Sunday, 17 June 2018

Perfect Picnics

Summertime and thoughts turn to the great outdoors. Fortunately
Rome’s parks and gardens provide perfect spots for a picnic and there are usually opportunities nearby to pick up provisions for an al fresco feast.

Villa Borghese

Pro Loco Pinciano on Via Bergamo is a mere 10 minute walk from the Porta Pinciano entrance to Villa Borghese. Here you will find an impressive selection of cold meats and cheeses as well as bottles of local Lazio wine.

After your stroll around the park enjoy gelato at Come Il Gelato on Via Silvio Spaventa. What is not to love about a gelateria that has molten chocolate on tap?

Giardiani Aranci

The Orange Garden on the Aventine Hill is one of the most romantic spots in Rome. Fortunately it is easily accessible from Viale Aventino where you can pick up alternate picnic supplies. Elleniko has Greek favourites including wonderful pitta breads that you can have filled or use to scoop up tzatsiki. There are also freshly prepared Greek salads available.

After your picnic return to Viale Aventino for gelato at Il Gelato where maestro Claudio Torce offers around 40 different flavours of gelato made with the finest ingredients.

Janiculum Hill

At the top of the Janiculum Hill you have Rome at your feet.

On your way to enjoying this magnificent view of the city pay a visit to Antica Caciara on Via di San Francesco a Ripa where Signor Roberto will take great pride in setting you up with all you need for a picnic, including freshly made panini with fillings of your choice.

After your picnic walk back down into Trastevere to enjoy gelato at one of the many fine gelaterias in that area - Fatamorgana on Piazza San Cosimato, Otaleg on Via di San Cosimato or Fior di Luna on Via Lungaretta

Piazza Testaccio

With benches under the shady trees and the sound of water tinkling from the central fountain, Piazza Testaccio is an ideal spot to enjoy your picnic food picked up at the nearby Mercato. As well as the usual fruit and vegetable stalls there are also top quality 'ready to go' food outlets . If you want traditional Roman then opt for the delicious panini by Mordi e Vai or alternatively try Cups by Cristina Bowerman where the aforementioned containers can be filled with pasta, soups or salads.

if you are very lucky one of the stellar chefs of Rome will have created a 'starred cup' that day

For gelato,keep it in the Cristina Bowerman family and head to Frigo on Piazzo Emporio

Parco Adriano

After a little retail therapy on Via Cola di Rienzo pick up supplies at Franchi Deli and head to the park surrounding Castel Sant'Angelo for a picnic in the shade of Hadrian's Mausoleum.

After your picnic lunch walk across Ponte Sant'Angelo and down Via Coronari to Gelateria Teatro where our favourite gelato flavours are raspberry with sage or chocolate with red wine.

Summer in the City

Although the heat in July can be stifling there are plenty of events to make a trip to the Eternal City worthwhile at this time.
Lungo Il Tevere
From early June to September the banks of the Tiber are transformed with pop up food, drink and entertainment tents. As in previous years Rec 23 dispense tasty burgers from a camper van near Porta Portese and Pizzaria Da Michele are in an idyllic spot overlooking the Ponte Rotto

Tiber Island is also the location for Isola del Cinema featuring Italian and international films. This year Dunkirk, The Greatest Showman and Wonder are some of the films shown on the big screen.

Shakespeare Festival
The Silvano Toti Globe Theatre is situated in the gorgeous Borghese Gardens and is the venue for the Shakespeare festival which runs from June to October. This year Othello, Midsummer Nights Dream, Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest are performed in Italian whilst Merchant of Venice can be enjoyed in English.

Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza
Outdoor concerts can be enjoyed in the exquisite courtyard of San Ivo with Borromini’s church as a backdrop. As well as popular classical works the International Chamber Ensemble perform soundtracks from films such as Harry Potter and Mission Impossible and musicals including West Side Story & La La Land

Baths of Caracalla
Another magnificent backdrop is provided by the Baths of Caracalla. Here you can experience La Traviata and Carmen amongst other operas.  Popular music  stars such as Bjork and James Taylor also have dates here this summer.

Parco della Musica
Sting and Shaggy and Franz Ferdinand are two of the acts on this years summer programme of the Renzo Piano designed Parco della Musica
En route to this venue why not enjoy aperitivo at Tree Bar, set amongst the trees just off Via Flaminia

Madonna Fiumarola
The procession of the Sacred Statue of the Madonna along the Tiber river forms part of the Festa de Noantri in Trastevere. This year the procession takes place on July 29th and one of the best spots to view is from Ponte Garibaldi, especially as there is a grattachecca kiosk close by. After landing the statue is paraded through the streets before coming to rest in Santa Maria in Trastevere

Friday, 15 June 2018

Street Art at The Rome Hello

The Rome Hello is a design hostel inspired by street art. The front of house staff were kind enough to let us non-residents look around to see for ourselves the works on display.
Each of the artists involved chose to donate to a charity which 
included Amnesty International, Baobab Experience and Doctors without Borders.

In the hostel hallway are two works by Jana & JS, an Austrian & French couple who have been painting together since 2006. Their stencil artworks always incorporate elements of the city in which they are working in the background.

Also in the hallway is the work of Victoriano, a graffiti and street artist from Spain. His mural blends the legend and history of Rome with the innocence of youth and features his daughter, Frida.

The guest lounge is home to the work of Alice Pasquini, a local artist from Rome who represents people and their relationships in her works. She especially likes to draw strong and independent women.

Dima Fatum from the Ukraine combines history and culture of the country in which he is painting in his works. Roman symbolism in his mural at The Rome Hello includes Julius Caesar and the Belvedere Torso from the Vatican Museum.

The work desk area in the lounge has a geometric background by Minimal Construction, a street and tattoo artist from Bordeaux.

Ale Martoz, an Italian illustrator and street artist from Assisi based his mural on the art installation 'Stonehenge Cars', representing pollution and renewable energy.

The hostel bar 'The Barrel' (where they serve a mean negroni by the way) features a B for Barrel by the graphic artist Jeremy Schiavo and a decorated toilet door by Valentina Fiorini, an artist and filmaker born in Rome.

The Rome Hello has many advantages as a place to stay in Rome, super friendly staff, great communal areas and a funky bar but the icing on the cake has to be this wonderful indoor street art gallery.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Rome 365 - Appia Antica

Walk in the footsteps of Ancient Roman soldiers, merchants and saints on the Appia Antica. It makes a lovely trip out to the edge of the city, especially on a Sunday when part of the road is closed to cars.

The Appian Way was built in 312BC and connected Rome to some of its most distant settlements through the port of Brindisi.

Start at Porta San Sebastiano, one of the best preserved gates in the Aurelian Walls.

Just along the, road on the right hand side, is the church of Quo Vadis. Legend tells us that as St Peter was fleeing his persecutors he saw a vision of Christ and asked him where he was going ('Quo Vadis') Jesus replied that he was going to Rome to be crucified anew, prompting Peter to turn around and accept his fate. The church contains a replica of the stone said to be marked with the footsteps of Christ.

Close by is the Circus of Maxentius, the best preserved of Roman circuses, which could accomodate 18,000 spectators. it was here that the obelisk of Diocletian was found which now stands in Piazza Navona.

The Tomb of Cecilia Metella was built for the daughter in law of Marcus Licinius Crassus, perhaps the richest man in Roman history .He was Julius Caesar's financial backer.

A little further along is the excavated area of Capo di Bove where remains of a thermal bath complex belonging to a Roman Villa can be seen.

Beyond Capo di Bove the road is lined with cypresses and funerary monuments which, thanks to the sculptor Canova, remain in situ rather than placed in museums.