A Tour In Rome

Living in Rome

A 40 minutes tour of the Eternal City with voices from the past, from the present and from the future…

I am in Rome! Oft as the morning ray
Visits these eyes, waking at one I cry,
Whence this excess of joy? What has befallen me?
And from within a thrilling vice replies,
Thou art in Rome! A thousand busy thoughts
Rush on my mind, a thousand images;
And I spring up as girt to run a race!
From Rome by Samuel Rogers, 1830

The tour starts from Porta del Popolo, the door of Piazza del Popolo. Then, you’ll be brought in Via del Corso, but be careful because it’s Carnival-Time and the roman Carnival could be really tough. Next stop will be Saint Peter, the Vatican. After all this walking, there will be a break in one of the Osterie… to listen to some singing and some satirical jokes by Pasquino. Before leaving Rome, the tour will walk you through some real roman traditions and it will end at the Accademia di Francia, better known as Villa Medici. And here, looking from the moon, we’ll say… “Arrivederci Roma, Good-Bye, Aurevoir”.

CLAUDIO VILLA (1926-1987): Villa was the “Reuccio” (“Little King”) of Italian Songs.

GIUSEPPE GIOACCHINO BELLI (1791-1863): G.G.Belli is considered one of the most traditional roman dialect poets. Between 1824 and 1846 he wrote over 2,200 sonnets, each of which is a faithful picture of what Rome was like in the early nineteenth century. The very first words in his introduction are “I have decided to leave a monument of what the common people of Rome are today…”. But his opinions about the social structure of his time were strongly critical.
In those times the pope still ruled the city; a few idle aristocrats and a rather arrogant clergy represented the high class, whose social power had already lost any historical or moral justification. On the opposite end of Rome’s society were the common people, the mob, fanatical and superstitious, whose only entertainments were the frequent sumptuous public celebrations held to hail and glorify the leading class, and the even more frequent public executions (one of the executioners, Giovan Battista Bugatti known as Mastro Titta, even became a famous roman character).
Belli wrote: “Our common people have no art: no art of speaking, or poetical, just as any common people ever had. Everything springs spontaneously from their own nature, always alive and strong, because left free to develop non-artificial qualities…”.

ENNIO FLAIANO (1910 – 1972): The well-known Italian film historian, Gian Piero Brunetta, attributes to Ennio Flaiano an undeniable “Flaiano effect” on the development of postwar Italian cinema, and, indeed, Flaiano collaborated on more than 58 films. He is perhaps best known for his fifteen-year friendship and working relationship with the famous director Federico Fellini, and his influence on the filmmaker in the creation of films like I vitelloni, La strada, La dolce vita, and Otto e mezzo, among others, was pivotal. Indeed, there are a few critics who acknowledge that little was achieved in Italian postwar cinema that Flaiano had not already investigated in his writings.

(1871-1950): Trilussa is the roman poet Carlo Alberto Salustri, who chose this pen-name by creating an anagram of his family name. He is the author of a great number of poems in roman dialect, some of which are in the form of sonnets. Between 1920 and 1930 he was rather well-known throughout Italy. Nevertheless, he never related to literary clubs, to which he always preferred taverns. Besides writing verses, the poet also illustrated some of his sonnets and poems with drawings. Trilussa’s language is different from the one used by Belli in his “Sonnets”: much softer, closer to official Italian, as actually spoken in those days (an effect of the population’s cultural level improvement by the turn of the century). For this reason, some other dialect poets criticized him. Therefore, Trilussa’s poems might be less pungent than Belli’s, but their sense of humor is exactly the same.


MONSIEUR MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE: In Italy on 1580-81. He is in Rome the 30 of November 1580 and he visits Pope Gregorio XIII, who asks Montaigne to censor his Essai. Montaigne won’t obey.

CHARLES DICKENS: In Rome in the winter of 1845. He was traveling with his wife Catherine Hogart, a sister in law, six children, two nannies, and a factotum. He was thirty-two year-old. While traveling he wrote Pictures from Italy.

NIKOLAJ GOGOL’: My heart misses Rome and the Bella Italia. July 29 1837. The first time Gogol visited Rome was from March to June 1837. In Rome Gogol wrote his major work, The Dead Souls and his novel, Roma, about a roman Prince traveling between Paris and Rome and falling for a girl from Albano.

W.M. GILLESPIE:.an Engineer from New York. He was in Rome in 1843-44, right after obtaining his degree. Professor at Union College of Schenectady, NY, he published important studies on the built of streets and routes. He also translated into English the work of the Philosopher Auguste Compte

This performance was commissioned by the Dahesh Museum for the opening exhibition French Artists in Rome: Ingres to Degas, 1803–1873