Rome Travel Guide

Rome Architecture, History, Art, Museums, Galleries, Fashion, Music, Photos, Walking and Hiking Itineraries, Neighborhoods, News and Social Commentary, Politics, Things to Do in Rome and Environs. Over 900 posts

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

The Vehicles of Rome


"Thelma Senza Luise"  Combination of a car and a scooter. By LAC 68, Nomentana station. 


While scurrying from one Rome "destination" to another, it's easy to miss the cool stuff that's all around you: the beautifully designed manhole covers, a wall of graffiti that celebrates a neighborhood's politics and local hero, the tiny dogs that Romans favor, the woman who's feeding cats, trees trimmed so thoroughly you're sure they'll never grow back, one unbelievable mound of garbage after another. 

And the vehicles. Romans--and the tourists they sometimes revile--get around the Eternal City in a variety of (for the observer, anyway) entertaining ways. Here are a few we've seen over the years:

A very long delivery bicycle, 2016


Now there's a load. 2013


For transporting children. Via del Corso. 



For transporting tired dogs



This guy's delivering for Frutteria Aloise. The vehicle is a weird one--a scooter of sorts
with a wide platform, small wheels, and no seat (and no helmet required). 2017.

And here's a delivery guy taking his bicycle up from the Metro.




Looks like a waiter transporting garbage, but I'm open to other interpretations. 2015

Sicily. Man delivering melons in a crate. Photos of Toto and (apparently) JFK. 2016. 

        Delivery, and delivery vehicles, are important enough that there are paintings of the them.

via Quatro Venti, 2016

2016. Neo-futurism. Not in a gallery. 

The mail has to be delivered, too, and in Rome it's usually by scooter, rather than truck. 

Woman delivering the mail. San Paolo, Rome, 2016.

Rome is a dense city and many of the streets are narrow. So there are lots of small vehicles.

Small yellow car. Dianne at right. 2016.



Bill, wondering if it's safe to drive. 2010. Looks the door is made of canvas.

The Ape is a common delivery vehicle, especially in rural areas. 3 wheels.

2016

Big guy with small bike. 2016.

Unlike Los Angeles and other American cities, Rome has not yet been populated by food trucks. However, all kinds of items, from clothing to batteries, are sold out of cars and small trucks. 

Mondo Arancina. A 3-wheeler. The drawing on the side depicts an historic battle. 

Ladies' garments. 2016. 



Small delivery boy, 2016. Life is hard.


Common sight: Woman with grocery shopping cart. 2016.



Scooters and motorcycles are common in Rome, to say the least. There are about 1 million of them. Less common is a fallen scooter or motorcycle. This one is unusual, in that there's a note on it, written by a passer-by, that says who did it and gives the license number of the offending owner's vehicle. 



2018

Tourists relaxing on their Segways, the Quirinale, 2016.




A rental scooter. This one is a 3-wheeler (two in front). Safer, but not safe. 



A scary sight: tourists on red rental scooters, crossing the Ponte Sublicio, 2018. 

Rome's latest transport scourge is the E-scooter. 


Guy with dog collecting iron with cart in Pigneto. You can't do that with an e-scooter.


Delivery guy on E-scooter

E-scooters. Helmets were not required; they may be now.

Bill
(and from Dianne - if you haven't had enough, try searching for "scooter" in RST, and you'll see more than 150 posts; trucks, more than 50 - for a start)

Sunday, January 21, 2024

36 Hours around Campo de' Fiori

This is the second of two posts that evolved from a friend's request for suggestions of what to do around Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori. As we noted in the first post on Piazza Navona, she was clear that she and her companion would be in Rome only 3 days, had seen the big sights and did not want to go back to those this time, and they did not want to do much walking. 

We put our heads together, created a list and a map for her, and enjoyed the exercise enough that we made it into 2 blog posts. Here's the second, on the Campo - expanding into the ghetto proper (the numbering starts with 19 - since the other numbers were used on Piazza Navona).

