Friday, February 26, 2010


Sunny day

Yesterday was warm and wonderful. Every one was out in the city streets for a passeggiata, enjoying the 18° C (64.4° F) temperatures and the air which smelled like spring. I bet the folks living up on the last floor of this palazzo in the centro storico really enjoyed their terrace yesterday. I can picture a table hidden behind the budding jasmine shrubs. Dappled light broken only by the squared shade provided by a white canvas umbrella. A frosty bottle of white wine, a chunk of Parmigiano, a small bowl of Gaeta olives, some bread. Birds chirping. Distant childrens' cackle down in the street. A bee buzzes in the geraniums. I take a sip.

Dreaming is gratis.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

la grande voliera

The giant bird cage at the Rome conservation zoo


The monumental metal structure of the birdcage was built in 1935 by architect Raffaele de Vico. The geodesic dome employs short struts following the principle of geodesy–the shortest possible line between two points on a sphere or other curved surface–thus forming an open framework of modular triangles made of steel, a very advanced concept at the time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Family of giraffes from the hidden raised platform...

...Japanese macaque colony...

...Bengali female grooming (sister #1)...

...wild geese honking at sleeping tiger (sister #2)...

...he likes to move it move it...

Nelly is not a small Indian elephant, rather those are BIG doors (pigeons on the ledge for scale)... roaming peacocks...

...and Petronilla (aged 32) playing hide and seek with my son beyond the glass.

What I like most of the Rome conservation zoo is the near absence of bars. The 1908 original floor plan in fact included ditches and pits instead of cages, generous green spaces, rocks and water and other more visually attractive enclosures. There has been great care in maintaining these ideals throughout the years and numerous renovations.
For example, the family of 5 Giraffes lives in a beautiful area, where the covered sleeping stables are decorated in moorish style. And the raised terrace is camouflaged, so you can look the long-necked creatures in the eye–especially Esmeralda and Macchia, the 2005 and 2009 puppies–without interfering in their meals or playtime. Another great space is the huge Lion jungle enclosure, where if you’re lucky you can stand nose to nose with the Alpha-male or his beloved queen, separated only by a sturdy sheet of shatterproof glass. My place is the Tiger compound, where two exquisite Bengali specimens stand just a few feet away in an open space. The invisible ravine that prevents us Sapiens from being lunch for the felines creates an impressive effect (see photo #4).

Monday, February 22, 2010


poser can't sit still

If only the energy of toddlers could somehow be channelled, the planet could run on that alone, and never have to rely on power derived from chemical or nuclear resources ever again.

This photo of my son was taken on our sofa, in the relaxed moments before his bedtime. This motion-blurred, dynamic image of youth, ebullience and vitality supports my theory.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Horses, elephants, trains and automobiles

Every Sunday morning my son and I take a long walk in the park. When the weather is nice, we even stretch as far as the Pincio, where I like to sit on a park bench and read the paper, sipping a cappuccino, while my little boy rides the merry-go-round, blissfully.

Spot a familiar subject in this photo?

For More Sundays in My City images, click HERE

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Roadside springtime

Traditional florists are practically extinct. There's one historic old store that sells excruciatingly expensive flower compositions and bouquets in my neighborhood, but it's going out of business. That's because in Rome you can find an impromptu flower stall, or an old lady selling flowers out of buckets for pennies virtually every few blocks or so.

This photo was taken at a major intersection on the Viale Liegi main thoroughfare that connects the quartiere Parioli to the University district; heading south on this same boulevard towards San Lorenzo, I happened upon two similar flower vendors.

I love fiori.

Friday, February 19, 2010

cielo e gelo

Swedish sunset 
{3:00 pm}

This is just one of the breathtaking mid afternoon skies we were blessed with during a recent visit in Östersund, the only city of the Jämtland County, in Sweden.
Taken from the "ice road" on Lake Storsjön.

For more SkyWatch© Friday images from around the world, click HERE

Thursday, February 18, 2010

guarda su!

curves and waves

To see something new and unexpected in an otherwise familiar place, sometimes all you have to do is... look up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

sotto la pioggia

Steadicam shot

This is what it's like to shoot a 12-second segment in the rain with delicate technical gear mounted on a steadicam rig. Two umbrellas, a white bounce for lighting, and a whole lotta plastic wrap protecting the battery pack and remote follow focus device. Not to mention the number of crew members around the camera.

The boom swinger in the foreground is looking over his shoulder to see if there's anything left in the box of pizza bianca the key grip (big guy to the left) got to first.

Your average rainy day on a Rome film set.

For more Watery Wednesday images from around the world click HERE

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


hot rod

I have a new obsession, can you tell? My latest fixation is photographing old model Fiat 500 cars. They are so sexy!
Contrary to my first poser, this one's very well kept, and the paint job is fantastic. Pity it's parked in a way that the two trash bins block it completely from backing out and going for a spin!

For more Ruby Tuesday images click HERE.

