Christian Rizzo

Exploring Vicus Caprarius

Unveil the secrets of Vicus Caprarius in Rome's Centro Storico, where ancient history meets urban exploration.

Attraction Centro Storico
Ancient ruins of Vicus Caprarius in Rome


Vicus Caprarius is a hidden gem in the heart of Rome, near the Trevi Fountain. It is an archaeological site that reveals the ancient Roman aqueduct system and the remains of a residential area. In this article, you will learn more about the history and significance of Vicus Caprarius, as well as some practical tips for visiting this fascinating attraction.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

Vicus Caprarius is not a very well-known or popular attraction, so you may have to do some research to find it. The entrance is located in a small alley off Via di San Vincenzo, and there is no sign or indication of what lies beneath. You will have to ring a bell and wait for someone to open the door for you. The site is also quite small and can be explored in less than an hour. However, if you are interested in ancient Rome and its engineering marvels, you will find Vicus Caprarius worth the effort and time.

Tips for your visit of Vicus Caprarius

  • Book in advance: Vicus Caprarius is only open by appointment, so you will need to book your visit online or by phone at least a day before. You can choose between a guided tour or a self-guided visit with an audio guide.
  • Combine it with other attractions: Vicus Caprarius is located in the historic center of Rome, close to many other famous landmarks. You can easily combine your visit with a stroll around the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, or Piazza Navona.

Another tip is to visit Vicus Caprarius in the summer, when the temperature inside the site is much cooler than outside. You will enjoy a refreshing break from the heat and crowds of Rome.

Practical Information

Opening Hours: Vicus Caprarius is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The last entry is at 4:00 pm. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

How to Get There: The nearest metro station is Barberini, on line A. From there, you can walk for about 10 minutes to Via di San Vincenzo, where you will find the entrance to Vicus Caprarius. You can also take bus 52, 53, 62, 63, 71, 80, 83, 85, or 160 and get off at Tritone/Barberini stop.

Price: The admission fee for Vicus Caprarius is 3 euros per person. You can pay by cash or credit card at the entrance. The price includes an audio guide or a guided tour (depending on availability).

Crowds: Vicus Caprarius is not very crowded, as it is not a well-known attraction. However, it can only accommodate up to 25 people at a time, so you may have to wait for your turn if there are other visitors ahead of you.

Weather Considerations: Vicus Caprarius is an indoor attraction, so it is not affected by the weather conditions outside. However, as mentioned before, it can be a nice escape from the summer heat.

Photography: You are allowed to take photos and videos inside Vicus Caprarius, as long as you do not use flash or tripod.

Accessibility: Vicus Caprarius is not wheelchair accessible, as there are stairs and uneven surfaces inside the site. It may also be difficult for people with mobility issues or claustrophobia.

Facilities: There are no facilities such as toilets, lockers, or cafés inside Vicus Caprarius. You will have to use the public amenities nearby.

Tours: You can book a guided tour of Vicus Caprarius online or by phone, or join one on the spot if there is availability. The tours last about 45 minutes and are conducted in Italian or English. You can also opt for a self-guided visit with an audio guide, which is available in Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German.

Bringing Children: Vicus Caprarius is suitable for children who are interested in history and archaeology. They will enjoy seeing the ancient ruins and learning about the Roman water system. However, they may find the site dark and cramped, so you should supervise them at all times.

Bringing Pets: Pets are not allowed inside Vicus Caprarius, as they may damage the archaeological remains or disturb other visitors.

These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Vicus Caprarius?

    Vicus Caprarius is an archaeological site in the heart of Rome, near the Trevi Fountain. It was a residential area in ancient times, where a branch of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct passed through. The site was discovered in 1999 during the renovation of a cinema and opened to the public in 2005.

  • What can I see at Vicus Caprarius?

    At Vicus Caprarius, you can see the remains of Roman houses, shops, streets, and walls, as well as the original course of the Aqua Virgo. You can also admire a large water basin that was used as a fish farm and a fountain. The site also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events.

  • How can I visit Vicus Caprarius?

    Vicus Caprarius is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:00 am to 5:30 pm. The entrance fee is 3 euros and includes a guided tour. You can book your visit online or by phone. The site is accessible by metro (line A, Barberini station) or by bus (lines 52, 53, 62, 63, 71, 80, 83, 85, 95, 116, 160, 175, or 492).

Must see

  • The Trevi Fountain

    The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous and beautiful fountains in the world. It was built in the 18th century by Nicola Salvi and represents the sea god Oceanus with his chariot and horses. The fountain is fed by the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, which also supplies Vicus Caprarius. According to legend, if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome someday.

  • The Quirinal Palace

    The Quirinal Palace is the official residence of the President of Italy and one of the largest palaces in the world. It was built in the 16th century by Pope Gregory XIII as a summer residence for the popes. The palace has a rich history and a splendid collection of art and furniture. You can visit the palace on Sundays and holidays, with a reservation.

