Monday, 30 September 2013

To Rome with Love


Woody Allen's tribute to the Eternal City lends itself beautifully to an itinerary based on places used in the film,which was shot entirely on location.

If you choose to arrive by train (good connections from both airports) you will be following in the footsteps of Antonio & Milly, who start their Rome adventures at Termini Station.

As regards accommodation, the film features three hotels. Hotel Raphael ,  Donna Camilla Savelli and St Regis, all are delightful and each one would make a perfect base from which to explore neighbourhoods seen in the film.
I would suggest using your first evening in Rome to visit Trastevere. If you cross the river at Ponte Sisto you will reach the tiny Piazza della Malva.
Here you will see Er Cimotto, the fruit and vegetable store that was used in the film - produce stands were added to the normally bare exterior.
Continue on to Porto Settimana. 
On the corner of Via Garibaldi / Via della Scala John Foy meets Jack.
Take Via della Scala to Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. In the corner of the square is the restaurant where Leopoldo took his date for lunch - Sabatini.
Why not enjoy dinner here? The food may not be the best in Rome but it is honest home cooking with an incomparable view of the piazza & all that is happening there. If you linger long enough you will see the church & fountain illuminated in night time splendour.
Day 1
Start your day at the delightful Piazza Madonna dei Monti.
This spot can be reached by either taking the metro to Cavour or the little electric 117 bus to Via Serpenti. Stop by for coffee at Bar Faraone on the piazza and you will be replicating a scene in the movie.
From the piazza take Via Baccina & look for a small street on your left. This is Via dei Neofiti & it is where the filming of Jack's house took place. Follow Via dei Neofiti until you reach Via Madonna dei Monti. Turn right & eventually you will come to Via dei Fori Imperiali with the view of the Colosseum as seen in the film.
From here head towards Piazza Venezia, recognisable from the opening scene.
Continue on to the bottom of the stairway leading up to Campodoglio. again familiar from the opening sequence of the film.
Resist the urge to climb the steps (we will return here later). Instead cross the road and take Via d'Aracoeli as far as Piazza Margana. Continue along Via Delfina until you reach the exquisite Piazza Mattei. At the centre of this tiny Piazza is the delightful turtle fountain.
Woody Allen uses this piazza as a film set within a film set. Here Milly meets her idol, Luca.
Take Via Funari as far as Via Arenula. You are about to cross the road & walk through Piazza Cairoli to Via del Giubbonari but before doing so glance to your right. On the left hand side of the road, opposite the Area Sacra (where Milly is seen asking directions ) is Teatro Argentina, one of the oldest opera houses in Rome. Sets were created here for the staging of 'Pagliacci' where Giancarlo is seen singing his role in the shower!

The backdrops for the opera were designed the old fashioned way with painted backings in keeping with the theatre's history.
Continue along Via del Giubbonari until you reach Campo di Fiori. The market should still be in full swing, watched over, as always, by the brooding statue of Giordano Bruno.

Immediately behind the statue you will see the Cinema Farnese. Leopoldo is seen leaving here with his wife & friends.
Take Via del Baullari from the Campo, Cross Corso Vittorio Emanuele II & head to Piazza Navona .........yet another beautiful piazza seen in the film.
 Walk the length of Piazza Navona, admiring the work of Bernini.....

......... and Borromini
Then leave the piazza by Via di Tor Millina and make your way to Café della Pace on the street of the same name. Time for a spot of  enjoyed by John Foy and company at this very café.
After a leisurely lunch meander through the Centro Storico until you reach Via del Corso. Cross here and follow the signs to the Trevi Fountain - a special place to Hayley & Michelangelo as they first meet when Hayley asks directions to this monument.
At this point I suggest some 'downtime' back at your accommodation in readiness for your evening 'passeggiata' , which will be taking in more 'To Rome with Love' locations of course!
Start your evening at the Spanish Steps. If you are lucky, as we were, you may see a band playing, as portrayed in the film.
 From Piazza di Spagna take Via della Croce and continue on, crossing Via del Corso, until you reach Piazza Augusto Imperatore. Walk through the piazza to Ara Pacis. Woody Allen set a fashion show here at which Leopaldo was a guest.
The set designers dressed the models in white to complement the surroundings.
The museum itself is fascinating but you can also view the Ara Pacis from outside thanks to the huge glass windows that form part of the Richard Meier building in which the altar is housed.
Now take Via Ripetta to Piazza del Popolo. 
This gorgeous piazza stands at the apex of three roads known as the Trident & is where Milly is seen losing her phone.
Take the first road in the  Trident, Via Babuino and walk along until you see Via Margutta on your left. This utterly lovely gem of a street was used by Woody Allen a couple of times in the film - John Foy is seen walking along after he leaves Café della Pace (the magic of cinema!)
Also Hayley and Michelangelo are seen dining here at Osteria Margutta.
Even if this restaurant hadn't appeared in the film we would still recommend it as it is one of our favourite restaurants in Rome.
I like to think that Woody Allen used this setting to pay homage to
'Roman Holiday' which was also filmed on this street.
After dinner return to the Spanish Steps & join the throng of people simply sitting & enjoying the balmy Roman night.
If you turn your gaze towards Via Condotti & upwards you will see the balcony that appears in the final scene of the film.
 Day 2
This morning we are going to explore a lesser known area of Rome, Garbatella. A charming & atmospheric part of the city which was built in the 1920's.The layout was based on the Garden Cities of England and you will see many homes with small gardens as well as public spaces.  Originally it housed many families that had become displaced due to the construction of Via  dei Fori Imperiali & Via Conciliazione. Today it is known for its strong community spirit and also for Street Art.  The area also has connections to the film industry. The famous Italian actor Alberto Sordi grew up in Garbatella.
The setting for Leopoldo Pisanello's apartment building is on Via di Villa Belardi in this area.
The  following walk is based on the excellent information on this area found in 'Rome The Second Time' Well worth a read for background information.

