Friday, December 17, 2010

pattinaggio sul ghiaccio

This year's Christmas ice skating rink at the Auditorium Parco della Musica no longer occupies the cavea, rather a much wider space in front of the ReD cafè.
This series was shot last weekend.
I'm happy I caught the smiles and happiness of these three kids, drenched and giddy, in thier rented skates and loose-fitting elastic clothing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

galleria nazionale d'arte moderna

This photo was taken exactly 1 year ago.
The National modern art museum is a beautiful 19th century building nestled in the Valle Giulia, between the river Tiber and Villa Borghese. It contains works by Burri, Colla, Capogrossi, Fontana, Balla, De Chirico, Guttuso, Schifano; but also Picasso, Mondrian, Pollock, Calder, Moore.

On the north-facing wall is engraved my favorite Michelangelo quote,  

"Questo sol m'arde, e questo m'innamora."

Michelangelo employs the word "sol" in a way that could be interpreted as 'sun' = sole; and 'only' = solo. 
It is a complex phrase. And so romantic, in both it's meanings:

"This shining sun makes me go up in flames, and it makes me fall in love."
"This alone consumes me, and seduces me."

What is Michelangelo referring to?
Art? Beauty? A person's smile? Or is he really only talking about the sun?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

muro torto

The Muro Torto (meaning, "askew wall") is an ancient Roman supporting wall located behind the Pincian hill, that cuts through the Villa Borghese, running all the way from Via Veneto to the Piazza del Popolo. 

Don't be fooled by this picture, weekday traffic here is always bumper-to-bumper. There are actual sayings to that effect, like for example, "Jammed like the Muro Torto at rush hour..." or, "Growing old on the Muro Torto," etc. I'm kidding, the maxims don't exist. But the traffic is indeed very real.

The wall–dating to the end of the Republican era (509 BC to 27 BC)–supports the sloping hillside that once housed many patrician mansions, like the ones belonging to the Anicii, the Acilii and Pinci families.

The wall was later included in the monumental Aurelian Wall complex; and in the late 1800s this is where suicide victims, thieves, vagabonds and prostitutes were buried.

For more interesting history and lore surrounding the Muro Torto, you can read this very well-written article (in Italian) by Domenico Augenti.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Yep, that's me. In a situation I am most likely to be seen smiling: in front of a plate of local salumi & cheese, while holding a glass of wine.

It was a great bottle of Cesanese del Piglio, that Deborah and her son John shared with me over lunch at a wine merchant called Buccone. The store is located on Via Ripetta, to the right of the Piazza del Popolo twin churches.  It's great to meet a friend made through blogging.

Image © Deborah S. M.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

buon pastore

Between Via di Bravetta and Via Silvestri, sits the monumental neo-Baroque Buon Pastore suburban complex. Built by Architect Armando Brasini between 1929 and 1943, the intricate system of buildings was initially a convent, then it became an orphanage, a hospital and later hosted a military hospice. Some say it was even a questionable asylum for little girls and a prostitute sanatorium. Today it's home to three important high schools. Whatever the destination, bars and strange vibes still remain...

The Buon Pastore has often lent its eery and majestic structure to cinema. Pierpaolo Pasolini, Dario Argento and many other filmmakers have used this place in their movies. Last week I shot here for the first time, but many of my colleagues had filmed here before. It was an astounding discovery to learn of this place, only a few miles from the more famous Roman landmarks.
Among other locations within the complex, we used the central courtyard for the concert scene in a TV movie that will air overseas at the beginning of 2011.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

cavalieri di malta

Rome seen from the Knights of Malta on the Aventine Hill. Countless monuments on the skyline...
How many can you spot?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Fickle weather these days in the Eternal City...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

monte della farina

The Antica Vineria di via Monte della Farina, at number 37 of the namesake street (Tel. +39 06 688 06989) is more like a small town wine shop than a trendy aperitivo spot, with old men sipping their vino at the counter, and spilled by a spigot in the wall; and loyal guests ambling in regularly come 6 p.m. every day for their glass of Frascati. The functioning '50s fridge, the relaxed ambience and partners Marco and Giancarlo pouring glasses for their aficionado clientele, make this true Roman hang-out a must see.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The man up there opening his windows is very lucky: he lives across the street from a bread bakery...
For more visual reflections, please visit WEEKEND REFLECTIONS

Thursday, October 21, 2010


linear perspective ~
       a type of perspective used by artists
       in which the relative size, shape, and
       position of objects are determined by
       drawn or imagined lines converging
       at a point on the horizon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

il colore rosa

This blog participates in the joint Italian/expat blog comunity in support of the Nastro Rosa campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please visit Mamma Felice for a complete list of participants.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mexican artist Rivelino is the author of the temporary sculpture installation I Nostri Silenzi that occupies Villa Borghese's magnolia-lined avenue near the Pincio terrace. With his ten mute bronze busts, the artist conceptually deals with the theme of silence as absence of verbal communication and hindrance of freedom of expression.