  • The National Gallery of Ancient Art

    The National Gallery of Ancient Art is located in the Palazzo Barberini, a magnificent baroque palace that was once owned by the Barberini family. The gallery displays paintings from the 13th to the 18th century by artists such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, Holbein, and El Greco. You can also admire the frescoes by Pietro da Cortona on the ceiling of the grand salon.

  • The Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini

    The Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini is a unique and macabre attraction in Rome. It was built in the 17th century by Pope Urban VIII for the Capuchin friars. The church contains a crypt that is decorated with the bones of over 4,000 friars who died between 1528 and 1870. The bones are arranged in various patterns and designs, creating a chilling but fascinating sight.

If you visit Vicus Caprarius and its surroundings, you will discover a rich and diverse heritage that spans from ancient Rome to modern Italy. You will also enjoy the lively atmosphere and the delicious cuisine of this central area of Rome.

Lesser known stories and Interesting Facts

  • The City of Water

    Vicus Caprarius is nicknamed the "City of Water" because it is connected to the ancient Aqua Virgo aqueduct, which still supplies water to the Trevi Fountain. The site has several pools and channels where you can see the clear water flowing underground.

  • The Face of Alexander Helios

    One of the most remarkable finds at Vicus Caprarius is a marble head of a young man, identified as Alexander Helios, the son of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. The head was probably part of a statue that was destroyed during the civil war between Octavian and Antony.

  • The Great Fire of 64

    Vicus Caprarius was originally an apartment complex (insulae) that was built after the Great Fire of 64, which devastated much of Rome. The fire was blamed on Emperor Nero, who allegedly played the lyre while Rome burned. Some historians believe that Nero himself started the fire to clear space for his grandiose palace, the Domus Aurea.

  • The Cinema Trevi

    The archaeological site was discovered by chance in 1999, during the renovation of the former Cinema Trevi, a movie theater that operated from 1937 to 1998. The cinema was famous for hosting the premiere of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita in 1960, which featured the iconic scene of Anita Ekberg bathing in the Trevi Fountain.

  • The Virgin Aqueduct

    The Aqua Virgo, or Virgin Aqueduct, was built in 19 BC by Marcus Agrippa, a general and friend of Emperor Augustus. The aqueduct was named after a young girl who supposedly showed Agrippa where to find a spring of pure water. The aqueduct is still in use today, and provides water to many fountains and monuments in Rome.

Historical Background

Vicus Caprarius is a testimony of Rome's rich and complex history, spanning from the imperial era to the modern times. The site reveals how the city evolved over the centuries, adapting to different needs and events.

The first phase of Vicus Caprarius dates back to the first century AD, when it was built as an insulae, or apartment complex, after the Great Fire of 64. The insulae consisted of four floors, with shops on the ground floor and residential units on the upper floors. The insulae had a central courtyard with a well, and was connected to the Aqua Virgo aqueduct.

The second phase of Vicus Caprarius dates back to the fourth century AD, when it was transformed into a domus, or upper-class house. The domus had more spacious and elegant rooms, decorated with frescoes and mosaics. The domus also had a private bath complex, with hot and cold water supplied by the aqueduct.

The third phase of Vicus Caprarius dates back to the fifth century AD, when it was abandoned due to the political and social instability that affected Rome. The site was gradually covered by debris and sediment, until it was completely buried and forgotten.

The fourth phase of Vicus Caprarius dates back to the 20th century, when it was rediscovered during the renovation of the Cinema Trevi. The site was excavated and restored by archaeologists, who found many artifacts and remains that shed light on the life and culture of ancient Rome.

Nearby Restaurants

  • Colline Emiliane A family-run restaurant that specializes in traditional cuisine from Emilia-Romagna, such as tortellini, tagliatelle, and lasagna.
  • Piccolo Arancio A cozy trattoria that serves classic Roman dishes, such as carbonara, amatriciana, and cacio e pepe.
  • Gelateria Valentino A popular gelato shop that offers a wide range of flavors, made with natural ingredients and fresh fruit.

Nearby Attractions

  • Trevi Fountain The most famous and spectacular fountain in Rome, built in the 18th century by Nicola Salvi. The fountain depicts Oceanus, the god of water, riding a chariot pulled by sea horses.
  • Quirinal Palace The official residence of the President of Italy, and one of the largest palaces in the world. The palace was built in the 16th century by Pope Gregory XIII, and later expanded by several popes and kings.
  • Barberini Palace A magnificent palace that houses the National Gallery of Ancient Art, which displays works by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Bernini. The palace was built in the 17th century by Pope Urban VIII, who belonged to the Barberini family.


Vicus Caprarius is a hidden gem in the heart of Rome, that offers a unique opportunity to explore the ancient and modern history of the city. By visiting Vicus Caprarius, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the "City of Water", and discover how Rome's water supply has shaped its culture and identity. Don't miss this chance to see Rome from a different perspective!