Monday, February 15, 2010

chanel a san pietro


The window display in this little antique store in my neighborhood combines a turn of the century painting of Piazza San Pietro–with the familiar St. Peter's dome and basilica–and exquisite vintage Chanel jewellery. I found this juxtaposition very elegant.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Lovers' locks

There's a recent custom among young lovers. Fastening padlocks to a chain in a public place near water, like a bridge or a lake as a romantic symbol of solidity, which seals a promise of love made between two people. The ritual involves the couple locking the padlock to a lamppost or a chain, and then throwing the key into the water. There are places around Rome where thousands of locks are clustered together. But as you can see, in this romantic place, the practice has only just begun.

Unknown Mami    For more Sundays in My City images from around the world click HERE

Saturday, February 13, 2010


A papal miter... keys... a fierce looking dolphin... 
which Roman fountain do these elements belong to?

...more hints...

The fountain and obelisk "della Rotonda," in front of the Pantheon, right!

Friday, February 12, 2010

neve a roma!


The last time snow had completely covered the city of Rome was February 11, 1986. At 8:00 in the morning the city woke up buried under several centimeters of snow. 
This year the flurry lasted about an hour and stuck on trees and window sills for a couple more, but the sun soon melted everything away. Only the sweet memory of the awe on my son's face lingers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

slow food

pc all the way

Despite the cliché checkered tablecloths and quaint hanging braids of peperoncini and garlic, this Trastevere hangout professes the opposite of the widely acclaimed Italian trattoria-style menu and philosophy. Care is given to a slow approach. Ingredients are certified local and organic, and cooked according to authentic Roman recipes. The menu entries change every day according to season and ingredient availability. In a district that has more than its fair share of set tourist menus, this little rebellion is worth a stop.

Via della Lungaretta, 75

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

cine città

Cinecittàdue mall

Cinecittà film studios

Centro Sperimentale di Cinematogrfia

Rome's very first shopping mall was built in 1983 in the block adjacent to the  world famous Cinecittà Studios, home to majestic Ben Hur and Fellini film sets, and many other famous Italian and international productions.
The shopping complex is relatively small compared to its newer counterparts, and it has maintained an interesting "piazza-like" feel. Across the street from the mirrored galleria shopping center on the via Tuscolana, is the fascist-style building that hosts Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Rome's first most and celebrated film school, inaugurated in 1938. 
Here, in an relatively populated, non-descript modern area of the city,  widely different architectural styles and the history of cinema live together within a 1-mile radius.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010



The elephant paddock at the Rome conservation zoo was just beyond the closed gate. But after taking this Ruby Tuesday shot, my son and I scuttled around the corner and made it to the front entrance. We arrived just in time to see the two Indian pachyderms being fed their daily ton and a half of fruit, potatoes, lettuce and grass.

Monday, February 8, 2010

tutto a €1

you want it, we've got it

In Italy, streetside markets are not all about food and second hand clothes. I like to linger before the colorful emporium-style stalls that sell hardware store materials (I have an insane passion for hardware stores). This particular one displayed its nifty items  in plastic baskets, and in exchange for just one Euro. So if you're ever in need of a new potato peeler, adaptor for your gas stove, a strainer for the sink, stainless steel hooks, bottle-openers, garlic crushers, nutcrackers, can and jar openers and a million other all-sorts, all you have to do is stop by and leave just a few coins behind.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


All sorts of cables

Via Cavour is a wide avenue that runs from the Termini train station all the way downhill through the Suburra, ending on via dei Fori Imperiali, by the Colosseum. As you can see by the intricate web of cables, a tram runs from the top, curving to the right. I liked the geometry of all the different intersecting lines in this shot. The late afternoon sunlight suits the tall palazzi at this hour of the day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

mattina presto

I went straight, towards the Basilica

I love Rome in the early hours of the morning. No traffic, awesome light and great photo ops.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

via sannio


Camo and military apparel

The Via Sannio second hand market held every morning in the tightly-packed stalls sheltered by grimy green ondulated plastic roofing and frayed tarp is best known for the American, German and Dutch Army camo, boots and general paraphernalia sold here at affordable prices. Some of the items on sale are vintage WWII pieces, some are hand-me-downs, others simply preloved military thrift.
The atmosphere is seedy and slightly unsafe, one you'd find in any casbah. It takes a little courage to delve in the dark passageways between booths, negotiate and close a deal while keeping close watch on your handbag. Just look at the attitude on those girls parading the alley in the top photo!

Most of my male colleagues shop here for cargo pants they wear on the film set. But I come here for Eva. Her small compartment deals in amazing cashmere sweaters, jumpers, cardigans and scarves in pristine condition, sometimes even brand new which she sells for peanuts. At Eva's I have often bumped into costume designers, stylists and celebrities rummaging through the heaps of wolly softness. I have more than once tried to lure the conversation towards the obscure provenance of Eva's goods, but always unsuccessfully. Don't ask, just grab your bargain while you can.

It feels so warm and soft...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

piazza verbano

Umbertine architecture

I love the grandeur of these mid-19th century buildings flanking the Piazza Verbano and lining the Via Nemorense which cuts across it. Way in the deep background a glimpse of the Villa Ada public park is visible beyond the tall umbrella pines in the piazza's roundabout.

Monday, February 1, 2010

bucato al sole


A white balloon, a vespa, a waiter on his cell phone. Plants, windows, doorways, laundry, sunlight. Graffiti, burnt sienna walls, wires, old gaslight lamp, drain pipes, blue sky.
The many elements in this photo sum up Trastevere's character.