Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Costly Free Vernissage

An amazing vernissage, to say the least. A 40-foot table, filled with goodies: bruschette (with pesto, and normale), finger sandwiches, quiche, two kinds of cheese, a red pepper and olive thing, mozzarella, sausage, biscotti, and a magnificently rich cannelloni cake. Waiters in white coats clearing and replacing the dishes. Nearby, two tables with vino rosso (good) and vino bianco (not up to local standards) and colorful non-alcoholic drinks. Everything except the CocaCola from the Roman countryside. We had three glasses of wine and "dinner." And it was all free.

Actually, there was a price to be paid--just not in Euros. The vernissage was the final act in the official opening of an exhibit of photos by Marco Scataglini, of the Campagna Romana (the Roman countryside). The opening was scheduled for 17:00 (5 p.m.) at the Societa' Geographica Italiana (Italian Geographic Society) at the Villa Celimontana [gorgeous park with views, lots of cats], a ten-minute walk up the hill from the Coliseum. And 5:00 is when we arrived--a mistake. We took our time perusing the photos--all sepia-toned black and white, designed to look as if they'd been taken 100 years ago, all without people and without the trash, traffic, industry, and housing developments that now blanket the Campagna--and around the impressive villa. Speeches started at 5:45 and there were six of them, the last by Scataglini, who concluded the program with a 10-minute program of 130 color photos. At 7 we took our grumbling stomachs downstairs for a blissfully brief ribbon-cutting. And on to the vernissage!

Don't miss the next opening at the Societa' - just come late, as did most of the Italians.

Sorry, no personal pics; woman forgot the camera.

Dianne (aka woman) adds: We also returned to Charity Cafe' ( in Monti... music and ambience great, as usual. Question: have the tourists found it? Heads of grey and blonde, not looking Italian, tapping feet to music? Dianne said to the server: "Un bicchiere di Muller Thurgau ["a glass of..." a type of wine on the menu]" Response (in English): "I don't speak English."

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