Rome was built for wandering. The city is surprisingly compact – as an example from our home just outside the north east Aurelian Wall its only a pleasant 35 minute walk to Piazza Venezia, the Pantheon or the Colesseo. And its seems that every street holds something of interest – and even on a cloudy day like last Sunday a stroll down the backstreets reveals something to delight historically, architecturally or just as an oddity.
We ended up meandering through Rione Ludovisi, one of the 22 historic rioni or districts of the city. Once the entire area was owned by the Ludovisi family and their Villa, outbuildings and gardens covered several square miles. The villa and the surrounding gardens, except for a few annexes, were destroyed at the end of nineteenth century to build the new district. This is one of the few buildings remaining – it was built in the Venetian style and rests – as does much of the city – on the ruins of buildings from ancient Rome. And as a sidebar, I find it incredible that the tree, the truck now a hollow shell, is still growing.
Despite the dangers in not looking down – dog owners here can be very unthoughtful – Rome is the sort of city where you have to look up to enjoy the details of the buildings. The plaster work on the facade of the Japanese Embassy is a good example.
This particularly lovely Palazzo is being restored for commercial purposes by a bank. I find the entrance way particularly attractive – the openness suggests, to my untrained eye at least, the beginnings of an Arte Noveau influence.
Our wanderings took us past a banner advertising an exhibition at the Boncompagni Ludovisi Museum of Decorative Arts in the same area. Under the conditions of Princess Alice Blanceflor Boncompagni Ludovisi’s will it had to be used for cultural purpose and now houses displays of high fashion from the 1950s to the 90s, as well as collections of art objects by 20th-century artists and exhibits of the Decorative Arts. Though I was not enthusiastic over the special exhibition of works by an artist who’s name I have frankly forgotten, the permanent collection and the house itself were fascinating.
This classic painting of Princess Alice reflects the portrait painting style of the period.
The walls of this salon reflect the style of an earlier era – trompe d’oeil meant to fool and fascinate the eye. To be honest the modern objects d’arte on display jarred with the early style of decoration.
This rather elaborate bassinet in bronze and silver gilt was meant to hold Crown Prince Umberto. A behelmeted Roma supports the canopy and a winged angles bears the joint arms of Savoy and Montenegro. A bit of royal overkill, don’t you think?
A few random shots of the streets in the area. Sadly even the loveliest entrance can be ruined by graffiti – a major problem here. And its it just me or does that lion look a bit like Bert Lahr?
This climbing rose is growing wild inside the wall of the Ethiopian Embassy near us. The vibrant color against the rusted gate and gray sky immediately caught my eye.
03 maggio – San Ciriaco di Gerusalemme