Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Rome's Version of Central Park in Black and White
Lee and I have been walking for the better part of four hours - to Piazza del Popolo, the Pincio which offers the most spectacular view of the city yet - from the Monument of Emmanuelle Vittorio to the entire Vatican to the Colosseum. Then, we snailed our way through the park, the first spring green leaves, the first purple blossoms on the apple, the first raisin-colored buds of the chestnut trees. It was very quiet. Sometimes we felt we had the park to ourselves. We followed the allee of magnolia to Villa Borghese, where we parked ourselves in the sun. Well, Lee did. I scouted around for a bathroom. Without any luck, we left the park to find a toillette di donne. And, running out of time, we decided to take the nearest restaurant. It looked dim from the outside - perhaps a brothel disguised as a pizzaria. Inside, it was lively with local businessmen and a couple of lovely women. The men were all in their business suits - looking a bit like "little boxes" - all alike. It was the banking district, we noticed. The meal was divine. Birra rosso and wood-fired pizza with macchiato after. Then, a brave decision to walk home. It seemed we were miles away. But our inner compass took us back to Piazza del Popolo, where we took the straight path home down Via Di Ripetta to our neck of the woods - all in about an hour.
This was now our second day of just lovely meandering and what Lee calls "present time magic" - coming upon just the right thing at the right time. These are some photos from the day. This is our favorite way to travel and get to know a city. We aren't so good at standing in crowded lines to get into a museum or on a tour.
We are falling in love with Rome. Not the gilded dripping beauty - but the quality of space and light, the sounds of heels clipping along the pavers, how you move in the city, the schedule, the grand scale and magnificent accident of it all. How could anything this good actually be planned by mortal men?