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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Aurelian Wall Walk VI: From the University to Piazza Fiume, or Glad No One Was With Us

If you look hard, you'll see a piece of the wall in back.  It's a lovely courtyard, but gives no hint of how one can start
walking the wall.
Some of you dear readers may recall we last left you on a wall walk with Annie, which ended at the Aeronautical Ministry Building on viale Castro Pretorio.  [Links to posts describing the wall walks to date are at the end of this post.]  The wall did take a break for that 1930s building, and so did we - for a stop in the University and for lunch.  You may recall Bill and Dianne of RST attempted to walk - in stretches, sometimes with unsuspecting visitors along -  the entire 12 mile circumference of the 3rd century Aurelian Wall, of which about half remains intact.  

For this particular tract, the 2 of us decided it would be easy enough to pick up the wall where we left off, where viale dell'Università meets viale Castro Pretorio, but we were sadly mistaken.  Part of the problem is that the land that once held the enormous ancient Roman military base, Castro Pretorio, now is both military property and the national library with its immense grounds, not all open to the public.  The military base would have been incorporated into, and used to make part of the wall in the 3rd century; this is another example of the Romans incorporating existing buildings into the wall - one reason the Aurelian Wall went up so quickly.  But not so easy to figure out in the 21st century. In any event, here's our route in photos, and we're sparing you the many times we walked back and forth half a mile or so at a time, adding several miles to what should have been the route, all to try to find the  "f***ing wall" (as our co-walker on one stretch, Brian, dubbed it).  

And one of our loyal readers suggested we provide a map of our wall walks.  We are taking that under consideration and hope to provide some map guidance at the end of our trek, but no one would have wanted to follow the route we took this day.  UPDATE:  Map at this Google link.
After walking from the Aeronautical Building, past the garden above, then the military 
compound, we thought we were really getting to the wall when we approached the national library.

We scouted around behind the library, where
it seemed like the wall should be, and this is
what we found.  Yup, that's the wall behind
the fence and bushes.  Not so easy to follow,
unless you are a bird, or a drone.

After walking and back and forth the equivalent of a mile or so,
on viale Castro Pretorio, we gave up and walked to its busy
 intersection with viale del Policinico.  If you can't start where
you want, start at the other end, we figured.  And we knew the
wall would be at the end of this stretch, as this photo shows.

This broken start to the wall was a sight for sore eyes. And the beginning
of our trek backwards along this stretch.

A well-maintained shrine to commemorate World War II
civilians who died was built into the wall here.

The outside of the wall along viale del Policinico
has some particularly nice, tall stretches.

Some even under repair.

But here we lose the wall as it heads into private property.

That's it, back there, not too far away from the military base and the
library, but this was as close as we could get.  Now we have to walk BACK
to the intersection of viale del Policlinico and viale Castro Pretorio.

Once at the intersection, it was easy walking along the busy Corso d'Italia
 (above,  not in the tunnels). Though these "temporary" supports don't 
encourage one to walk too near the wall.

The one-legged World War I Bersagliere hero, Enrico Toti
(we'll see him again in Wall Walk VII) - a monument inside
Porta Pia.

A view of Porta Pia.  Typical of the wall, the Porta forms part of it,
or it forms part of the porta.  This famous (now rebuilt) porta was
where the secular forces breached the wall to force the end of
 the Papal State in the Risorgimento, September 20, 1870

Looking back towards Porta Pia  - nice stretches of the wall, intact.

Not to be deterred, we tried walking INSIDE
 the wall here. No go.  Private property again.

The usual markers for a Pope who restored the wall at
 some point.  In this case, Pius IV, Pope from 1559-1565
 (you can see his coat of arms on Piazza del Popolo as well).
We discovered, before Piazza Fiume, this monument to
September 20, 1870.  The hundreds of times we had driven
down Corso d'Italia (admittedly, mostly in the tunnels),
 we had  always seen Porta Pia, but never this monument.
Shows you what walking will do.

Creative use of a hole in the wall.  That's Piazza Fiume ahead,
with the large La Rinascente department store.

The wall is particularly heavily used as one approaches Piazza Fiume,
with lots of building within  the wall itself, as well as onto it.

Our just desserts, a glass of wine at Caffè Piave, not far from
 Piazza Fiume, and near a bus stop.
Okay, so we hadn't covered a lot of wall ground by now, but we'd been out for hours and so called it quits, or we convinced ourselves it was cocktail hour somewhere.


Wall Walk I: Porta Metronia to Porta Maggiore.
Wall Walk II: Porta Metronia to Porta San Paolo.
Wall Walk III: The Tame and the Wild Sides (Porta San Paolo to the Tevere).
Wall Walk IV: Porta Portese to the Gianicolo, or Brian's Lament.
Wall Walk V: Porta Maggiore to Castro Pretorio, or Annie's Reward.

1 comment:

Michael W said...

As a Rome enthusiast of many years standing I really appreciate your efforts so far on the great wall walk - it's clearly no picnic!