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COPPEDÈ QUARTER, THE HIDDEN TREASURE OF ROME

posted by Home In Italy on September 12th, 2016

It seems that most of the inhabitants of Rome never has been there. Or they are not even aware of its existence. But during a vacation in the capital city, including the Collosseum, Trevi fountain and Piazza San Pietro, it would be good to leave some space for the Coppedè quarter. It is a most ambitious artistic- architectural experiment ever undertaken in Rome, if not in whole Italy: here blends an eclectic mix of different styles: nouveau, neo-gothic, kitsch, baroque and modernism, all to perfection. In fact, the definition of ‘quarter’, for this complex of buildings around the nucleus square Mincio, between the street Tagliamento and square Buenos Aires, is excessive. In fact the area called “Coppedè” is part of the quarter called Trieste.

It owes its name to Luigi Coppedè, an architect, sculptor and decorator, mixing different styles, has given endless life to a corner of Rome. The entire quarter can be considered a milestone of eclecticism: it combines the dark style of the Gothic to the classical Greek inspiration, as well as gates and towers from the Medieval time to Baroque and decoration Liberty. Needless to give any definition: walking through the streets of the Coppedè neighborhood gives you the impression of being in a bubble: caused by the silence, so different from the chaos of the surrounding streets, but also by the atmosphere, just like in a movie.
Overall, the quarter Coppedè is made up of eighteen buildings and twenty-seven other houses and structures. The most charming way to get there is through the big arch that connects the buildings of the Ambassadors at the corner between the street Arno and Tagliamento: the particular aspect is that under the internal vault of the Arch, decorated with asymmetrical architectural elements, there is a large iron chandelier. Once past the arch that connects the buildings of the Ambassadors, you find the square Mincio, the heart of the quarter. At the center you found the fountain ‘delle Rane’, with the main pond slightly higher than the street level: perhaps that is why, according to the legend, the Beatles bathed there after an evenings pent at Piper in 1965. Decorated with numerous frogs, from each of them gushes out water.
There are not only fountains dedicated to frogs. Even the buildings of Coppedè have their own name. There are so-called “Villini delle Fate”, from the refined exterior golden facades and with numerous golden women painted above. In these building alternate with travertine, tile, glass, wrought iron and wood, is enhanced Florence, with the words “you are beautiful Fiorenza”: not by coincidence, from a short distance you can recognize the figures of Dante and Petrarch. There is also “Palazzo del Ragno”: named after a giant arachnid, a decoration above the main entrance door. Not to miss on the third level is the balcony: above there is an ochre-black colored painting of a rider between two griffins, topped by the word “Labor”.


To list all the details and decoration of this quarter would be impossible. You have to arm yourself with patience and maybe binoculars and, with calm, discover every corner of the Coppedè. The atmosphere, as mentioned, is suggestive. It is not a coincidence that these roads were used for filming several feature films of the atmosphere noir, if not worse. This is the case of “The girl who knew too much” by Mario Bava, but above all the two horror films of Dario Argento such as “The bird with the crystal feather” and “Hell”. In these streets, movies have been shot such as “The Omen” and “The perfume of the woman in black”.

TO EAT: In Rome there is no shortage of restaurants where you can sample the local cuisine. In the area we recommend to try the specialties of Larysa, which brings you back to the original way of the Mediterranean tradition. In particular those based on fish, such as salmon tartar with pistachio and Tabasco, or rolls of sesame potatoes with a yoghurt dressing. But even the prawns in coconut cover with cous cous and Gazpacho sauce. In the street called Po you find Bucavino: its shops are below the street level. Worth going down to enjoy the facilities of this restaurant, that does not betray the regional gastronomic tradition. Do not miss the fried potato skins. In both cases a complete dinner costs about 30 Euros.

TO ARRIVE: the quarter of Coppedè is not far from the Termini train rail station. To get there, just get off the train and take the buses 86 and 92: in about 15 minutes you arrive at the square Buenos Aires. On the other side stands the church of Santa Maria Addolorata and is behind the arch with the chandelier. You can also walk if preferred: it will take you only two kilometers along the streets Goito, Piave, then Salaria and finally turning right in the street Po.

“DAVID BOWIE IS”. THE WHITE DUKE IN BOLOGNA

posted by Home In Italy on September 8th, 2016

The last stop of the exhibition David Bowie IS arrives exclusively in Italy. From July 14th till November 13th at the Mambo Museum of Bologna finally comes one of the most successful exhibitions of the past years, carried out by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the first retrospective devoted to the extraordinary career of David Bowie, one of the artists most fearless, influential and innovative of the contemporary music scene.
David Bowie Is, started in London in 2013, after being in Chicago, St. Paul, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and Groningen, will be at MAMBO from July 14th till November 13th and this is the only stop in Italy.

