Monday, December 31, 2012

A quiet New Year's Eve in Rome: Soaking up the simple beauty

Would you like some Trinità dei Monti with your fairy lights? No, that's all right, the fairy lights are enough for me.

Since moving to Rome over eight years ago, I have come to realize that it is the simple things in this splendid city that fascinate and charm me the most. Of course I adore the Pantheon and Castel Sant’Angelo (and while I may not adore the Colosseum or St. Peter’s Basilica, I recognize what works of incredible human achievement they are), but those monuments are not what thrill my soul, nor what make me sometimes think, “How could I ever leave Rome?” Instead it is the minute details, the curiosities, the simple pleasures, which are often overlooked (even though, I must admit, in Rome even the simple things are extraordinary.)

This afternoon I took a long New Year’s Eve walk with my adorable Maritino through some of the most picturesque neighborhoods in the city. I’m a sucker for the twinkling lights and other decorations that make it even more magical than usual at this time of year. I’ve never been one to make too much of a fuss over New Year’s Eve (although I have always dreamed of going to a big fancy ball à la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally). My first priority has always been to be among good friends and I usually end up at a cozy house party and maybe going out for post-midnight drink, and generally I am tucked up in bed by 1am or shortly thereafter.

But this year, the Maritino and I decided to ring in the New Year quietly, on our own. It’s after 8pm, and we still haven’t decided if we’ll go out for an informal dinner or stay in with a bottle of champagne and a movie. Either way, it will be simple and quiet.

But we did create a new tradition: a long, leisurely, afternoon walk through the sparkling city, trodding the sanpietrini of some of the loveliest streets and piazzas of the city, from Via dei Coronari to Via dell’Orso, Piazza San Lorenza in Lucina, Via del Campo Marzio, Via Borgognona and many more. And what simple yet enthralling pleasures awaited us at every turn: ogling the priceless antiques in the store windows, stopping to admire a never before seen (by us) curiosity, reminiscing about moments passed together in hidden corners of the city, marveling at the Borromini and da Cortona that seem to follow us around every bend, grabbing a piping hot slice of pizza al taglio, seeing locals and natives greeting each other with boisterous “Buon Anno!”s and “Happy New Year!”s, catching snippets of the song of an unusually talented street performer, and stopping for a pot of tea at Babington’s. The city was so rich and alive. It made me grateful to be alive and to be able to live in this extraordinary place, and to be able to keep on loving it so passionately, day after day, year after year.

Here are just a few photos from our epic five-hour walk. I would have taken more, but I was so busy feeding my pupils with the gorgeousness all around me, I simply forgot most of the time!

What's hiding behind that plant on Via dei Coronari?

Oh, no big deal, just a fragment of an ancient sculpture, plastered right into the wall of a building.

You know when you walk around the corner and run into a massive church you don't remember ever seeing before? (If this were Twitter, the hashtag would be: #onlyinRome) (In case you were wondering, it's San Salvatore in Lauro)

An almond cupcake by the fire at Babington's. Delicious, but can't compare to Christina's!

Tea and cake at Babington's: it costs at least as much as a full meal any decent trattoria, but it is the only place to get proper cup of tea in Rome.

Happy New Year, my darling bloglings! Thank you for reading my humble words in 2012. I promise there will be more, hopefully many more, posts in 2013. I wish you a thrilling New Year’s Eve wherever and however you might be celebrating it. Here’s to drinking in the beauty that is all around us every moment, whether simple or extraordinary, or both!

All photos by author

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Celebrating 100,000 hits!

(I'm sure there's a hilarious mobster joke to be made about that title somehow, but it's just not coming to me.)

I am excited to announce that my itty, bitty blog reached the (to my ears) impressive figure of 100,000 hits yesterday! I know that there are many blogs out there that receive 100,000 hits a day, so in the grand scheme of things, 100,000 in the 2 1/2-year life of a blog sounds like small potatoes, but I'm still excited and proud!

Image source

To my faithful bloglings out in the ether, thank you for every single one of your clicks; they have brought me steadily closer to this milestone! In spite of the stats that I can regularly check, and the wonderful comments that I receive, it is sometimes hard to believe that anyone is actually out there, reading my humble thoughts and musings. As a blogger, you send your missives out into the great void and hope that someone is out there reading. A number like this is an assuring proof that my readers actually exist.

