Rome Travel Guide

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Boccea: Just a Roman Neighborhood

Via di Boccea, looking east from a bus stop. 

1961 Church

We had arranged to have lunch with a friend, in her neighborhood, a second-tier "suburb" to Rome's northeast, beyond the Vatican.  Boccea, it's called, after its main street, Via di Boccea, which runs east of the Cornelia Metro stop on the "A" line.  

We had arrived by scooter with about 45 minutes to spare, just enough time to get a sense of the area.  What we found was "just" a Roman neighborhood: teeming with shoppers and workers, touched by the marks of recent history, graced by one of Rome's finest parks,  brightened by color and creativity.

Lady Bar
Boccea is one of Rome's newer neighborhoods.  We found a bar, Bar Molini, dating to 1952 and, nearby, a church--probably the first to be built in the quartiere--constructed in 1961 (above left).  So it seems Boccea had its origins in Rome's postwar "boom."  We don't know the age of Lady Bar (right), but we liked the name, and the concept.  Looks like the clientele is mostly pregnant. 

Pet supplies

Among the dozens of shops that line Via di Boccea and the side streets to the north, we noticed a pet supply store with its  carriers and beds arranged along a broad sidewalk

A line of new bicycles added color to the streetscape. 

Meat Handler

And a macelleria (meat market), receiving its supply of meat from a couple of guys in blood-colored garb. 

Hip Vespa

A bicycle with an old-fashioned basket (it could have belonged to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz) and--a real prize--an old but still functional Vespa, decorated in the pointillism style of Seurat.

Curious building
In the triangle formed by Via di Boccea and Via della Pineta Sacchetti, we discovered an open air market and, just across the latter street, an unusual building, perhaps the inspiration for the bulbous forms of Parco della Musica. 

Parco del Pineto
We were near Parco del Pineto (Park of the Pine Grove), the one landmark familiar to us from an earlier visit, and we couldn't resist admiring the tall pini (Rome's distinctive "umbrella" pine trees) that govern its southwestern approach.   To the north, along a path that skirts Forte Braschi (a functioning military installation), you'll find some high-grade graffiti.  And in the valley below the pines...well, more adventures to be had (we describe our own journey through this park in Rome the Second Time, Itinerary 11). 

Just a Roman neigborhood.

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