Discovering the Prati-Trionfale Neighborhood

The Prati-Trionfale neighborhood is a bustling European-feeling part of Rome. Apart from the ever-present Vatican City (technically not in Prati or even in Italy) and Castel Sant’Angelo, there is not much in the way of cultural highlights to attract people here. Instead, Prati thrives on business and daily life and this can be a welcome respite from the Stendhal syndrome which strikes the visitor exhausted from seeing a famous monument at every …

Just Outside Rome: Hill Towns and Aqueducts

The countryside around Rome, while not quite as picturesque as Tuscany or Umbria, is rich with fascinating destinations for exploration — and eating. This weekend I drove out to visit my friends Jenny and Umberto in Palestrina and was rewarded with an in-depth tour of one of the most densely layered towns in Lazio: from prehistoric settlements (now lost),  alleged Pelasgian roots evidenced by massive walls of opus poligonale,  and most importantly the imposing sanctuary of Fortuna, all …

5 New Eating Options in Rome for 2017

Our team in Rome is always on the lookout for new places to grab a snack or enjoy a full meal (or anything in between).  Here are just a few from our recent wanderings. 1 – Take a Layover at the New Mercato Centrale This new place is right inside Termini Station, in the historic Mazzoniana wing of the station no less, around the great Cappa Mazzoniana, a kind of massive oven hood made …

Rick Steves and Rome’s Bridges

Rick Steve’s End of Year message, illustrated with my sketches of the bridges of Rome’s Tiber river, launched a hopeful message about the importance of building bridges and not erecting walls. Bridges are indeed a strong symbol of outreach, of communication and connection. They have other connotations too, though. Bridges provide shelter for the disenfranchised (such as the many immigrants arriving in Italy from troubled zones of the planet). They …

Fuksas Nuvola unveiling

For years I have been following the vicissitudes of Massimiliano Fuksas’ EUR project, dubbed “the Cloud” and it has now officially been completed. Rather, it has been inaugurated, which in Italy is not always the same thing as completion. In fact, multiple inaugurations are common, getting maximum mileage out of any big project, which makes perfect sense. I saw the projected inaugurated with the groundbreaking in around 2000. I have …

The New Old: Revealing Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum

Over a decade ago I first had the privilege of visiting the early Christian sanctuary tucked into a corner of the forum below the imposing cliff-like ruins of the imperial palaces. In addition to containing a rare collection of wall paintings spanning the 6th – late 8th centuries, this is an interesting example of adaptive reuse of a pagan structure into a church, made all the better by the fact …