Sunday, March 22, 2015

Things to Do While in Rome: Street Art

“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish... but that's only if it's done properly.”  Banksy 

Rome is a city with countless works of art, any church you decide to visit will most likely take your breath away.  There are fountains and statues around any given corner in the city; so many that you'll need more than a lifetime to see them all.  Rome also offers wonderful museums and exhibitions.  However, if church art or deepening your understanding of Roman history is not necessarily your thing, let me tell you that Rome also houses the other type of art: street art!

Pope Francis graffiti @ Spanish Steps Metro
Street artists are present in the major piazzas of Rome, like in Piazza del Popolo and Trastevere.  You'll find a vast array of artists from mimes to clowns, painters and my personal favorites the musicians.  On via Frattina, a quick walk from the Spanish Steps, you'll find opera singers and a violinist that gift us with a perfect soundtrack for our Roman vacation.

Graffiti has recently been taken seriously by the city and agreements have been signed between authorities and street artists to grant them exclusive use of certain city walls to display their art or beautify the city.  The neighborhood of Testaccio has been used as a canvas for graffiti artists, take a walk around and don't miss a stop at their new market.

One of the street artists that has me running around town trying to collect pictures of his work is #CletAbraham, who decorates DO NOT ENTER signs with rebellious stick men and more.  So, if you're planning a trip to Rome, don't forget to keep your eyes open for not only the beautiful art of old Romans, but also the new expressions of art of this generation.

Arrivederci for now,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Things to Do While in Rome: Testaccio Market

"But before we can radically reshape the world, we need to shop.”  John Green

Let's get it out right away, I love markets, food markets that is.  If you really want to get to know a city and its people, go to the local market and observe how the microcosmos of a neighborhood work.  Growing up in South America, my Saturday morning routine included a visit to the market with my mother, you always got the best deals and came home with baskets full of treasures, and fresh fish.  A market can be a bit intimidating, vendors are loud especially if the place is crowded, but no other spot is so full of life and real city scenes than the market. 

If you are coming to Rome, make sure you carve some time to visit the Testaccio market.  Testaccio is a Roman neighborhood on the south west of the city center.  Many connoisseurs say Testaccio is one of the few Roman neighborhoods that has kept its original "flavor", where you do not see many tourists and life is like that of a small town.  To get to the Testaccio market, take the Metro B to the Piramide stop from where you'll have a ten minute walk to reach the market.

This market can be a one-stop-shop as you do not only find fresh produce but you'll also find great deals in shoes, bags, belts, vintage cooking ware; basically anything your heart desires and more. 

If you love food, I would encourage you to join the Taste of Testaccio eating tour, that will take you around the neighborhood with a stop at the Testaccio Market.  The stories I learned about many of the vendors made me love this place even more.

If you are there around lunch or dinner time, a couple restaurants I can recommend are Angelina at Testaccio and Flavio  al Velavevadetto, both great at making the typical Roman dishes (don't know what the typical Roman dishes are? click here!)

Hope you have the chance to visit this charming part of #Rome!

PS. Keep your eyes open and see if you can spot the cool street art around Testaccio...

Arrivederci for now,