The exhibition celebrates the prolific career of David Bowie able to permanently pursue innovation in five decades, without ever betraying himself and his audience. The exhibition runs through “multimedia” contents that lead visitors into a creative process of the Thin White Duke and describes how his work has channeled the broader movements in art, design, theater and contemporary culture.
The portrait that emerges is of an artiest able to observe and reinterpret contemporary society with an innovative look which left indelible traces in the visual and pop culture.
The curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh have selected more than 300 objects of the musician’s personal archive, granted by the David Bowie Archive, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, photographs, set designs and other rare material to tell the evolution and success of this great artist.


David Bowie’s work influenced movements in the world of art, design and other aspects of contemporary culture, coming into contact also with the world of fashion, theater and cinema. The exhibition uses Sennheiser technology up to the highest enjoyment of sound, original video installations and animation.
For more information and pre ticket sale: www.davidbowieis.it , telephone number: +39 092 234.
Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays between 10am – 7pm. Thursday: 10am – 11pm. Monday closed.
Minimum time to visit the exhibition: 1 hour.

THE ‘VIA FRANCIGENA’, A JOURNEY OF FAITH AND SPIRITUALITY REDISCOVERED BY MODERN WAYFARERS

posted by Home In Italy on August 29th, 2016

At the end of the first millennium, many pilgrims crossed Europe from Canterbury or from the ports of Apulia to arrive finally at Rome, to pray at the tomb of the Apostle Peter.

Some of them even continued to the ‘Holy Land’ to Jerusalem. This phenomenon created such a mass size of interest, that it developed real ways of faith mapped by abbeys and villages adapted to host the pilgrims.
The walking route from Canterbury to Rome was 1.500 kilometers, so it was a real penitential journey that in a material and symbolic way handed the pilgrim in God’s hands, but this journey exposed the pilgrims to all sorts of danger from wild animals to seasonal weather. For this reason, along the board of Francigena the first villages got developed which lead to the existence of towns like Siena and San Gimignano, including other towns rich of famous and non famous artistic works.
It is indeed this road which is the main itinerary through Italy and Europe which retraces the history of Italy, starting from the origin of its name. The term ‘Francigena’ originally meant the way ‘from the land of Franks’ that made it possible for pilgrims to arrive in Rome coming from the far North.
The importance which ‘Via Francigena’ had on its population, other than the spiritual aspect, also in the cultural aspect: it was a privileged route of a fundamental channel of communication for the cultural unity of Medieval Europe.

Simultaneously, the ‘Via Francigena’ favored from trade coming from the East, silk, spices and other goods, highly requested by northern European countries.
Rediscovered by his contemporaries as a testimony of the past, modern travelers today are setting out along a beautiful and astonishing route with variety of different landscapes which tell the Italian history.
Developing along different regions, the ‘Via Francigena’ crosses the Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany, Lazio and Emilia Romagna.
Appointed Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, the Italian part, starts from the Gran San Bernardo until Roma and consists of more or less 944 kilometers. Crossing the route on foot with an average of 20 kilometers a day, you will reach the destination in about a month and a half. If you go by bike, more or less 15 days should do.

WHAT DOES GEORGE CLOONEY HAVE IN COMMON WITH THE ANCIENT ROMANS?

posted by Home In Italy on August 23rd, 2016

This is a provocative question. But it was very funny when a picture of George Clooney appeared in the Gossip magazines, going around on the bike along the cycle paths surrounding Lake Como.

The Italians wondered what is there so special of that place that it has been chosen by an overseas film star. Yet, with all the heavenly places that populate the rest of the planet, it is Lake Como that George Lucas has chosen to set the love story between Anakim and Padme in Star Wars, born on the romantic planet of Naboo. The lake may seem indeed, on some memorable days, a dreamy and a world apart, although it is quite fun for those who know this place very well and for those who live there, to see the line of trucks of the entire Star Wars crew, marching on the narrow streets and settle in these towns of the lake. One thing is certain, Lake Como is not discovered by Hollywood. It has been loved for centuries, certainly since the Romans set foot in the colony of Nova Comum (founded on the lake shores 59 before Christ) and built luxurious villas on the shore.

The shock to the landscapes of Lake Como, however, occurred in the Romantic era. It could not go different wise: for its character and nature, with high forested mountains that rise vertically from the lake, the sky that clouds over by sudden storms, the Lario was, and still is, the destination for those with the most sensitive and dramatic souls.
During the nineteenth century it got conquered. At this point in history, the traveller/ writer Goethe could not be missed, he described it the luminous air, here Malombra Fogazzaro was set, and were consumed true and passionate loves. And if today these passions of the soul do not seem to exist anymore, on the lake you can always find a place to reinvent your own love story.


You can walk along the shore where you can catch a glimpse of the glorious Italian gardens of the most luxurious villas, today disputed industry from all over the world and international stars. And you can not help but imagine how much the ‘dolce vita’ was experienced in such beauty. Such as in 5 star hotels, from Villa D’Este to the Grand Hotel Tremezzo, places for a luxurious holiday and vacation, imagine how they could have been in the past!
Lake Como, place of passion, literary inspiration and the heart, just that is already worth a trip to Italy!