The Via del Corso is a main street in the historical centre of Rome. It is straight in an area otherwise characterized by narrow meandering alleys and small piazzas. Considered a wide street in ancient times, the Corso is approximately 10 metres wide, and it only has room for two lanes of traffic and two narrow sidewalks. The northern portion of the street is a pedestrian area. The length of the street is roughly 1.5 kilometres.
The Corso runs in a generally north–south direction. To the north, it links the northern entrance gate to the city, the Porta del Popolo and its piazza, the Piazza del Popolo, to the heart of the city at the Piazza Venezia, at the base of the Capitoline Hill. At the Piazza del Popolo, Via del Corso is framed by two Baroque churches, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto, and along the street are the church of San Carlo al Corso, the church of San Giacomo in Augusta, the church of Gesù e Maria, the Piazza Colonna with the ancient column of Marcus Aurelius, the Galleria Alberto Sordi, the church of Santa Maria in Via Lata, the Oratory of Santissimo Crocifisso, the church of San Marcello al Corso and the Palazzo Doria Pamphili.
From the fifteenth century, the road served as the racetrack during the Roman Carnival for an annual running of riderless horses called the “corsa dei barberi”, which is the source for the name Via del Corso. Following the assassination of King Umberto I in 1900, the road was renamed Corso Umberto I. In 1944, it became Corso del Popolo and two years later reverted to Corso.
Today, the Corso is a popular place for the passeggiata, the evening stroll for the populace to be seen and to see others. It is also an important shopping street for tourists and locals alike.