Rome Travel Guide

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Rome's Scaffolds and Cranes

Crane working at the top of the Spanish Steps

Costly scaffolding, Piazza Verbano, quartiere Trieste
Most of the buildings in Rome have a stucco exterior.  It's a durable material, and its insulating, cooling properties make it ideally suited to Rome's sultry summers.  But it deteriorates over time, and when repairs are needed, up goes the scaffolding.  Romans would seem to be expert not only in the art of stuccoing, but in assembling scaffolds; indeed, there's a school in Tor Vergata where students are trained to assemble scaffolds ("impalcature") on which workers can do their jobs in safety. 

More Trieste work
Nonetheless, work once done on scaffolding is increasingly being done without scaffolding--or without much of it.  The competition is from cranes.  As one of our Italian sources explained, companies erecting scaffolds in public space--along a sidewalk in front of a building--pay high fees.  Cranes do their work and leave; no fee to be paid, or only a small one for the limited scaffolding required to protect pedestrians. 

Crane over our terrace

We had first-hand experience of the crane in 2006, when we lived in the quartiere of Appio Latino.  Our apartment was on the ground floor (not the Italian ideal), but it had a lovely terrace; upper floors had only balconies.  Unfortunately, the condominium ("condominio") chose to repair the balconies while we were there.  Had they used scaffolding to do so, it would have covered half our terrace.  Instead, they brought in a crane, which for several weeks hovered over our umbrella, doing its work.


Expensive scaffolding at a corner bar in via Nomentana.  At right, Waldo.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Story of Zippo

Free Zippo, with schematic fasce below
Zippo Libero/Free Zippo.  If, like RST, you walk the streets of Rome's outlying neighborhoods, you'll now and then see the words Zippo Libero written on a wall.  And Zippo is not purely of local, neighborhood interest. 

Zippo (right)
The 23-year-old young man was the subject of a well-atttended march on via dei Fori Imperiali, obviously undertaken with city approval, the marchers uniformed in white T-shirts decorated with the Zippo Libero slogan.  And on December 5 of last year, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in protest outside the Regina Coeli prison, where Zippo was being held. 

Siamo quello che Facciamo (We are what we do).
A CasaPound sticker attached to a light pole near
Stadio Olimpico. Looks like the mascot is
a turtle. 
Zippo, whose real name is Alberto Palladino, is a right-wing militant and activist, with ties to rightist organizations, including the Blocco Studentesco (Student Bloc) and CasaPound, which takes its name from the American poet Ezra Pound who, living in Italy and enamoured with Mussolini's Fascism, made hundreds of radio broadcasts citicizing the United States during World War II. 

1930s public housing in Monte Sacro
The event that landed Zippo in jail took  place on the night of November 3, 2011, in via dei Prati Fiscali, a major thoroughfare in Monte Sacro, a hilly, middle- and working-class neighborhood north of the Center.  According to the Carabinieri, who happened by that evening, Palladino was one of 15 men who, with their faces covered and armed with wooden clubs and "mazze ferrate" (iron cudgels) set upon five members of the youth movement of the Democratic Party (PD) who had just moments before finished with some postering--a common activity among political youth groups.  Four persons, all affiliated with the PD, required hospital treatment. 

Marchionne Infame (Infamy)
Palladino was identified as one of the aggressors by Paolo Marchionne, head of the PD in the Monte Sacro area (how he made that identification is not clear), and Zippo was arrested in early December, on his return to Italy from Thailand, where he was doing volunteer work. 

Zippo Libero March.
Despite the marches and protests, Zippo was convicted of assault and battery and in early July, 2012, was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months of house arrest (domicilio coatto) in Ronciglione, a town between Rome and Viterbo were he had previously lived.  At the sentencing, Palladino's mother confronted Marchionne, the only one who had identified Zippo as among the aggressors. 

CasaPound, which occupied a small building near the scene of the November 3 confrontation, claimed the arrest was "purely political," a reponse to Palladino's social activism.  The source of the identification--a political operative on the left--would lend credence to that claim.  Even so, an armed assault took place, 4 young men were injured, and Zippo, given his strong political convictions, may have been among those wreaking havoc.

Zippo Libero?  Maybe, maybe not.