Monday, October 11, 2010

via dei coronari

This beautiful medieval road–originally named Via Recta–was created as a through way to Ponte Sant'Angelo and then further on, to St. Peter's. Because the street was subsequently crowded with pilgrims headed to the Basilica, its 500 meter length was entirely dotted with stands and shops selling sacred souvenirs and rosary beads.
In Italian a rosary is called rosario or corona, 'crown of beads,' That's why the name of the street became Via dei Coronari. The fascinating medieval feel is still alive today, though the old souvenir shops have been replaced with very exclusive antique stores and boutiques.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The ancient Jewish quarter of Rome is commonly referred to as the "ghetto." Today it is one of the city's most charming and eclectic neighborhoods, known for its great restaurants serving traditional Roman cuisine and Jewish specialties, and home to a large Jewish community.
But in 1555 a Papal Bull ordered Jews–who had lived freely in Rome since antiquity–to be segregated in a walled sector with three gates that were locked at night, and subjected them to various restrictions on personal freedom, like limits to allowed professions and compulsory Catholic sermons on shabbat. Jews were disabled from owning any property even in the ghetto, yet had to pay a yearly tax for the "privilege" of living there.
In 1798 the Ghetto was legally abolished, and the Tree of Liberty was planted in Piazza delle Cinque Scole, but it was reinstated as soon as the Papacy regained control over the short-lived Napoleonic "Roman Republic." In 1848, during the brief Mazzini revolution, the ghetto was abolished once more, again temporarily. Finally in 1888 the city of Rome was able to tear down the ghetto's walls, and the area was fully reconstructed around the new Synagogue of Rome.

I usually have breakfast in Piazza Costaguti–the heart of the ghetto–before setting off on my culinary tours of the city. The early morning light is beautiful, and I enjoy observing the activity as shops begin to open, and kids scurry off to school.

Monday, October 4, 2010

salumeria roscioli

Historic Roman gourmet institution, among the most famous deli/restaurants in Rome and one of Italy’s top 5 wine bars. Recently showcased in Anthony Bourdain's black and white Dolce Vita-style Rome episode of "No Reservations" Roscioli's shelves carry 450 different kinds of cheese, more than 100 different types of cured meat, a wine list of 2200 labels, 20 different homemade breads. And the goods are handled by a professional team of expert sommeliers and talented chefs. The Roscioli family–true to perfect Italian tradition–has been working together since 1969.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Today is Theme Day in the City Daily Photo community. Graffiti is this month's theme.
I have mixed feelings about graffiti. In some cases I find them beautiful and poetic, and sometimes the vandalism is pointless, and it irritates me.
Some of these grffiti expressions I gathered in the streets, doorways and walls of Rome, and the best one, I found at home.

Visit City Daily Photo for more October GRAFFITI theme day photos.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

dolce vita

It rained Saturday. But this didn't stop folks from enjoying the sweet life.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

per amanda

Amanda defines herself as a mom, archaeologist and writer with a Greek soul. Her blog Travels with Persephone is partly a memoir of Greece–and in particular the island of Ithaka, where she's been returning, like Odysseus, for over 20 years. She still digs in Greece, but also unearths and writes about the mysteries of everyday life.

A few weeks ago she posted a touching and beautifully written piece, Geography of a wrist. It is a loving and poetic tribute to her mother. In it Amanda explains how she–just like her mother–collects bracelets, each matching a place, a voyage, a memory. Amanda keeps all this on her wrist, and the jingling sound of her mementos, lures her children in sweet slumber, as she tells them the wondrous stories behind each bangle.

Her post was particularly moving for me, and I found so many analogies with my own life, travels, generations of motherhood and perfume. And bracelets.

postman's on his way...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

cena dopo il cinema

Two weeks ago some friends and I went to the cinema to see The American. We had all worked on it, so it was nice to see the film together. After the movie we strolled to the nearby 'Gusto restaurant for a bite to eat. It was a lovely September evening, with still not too many people around in the streets after midnight. The last shot was taken on Via del Corso, looking down towards Piazza del Popolo.

Friday, September 17, 2010

scalinata di spagna

There is so much life on and around the "Spanish Steps."

I love coming here to people-watch. It's nice to see tourists slow down, relax on the marble steps and take a little break.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

sant'agnese in agone

Sant'Agnese in Agone is a Baroque basilica built in the late 1600s on the site of the Circus of Domitian, where Saint Agnes was martyred in 304 AD at the age of 12. Read her disturbing biography here.

Where the Circus of Domitian footrace stadium once stood, is now Piazza Navona–one of Rome's most visited landmarks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

vespa show

Just as I was saying good-bye to some friends visiting from LA after a gargantuan gelato session, a buzzing platoon of Vespa scooters zoomed by. They all had numbers on the front, so maybe it was some sort of competition. Judging from the models, it was probably for vintage classics.

Check out the cream-colored one equipped with sidecar... Also, I think I spotted a Lambretta out there somewhere...
Ah, bliss. Almost better than gelato.

This post is dedicated to my vespa-buddy, CHUCK