Living in the city center it’s almost like living in a small town.
– Should I take my bike or not? -. – Yes, bring it with you. I wanna take some pictures of you riding the bike.-.- That’s impossible! I’ve just realized the front wheel is broken ! -. Ok. Take the bicycle with you anyway, Margherita -. It’s March we are in Rome. The weather is changeble. One day is warm. The following is pretty cold. Sun and clouds. I meet up with Margherita in Via del Pellegrino (Campo de Fiori area). She has recently moved here and I really love this place. Ok Map: Via Giulia, Via di Monserrato, Via dei Cappellari, Piazza Farnese. At our back there is the long and noisy Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a street opened in the 1880s, like a wound in a so far quite secluded papal city. Apart from that little has changed here since the Rinascimento, the XVI century. Churches, Roman palaces, noble houses. Something like 20 years ago this area was still full packed with true and authentic Romans. A popular and even dangerous area. But, regardind the demographics, things have changed forever now, unfortunately.
We start walking through the Via Monserrato, along with this bicycle wich has a not functioning wheel. We really look ridiculous. But we don’t care. I choosed Margherita as a model because of her features: green big eyes, dark reddish natural hair, little flecks. All of that testifies a not mediterranean girl, but some nordic ancestry instead. :- Yes, I am Roman but from my father’s side my family is from Genoa, the port city in the North West of Italy. My mother also is not from Rome, she is from Gorizia, a nice town which is in the extreme North East of Italy, on the border with Slovenia. She moved to Rome with her family when she was very young, I think when she was two years old. – And do you ever visit Genoa ? – We have a house there in Nervi, which is a pitoresque neighborhood of Genoa. My father is very genoese, proud of that. He can speak the dialect very fluently. I tell you something about Genoa -.- Yes, please. –
– Genoa is a relaxing place to visit and live for a while. My father says that Via Garibaldi, in the center, is the most beautiful and elegant street in Europe. – Is that the Via with the Palaces of the Rolli ? -.- Exactly. On the other hand in Genoa there are the “carruggi”, little narrow streets, labyrinthic and a little dodgy. -. I also like Genoa. There are not many Italian esteemers of Genoa but I am. We happy few. But in general I love big industrial cities facing the sea. – There a part of Genoa in my personality – Margherita continues – Genoa is a reserved town, a truly northern place: a person’s private life is highly respected. Because of that I consider myself to be a friendly person, curious, but more “sober” than typical Romans are. I am not very loud, and we, the Romans, are very loud people in general! -. I agree. But I also think there are several types of modern Romans with their different charatheristics. With my research I am trying to show that.
We are going now in what I call the “Roman passegiata” par exellence. Here Rome looks like what it was in the past. A big wierd village. Piazza de Ricci is a natural set for Cinema and photographs. “Madonnelle” (images of Mary mother of Jesus) on walls. A portrait of Jesus mystically asking the passenger to worship. Some baroque-style rays of light hanging on an ancient wall are just literally exploding between two old windows. Frames workshops. Famous people have lived around here. St. Catherine of Siena. You can spot her palace, with this distinctive little lodge and balcony. St. Phillip Neri, who had his apartments built under the ceiling of the little Church of San Gerolamo della Carità. We get into Via di Montoro and then on Via dei Cappellari towards Via del Pellegrino. Here I find a wooden doorway in the place of what must have been a stable for horses in the past. We take some pictures in here.
In this narrow street there is a special atmosphere. I can notice several workshop with inner gardens over there. There are days in which I saw old people playing with cards seating in the middle of the street. But not today. – How is your life here ? It must have changed a lot ! -.- Yes. At the beginning it wasn’t so easy to move here, around Piazza Campo de’ Fiori. But then I discovered a new way to enjoy my city. I used to go by car everyday, but here the streets are so small and distance so short, that I got a bycycle.
Living in there it’s almost like living in a small town. Everyone knows everybody, and you can find old artisans and artists living here. There is the goldsmith, the carpenter, the locksmith, a traditional paint-shop, a household products shop and a very old bar which is not “vintage” but just old. It has been preserved as it was during the 1950s and is still very popular and always full of students. At the same time the area has been a little gentrified and new spots are opening, fashion shops and organic food little markets. Near my place there is a dvd shop where you can find old titles and rarities -.
Changing clothes. Now she is wearing a pink leather jacket. We take pictures on the Via Giulia, towards San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. There is like a stage at the end of the street. An unexpected building, which looks like to have been bombed. It is not so. This is what remains of the insane obsession of the XIX century: raze old roman buildings to the ground and open broad streets in the historical city center. Mental!
I look at my city with compassion. Rome has been built up many times, and then raize to the ground. Then set up in new features with old materials again, and then fix it up. This is Rome’s beauty.
We get into Margherita’s apartment. I take my last pics on the doorstep. I like these shots, she doesn’t. – You are too close with your camera! -. Right. Once in the flat, she opens a window and shows me the view. We can see beyond the river. – Look! The Garibaldi statue, on the top of the hill! -.
We eat togheter, I love the ceiling all made of wood. – Some people paint the ceiling in white. I don’t. – Then she shows me a little window facing the internal area of the building. The view reminds me some medieval prison. Narrow and gothic. – I can imagine how beautiful is to get back home at evening, surrounded by all these monuments. You must have seen something worth to be told.-.- Yes! Once, at night, it was in summer, – it was very warm – I was getting back home from an evening out with friends. I saw a man, behind the window, who was painting, listening to classical music, in the street of Via dei Cappellari. -. Oh yeah, that’s relaxing!