Two other posts on right-wing graffiti incude one centered in Piazza Vescovio and one generally deciphering Rome's walls.
A "Zippo Libero" sign makes an appearance among extreme
soccer fans (Ultras)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hamlet in the Weeds: Rediscovering Italian Sculptor Amleto Cataldi

"The wrestlers" in Viale Unione Sovietica - that's the
Olympic Village apartments in back
Stumbling across underappreciated art is always fun, per RST.  We almost literally stumbled across Amleto ("Hamlet" in English) Cataldi's gorgeous "athletes" because they are now strewn in odd and spread out places in the vicinity of the 1960s Olympic Village in the Flaminio quarter of Rome - itself a burgeoning art scene (the new Hadid MAXXI and Piano's Parco della Musica are nearby - all of these are on the itineraries in our new book: Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler; more information below).

At first, a single sculpture was all we knew existed.  A friend and I ran into it when we were walking back from the "supermercato" to our not-so-close apartment one day.  The idea of sculptures of athletes in what was the Olympic Village for the competitors in the 1960 Olympics made sense.  But these sculptures seemed of an earlier period, and so they are.

"The runners" in 2008 before
the most recent restoration
"The runners" in 2012, after restoration - find them at the
SE corner of XVII Olimpiade and via Germania
(1/2 block east of  Corso Francia)
Tracking them down, much later, we found they originally were commissioned to stand on 4 large columns when, in 1927, architect Marcello Piacentini, one of Fascism's great architects, spruced up the 1911 Flaminio Stadium.  You may be able to spot them towards the end of Vittorio DeSica's neorealist masterpiece, The Bicycle Thief, which features a soccer match crowd letting out at that stadium.  Four of Cataldi's sculptures were the artistic hallmarks of the main entrance to the stadium.  But the stadium was torn down in 1957 to make way for the new Olympic facilities (including a new Flaminio stadium and the Palazetto dello Sport - which Bill has waxed eloquent about in a prior post).  But the statues didn't make an easy trip to Olympic Village. They apparently were carelessly toppled in 1957, damaged, and consigned to warehouses.  In the 1960s, after the Olympics were over, a journalist living in the Olympic Village tracked them down and had them repaired and installed in various grassy areas near and around the Village.  They then were not taken care of and apparently his daughter began a campaign to have them restored once again.  Sometimes when we've seen them, they simply stand amidst weeds.  They did look better the last time we saw some of them.  But there still are no plaques marking the sculptor or any history.  So just go find them and enjoy them.  And, speaking of finding them.  We located two (see photo captions).  We'd be happy for someone to locate the other two.

Saluting the "Tax Man"
We also didn't know at the time we stumbled across these fine giant athletes that the same architect, Cataldi, designed and sculpted the statues on the monument (right) on one of RST's itineraries, and featured in the book.  What we call there a "monument to the tax man" - a monument to the fallen of the Guardia della Finanza, is in Largo  XXI Aprile near Piazza Bologna.  That monument was unveiled in December 1930 (by Il Duce himself), shortly after Cataldi's death.

A "ciociara" type of sculpture by
Cataldi similar to the one that
is the subject of a repatriation
attempt by some Italians
Cataldi is described by some as a forgotten sculptor of the early 20th century.  Most Romans seem to know nothing about his public sculptures, and he was primarily a sculptor of public monuments, in large part monuments commemorating World War I dead. But his sculptures seem to fetch high prices at auction, even today.  One Italian was making an appeal that a sculpture of Cataldi's, set for auction in New York City, was such a national treasure that it should be returned to Italy.

Because his art nouveau lines appeal to us, we will continue our search for Cataldi's sculptures, even though, forgotten as they are, we still can't afford to take one home with us.

Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious features the "garden" suburb of Garbatella; the 20th-century suburb of EUR, designed by the Fascists; the 21st-century music and art center of Flaminio (as noted above), along with Mussolini's Foro Italico, also the site of the 1960 summer Olympics; and a stairways walk in classic 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.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

McKim, Mead and White in Rome

Rome the Second Time is proud to present its 400th post.  We are grateful to our readers for their appreciation of our content and tolerance of our eccentricities. 

