ONE WEEK IN ROME - PART 14 | Bed and Rome and Breakfast

giovedì 18 maggio 2017



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From St. Peter to Porta Portese

I will tell you the full truth and that is that I did not enter in the St. Peter's Basilica or in the Vatican Museums.
Even if that was my original idea when, in the morning, I left San Lorenzo Guest House, once I got there I changed my schedule. Weather was so nice, indeed bad weather is not a very usual event in Rome, that I thought that staying inside was not the best idea.
The lesson I got in the previous days was that, when in Rome, first of all, before visiting museum and sites, one must feel the ideal that is behind this unique city. The best way to get it is to walk around.

National Mall at Washington D.C.
National Mall, Washington D.C.
I started my walk form St. Peter Square. What could I say about it that has not been written?
Well, even if I am essentially a football fan, f rom time to time I also like to read about international politics. When you look at the National Mall in Washington D.C. you will see the same architectonic elements os St. Peter Square, columns, obelisk and dome. Too many similarities are not a case, in my opinion.

Anyhow, after leaving St. Peter Square, I reached the Mausoleum of Hadrian, that now is better know as Castel Sant'Angelo, that is one of the most iconic spots in Rome.

Another iconic spot is also Piazza Navona, that I reached after crossing the Tiber, The square and the building surrounding it are bulti over the ancient Stadiun of  Domitian, the first permanent stadium for competitive athletics.
Fontana dei Fiumi and the Agonalis obelisk
Piazza Navona is mostly characterized by the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, designed by Francesco Borromini, and by the Fontana dei Fiumi (Fountain of the Rivers) designed bu Gian Lorenzo Bernini. A fierce rivalry existed among those two great artists and it is the origin of the popular legend on the position of the arm and the hand of one of the statues of the fountain. It seems that the statue is scared by the vision of the facade of the church.
On the canter of the square the is another one of the many obelisks of Rome.
Pantheon, again oblisk and dome

From Piazza Navona I reached the Pantheon. That building is, in my opinion, the demonstation why Rome is named the Eternal City. It features the largest ever built dome in ureinforced concrete. It is even larger than St. Peter's dome. It is in continuous use since the moment of its reconstruction under Emperor Hadrian, that is 1900 years.
Campo de' Fiori and the statue of
Giordano Bruno
Campo de' Fiori (Flowers Field) is one of the most crowded squares of Rome. Surrounded by cafes and restaurants, and location of a street market during the daytime, it attracts people all around the day. The square is dominated by the statue in honor of Giordano Bruno, a martyr of free thought that was burn at stake on 1600 for heresy.
Just step away from Campo de' Fiori there is Piazza Farnese with the magnificent Palazzo Farnese that host the French embassy.

Palazzo Farnese
Largo di Torre Argentina is a square that is absolutely worth a visit. Its name has nothing to do with the country of Argentina but rather with the city of Strasbourg whose Latin name was Argentoratum.
In the XVI century the Papal Master of Cerimonies, that was born in Strasbourg and that used to sign as Argentinus, built here a palace with a tower, now not more visible after being partially incorporated in the existing theater. In the square there is also another tower, Torre del Papito.
Largo di Torre Argentina,
archeology and cats

The archeological area at the center of the square has the remains of four temples of the republican period and of the Curia of the Theatre of  Pompey, that is the place where Julius Cesar was killed on March 15, 44 BC. In that place the history of the western world took a new directions.
Rubino, a cat fro the shelter
that belonged to the son of the owner of
San Lorenzo Guest House
But the most curious thing of the archeological area is that it hosts the Torre Argentina Cat Sancuary, a shelter for homeless cats. Several volunteers take care of the cats, delivering food and sterilizing them to avoid an excessive population growth. Romans that wants to give a home to a cat mostly come here to take one. One might stay hours observing the cats while lazily laying under the sun rays.
The Jewish Ghetto is located in an area along the Tiber between the Portico d'Ottavia and Via Arenula. It is the second oldest ghetto of the world, the oldest one being in Venice.
Even if Jews are no more obliged to live in the ghetto and most of the buildings have been reconstructed at the end of the XIX century, it has maintened some peculiar characteristics.
Jewish Ghetto
The dialect is not the same as in the rest of the city and, especially, the cuisine is really great. Actually the Roman cuisine is largely derived by the Kosher one. One must take into account that people of Jewish religion are living in Rome since hundreds of years.
Fried vegetables, especially Carciofi alla Giudìa (artichockes in the Jewish style, deeply fried in olive oil), fish broth, lamb prepared in different ways, are some of the specialties you find in all restaurants in Rome but that are tasted at the best in the Ghetto.
The bridge going to the the Tiber Island, the Pons Fabricius, is the oldest in Rome still in its original status of the I century BC.
Sora Lella Restaurant
On the left of the street crossing the island there is the restaurant Sora Lella, one of the most known in Rome. It was founded and operated for decades by Elena Fabrizi, popularly known as Sora Lella, one of the most iconic personality of modern Rome, died in 1993. She was the sister of one of the greatest Roman actors, Aldo Fabrizi and, while managing her restaurant, used to be an actress and TV character too, generally interpreting the role of the grumbling grandmother. She was also a great supporter of SS Lazio football team and the fans on the team are still celebrating her with a big flag.
The Tiber Island is, since the IV century BC, dedicated to the medicine. Nowadays it hosts two hospitals, the Fatebenefratelli and the Israelitic.
Crossing the Pons Cestius, whose central archs are still the original ones, I reached Trastevere. It is the most known neighborhood of Rome. It is considered t be home of the real Romans (Romani de' Roma). Its street are continuosly populated by a crowd of locals and tourists that are attacted by the plenty of reastaurants and other premises that are located here.
And finally I reaached Prta Portese, where on every Sunday there is the most popular flea market i Rome to get again the tramway numebr 3 and get back to San Lorenzo Guest House.

Porta Portese


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