Thursday, April 22, 2010


The Ponte Sisto crosses the Tiber River from Trastevere and brings us to the Via Giulia. The Via Giulia was conceived by Pope Julius II (reign 1503-13) and laid out by his chief architect Bramante. The Via Giulia is one of the nicest walking streets in Rome.

During the 16th century neighborhoods were destroyed to establish this straight avenue that connects the Forum area to the Vatican.

In the back of the beautiful Palazzo Farnese, now the French Embassy, is the Fountain of the Great Mask, the type of Roman relic often seen around the city.

Michelangelo completed the design of the Palazzo Farnese and was commissioned to design a bridge to span the Tiber and connect the Palazzo Farnese to the Villa Farnesina as a summer house in Trastevere. Both the Palazzo Farnese and Villa Farnesina have amazing frescos by Carracci, Raphael and Sodoma, more about this in a future posting.

Palazzo Falconieri
There are massive Renaissance villas in Rome. The elements that reflect traditional Renaissance architecture are rough blocks of Travertine on the ground floor (rustication), monumental doorways, balconies and wide overhanging cornices. (good refuge during a rain shower!)

Along the Via Giulia there are many small fine antique shops.

We pause for caffe latte at a table outside on the Via Giulia, taking time to look at the buildings that surround us.

Sant Eligio
Just off the Via Giulia is the tiny pink and white church of Sant Eligio. It was designed by Raphael and it reflects perfect Renaissance proportions.

Tempietto, (Bramante,1499-1502)

Sant Eligio
The domed cupola is related to the beautiful Tempietto, designed by Bramante, on the Janiculum Hill (Giancolo,near the American Academy). Both domes influenced the great dome of St. Peters , begun by Bramante and completed by Michelangelo.

The street is designed and laid out to be a straight passage for pilgrims to reach St . Peter's .

Via Giulia, 85 , the house of Raphael.
The property on the Via Giulia was prime real estate and highly sought after. Raphael along with other artists bought property here. Continuing past Raphael's house the Via Giulia comes to an end at the Florentine Church, Basilica di San Giovanni dei Fiorentino. From her it is an easy walk over the Tiber to St. Peter's Basilica.

So now it is time for lunch. we go to one of our lunch favorites Grotte del Teatro di Pompeo, Via del Biscione, not far from the Campo de' Fiori. If we are in this area in the evening we might choose Ristorante Pierluigi for dinner. We adore the tables in the Piazza de Ricci, and the fish is fabulous.

Here we meet the owner Lino, always a wonderful host. We get to review the days antipasti selection. Here the seasonal vegetables and the artichokes now reign supreme.

The freshest fish (pesce) is always available, just pick what you like.

Antipasti de vedura, grilled eggplant and zucchini, roasted peppers potatoes, fritata....and sorry, we ate the artichokes !

Insalata di alcette e rughetta (arugula salad with fresh baby anchovies), a totally different arugula and anchovy. How can such simple ingredients come together so perfectly?
Era squisito!!!!
Our next course was recommended by our waiter, it was pasta with gamberoni (shrimp) in a light, but spicy tomato sauce with garlic. We followed this with a cleansing lemon sorbet served in a champagne flute.

We end the day under Bernini's colonnade (colonnato) at St. Peter's.

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