There is only one monument in Rome to McKim, Mead and White, the New York City-based firm that dominated American architecture in the half century after 1880--some 1,000 commissions, dozens of reknowned buildings.  It is the building housing the American Academy in Rome, still there and still operating more than one hundred years after its completion in 1913/14.  It is a gracious structure, superb in its balance and proportion, restrained in its ornamentation, representing the genteel tradition in architecture as fully as Henry James did for the novel. [As an update, we note an exhibition on the design and construction of the AAR building - a merely okay not a must-see exhibition -  is at the Academy, open 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through June 29, 2014.]

McKim's NYS pavilion, 1893,
modeling the Villa Medici
Indeed, the firm's link to the American Academy goes beyond the structure.  Although most of his knowledge of continental architecture was from books, and he did not see Rome until 1885, Charles Follen McKim was enamoured of European architecture.  Though he favored Italian over French design, McKim valued the French system of architectural training, and he would have been pleased to have studied Rome's architectural heritage at the French Academy, housed in the the Villa Medici--had he been a citizen.  Convinced that travel to Europe and physical immersion in its architectural splendors was essential to becoming an architect, McKim joined with another distinguished architect in the genteel tradition, Daniel Burnham, to found a post-graduate facility for architects in Rome--what became the American Academy.  The two solicited contributions from friends and fellow architects and brought the first class to Rome in 1895, where they were housed in temporary quarters.  The first painters and sculptors arrived in 1897. 

Stanford White's Washington Square arch
Rome was influential in some of the firm's most important works.  The Washington Memorial Arch, the signature of Washington Square, was designed by the flamboyant Stanford White, who based its shape on encyclopedic knowledge of the precise dimensions of dozens of Roman and Roman imperial arches.  McKim based his design for the New York State pavilion at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (above left) on the Villa Medici, and, according to one architectural historian, used his knowledge of the upper stage of the nymphaeum of the Villa Giulia (mid-16th century) to compose the facade of the Morgan Library in New York City.  Facade inscriptions on McKim's University Club in New York City, though critically received by its members, were incorporated into the final design when McKim explained that inscriptions were common to a variety of Rome structures, including Palazzo Spada, Porta Maggiore and Porta del Popolo, and the Acqua Paola fountain. 

To catch a glimpse of the most famous McKim, Mead and White building inspired by Rome, you'll have to go to New Jersey and dig around in its swamps and marshes.  "Tossed into the Secaucus graveyard," wrote Ada Louise Huxtable, architectural critic of the New York Times, "are about 25 centuries of classical culture and the standards of style, elegance and grandeur that it gave to the dreams and constructions of Western man."  She was referring to the Pennsylvania Station, arguably the most glorious and surely the most famous of the many structures designed by the firm, torn down between 1963 and 1965 (to make way for a skyscraper and a new Madison Square Garden), in what Lewis Mumford called "an irresponsible act of public vandalism." 

Construction of the Pennsylvania Station began in 1904 and was completed in 1910, in the midst of the presidency of William Howard Taft.  The design was McKim's, as was the decision to exclude a high-rise hotel desired by the railroad--a decision, according to historian Leland M. Roth, that doomed the building to its Secaucus fate.  It was enormous in every sense: 430 X 780 feet, two whole city blocks, sitting on 650 steel columns and, because of the unusual terrain, the trains were out of the way, 45 feet below street level.

Pennsylvania Station waiting room
It is well known that McKim's design--apparently worked out with Alexander Cassatt, brother of the painter, Mary Cassatt--was profoundly influenced by the monumentality and grandeur of the Baths of Caracalla (212-216 AD).  McKim had hired people to amble through the Baths so he could get a sense of scale and of human movement through its large spaces. 

A reconstruction of the Baths of Caracalla
Though the Station was bigger than the Baths--the general waiting room was some 20% larger--it was proportional to the ancient structure, and the waiting room of the Station was modeled on the Baths' tepidarium, or warm room (right and end of post).   Unlike the Baths, the vaults of McKim's Station were not structural; they only defined the space.  The Corinthian columns were sheathed in travertine from near Tivoli. 

Pennsylvania Station concourse
The Concourse--where travelers descended to the trains--was an airy delight, "one of the marvels of early twentieth-century engineering," according to Roth, and reminiscent of Giovanni Battista Piranesi's 18th-century etchings of imaginary prisons, according to architectural critic Martin Filler.  Outside, McKim's colonnade took inspiration from the Bank of England and Bernini's Piazza di San Pietro. 

