Resulting from a re-alignment of the Via Lata, the ancient continuation of the Via Flaminia inside the city, Via del Corso was the first straight road in Rome. Starting from the 15th century, when Piazza Venezia was re-designed, the street passed through a series of architectonic changes so that its 1500 meters were lined with a large number of monumental buildings and churches.
It became the setting for festivals, public events and processions until, when Rome became the capital, it underwent a further transformation and became the commercial and political heart of the new city, a role it maintains to this day.
The department store Rinascente is a good example of how commercial buildings altered the look of the street. It was constructed in 1885 and followed the style then in vogue in Paris for this type of shopping outlet.
Just on further, the Galleria Alberto Sordi
was built in 1914 on the old Palazzo Piombino. Although the style was unusual for Rome, it answered the needs of the recently arrived middle-classes whose lives followed a pattern of taking walks with the family, doing the rounds of the stores, and stopping for a chat and refreshment.
The political nature of Via del Corso is best expressed in Palazzo Chigi and, a short distance away, Palazzo di Montecitorio.