sabato 25 maggio 2013

In the heart of Rome

Because I love my darling Rome, I like to walk around its lovely hereabouts and, whenever I can, I love to give my foreign friends (next time it will be Nick from Australia...) a glance through history, which is what happens if one roams about Rome with open eyes and soul and heart. I usually start my Roman tour under the beautiful Trajan column, explaining how the markets of that spanish general, who became emperor, used to bear, at the back, a large library which bore a flight of stairs in the inside that made the bas relief look like a playful and colored (because the marble was painted!) comic strip... Next I ask my dear guests to look up at the blue skies, up above. "Who is the man up there? - I ask - is it Trajan?". But of course not! It's Saint Peter! Trajan has been thrown down to stick up there the new power in the form of an old bearded man holding the key of Paradise. And there, as if in makebelief, all history becomes true. It was once the Roman empire, now the Roman catholic church... There, the same international aim! So now, the walk continues and as I come, with my tourist friends, under the house that hosted Napoleon's mother (more history), I recall my little brazilian nephew, who lives in a modern city where everything is brand new and has very little history. I said to him, pointing at the most gorgeous medieval house that survives in the Monti area: "Look how lovely!". And he answered: "Casa da bruxa". Meaning house of the whitch..

mercoledì 15 maggio 2013

The wedding cake in Rome

This morning, under a white crying sky, I found myself in Piazza Venezia, a lovely flowery square, clean in its simple Roman heart, that is the bright start of the Via del Corso, which, once upon a time bore the majestic name of Via Lata (the big way). At the bottom of the Via del Corso, another beautiful Piazza, the piazza del Popolo which is not, as can be understood named after the people (Popolo in italian meaning people...) but of the populi, poplar trees. Our brothers, the trees, have been cut down, but the name remains forever.
Well, anyway, lets go back to the first piazza, the Piazza Venezia. So, I was there waiting for a person of my heart. And I had enough time to look at the tourists and listen to their chatting. The cameras ticking and tacking focusing on the Vittoriano, which lurks, white and (for me) ugly, on the gentle piazza. It is the unliked (by Romans) symbol of the piedmontese power in the Rome of the Popes. White marble under the sun, sad under the rain. Infact it is a tomb. The tomb of the unknown soldier. But, up and down, the flight of stairs go the happy tourists thinking, maybe, that the white temple dates back to the Roman Empire and not, as it is, to the eighteen hundreds... "Mom, who is that man on the horse?", I heard a little girl ask her mother. And the lady, admiring the wedding cake (this is how the Romans used to call the Vittoriano...) answered: "I don't know, but it must be an emperor or a king or something like it..."