But where do all my lovely readers come from? How do you find my site? Could it be that it's just my mom and a few loyal Facebook friends and Twitter followers? Luckily, Blogger makes it possible for me to see where the bulk of my traffic is coming from, and the overwhelming majority of it is from Google searches. And what are you searching for that leads you to my site? The top queries that have pointed people to my blog are, in order: Caravaggio (what a shocker), Illuminated manuscript, Numa Pompilius (it turns out I've written four posts about the guy), Pinturicchio, the Last Judgement, and the Mars of Todi. What I've taken from this is that the more obscure the subject I write about is (with the exception of Caravaggio of course), the more likely people searching for information on it will come to me, since fewer sites have written about it.

My traffic from Facebook and Twitter is surprisingly insignificant by comparison. This is probably my own fault as I don't post to those sights all that often, although I have read that Facebook now shows your posts to only a small percentage of your page's fans (unless you pay them), but that is a topic for a different post.

And then there are the occasional bursts of traffic when an important website or publication mentions my blog, like the Irish Times or the Fatto Quotidiano, and that is always a plus.

But mostly it's people's curiosity, facilitated by Google, that leads thems to my site, and hopefully many of them like what they find and come back for more.

Another interesting question is where do all of you lovely readers live? What countries are tuning into The Pines of Rome the most? Topping the list is the United States (not surprising since I'm from there), followed by Italy (I live there and write about it) with the UK coming in third. Rounding out the top ten are Canada, Germany, France, Australia, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain. I am always thrilled when unexpected, distant and diverse countries pop up on my traffic report, and there have been many, including Vietnam, Mauritius, Algeria, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Chile, Qatar, Iraq, Pakistan, Ghana, Ethiopia and Mongolia. Readers from at least 109 different countries have visited my blog. This makes me very, very proud.

But perhaps the most important question is, what are you reading? Which posts have the most visits? The overwhelmingly most popular post is Michelangelo's Last Judgement and Marcello Venusti's copy (who would have guessed?) with 6343 hits to date, more than double the second most popular, Six months a wife and an illuminated manuscript. In third place we have Caravaggio, you devil!, followed by Numa Pompilius and his calendar, Salvador Dalì: Renaissance-inspired Surrealism, and The Borghese Gallery and the fate of an ill-gotten collection, part 2. I am particularly happy to see that last post on this list as it is one of the ones (together with its prequel part 1) that I am most proud of.

And speaking of, what are my personal favorite posts? Probably my absolute favorite is Siamo Romane.... Trasteverine, written back in 2010 when I thought I was leaving Trastevere forever, an ode to my beloved neighborhood. This post has garnered very few hits, as I wrote the title when I didn't know anything about SEO (P.S I still don't, but I do know to write my post titles in English now). I had particular fun writing Are Italian women really unhappy?, The Borgia Pope, Pinturicchio, and La Bella Farnese, The lost art of writing by hand, A Room with a View, fate and the allure of Italy, and So you want to move to Rome? My advice: do it!

As you probably know by now, I'm not that into self-promotion (except in this post, of course), but I will take the opportunity of this blogger-milestone of 100,000 hits to ask you to help The Pines of Rome continue to be more and more read. If you like this site, please share it with your friends and family and anyone you think might enjoy it. If you have a blog of your own, consider adding mine to your blogroll. You can follow the blog directly if you have a Google account, or you can subscribe to get new posts delivered to you by email. If you are on Twitter, please follow; if you are on Facebook, please "like". And, for goodness' sake, comment! Reading your comments is truly a joy, and I respond to every single one.

My goal is to rack up another 100,000 hits in less than half the time it took to get the first 100,000. That is, I aim to reach 200,000 hits one year from today. I can't do it without my lovely bloglings, so keep reading, friends! And, in the meantime, if anyone would like to explain to me (using small words) what pings and backlinks are, I would be most happy to learn!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Photo day: Mailing a letter to Caravaggio

I gasped and stopped in my tracks when I saw this during my Sunday walk. It's not the first time I've seen Caravaggio-inspired street art in Trastevere. The Medusa electrical box was one thing, but this made my easily excitable heart pound with unexpected delight.