Note, Campo de’ Fiori and environs (the market – much more than flowers) is open only in the morning, Monday through Saturday).  

Campo de' Fiori, in clean-up phase (2015) 

19.      A statue of Giordano Bruno, the revolutionary monk burned at the stake in 1600, looms over the market in the middle of Campo de’ Fiori. We wrote about him here: https://romethesecondtime.blogspot.com/2009/08/mixing-religion-and-politics-in-lively.htmlBruno's story is the door to many facets of Italian history, politics, and religion, which may be one reason our post has a lengthy and interesting comment by a reader (with the handle "Believer"). Just after we published the post in 2009, Ingrid Rowland's fascinating book on Bruno came out. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/G/bo8167222.html

20.      Wine bar L’Angolo Divino enoteca vineria, just a few steps off the Campo, has some food, and is considered one of the better wine bars (all our Roman friends like it). Web site in Italian: https://www.angolodivino.it/

21.      Caffè Peru is a nice (not so fancy) wine bar, known for its great 10 euro aperitivo  (lots to eat):  https://romethesecondtime.blogspot.com/2015/07/caffe-peru-time-for-aperitivo.html  - via di Monserrato. The photo is from 2016.

22.      Palazzo Farnese was designed – or re-designed - by Michelangelo. You can’t go in; it's the well-guarded French Embassy, unless you can find a tour - which we did once. Still, it's definitely worth looking at. This is a lovely piazza (if there aren't too many security vehicles parked all around), with classic use of ancient Roman bathtubs as fountains, and the dramatic, enormous Michelangelo overhanging eaves on the palazzo. Have a drink in the bar that takes in the whole piazza, and enjoy the Renaissance cityscape. (And ask someone about the connection to the Farnesina across the Tevere.)

23.      Hungarian Academy on via Giulia – https://culture.hu/it/roma  -  is usually open 9-5 every weekday. It's one of the best of the foreign cultural academies, often with free, excellent art exhibits. Plus the academy occupies a Francesco Borromini structure built for the Falconieri family.

24.      Galleria Spada is a wonderful gallery that has another piece of Borrominiana - his “perspective” corridor. Open for tours (in English and French) daily except Tuesdays. https://galleriaspada.cultura.gov.it/en/tickets-and-info-2/

25.      Il Goccetto (trans. "the little drop") is our favorite wine bar – via dei Banchi Vecchi.

Il Goccetto. The clientele, as usual, spilling onto the sidewalk and street. Inside, a chalkboard lists all the wines available by the glass. 

26.      Turtle fountain - https://romethesecondtime.blogspot.com/2010/02/on-location-improving-on-turtle.html - Piazza Mattei. The turtles are by Gian Lorenzo Bernini - so you can get your fix of the Borromini/Bernini feud by hanging around this area. And, here's a romantic fable to add to the atmosphere (as if it needed anything). 

27.     Ghetto: The heart of it is this street, via di Portico d’Ottavia – look to Katie Parla for eating ideas – we’ve often gone to Giggetto at the end – because of ties to a friend of ours who lived upstairs. It bills itself as the server of the true Jewish artichoke (perhaps Dianne's favorite food of all time) since 1923. Incredible (and disturbing) free show in a tower right across from Giggetto - on concentration camps with Italian connections. This is the Museum of the Shoah, open Sunday through Friday, with shorter hours on Friday. The Synagogue is across the street and has tours – we’ve never been on one, but have been in the basement museum (hours change quite frequently with the seasons; basically open Sunday through Friday, with shorter hours on Friday) which is quite informative (we went for the first time last year). 

Below, one of the documents on display in the Synagogue museum, commemorating the establishment by the United Nations of the state of Israel. 


Good ruins at the end of the street – you’re almost at Campidoglio and you are at Teatro Marcello.

