Rioni of Rome

Rioni of Rome

The word rione (pl. "rioni") comes from the Latin "regio" (pl. "regiones", meaning region); during the Middle Ages the Latin word became "rejones", from which "rione". The word has been used since the Middle Ages to name the districts of central Rome, according to the political divisions of that time.

Ancient Rome

The rioni were established for the first time in the 4th century BC by Servius Tullius: they were only four and they were called "regiones" (the plural of "regio").

Then, during the Imperial ages, Augustus increased their number to 14: all but "Transtiberim" (the modern Trastevere) were on the east side of the river Tiber. They were (see 14 regions of the Augustan Rome):

# "Porta Capena"
# "Caelimontium"
# "Isis et Serapis"
# "Templum Pacis"
# "Esquiliae"
# "Alta Semita"
# "Via Lata"
# "Forum Romanum"
# "Circus Flaminius"
# "Palatium"
# "Circus Maximus"
# "Piscina Publica"
# "Aventinus"
# "Transtiberim"

The Middle Ages

After the fall of the Roman empire and the decline of Rome as a cultural center, the population decreased and the political division in rioni was lost. During the 12th century a division in 12 parts started being used, but it had not been decided by the leaders but simply by the common use of the people. Even if the areas were different from the ancient ones, they still used the same name: "regio" in Latin and rioni in vulgar language.

The limits of the rioni became more definitive and official in the 13th century: their number increased to 13 and it remained like this until the 16th century. In this period, anyway, the limits were quite uncertain:The buildings were concentrated close to the center of each rione, so the areas on the edges were almost deserted, thus it was not really necessary to define the limits exactly.

The Modern ages

During the Renaissance there was a deep reorganization of the city. A lot of buildings, streets and fountains were built within the Aurelian walls, so it became necessary to limit the rioni exactly.

In 1586 Sixtus V broke the tradition of 13 rioni adding another one: Borgo.This change created a balanced situation that, thanks to the small increase of the population, remained the same until the XIX century.

In 1744 Pope Benedict XIV, because of frequent misunderstanding, decided to replan the political division of Rome, giving the responsibility of it to Count Bernardini, who was so good at it that his division did not change much until 1921. During this period the strong feelings of belonging to one rione or another were born, even if they have much older roots.

In 1798 there was a rationalization of the politic division creating 12 rioni(in brackets there is the modern one they correspond to):

# Terme (part of Monti);
# Suburra (part of Monti);
# Quirinale (Trevi);
# Pincio (Colonna);
# Marte (Campo Marzio);
# Bruto (Ponte);
# Pompeo (Regola and Parione);
# Flaminio (Sant'Eustachio);
# Pantheon (Pigna and Sant'Angelo);
# Campidoglio (Campitelli e Ripa);
# Gianicolo (Trastevere);
# Vaticano (Borgo);

Soon after this, during the domination of Napoleon, Rome was split up in 8 parts, now called "Giustizie" (meaning "justices" in Italian):

# Monti;
# Trevi;
# Colonna e Campo Marzio;
# Ponte e Borgo;
# Parione e Regola;
# Sant'Eustachio e Pigna;
# Campitelli, Sant'Angelo e Ripa);
# Trastevere.

So the smaller rioni were joint to the greater ones. In this occasion the French affixed in each street a sign with its name and the areas it belonged to: for the first time there was no ambiguity about the limits of the rioni.


Even after Napoleon lost his power, there were no sensible changes in the organization of the city, until Rome became the capital of the new born Italy. The needs of the new capital caused a great urbanization and an increase of the population, both within the Aurelian walls and outside them. In 1874 the rioni became 15 adding Esquilino, obtained taking a part from Monti. At the beginning of the 20th century some rioni started being split up and the first parts outside the Aurelian walls started being considered part of the city.

In 1921 the number of the rioni increased to 22. Prati was the last rione to be established and the only one outside the Aurelian walls.

The latest reform, which is still mostly valid, was made in 1972: Rome was divided in 20 "circoscrizioni" (later renamed "municipi", one of which has since become an independent municipality) and all the 22 rioni (thus the historical center) were placed in the first one, Municipio I.

The complete list of the modern rioni, in order of number, is the following:

#Campo Marzio
#Castro Pretorio
#San Saba

Logos of the modern rioni

ee also

* Administrative subdivision of Rome
* Frazione
* Località
* Circoscrizione
* Rione
* Terziere
* Quartiere
* Sestiere

External links

* [ Testaccio - Rione of Roma]

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