|The Aurelian Wall near Casa del Jazz. Here, from the outside, a sloping giant, with doors and windows added|
later, perhaps to serve "inside" residents
|Thwarted. Inside of wall not accessible here|
That lesson was delivered immediately, when, exiting Porta Metronia, we found ourselves barred from the inside of the wall by a gate (and inside, a half dozen plastic dishes and cartons--someone is feeding the area's cats).
|Seems like suburbia, except there's a wall|
We returned to the outside, which here skirts one of Rome's newest and best kept urban parks: benches and fountains, joggers, walkers, thinkers. How long, we wondered, could we sit on a park bench without a book, a newspaper, or a cell phone?
|Old scaffolding inside the wall/no access|
|Remnant of an aqueduct|
|Maybe they own horses|
|Homeless "shelter"/locked gate to inside of wall|
|Florentine Pope advertising wall work|
At a sharp right turn, more evidence of Papal interest, this time the Medici of Florence (all those fleurs-de-lys) And further on, the brick façade removed to reveal the tufo--of different colors, perhaps different eras--beneath.
|Stairway into upper San Saba|
Finally, at the next porta, we can tuck ourselves inside. Immediately, the wall shrinks--we're inside now, on higher ground. As we follow the wall around the corner and down the hill, we enjoy peeks through the wall at soccer fields and, to our right, views of the little-known and curiously isolated community of San Saba, constructed in the early 20th century.
|Porta San Paolo (and at left, the Piramid)|
Ahead, the wall is simply gone, victim of Rome's automobiles, and then beyond, the magnificent Porta San Paolo, out of which runs via Ostiense (the road to Ostia); today this porta, too, houses a museum. Historically, the piazza is well-known as the site of short-lived but furious resistance to the German occupation of the city in 1943.
|Cafe' du Parc. Table service, but order inside.|
Even downhill, this wall-walking is hard work, and so we treat ourselves to a glass of wine at one of our favorite redoubts, the Café du Parc, with its long, now fenced-in outdoor space. From our table, we enjoy a view of the Ostiense Post Office, one of four designed by noted architects during the Fascist era. This one--worth looking at from the front, and inside, too--is the work of Adalberto Libera and Mario De Renzi. When it opened in 1935, Mussolini was there.
|Inside the wall, San Saba just ahead; the wall seems short here, but it's because the ground is high. The wall|
is much higher on its "outside."