27A.     Pasticceria Boccione is open only in mornings – get there to get a piece of “Jewish pizza” – kind of like fruitcake - https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/passticeria-boccione

Pasticceria Boccione 

28.      Al Pompiere restaurant. We haven’t been there in years, but we always liked it – totally interior - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d866514-Reviews-Al_Pompiere_Ristorante_Roma-Rome_Lazio.html



Great Jewish artichokes- there and elsewhere in the ghetto – they won’t be in season, but the restaurants get them now from Africa and sell them in all seasons. If you're not a purist, try them! Carciofi alla giudia (not alla romana, though those are good too) [photo right].




29.     Largo di Torre Argentina – supposedly where Julius Caesar was killed. It has informative panels, and now you can walk in it. It has a cat sanctuary that is fun to visit, and you can "foster" a cat if you are going to be in Rome for more than a few days.

30.     Feltrinelli book store – an international one with paper products and gifts

And in the ghetto there’s lots of “spolia” – re-use of Roman ruins  - if you look up at buildings  - https://romethesecondtime.blogspot.com/2018/01/spolia-in-rome-reading-middle-ages-use.html

Particularly in the area of Campo de’ Fiori and the ghetto, you will see some of these "stumbling blocks" if you look down - https://romethesecondtime.blogspot.com/2013/10/here-lived-commemorating-italian-jews.html. They commemorate the Jews who were deported and died in the Holocaust, with the small brass block outside the doorway of the residence where that person once lived. We stopped to look at one near Largo di Torre Argentina and a young man came out to tell us that  6 of his cousins died at the hands of the Nazis.
 
Campo de' Fiori at dawn, the statue of Giordano Bruno at center/right. Sometimes it's worth getting up early. Daybreak, June, 2015. 

Dianne 

Thursday, January 4, 2024

The Auto Repair Garages of Rome

While walking in Rome, don't neglect the garages--the places where Romans get their cars and scooters repaired, or washed. Unlike many businesses, they are usually open to public view from the street. And they are in a variety of ways revealing--revealing of the interests and inclinations of the proprietors, who are invariably men. (We've seen a lot of women doing physical work in Rome--sweeping the streets, collecting garbage, delivering mail--but we have yet to see a female mechanic.)

Rome's a soccer town, and city-center Romans tend to be fans of the AS Roma team. 

Lots of AS Roma stuff, and a shout-out to the military, at left.

More sedate. Just a Totti jersey. Tools organized.

Sometimes you have to wonder how the mechanic can find anything. Not sure I would take my car here (below).


Garages represent the last bastion of sexism. Pin-ups are less common than they were, say, 20 years ago, but they're still around, here and there (far left and elsewhere in the photo below). This garage in the photo below (taken in 2018) is in Tiburtina. [And see the garage pin-ups Bill discovered in 2012 at the end of this post.]

Very organized, clean, highly decorated. 

Scooter repair shops often have a more subdued vibe:


This gommista (tire place) was closed when we went by, but the seranda was "revealing." 


Another tire place had created a waiting area for customers. Very "Los Angeles" we thought. 


It's not uncommon for auto repairs shops to do much of the work on the street. One could quibble about the use of "public property," but the activity is fun to watch. 

Steps from Piazza dei Re di Roma

This garage is interesting because of its location. It's cut into the Aurelian wall, in San Lorenzo. We saw it first on one of our "Wall Walks" in 2014, written up here.


And this garage is interesting because of what's inside and for sale: a 1965 1500L Fiat.  


We'll close with a couple of car-wash places. The first is an Auto Lavaggio a Mano--a hand car wash, probably do-it-yourself (fai da te). The attraction here is a large picture of Jesus (and a smaller one upper right, not too prominent).   

Christian car wash

And finally, from avant-garde Pigneto, a suggestion of who might be washing your car (as long as it's a Mercedes).


Bill (who else?)

A PS - In 2012, we found a set of pinups in a garage, and Bill declared it was the only one he had found to that point.  His post titled "Garage Art: the Pinup in Rome" is here.