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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Fosso di Cecchignola: An unexpected Adventure in Rome's Countryside

RST's 791st post.  Use the search engine at upper left to explore Rome and environs.

Beautiful downtown Cecchignola

On a Saturday in mid-May, we took advantage of the unusual sunshine and headed out on the Honda Forza 300 for a day exploring wall art at Laurentina 38 and Corviale.  We never got to either one, but we made a day of it.  We landed in a piazza/park at Cecchignola, where we found a decent piece of wall art by Atoche, and another of Bugs Bunny, apparently by Diamond (both artists we know).

We also found a map of the area, labeled Fosso della Cecchignola (a fosso is a ravine, likely with water running through it).

We were intrigued by the open countryside around us and by an unusual water tower in the distance (and near it, a great "ship" of a building).  Off we went, on a path (the yellow one on the map, beginning lower right) through the undulating countryside, passing several women carrying small shopping bags (where, we wondered had they shopped)?

Intriguing water tower center right, building to the left 
After about 20 minutes, we found ourselves underneath the magnificent water tower, then wandered (still on paths) to the enormous monolith of a building, which turned out to be the Hibiscus Center, housing dozens of companies. It was lunchtime, so bunches of 30-somethings were chatting in small groups or walking back from lunch they had obtained somewhere.

Hibiscus Center

In the process of trying to get around the back of the building (we couldn't), we met a woman who told us we should see the church, specially decorated for a day dedicated to Mary (who else?).  Inside, the decorations seemed minimal. Speaking broken English, she could us she was Catholic in the morning and Hare Krishna in the afternoon, or something like that.  She proved hard to shake.

We backtracked around the building, back onto the rural paths, still scrambling to find a way around a local 18th century castle (occupied, as it turned out), but to no avail.  A lovely path through the woods led nowhere, though it did take us along the fosso, here with a huge stone wall built on another wall, and it led us to a good view of the castle. (The castle is open to visits about once/year, it appears, usually in May  - with reservations on its web site.  It's now owned by an architect. Obviously we have to go back.

Path in the woods

Walls in the fosso.  Some of these may be from Roman times, since the castle is
built on the foundations of a Roman military base.

Close as one can get to the castle. 

Backtracking again, we walked past a large popular complex of athletic fields, found a narrow path through the woods to a meticulously maintained pathway. People walking their dogs.

We decided NOT to backtrack to the paths we knew ("never go back" is one of our mottos), instead opting to walk a couple of highways.  To get to them, we passed through an architecturally interesting apartment complex (below).

The roads were a mistake.  Lots of cars, narrow roads, no shoulder, sticker bushes, trucks and buses.  Anxiety approaching fear.  After about 30 minutes we came across a break in the barbed wire fencing and headed off across a field of high and dense grasses in the rough direction of where we started.

Castle and water tower in the distance. We headed left.  
A fence loomed ahead--the only way out--but proved to be "moveable."  Small miracles.

 A few minutes of walking through "developments" got us to the Cecchignola piazza, where we found some Ama (garbage collection agency) workers actually collecting garbage!  I couldn't resist a photo.  The blond woman looking at the camera objected vociferously, though I have no idea why.  Illegal to photograph public employees?  Embarrassed to be caught working?

On the bike and home.  Estimated length of the expedition: 6 miles. Strenuous.

Not what we bargained for, but quite an adventure!


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