Pennsylvania Station, colonnade
The Pennsylvania Station was much admired for many years, and its neo-classical monumentality remained a popular form on Washington's mall and in the late-1930s suburb of EUR, where Mussolini's Fascist regime adapted the style to modernism.   As the years went by, and enthusiasm for modernism--and modernist forms of the monumental, like the Empire State Building, or the glass box housing the United Nations--grew, the Station fell out of favor.  It was allowed to accumulate an unsightly layer of dirt and grime, and by the early 1960s, before there was much interest in conserving important old buildings, its defenders were too few to make a difference.  Frank Lloyd Wright's massive Larkin Administration Building in Buffalo came to a similar end in 1950.  And today, to experience what McKim had in mind, you'll have to buy a ticket to the Baths of Caracalla, or head for the wetlands of New Jersey, trowel in hand.


Design for a proposed reconstruction of the Tepidarium, Baths of Caracalla, 1889

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Best Restaurant in Rome - Mithos La Taverna dell'Allegria

Interior - looking towards one set of room; there are more tables
in back of the camera view, but you can see the narrowness of
the restaurant here.

We have an easy to answer to the most asked question – what’s our favorite restaurant in Rome, and that’s Mithos – La Taverna dell’Allegria.  The food is amazingly good, at a reasonable price, and the ambiance is without a doubt charming yet understated.  The owner, Mario, is the perfect host.

But, we usually add, Mithos is out of the Centro a ways, and has no English menu.  For us, that’s a plus.  So is the fact that we found Mithos by simply stumbling across it when we lived in the neighborhood 5 years ago.  Then, Mario had a tiny restaurant – about 4 tables inside and the same outside (during the long outdoor season in Rome).  He would write up the menu in his (for us) hard to read handwriting about 7.30 p.m. and go next door to make a few copies.  We watched him do this prep work one evening when we arrived at what was supposed to be the opening time of 7 or 7.30 p.m. – but don’t count on the restaurant really opening before 8 p.m.  No self-respecting Roman would show up for dinner before dark, even in the summer.

About 2 years ago, Mario and his adult daughter and son took a leap of faith and tripled the size of the restaurant by moving into a longish storefront in the nearby Piazza Scipione Ammirato.  The décor features old sideboards, cupboards, kitchen tables and chairs, painted in muted Easter-egg hues, and all placed in a gracefully lit, modern infrastructure.  You can even watch the cooks at work in the kitchen.  The outdoor space is now available too, as you can see from the photos, and gives out onto a relatively quiet (esp. for Rome), recently spiffed-up piazza.

Mario in ubiquitous apron serving outdoor tables

So onto the food.  Mario still does a nightly menu and the selection is limited (4 or 5 pasta dishes, 4 or 5 entrées), but wide – fish, meats, vegetarian.  We love it all.  The seafood is amazingly fresh and good (“Zuppa di pesce,” for example), and the pastas perfectly cooked, interesting, and wonderful.  Mario’s daughter (Alessandra, as I recall) oversees the scrumptious desserts.  The Slow Food movement has found Mithos and sponsors events here, which tells you something.  The TripAdvisor reviews are all in Italian (except mine) and are almost all highly favorable. And, by the way, there is nothing Greek about the cuisine.  This is Italian to the core.

Two of us usually eat here for Euro 45, including wine.  Though those who choose a full menu will probably see a bill for 2 of Euro 60.  By Rome standards, this is a deal.

Sunday brunch menu
We chatted with Mario this summer about his expansion into pizza offerings and Sunday brunch (not a Roman custom).  We think, like many restaurateurs , he is trying to cover his costs, having expanded into the heart of the Great Recession which, you may have heard, is hitting Italy even harder than the U.S.  I wouldn't waste a trip to Mithos on pizza or omelets, but you may have different ideas. 

Okay – so is it worth a taxi ride out of the Centro and back?  It’s hard to justify a Euro 30 taxi each way for a max Euro 30 per person meal.  The Metro A stops of Ponte Lungo and Furio Camillo are at most a 10 minute walk from Mithos.  We recommend them.  You'll also get a feel for this very Roman suburban neighborhood.  Technically Mithos is in the Appio Latino quarter, but it also is very close (walking distance) to the Tuscolano quarter.  (If you must stay in the Centro, and are foodies, definitely go to Katie Parla's site,, or her app for great recommendations.)

