|Walking to the pool|
|Dianne in the olive trees|
We surrendered and returned two days later, this time on the scooter. Even that proved problematic, as we carved turn after turn on new roads leading nowhere, mostly frequented by bicyclists in tandem, enjoying the emptiness.
|Calatrava's swimming pool, through the weeds|
|Calatrava's idea of how the Sports City would look|
|The tower, designed to house the Rector of the new |
university. Appropriately grandiose.
Looks like a new EUR.
Ground was broken for the Tor Vergata campus (named after the alternating red and grey bricks of a "striped tower" sold in 1361 as part of the Annibaldi estate) in March, 2007. But rising costs for Sports City led the right-wing Mayor, Gianni Alemanno, to halt the pool project. The 2009 swimming competition was moved to the Foro Italico complex (on the Tevere, across from the Flaminio district) and to other hastily constructed pools, some of them carved out of tennis courts.
Calatrava's Sports City was also linked to Rome's bid for the 2020 summer Olympic games. Most of the other venues already existed. But the world financial crisis intervened, and in late 2011 or 2012 the new premier, economic technician Mario Monti, ended Rome's Olympic bid by refusing it state support, despite an offer of 380 million Euros (of about 500 million needed) from a private Swiss group for Sports City, in exchange for 25 years of ownership of the structure.
When the Olympic bid was abandoned, Mayor Alemanno, who had earlier blocked the Calatrava project, was now upset. He argued that the games would have helped expand the region's tourist potential by developing areas around Ostia, on the sea. La Repubblica's Robert Mania, perhaps thinking of Mussolini's ambitious plans to extend the city to the Mediterranean--and beyond--wrote, "Ma questa idea di Roma che si estende verso il mare non avevamo gia sentita?" (This idea of Rome extending itself toward the sea--haven't we already heard of this?). Another overreach, another failed Italian--and perhaps imperial--dream.