It's not just because it's inspired by my favorite painter Caravaggio, or because it comes from one of my favorite of his paintings (see below), but because it features the face of a very young Mario Minniti, one of Caravaggio’s favorite models. And as much as he hates it when I say it, that handsome face, with its half-moon eyebrows, heavily lidded eyes, prominent nose and rosebud mouth, is strikingly similar to my own Maritino’s face (minus Mario's baby fat, naturally). The similarity is much more noticeable in more mature portraits of Minniti, such as the Bacchus. I would do a side-by-side comparison, but that would put me in some seriously hot water, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Keep your eye out for a post featuring the many portraits of Mario Minniti, coming soon…
The Calling of St. Matthew, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome, 1599-1600

Did anyone else notice the keyhole right over little Mario's heart?

Photo sources: 1 by author; 2
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Numa Pompilius and the nymph Egeria

Numa Pompilius conversing with Egeria in her grotto, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Thorvaldsen Museum, Copenhagan, 1792.

Oh, sweet bloglings,
I'm guessing you gave up hoping long ago that I would ever get back to my ancient Roman story telling. When we left off I was just about to wrap up the story of Numa Pompilius, Rome’s–ahem–secondking. That was 10 months ago.

With an initial plan to add one step each week to our stroll through Roman history, I see that after roughly 135 weeks, I have written a history post a grand total of 8 times. Or, to put it another way, roughly once every four months.

Pathetic, I agree.

One can only push ahead, and try to do better in the future.

Today I will officially finish the story of Numa Pompilius, and I promise, you will never hear his name from me again. (For the first time in history, the name Tullus Hostilius will bring unbridled excitement– at least for me. I’m easily stimulated.) In previous posts I described how Numa was Rome’s most pious king, instituting the cult of theVestal Virgins, reforming religious laws and reorganizing the Roman calendar. He was wise and pacific, creating several codes and laws by which the Romans lived for many centuries to come. But where did he get all this wisdom?

Egeria gives the laws of Rome to Numa Pompilius, Anna Ottani Cavina, Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, Rome, 1806.

A nymph, obviously. I’m not sure exactly how this unlikely pair met, but legend goes that the widowed king was in the habit of taking long walks in the woods (in a part of Rome now known as the Villa Caffarella) with the beautiful nymph, during which she instructed him on how to run the country and its religious institutions. They would hole up in her nymphaeum for hours on end, as the works of so many celebrated artists have illustrated. All this religious and political talk was just too romantic for the young nymph and she fell head-over-heels for the aging monarch and, supposedly, the two married.

Egeria handing Numa Pompilius his shield, Angelica Kauffmann, 1794.

As history has proved time and time again, it is the woman (or in this case the nymph) who makes the man, and in fact, the long prosperity and peace during Numa’s 42-year reign, can be credited to Egeria. The Temple of Janus in the Roman Forum, which was opened in times of war and closed in times of peace, remained resolutely shut during the entire length of his reign. According to Livy, Numa Pompilius died of natural causes at 81, much to the regret of his subjects. He was buried, along with his books, on the Gianicolo Hill.

Numa Pompilius and the Nymph Egeria, Felice Giani, Palazzo Milzetti, Faenza, 1802-1805.

If you want to visit Numa and Egeria’s hangout, take a walk in the wild and sprawling Villa Caffarella near the Via Appia Antica. Egeria’s nymphaeum is in ruins but it’s still there, and its verdant and rustic setting might just inspire you with some religious epiphanies of your own.
The Nymphaeum of Egeria, Villa Caffarella, Rome.
What have we covered so far?

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving in Italy and a new vocabulary word

Learning a new Italian word is always fun, but learning one that even the Maritino himself does not know is exciting indeed. The fact that this occurred just in time for Thanksgiving made me particularly grateful.

So, without further ado, I give you...

La batata.

And before you think I just have a bad cold and can't pronounce my Ps at the moment, I am not talking about a patata (potato) but something much, much yummier.

The sweet potato. What Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without it? Since I humbly volunteer every year to provide the sweet potatoes for my autumnal expat-family feast (i.e. I tell everyone else they'd better not even think about making them, that they are my specialty), it may seem odd that by my 8th Roman Thanksgiving meal, I still hadn't come across this term. (Apparently, like parannanza, it is not a word that gets thrown around right and left.)

