The Pincian Hill (Mons Pincius) is located North-East of the centre of Rome. It is a steep elevation towering over the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza del Popolo. It is not recognised as one of the seven hills on which Rome is situated.
In the ancient times, during rules of Emperor Aurelian III in the 3rd century, the hill was within the area limited with the city walls. In those times it was called 'Collis Hortulorum', meaning 'the hill of gardens'. Today it is possible to say that the hill was owned by aristocracy, because many wealthy families had they villas there. One of them was the Pincii family from which the mountain's name originates.
Today's urban plan of Pincio was designed by Giuseppe Valadier, the architect of French descent, in the beginning of the 19th century. On the hill there is the church of Santissima Trinità dei Monti, meaning the Holy Trinity, designed by Carl Maderna together with Giacomo della Porta. It was founded by French kings Ludvig XII and carol VIII. To date, it is the main place of French cultural and religious life in Rome. The church is a standard example of manneristic art in this city. Inside there are frescos by Michalangelo's apprentices, as well as other artists', for example Cesare Nebbia, Michele Alberti ot Zuccari brothers. The historic part of the temple is not made public to tourists.
On the hill a magnificent palace Villa Medici is located. There is a legend saying that in 48 Valeria Messalina, a Roman empress and the third wife of Claudius, was murdered inside it. The present-day look of it was designed by the architect Annibale Lippi. In the 16th century the palace was purchased by the cardinal Ferdinando de Medici, the member of the most famous Florentian family. In 1804 the palace was converted into the French Academy due to the wish of Ludwig XIV. Its purpose was to support French artists staying in Rome and this function is fulfilled even nowadays.
In front of the palace there is a fountain with a cannonball located inside. There is a legend saying that Swedish queen Cristina was training her shooting skills on the St. Angel's church near the Vatican. A wide firing made the shell reach the Pincio Hill and caused some damages in the historical façade.
Moving forward there is an entrance to a garden path dedicated to Adam Mickiewicz who was highly attached to Rome. In the end of it there is a park of figures and a terrace, considered to be one of the most beautiful ones in Rome. The panoramic view spreads toward the Piazza del Popolo.