To reach Garbatella, take Metro B to Basilica San Paolo. Exit left on to Via Ostiense then walk, with the basilica on your left, to Via delle Sette Chiese.  Follow this road along to Piazza Sant'Eurosia , pausing here for coffee if you so desire. You will see one of the Modernist 'entrances' to Garbatella on this piazza.
Continue on to Piazza Oderico da Pordenone. Via di Villa Belardi is off this piazza. Pisanello's apartment building can be found at number 17. Retrace your steps back to the piazza. Take Viale Guglielmo Massaia. Walk as far as Piazza Bonomelli , then take Via Brollo. At number 7 is La Nuova Cantinetta, a traditional Roman trattoria and a good place for lunch.
After lunch turn left on to Via Rocco Da Cesinale  to Piazza Longobardi. Look for the house decorated in AS Roma colours - red & yellow. Now take Via G Ansaldo from the piazza, continue along, crossing Piazza Pantera until you see the Garbatella Metro station.
Head back to the city and a well earned rest!
Hopefully by late afternoon you will be refreshed and ready for your next location. Take the metro to Flaminia & then pick up the number 4 tram (Mancini). 4 stops will take you to Parco della Musica. This fabulous auditorium was designed by Renzo Piano. Jack & Monica are seen sitting on the seats, discussing architecture, here.

Returning on the number 2 tram (Flaminia) break your journey after one stop & head to Tree Bar. If you time this correctly you will be able to enjoy aperitivo in the shade of umbrella pines.
 After leaving the tram at Flaminia walk across Piazza del Popolo and pick up the number 117 electric bus at Via del Corso. Take the bus all the way to Piazza Venezia. From here take Via San Marco, left on to Via D'Aracoeli then right on to Via Margana which will bring you to the picturesque Piazza Margana. My suggestion for dinner is Vinando  where you will eat well in lovely surroundings.

After dinner you are perfectly placed to climb the stairs to Campidoglio. Walk across the square & head to the right hand corner where you will get a night time view of the forum. Jack & Monica enjoyed the view at sunset ......they should have returned to see this!
Day 3
Start your day at Piazza della Repubblica and enjoy the beauty of the Fountain of the Naiads
This fountain provided the backdrop to the film premier at Space Cinema Moderno attended by Leopoldo Pisanelli and his wife.

Take the metro from Repubblica to Spagna. On leaving the metro station either use the lift or ascend the Spanish Steps. Turn left on to Viale Trinita dei Monti and walk along past the Villa Medici & follow the road that forks to the right, Viale del Belvedere. Very shortly you will see the gardens of Casina Valadier - a perfect spot to stop for coffee. Refreshed, continue on in to the Borghese Gardens. This handy free app is useful here. Enjoy strolling through the gardens, eventually reaching the lake complete with temple (and turtles!).

 You will recognise this as the location where Jack is seen kissing Monica.

Follow the signs to Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna. You don't need to enter the gallery to eat at the café here - it has a separate entrance. The terrace is a lovely place to enjoy lunch. After further strolling, leave the park at Porta Pinciana and head down the Via Veneto. At the junction of Via Veneto & the second road on the right, Via Lombardi, Leopoldo is seen becoming very distressed at the sudden lack of attention.

This brings us to the end of our 'To Rome with Love' itinerary. However, if you are lucky enough to be staying in Rome a little while longer here are suggestions for trips further afield to visit yet more locations.

You could start at the Baths of Caracalla - Jack, Monica & Sally are seen breaking in here at night but you can still get an idea of the grandeur of this monument during the day.

Pick up the 118 bus outside the Baths & take it as far along the Appia Antica as Basilica San Sebastiano. After alighting walk along past the magnificent tomb of Cecilia Metella...........
....... until you reach Qui nun se More Mai at Via Appia Antica 198, a good spot for lunch, especially if you enjoy steaks that are cooked over a real fire.
After lunch pick up the 660 bus from the bus stop on the corner opposite and take it for four stops to Arco di Travertino metro station. Here pick up bus 664 and take it for eight stops to Appia/Squillace. This will bring you to Villa dei Quintili , visited by Jack, Monica, Sally & John in the film.
Close by is Villa Quintili (very confusing)! This is the setting for the garden party attended by Anna & Antonio. The villa is now used as a wedding venue and for private functions so, sadly, unless you have an invite, you will not get to explore the lovely grounds.
An alternate day trip from Rome is to Villa D'Este at Tivoli. Hayley & Michelangelo are seen walking among the fountains here.
Ron in Rome has detailed directions of how to get to Villa D'Este. A perfect choice for lunch would be La Sibilla. Dine on the terrace with spectacular views over the gorge & waterfall.
Finally, you could take a day trip out to Lido di Ostia, easily reached by train from Termini. Alight at Castel Fusano station and straight across the road you will see La Vecchia Pineta  - perfect for lunch. Here Monica announces that she is going back to LA, leaving a heartbroken Jack to be consoled by John.
You may not recognise the setting as Woody Allen changed the blue umbrellas to orange. He felt that this colour better suited the mood of the film.

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