I generally wander into my local fruit stand a few days before Thanksgiving mumbling something about patate dolci and il giorno del ringraziamento. Living in Trastevere has its benefits, and one is that the green grocers and specialty stores stock Thanksgiving products this time of year, as if by magic.

But this year, with an exceptionally busy week (we don't get days off for Thanksgiving over here, unfortunately), I was short on time to do my shopping and stopped by the organic store across the street from my aparment, just on the off chance they might have some last-minute sweet potatoes.

Not only did they have the most strangely shaped (and, as it turns out, delicious) sweet potatoes I have ever respectively seen and eaten, I also noted their charming little name on the sign beside them. Batate. When, just a short time later as I was roasting them up, the Maritino asked me what that heavenly smell was (or at least, that is how I choose to recall the moment), I informed him proudly:

Sto preparando le batate!!


No, batate!!

Che cosa sono le batate??!!

(I don't really think this dialogue requires a translation, do you?)

He didn't want to admit at first that I knew a word that he didn't. In fact, he playfully insisted that there was no such thing. I had to drag out the giant Devoti Italian-Italian dictionary, but eventually he gave in. I mean, you can't argue with Devoti. Since in the paragraph-long description, it states that batate are also known as patate dolci (literally sweet potatoes) or patate americane (American potatoes), somehow this has become my new nickname.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Paris in black and white: photographs of Robert Doisneau

"Some days the mere fact of seeing feels like perfect happiness... You feel so rich you long to share your jubilation with others. The memory of such moments is my most precious possession. Maybe because there've been so few of them. A hundredth of a second here, a hundredth of a second there-- even if you put them end to end they still only add up to one, two, perhaps three seconds snatched from eternity."  Robert Doisneau

The Kiss at Hotel de Ville, 1950, © atelier Robert Doisneau
For as long as I can remember, I have adored this photograph. It summed up everything that was romantic and poetic to my fanciful, adolescent soul. I don't recall where or how I came across it, only that I had a reproduction of it taped to my baby blue Laura Ashley wallpaper, somewhere between my giant A Room with a View poster and my first pair of pointe shoes. And just like Lucy Honeychurch being seized and kissed in a field near Florence, this anonymous Parisienne being kissed on a busy city sidewalk as the rest of the world shuffled around her represented all that my 14-year-old self could possibly want from the world of romance.

It shouldn't be a surprise that my very first boyfriend, whom I met on my very first day at New England Conservatory in Boston when I was barely 18, resembled this dashing smoocher not a little: rumpled jacket, artistically tousled hair, bohemian scarf and ever-present cigarette. I'm not sure I ever made the connection between that troubled but brilliant musician I spent the first three years of my adulthood with and the man in the by-then forgotten photograph I had left in my childhood bedroom, but seeing it again after so many years, hanging in the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, it was almost laughably apparent.

The Ballad of Pierrette d'Orient, 1950, © atelier Robert Doisneau

Little did I know at 14 that this stolen kiss was only the tip of the iceberg in Doisneau's arsenal of Paris moments. Stumbling transfixed through the exhibition, I enthusiastically drank in the snapshots of humanity all around me: the wonder in a young girl's eyes as she looks at the Mona Lisa for the first time; a frumpy old wife's resentful glare at the show-girl whose arm is casually resting on her husband's knee; a scrubby boy's look of longing as he stares into a toy store window, the marvel in the eyes of a group of young men staring up at the Eiffel Tower.

Pont d'Iéna, 1945, © atelier Robert Doisneau

And this, for me, is what makes Doisneau one of the greatest photographers of all time: his ability to capture an indescribable moment. Because, as he so eloquently put it in the quote that opens this post, it is these perfect, sublime moments that make life worth living.

As I write these words, a few lines from Stephen Sondheim's masterpiece Into the Woods ring out in my head (ironically introduced to me by that self-same first boyfriend):

"Oh, if life were made of moments!... even now and then a bad one--"

"But, if life were only moments, then you'd never know you had one..."

Self-portrait with Rolleiflex, 1947, © atelier Robert Doisneau

If you live for unforgettable moments like Robert here and I do, don't miss this chance to see hundreds of his photographs, shot between 1934 and 1991 and exclusively in Paris, in this beautifully curated exhibit. For more information such as opening times and address, see my Exhibits on Now page.

