STEVE McKENNA is beguiled by an off-the-radar Roman neighbourhood
I turned a corner in Rome and found myself on a narrow little street that seemed destined to become a film set. Perhaps it already had. I wondered if Federico Fellini, the doyen of Italian directors, had ever shot scenes here.
Picture it: low-rise peach, banana and burgundy-hued abodes punctuated with iron grille windows and wooden shutters flanked a bumpy strip of cobbles, upon which were parked scuffed-up Vespas and mauve plant pots brimming with lush greenery. Complementing the cinematic quality was a serenity you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in the middle of a capital city.
But, apart from the muffled sound of church bells tolling somewhere in the distance and the giggles from a young couple walking hand-in-hand about 50 metres away, there was blissful silence.
It’s important to stress, mind you, that not every part of Monti is this quiet. Wander around this often-overlooked Roman rione (neighbourhood), however, and you’ll almost certainly stumble across streets that are as peaceful as they are postcard-pretty.
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It’s a gorgeous vision; one that is lodged in the memory and resurfaces from time to time, when I’m daydreaming about those heady, optimistic days of overseas travel.