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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Exploring the Valley of the Aniene, and Pietralata, on a Sunday afternoon

On a warm Sunday afternoon in late April, we took a walk through an area mostly new to us: the Riserva Naturale della Valle del Aniene (Nature Preserve of the Aniene Valley).  On most days the park would be empty, or virtually so, but on this sunny Sunday it was full of families and friends enjoying a variety of activities in the way Romans do.  We followed the path/park until we arrived at the rather forbidding Ponte Mammolo, where we crossed the Aniene before returning through Pietralata (eventually on busy, possibly dangerous via di Pietralata).  If I remember correctly, the walk took about 3 hours.  Below, some pics with brief commentary.

The walk begins at the very old Ponte Nomentana (parts of it dating possibly to the 8th century), which is reached on a brief spur that angles off the broad via Nomentana in the north of Rome. The bridge carried this consular road over the Aniene. The walk over the bridge begins Itinerary 10 in Rome the Second Time, but that itinerary heads left over the bridge.  On this day, we headed right. through this large gate, which  is just over the bridge.

We went through it and found ourselves on a broad path that more or less tracked the Aniene.

We found a large water channel, purpose and origin unknown.

In the distance on the left, a family had anchored their tent to a roll of hay that provided additional shade. 

Further on, playground equipment for the kids.

And a soccer game, for all ages, amid the weeds.

Bicycles--a good way to get into the park.

Picnicking.  The Italian word is "picnic," pronounced "peekneek"

Here, the door to a garden (no doubt "abusivo," illegal) is made from a mattress frame.

Walking on Ponte Mammolo, which crosses the Aniene.

Below, a large and elaborate garden--again, likely abusivo.

The Aniene below.  It's one of Rome's 2 rivers, even if unimpressive here.

Turning right and entering the neighborhoods (bring a map to make sure you don't lose your way at this point) on our return.  Note the striking stairway on this apartment building.

Below, a restaurant on via di Pietralata, closed between lunch and dinner. As we recall, this is the Pietralata "suburban" outpost of Betto e Mary, the original of which is in Torpignattara, near the Wunderkammern gallery.

Almost across the street from Betto e Mary is the arts center, l'ex Lanificio (the former wool factory), where in the past we saw exhibitions of art by Biodpi (Anna Magnani walking the she-wolf) and Alice (the painted trailer).  The center was quiet this day.

The Butcher Shop.  Meat cured or cooked.

Blue Chair. Poignant art photo.

Acqua Vergine (one of Rome's important aqueducts), water meter, 1868. Acqua Vergine's "show" fountain is the Trevi.  The aqueduct also runs under, and is accessible (with permission) via Villa Medici.

Almost back. Graffiti-covered courtyard of a business. 

All in all, not a thrill a minute, but a nice slice of Roman life. 

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