Rome Travel Guide

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Where Rome Ends...

On a drizzly day in late May last year, we took--with about 15 others--a guided tour of Monteverde Vecchio, in particular its fine collection of early-20th century villini (large houses), like the one above.  [The tour was by Tourismo Culturale Italiano, a group we've enjoyed for other tours, such as the ex-prison and ancient pharmacy in Trastevere.] At the time, the villini housed the city's wealthy (and still do - although one of our friends said she was scippata di bruto ("mugged") on the fashionable via Poerio, which was part of the tour). We imagine the wealthy built in the area because, while close to the city center, Monteverde was also separate, with a suburban feel, and elevated, looking down on the less fortunate.

Many of the villini were built on a hillside that overlooks Rome.  We've been all over that hillside in past years; one of the itineraries in our second guidebook, Modern Rome, is set in Monteverde Vecchio--it's a fashionable "stairwalk."

Below: Back left, the Alban Hills.  Right, the skeletal gazometro in Ostiense, once a gas storage facility.

But on that day in May, we experienced the hillside in a new way.  In a small park off (as we recall) either via Francesco dall'Ongaro or via Poerio, our guide looked into the distance--over the city of Rome and beyond--and announced we were looking at Cecchignola, "where Rome ends." Cecchignola?  Where Rome ends?  We looked again, and the guide was pointing out something far away, a tower, apparently.

As it happened, we had been in Cecchignola, and not that long ago.  Indeed, we had been there more than once, the first time hiking the hinterland, the 2nd to explore a public housing project nearby.  On one of these trips, we learned that the area was known for a substantial military base.

But we had not seen the tower--and didn't know it existed.

We took a photo while in the park, looking into the distance at something we could barely see.

Later, cropped and enlarged, the tower appeared like this:

And here, from the internet, the 187 meter spire, La Torre di Telecomitalia a Roma (Rome's telecom company tower), also known as the Torre Laurentina, after the nearby avenue.  Constructed in 1983, it is the tallest structure in Rome.  And it's where Rome ends.

It's on 2020's to-do list.


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