We almost always go to Mithos on one of our last nights in Rome each year, and we are never disappointed.  As we discover each time, it’s a romantic and delicious way to savor the Eternal City.

We recommend reservations.  Mithos is often full, even on weeknights.  tel: +39.067840034. Email (I've never tried it - but go for it) -  Address:  Pizza Scipione Ammirato, 7.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Imperial Rome--and Los Angeles

Your team at RST spends about as much time in Los Angeles as in Rome, and not because the cities are similar, and not because we enjoy them the same way.  In Rome we have our Malaguti scooter; in LA it's an ancient Volvo.  And so on.  So we were surprised, and pleased, when Christopher Hawthorne, the architectural critic at the Los Angeles Times, found a bit of common ground.  There's just a hint of what Mr. Hawthorne found in the headline for his column, which appeared on Sunday, October 7:  "L.A.'s imperial side on parade."  We hoped Mr. Hawthorne would reprise his argument on this blog, in his own words, and we offered him the opportunity to do so.  But we haven't heard from him.  So here goes. 

Checking for clearance
Like hundreds of thousands of other Angelenos, Mr. Hawthorne has been intrigued and stimulated by two public events that took place in the past year on the city's broader streets and avenues.  One was the transport of a 342 ton rock--known as "the Rock"--from a quarry in Riverside to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), more than 100 miles to the west, where it became the centerpiece of Michael Heizer's work of art, "Levitated Mass."

Moving the Rock--that's it, bagged in white and
suspended from the vehicle
Moving the rock along county roads and city streets required legions of police officers, the removal of traffic lights and signs and other impediments, and--part of the spectacle--a truck larger than most people could imagine.  We were there one evening in March when "the Rock" made the turn from Adams south onto Western, then later as it negotiated a difficult move onto Wilshire (at left), heading for the "Miracle Mile."  We were enthralled; our only regret was that we didn't keep the grandchildren up past midnight (on a school night) to see it. 

We'll get to Rome in a moment.

The second event, no less wondrous, also involved a large object moving along the city's avenues: the Shuttle Endeavour--the vehicle that replaced the ill-fated Challenger and supplied the international space station for many years--making its final journey, this time on land, from Los Angeles International Airport (referred to always as LAX) to the California Science Center, 12 miles away, where it would sit on display in retirement.  Although the shuttle was much lighter than the Rock, it was also much larger, with a wingspan of 78 feet.  Trees--some 400 of them--had to be cut down to accommodate the ship (this was not popular with folks living along the route nor with many others), and for a time the authorities insisted that the breadth of the shuttle was such that sidewalks would have to be closed to the public.

Larger than life, the Shuttle on Crenshaw. 
That didn't happen, as we learned last Saturday (October 13), when we finally found the shuttle at Crenshaw Avenue, south of Stocker.  The first sighting, as we came around the corner of a bank building, took my breath away, and the thrill continued as we approached the shuttle and the wings passed over our heads. 

Observers on rooftop, right
This time the grandchildren were with us--pleased, but nonplussed in the way only children can be--and so were tens of thousands of others, jamming the sidewalks and intersections, standing on the roofs of buildings, cheering, savoring what seemed an historic moment. 

And what's Rome got to do with it, "got to do with it"?  That's where Mr. Hawthorne comes in.  "Los Angeles," he writes, "is in some striking ways reenacting one of the oldest public celebrations in Western urban history, the Roman triumph."  The Roman triumph, he explains, was an elaborate procession, a grand parade, celebrating a military victory of Rome's imperial armies. 

The Triumph of Camillus
The spoils of war, the gold and jewels and art works and other booty, were part of the parade, there for everyone to admire, as was the general responsible for the victory, riding atop a chariot, through the Circus Maximus, the Roman Forum and, in all likelihood, through one of Rome's triumphal arches, each elaborately decorated with scenes of some wondrous victory over still another inferior people who had stood in the way of Rome's imperial might.  One of these triumphs, the triumph of Camillus, is captured in in a fresco by Francesco Salviati (now at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence). 

The Arch of Constantine, where
Mussolini honored Italo Balbo
(three centuries after this painting).
 Although Mr. Hawthorne doesn't mention it, the "triumph" didn't end with the fall of Rome and the demise of the Roman empire.  In the 20th century, when the Fascist regime resurrected the glories of ancient Rome and its imperial attitude, Mussolini would reward prominent Fascists who he thought had done something special for the patria with his own version of the triumph.