All images courtesy of Azienda Speciale Palaexpo
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Vermeer in Rome

Girl in a red hat, Johannes Vermeer, 1665-67, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

It’s officially exhibit season in Rome! Are you as excited as I am? Yesterday I wrote about the fabulous Italy as seen from the world exhibit at the Ara Pacis, but today even more thrilling things are in store! But first, a disclaimer:

As I've mentioned more than once on this blog, a little trick curators here in Rome often indulge in is the creative naming of their exhibits. They come up with fabulous names, but they are often misleading, dropping in big names like Caravaggio and Botticelli to sell more tickets. I don't mean to disappoint you, dear bloglings, but this is one of those exhibits.

Now, let me start off by saying, the exhibit is indeed excellent. The Scuderie knows how to put on a show. Just don't get your hopes up that you are about to fulfill your lifelong dream of seeing dozens of Vermeer masterworks in one go.

However, this should not reflect poorly on the exhibit’s organizers (just on the ones who chose the name). Vermeer paintings are frustratingly difficult to scrape together, and even harder to move from place to place. Only 34 paintings can absolutely be attributed to him and of these, only 26, conserved in 15 different collections, can be moved. Not a single one belongs to an Italian collection. In fact, this is only the fifth exhibit in a century, and the first in Italy, to reunite more than four of Vermeer’s masterpieces.

All things considered, 8 works is quite impressive, although I would have chosen a more honest name for the exhibit, such as A handful of paintings by Vermeer and about 50 others by his contemporaries which you might not be that interested in seeing. Hm, that’s a little long. How about Vermeer, de Hooch, Metsu and the Golden Century of Dutch Art. Perfect.

Lute Player, Johannes Vermeer,1662/3, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This is probably my favorite work in the exhibit. While at first glance, it appears to be a girl playing a lute, she is actually tuning it. Her left hand on a tuning peg, her right plucking a string, her ear lowered over the instrument and her gaze unfocused as she concentrates on her task. An exquisite moment captured brilliantly.

Young woman seated at a virginal, Johannes Vermeer, 1670-72, private collection

As I have never had any shame in admitting, I know next to nothing about any work of art not painted by an Italian. But next to nothing is not nothing, and I am a quick learner, so I was a happy coincidence when I bumped into* one of the world’s leading experts on Vermeer, Arthur K. Wheelock, curator of Northern Baroque Paintings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He illuminated me on some of the finer points of Vermeer's genius and career. What luck! These kind of serendipitous meetings always seem to happen whenever I go to an exhibit! And a good thing too, because otherwise I’d have to do my own research, and you know what a bother that can be!

*he was giving an interview and I was listening in

Young woman standing at a virginal, Johannes Vermeer, 1670-73, National Gallery, London
But seriously.

Vermeer's innate ability to capture the elegance and richness of everyday moments is what he is most remembered for. A glimpse into the quotidian life of the artist, his home, his family his friends, ordinary people in ordinary situations. For me art, as with opera, is more meaningful when I can relate to it. The Triumphal March of Aida is mesmerizing and overwhelming, but the four artist friends trying to get out of paying their rent, or the young couple trying to decide whether to break up or stay together (Bohème, of course) is so much truer and more beautiful to me, because I can relate to it. And so with Vermeer.

Those simple yet profound moments, pockets of time that can go unnoticed if you're not paying attention: those are the moments where the real beauty and eloquence can be found. Like when you are fastening a necklace as you look out the window, distracted, bemused, and suddenly you realize that in that one moment at least, life is perfect and beautiful. Vermeer found art in the everyday, the bourgeois, the unremarkable, and that is why his work is so universally loved.

Saint Praxedes, Johannes Vermeer (disputed), 1655, The Barbara Piasecka Johnson Collection Foundation

This is one of Vermeer's earliest masterpieces. So different from the scenes he created during the height of his career, I doubt I would have recognized it as such. It was displayed alongside an almost identical work of the same subject by Felice Ficherelli (also called Il Riposo).

Woman reading a letter, Gabriel Metsu, 1664-66, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
This was one of my favorite non-Vermeer works in the exhibit. The women have the same simple elegance and easy grace of Vermeer's subjects, but the work lacks the brilliant use of diffused light and richness of color that set Vermeer above his contemporaries.

