this purpose until 2002. At some point I’ll take a photo of the Pasquino, the originator of the talking statues, which is still in use. Those of you who remember my post “The Crisis” saw the residents of Trastevere making their own satirical signs of protest, so just remember this is something that goes back to the times of papal rule in Rome.

So why the photo of the Valentino store below? Well, I put them together in the same post to show the flavor of the street. I’m not a designer girl by any means, but I really liked this window. The via del Babuino has a lot of luxury shopping, both well known brands like Valentino, but also concept stores like TAD, smaller boutiques and antique shops. All this is capped by the luxurious Hotel De Russie right at the top by Piazza del Popolo. More than once I’ve seen someone’s Porsche or Ferrari parked outside (normally with crowds of people taking photos next to it!). It’s actually great for a stroll if you’re in the area and I prefer it to the via del Corso because it’s less crowded. Of course, I’m more in the via del Corso price range for shopping, but you can always dream….


  1. Hey, he’s not ugly !! just very old. Please show some respect for prehistoricians… 😉

  2. Haha, I think he’s beautiful Anna…that’s why I took a picture of him 🙂

  3. Hi Jessica,
    I rather like the old guy too. I think somewhere in my many Rome photos I have him all dressed up with flowers in front or to his side.

  4. Joan, you should have a lot of photos with all the time you’ve spent here! I’d love to see the picture of him with flowers if you ever find it.

  5. Love this contrast! Bacchus’ partner in crime is fantastic!

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