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Ringside Report Looks Back at the Film Classic Roman Holiday

By Karen Beishuizen

Rome, the eternal city. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. One of those places you must visit at least once before you die. A great alternative, if you can’t make it, is watching the movie “Roman Holiday” with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It is by far the best tourist guide as it shows you everything a first-time tourist needs to see. I have been to Rome so many times I know the city like the back of my hand. In 2013 I spend Christmas in Rome and used my time to find all the locations in the movie and would you believe it, I found them all! We start at the beginning: the embassy where the princess stays and makes her escape in the laundry van: The exterior is Palazzo Barberini (Via delle Quattro Fontane 13). Palazzo Brancaccio (Viale del Monte Oppio) was used for the interior including Princess Anne’s room and the staircase. The laundry van stops, and she gets off at Piazza Della Republica.From here she walks to the Roman Forum, via Via Nazionale.

Joe finds her asleep on a bench near The Temple of Saturn and The Arch of Septimus Severus (crossroad of Via Del Tulliano and Via Dell’Arco di Settimio) When the movie was filmed, cars were able to drive through the forum, but this is no longer allowed but it explains the taxi arriving to pick them up. He gives the driver the following address: Via Margutta 51. This is where his apartment is but be aware: the outside staircase where Audrey walks down is at Via Margutta 53. The next morning, he wakes up when he hears Church bells ringing. He opens the curtains and sees the tower clock of Oratorio dei Filippini (Via della Chiesa Nuova). He lets the princess sleep and hurries to The American News Services where he works as a reporter. The building used for this is Galleria Alberto Sordi (Piazza Colonna).

When he is confronted by his boss that the interview with the princess was cancelled and he sees her picture in the paper, he realizes that she is sleeping in his bed. He takes a bet with his boss he can get an exclusive interview with the princess including pictures. He hurries back home where he finds her about to leave. He gives her some money and starts following her.

Princess Anne sees a young woman with a short haircut and decides she wants that too. She goes inside a barber shop. The barber tells her about a dance party that evening at Castel Sant’Angelo and asks her if she wants to come.

This is located at The Trevi Fountain (Via della Stamperia 85). It is now a leather shop. With a new haircut she buys some ice cream and sits down on one of the columns at The Spanish Steps. Joe finds her here and convinces her to enjoy the city. He takes her to G. Rocca Café where they sit on the terrace and have champagne which he can not afford. His friend Irving joins them with a secret camera to take pictures. The location is at The Pantheon (Northwest corner of Via della Rotonda 25). It is no longer a café but a Replay fashion store. They decide to try out the Vespas and a wild ride starts across the city with views of The Coliseum and Vittoria Emmanuel Monument and ends with the princess smashes into a couple side-walk cafes and vendors.

They end up at the police station at Piazza della Bocca Verita. They leave the station and go to Bocca della Verita (The mouth of truth) right next door. A marble plate of the Triton, son of Poseidon. Only if you tell the truth, your hand won’t be bitten off when you stick it in the mouth. Princess Anne, knowing she is concealing her identity, does not really want to play along as she fears the worst.

When it is Joe’s turn and he pulls his hand out of the mouth, it seems to be gone and the princess lets out a scream: Audrey’s reaction is genuine as Gregory didn’t tell her beforehand, he would pull this gag on her. From here the journey continues to The Wall of Wishes at Viale Del Policlinico which is not too far away from Termini Train Station. The tablets with wishes that were on the wall have been removed to be preserved at Santuario Del Amore church in Castel di Leva: 15km south of Rome. It is almost evening when they leave here and go to Castel Sant’Angelo where the dance party is. She meets her barber again and dances with him. Some guys in black suits arrive to take the princess home and the famous fight breaks out. The princess knocks one of them out with a guitar. They escape by jumping in the river and swim to the riverbank. Once dry they walk back and hail a taxi which brings them back to the embassy (Palazzo Barberini).
The princess has to say goodbye to Joe. She asked the driver to stop at the corner of Via Rasella. They hug, kiss and cry.

The final scene of the movie is the press conference where she meets all the members of the world press. This was filmed at Palazzo Colonna (Via della Pilotta 17). There you have it: All the movie locations! Take your time and enjoy the stroll. Take lots of pictures. If you are not sure anymore where to go next, check out this website as it shows you the locations in order as they appear in the movie: HERE

Don’t forget that all the Palazzo locations I mentioned are open for public! Go inside and roam around.