Young woman with a glass of wine, Johannes Vermeer, 1659-60, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museu, Braunschweig
I imagine you are positively itching to get to this exhibit. Try to wait at least one more week, as the above painting has not yet arrived. It should be on display by 4 October. For practical info on visiting, check out my exhibits calendar.

All images provided courtesy of Azienda Speciale Palaexpo and MondoMostre.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The charmed life of a foreign correspondent in Italy

Is there a journalist alive who doesn’t—at least in some small way—envy Gregory Peck’s dashing character in Roman Holiday? And it’s not just about spending 24 hours with a classy, beautiful brunette like Audrey Hepburn. What would it be like to live on Via Margutta, zip around late-1950s Rome on a Vespa, spend your evenings playing poker with the international crowd, and dash off the odd article to your paper back home?

Ah, the life of a foreign correspondent.

Well, a foreign correspondent in Italy, that is. I imagine the life of a foreign correspondent in, say, Libya or Iran (at least these days) might be slightly more dangerous and slightly less picturesque. But in Italy, can you think of a more fantastic lifestyle? Ok, ok, I’m sure it involves a good deal of work, but, oh, the payoff...

...well, you get the idea.

100 years ago, 14 foreign journalists living and working in Rome, got together in their usual haunt, Gran Caffè Faraglia in Piazza Venezia, and decided it was high time they had an official association to represent them. The Foreign Press Association was born. Today its members are numbered at 443, and hail from over 50 different countries around the world. American correspondents are outnumbered only by their German counterparts, and include one of my very favorite expat bloggers, Patricia Thomas, (Rome’s own Mozzarella Mamma herself!)

Italy as seen by the world, a new exhibit at the Ara Pacis opened last week, celebrating this important 100-year milestone. It was thrilling to see snippets of articles, headlines and magazine covers from around the world, all with the same subject: il belpaese. Some articles dated back nearly a century; others covered news stories I can well remember since my own arrival here eight years ago. 100 years of top news stories, archeological discoveries, culinary culture, destination pieces, social commentary: it’s all covered in this fascinating exhibit, the first big opening of the season.

Here are a few images from the exhibition:

Historic Archive of the first headquarters of the association
Association members in an audience with Pope John XXIII

Hitler and Mussolini, Newsweek, 1936
Il Conchiglione (The Big Shell) in the conference hall of the Foreign Press Association © Chris Warde-Jones

An article on terrorism in Italy, Der Spiegel, 1977

The death of Pope John Paul II, Paris Match, 2005

President and Mrs. Obama in an audience with Pope Benedict XVI (my photo of a photo)

I imagine it’s fascinating for Italians to witness how their country and culture is portrayed to the world at large by the pen-armed foreigners who’ve made their home here, but who nevertheless bring along their own perspective, culture and experiences. As an expat I have learned so much about my own country, simply by getting an outside look at it. This is not always pleasant. In fact, I was surprised that the inauguration was packed with Italians. I would have expected the majority of those in attendance to be the very same foreign correspondents being celebrated in the exhibit, but I rarely picked up on a foreign language or accent, although there were a few international journalistic legends (whom I would never have recognized had the Maritino not pointed them out to me).

Mayor Gianni Alemanno, Ara Pacis, © Tiffany Parks

The mayor himself was also in attendance, and I don’t mean to be mean, but this was the first time I had ever seen him live and I couldn’t stop myself humming that line from Annie (the Broadway musical, eh, NOT the film!), “What other town has the Empire State and a mayor five-foot-two?” Now, I didn’t get out my tape measure, but even standing up on the podium of the Ara Pacis, he didn’t look a hair taller than me. Rome may not have the Empire State Building, but a Fiorello Laguardia-look-alike we do have!

I learned during the press conference that the "extras" in the last scene of Roman Holiday were the actual members of Italy's Foreign Press Association in 1959! (A shocking dearth of women...) This exhibit is on for less than a month, so don’t miss it! Check out my exhibits calendar for times and dates.
PS After months of sporatic posting, I'm aiming to go two-for-two with a post about the new Vermeer exhibit at the Scuderie del Quirinale tomorrow, so stop by!

Photo sources: 1, 2
3-8 courtesy of Zetema Ufficio Stampa
9-10 by author, 

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