Rome Travel Guide

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Painting the Town Red (and Yellow) for Roma

The soccer team AS Roma, captained for years by local hero Francesco Totti (born and raised in the Appio Latino quartiere, near Porta Metronia), is the object of affection for many Romans. Despite being the Buffalo Bills of Italy's Serie A, finishing second 6 of the last 8 seasons, the team has deeply loyal followers everywhere in the city, and especially in neighborhoods populated by Rome's working- and middle classes and in those where political opinion tends to the left.

Garbatella, an early 20th-century planned community built on hills and curving streets, made up of Fascist-era public housing projects on an epic scale, is one of those places, a hotbed of AS Roma sentiment. Here it's not enough to hang Rome's banner out
the window.

Garbatella, and some of the sites in this post, are featured on the first walk in our new book: Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler. More on the book is at the end of this post.

 In Garbatella the real die-hards paint their houses (or their neighbor's house, or a shuttered store, or an institution) in the team colors, or fashion a mural for the apartment complex, or draw the team's symbol, a wolf, on a wall.

AS Roma had a difficult season, its hopes for a championship once again dashed, this time on the final day of the campaign. Totti succumbed to the pressure and frustration the week before, when he kicked an opposing player in the head and brought down another in the penalty area, with intent, and was expelled. We doubt these events will have much impact on how Garbatellians view Totti or his team. They'll just keep on painting the town.


Our new print AND eBook,  Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler features tours of the "garden" suburb of Garbatella; the 20th-century suburb of EUR, designed by the Fascists; the 21st-century music and art center of Flaminio, along with Mussolini's Foro Italico, also the site of the 1960 summer Olympics; and a stairways walk in Trastevere.

This 4-walk book is available in all print and eBook formats The eBook is $1.99 through and all other eBook sellers.  See the various formats at

Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler
 now is also available in print, at, Barnes and Noble, independent bookstores, and other retailers; retail price $5.99.

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