City Break

ROMA SEGRETA (parte 2): CUPOLE MAGICHE, MURALES IPNOTICI, UN QUARTIERE ‘HORROR’, LE 11 CARBONARE DI BARBARA E I DIAMANTI DI LIZ

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TEXT AND PHOTO BY CESARE ZUCCA
– Continue our journey to discover a secret, unpredictable Rome, full of hidden gems and mysteries. Follow me! Magic domes. Visitors who wish to experience the curiosities of Rome, go to Via Piccolomini, a street that offers a bizarre perspective of the ‘dome’ of San Pietro, in fact when you get closer it seems to recede and become smaller, while the further you go, the more it seems to grow larger. . In the historic center, a stone’s throw from Via del Corso, is the church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. From a point indicated on the floor, not far from the altar, you can raise your eyes towards the ceiling to enjoy a sensational tromp-oeil: a dome … which does not actually exist. An optical illusion unique in the world. Circus Maximo Experience Through an immersive visit path, wearing special viewers, you will be able to admire for the first time the Circus Maximus in all its historical phases: from the simple wooden construction, to the splendor of the imperial age, from the Middle Ages to the early decades of ‘ 900. I must say that, despite the rather basic animation, the videos are captivating and the idea is nice. Go there in the morning or late afternoon of a day not as hot and muggy as mine was, so spring or fall. Montemartini power plant Classical and industrial archeology meet in the magical former Giovanni Montemartini thermoelectric plant. The structure was inaugurated in 1912 and houses superb marble statues from the Capitoline Collection in a bold combination of turbines, diesel engines and steam boilers, capable of creating a stimulating and unusual museum space. It is truly spectacular to see the huge machines (now silenced for decades) adorned with tortuous tubes and gauges, framing the marbles of heroes and divinities, almost a confirmation of the manual force and imagination of the mind, in a meditation on the passing of the time. Graffiti Take metro A, get off at Quadraro and you will discover the “MURo”, a street art district with truly hypnotic murals signed by the likes of Diavù, Alice Pasquini, Beau Stanton, Dilkabear, Zelda Bomba, Gio Pistone and many others, all with the aim of relating the artists to the Quadraro community, interpreting aspects of the place and its residents. Are we in Rome or London? Between Via Flaminia and Viale del Vignola, there is a small cluster of “London style” houses. They call it ‘Little London’ and it is a real gem off the beaten track, as well as one of the best kept secrets of the city. You will discover a vaguely Art Nouveau neighborhood: terraced houses, colorful facades, private gardens, multicolored doors reminiscent of Downing Street, but a stone’s throw from the Tiber … Are you curious about mysterious places? Don’t miss one of the most unusual places in Rome: the Coppedè district, a set of bizarre buildings and villas in the Gothic-Liberty style mixed with elements of Greek, Baroque and medieval art, adorned with grotesque figures, monsters and animals. The extravagant Fountain of the Frogs, the Villino delle Fate with beautiful decorations and the Palazzo del Ragno, so called for the spider that decorates the door, triumph. The life of the neighborhood is a mystery: the walls hide the houses, no names on the bells. Definitely ‘horror’ location not by chance chosen by Dario Argento not only as a set for his films Inferno and The Bird with the Crystal Feathers, but also for his home. And we continue with the fear … Palazzetto Zuccari awaits us, located in Piazza Trinità dei Monti and known as the “House of Monsters”, due to the disturbing door: a giant wide open mouth … Monsters or not monsters inside, I assure you that going through the door is not at all inviting. Headache. Are you looking for an aspirin? Head to the Santa Maria della Scala Pharmacy, one of the most unique places in Rome. a real hidden gem. Operating from the 16th century to 1954, here the Discalced Carmelite friars used to prepare potions, balms, oils, clay and herbal remedies. Today it provides modern medicines but its upper floor will take you back in time when it was frequented by the Papal Court. Look and don’t touch! Until November Palazzo Venezia and Castel Sant’Angelo host the exhibition “Bulgari, the story, the dream” which illustrates the history of the brand and exhibits some jewels worn by legendary actresses including Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Audrey Hepburn as well as the famous Elizabeth Taylor diamond necklace. Practically speaking of the ‘window shopping only’ series, to look and not touch and not even remotely think about a purchase …. There was only one thing missing from my Roman city break … carbonara! I discovered a place where the iconic Roman pasta is served in 11 versions, from the classic to the one with cod and asparagus to the one with red shrimp and pistachios, from the one with black garlic and seared octopus, to the version with black truffle