Balbo's Arch of the Fileni,
in Libya
One so honored was Italo Balbo, the swashbuckling bon vivant and aviator, who took a squadron of planes from Orbetello in Tuscany to Chicago for the 1933 World's Fair.  On his return, Balbo's prize was a parade--with the Duce--under the Arch of Constantine.  Balbo went on to become Governor of Libya, where he built his own triumphal arch, a symbol of Italian empire in the Sirte dessert.  Mussolini was there for the opening ceremony--a triumphal parade.     

The Los Angeles connection is harder to articulate, but it's what makes Mr. Hawthorne's column so valuable.  "We used to make stuff here," he writes, "and send it out into the world or into outer space.  Now we capture that stuff, tether it to the back of a huge vehicle and arrange a low-speed, celebratory public parade through the streets of Los Angeles before putting it on display in one of our major museums."  There is, he suggests, something "imperial" in all this, as we take stuff from "out there"--and that means anywhere, even outer space--and put it in a building for people to see.  In doing so, Mr. Hawthorne concludes, "we affirm some basic idea of what contemporary Los Angeles means or stands for." 

The Rock, now art at LACMA.  We once flew
kites in this space.

So what does Los Angeles stand for, given its newfound penchant for triumphal parades featuring big objects?

It stands for spectacle, for producing systems and events that amaze and confound: the talking pictures, Hollywood, Disneyland, Universal City, Cinerama, 3-D--and now the Rock and the Endeavour.  It stands--or once stood--for aerospace techology (the Endeavor was built in Los Angeles) and for art (the Rock is an art work, in a city undergoing an artistic resurgence).  But most of all, LA stands for museums.  The Rock has already been mounted for display in a museum, and the Endeavour just went on disl

And that means that Mr. Hawthorne is right, that there is something "imperial" going on.  Museums are inherently imperial; they house things that often come from afar and once belonged to others.  They've been bought or taken, sometimes stolen, removed from their original settings, for the pleasure, in this case, of Angelinos.  That's why the Getty Center, another "new" Los Angeles museum--and, appropriately, faux Roman--has been forced to return many of the objects of antiquity that it once housed: they were acquired in imperial transactions. 

Moreover, oil tycoon John Paul Getty, whose 1970s Villa/Museum in Los Angeles was modeled on the Roman Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, likened himself to Caesar and was comfortable with descriptions of Getty Oil as an "empire."  The Getty museums house some 44,000 objects from antiquity.  The Rock and the Endeavour have a different provenance; they were neither stolen nor taken from another society.  But they are part of the imperial museum culture that is the new LA.


The Getty Villa, Los Angeles

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Trieste Quarter: Home to Modernism and Postmodernism

The quartiere of Trieste, to the north of Rome's center, between via Salaria and via Nomentana, is best known to tourists and architectural enthusiasts for the extraordinary collection of electicism known as Coppede', after the architect, Gino Coppede', who designed the unusual structures in the 1920s.

But there is more to Trieste than Coppede'.  As a relatively young and wealthy quartiere, Trieste also has a number of worthy modernist--and postmodernist-buildings.  Indeed, we found two at one intersection, where via Salaria crosses via Adige (on one side) and via Bruxelles (on the other).  We call it Trieste, but to be precise, one side is in Trieste, the other in Parioli. 

On the southeast corner of the intersection is a 1930s-era modernist building, architect unknown, but worthy of Luigi Moretti.  It's a narrow, asymetrical structure, sited on an oddly-shaped piece of land. 

An unusual round open loggia

It now houses the Sri Lankan embassy, which recently installed a Buddha in the white loggia, above.

The building makes substantial use of the open logia, including an unusual round open loggia.

Even more unusual, and doubtless more controversial among architects and architectural historians, is an apartment building on the intersection's northwest corner.

Built in the 1960s or 1970s (we would guess), it's modern but not modernist,  playful in a postmodern, experimental way: the vortex-like stanchion at the corner (left), the hole on an upper floor, a projecting cap at roof level, the intersecting of unusual shapes. 

Postmodernist play with shapes and forms
When you've seen Coppede'--and don't miss it (it was number 20 on RST's Top 40)--have a look at this intersection.  It's only a 5-minute walk.