Oslove: Italian Inspiration

I continue sharing my love for Oslo and its neighborhoods (you can see other posts in these series through the tag “barrios” in my blog). Today I want to share a pretty neighborhood of St. Hanshaugen which seems to be inspired by Italian cities, especially by Rome. I see it in the classical forms of facades, roundness of arches and buildings, in the cascade of stairs and the color palette.

So join me for the summer photowalk through this neighborhood and let me know if it gives you the same reminiscence.


When we were in Rome this spring, we stopped and said in many places: “This reminds me of St. Hanshaugen!” In the end, we were laughing that the Roman city planners came to Oslo to get their inspiration. And now, walking through St. Hanshaugen, I would remind ourselves of this: “The neighborhood that inspired Rome into being” :))

Wikipedia says, that the neighborhood was filled with building blocks in 1880. So it is quiet young, in comparison to Rome. I always wonder if the city planners of St. Hanshaugen travelled to Rome for inspiration. Where, otherwise, did they get this taste for simple classical lines and warm tones, which are not so typical for Norwegian architecture?

We start our walk with the Ilatrappa which means Ila stairs (connecting the neighborhood of Ila with St. Hanshaugen). We, Carles and I, call it the Spanish stairs as it reminds us of the Spanish steps in Rome. Wikipedia acknowledges that this sight is Italy-inspired. The stairs have several animal statues. You can click on any image to view it in the gallery in the bigger size. 

On the top of the stairs the pretty arches lead to the peaceful streets of St. Hanshaugen.

What you find after the arches – green and quiet corners.

If we go up those stairs, we come to Herman Foss’ street (gate in Norwegian) which I love for the beauty of facades, doors and the summer life of balconies.

This street, Herman Foss’ gate, has this amazing yellow building with round towers which is now a school. Imagine going to a sun-colored school like this!


After having walked this short but colorful street, we turn around the corner – and come to the St. Hanshaugen park. It is a nice park with a lot of shade, a small pond and more stairs if you want to climb up and get some view.

Around the park there are pretty buildings with sweet balconies. Since the parkways take you up, you can stand at the level of the third floor peeking into the balcony life 🙂

After I climbed down the narrow path from the park and crossed the street, turning around the corner I suddenly bumped into an Italian guy I had met some years ago. He was working in the restaurant-pizzeria and I made a small stop for a cappuccino and a catch up. Funny enough, when I was selecting photos for this post, I suddenly realized that this meeting fitted perfectly into my Italian story of St. Hanshaugen 🙂 So much Italian magic going on that you start bumping into the old Italian acquaintances :))

Now tell me, would you agree that this Oslo neighborhood resembles of Rome? Do you have areas in your city that strongly remind you of some other places?

11 thoughts on “Oslove: Italian Inspiration

  1. I could see some Italian inspiration there… if the buildings weren’t as clean (Italy is dirtier!!) 😂 And that blue door looks like it’s from Montpellier! But many of your buildings here remind me of Helsinki actually, especially the yellow ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right! Italy is not so washed))
      Oh really? Should I maybe call it “a Finnish inspiration”? 😆 I guess, the Northern city planners took their best ideas from Italy and France. Their copies can be found across Scandinavia and are nice. The rest is not so impressive (except for some modern architecture). Agree?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Apartment blocks from the 50’s-60’s can be pretty ugly over here, but Helsinki does have great architecture (and a heritage of famous Finnish architects like Alvar Aalto and Eliel/Eero Saarinen)… lots of jugend style here (princess towers), part of the national romantic style)… and functionalism which I like a lot. So, some of it is impressive and some really not!!! 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you have Aalto, of course :)) I love jugendstil and there is also some in Oslo. Funkis is mm, double attitude. Some is nice, some is not.
        What Oslo lacks is a coherent style in the centre. There is a building from 1850s, one from the 30s, and one from the 50s, side by side. No old street all in one style, like most capitals have. German cities usually have their Altstadt, the historical centre. And Stockholm and Copenhagen are so much more put together. Oslo was a province, you can see it, and only now it builds itself massively. This is mostly impressive here, I guess, the new architecture. The rest are bits and pieces to be found here and there. Which makes an interesting hunt :))

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, it’s very pretty. In fact, it’s too pretty and clean-looking for Rome. 😉 I can’t recall a single area in the centre of Rome that is clean-looking. (Now I see that Snow said the same above. :D)

    As for architecture, it’s highly similar indeed, especially the yellow school and all the arches. There are especially two photos that could be Italy: The one with the green awning before the three of yellow round school and the last one which to me is the prettiest. ❤

    I'm glad you get to feel Italy even out of it. It does that to you and your aesthetic values change forever. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, you ladies! Have the same mind :)) It somehow escaped my attention, the contrast in cleanness, but now, as you say it… 🙂 But hey, touristic Rome is not thaaat dirty, no? Or was I blind/Aperol infused too much? :))

      Thank you for the expert eye, Manja! And glad you liked it.
      Yes, Italy, like Paris, is a movable feast. It stays always with me, even when I am far far away in the North :))

      Liked by 1 person

      • True, the centre is cleaned more regularly than periphery but it’s not just dirty, it’s also messy. Organically-inorganically. Growth, air-condition units, cables, wires, bird shit. Rome. Movable feast is a great way to call it.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s