The northern part of Rome’s centre is sometimes known as the Tridente on account of the trident shape of the roads leading down from the apex of Piazza del Popolo – Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso and Via del Babuino. The area east of Via del Corso, focusing on Piazza di Spagna, was historically the artistic quarter of the city, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Grand Tourists would come here in search of the colourful and exotic; institutions like Caffè Greco and Babington’s Tea Rooms were the meeting places of the local expat community for close on a couple of centuries. Today these institutions have given ground to more latter-day traps for the tourist dollar, and the area around Via dei Condotti is these days strictly international designer territory. But the air of a Rome being discovered – even colonized – by foreigners persists, even if most of those hanging out on the Spanish Steps are flying-visit teenagers.

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