A Classic Roman Holiday For The Modern Traveler
Originally featured on The College Tourist
For the modern day film lover, travel provides the perfect opportunity to escape the
monotony of everyday life to the meccas of cinematic history. One of the best things
about living in Rome for a semester or a year is all of the time you have on your hands to
explore the city’s many winding streets, which have been home to films for decades. For
many, it’s classics like Roman Holiday that planted the first seed of wanderlust and instilled
the desire to see Rome, and the world, at a young age.
The unfortunate truth is that time hasn’t been terribly kind to some big pieces of
the Roman Holiday legacy. One of the best scenes in the film takes place at the little
bar Rocca’s right near the Pantheon. It’s here that American journalist Joe Bradley reveals
the hot story he’s sitting on to his photographer friend, Irving – setting off all of the events
of the film to follow. These days instead of finding a quaint bar where you can drink in
your caffe with a view that’s something from a dream, now like in much of Rome you’ll find
a series of storefronts that hide the piece of history that once was.
It’s never easy to find an exact location from a movie, but lucky for us Joe Bradley comes
right out says his address in the film, “Via Margutta 51”. Take a little walk past Piazza di
Spagna and you’ll find the quiet, secluded Via Margutta, home to Bradley’s apartment.
These days the street is full of tiny art galleries and gates to hidden residences. There’s a
long list of those who have tried to find the tiny apartment and failed. Rumor has it people
have found it though, and if the gate is open you can sneak into the courtyard for a little
peek at cinematic history.
Of course, mild little disappointments aside, you can still put yourself in so many of the
spots where some of the films most famous scenes played out. After taking a go at finding
the apartment, head back towards the Spanish Steps, home to some of the most iconic still
photographs that came from the film. To this day, it is still the perfect place to go to
channel your inner Audrey. So grab a gelato, and a dashing friend, and sit down on the
Steps and enjoy some of Rome’s absolute best people watching. Maybe your new friend
will even throw you on the back of their Vespa for a real tour of Rome.
The final stop on the journey is La Bocca della Verità, or the Mouth of Truth. Seen as an
iconic symbol from the film, it’s easy to jump in the line and anxiously await your opportunity to test your truthtelling skills. Just make sure you haven’t told any fibs and
you’ll probably be lucky enough to escape unharmed. Come back at night to see it in eery
silence through the grate.
As far as movie pilgrimages go, Roman Holiday is a bit of a mixed bag, but you can never
really go wrong when you’re in the Eternal City. Sure it would be nice to see a few more
crucial places from the film, but the old familiar places will always be there to greet you.
Just like Princess Ann, if ever you’re asked the favorite stop on your European study
abroad journey, the answer will be easy. “Rome. By all means, Rome.”