Tag Archives: Monte Mario

Return to Monte Mario

13 Apr
13 April 2016. As we looked down on Roma from 450-foot-high Monte Mario, the highest point in town, I contemplated how wonderful it was to be hiking at 10:30 AM on a Tuesday and how lucky we are to be doing so in Roma. Ah, retirement is good!
Thanks to Melissa for this nice picture of Bill, me and Ric at Lo Zodiaco, overlooking Rome from the west.

Thanks to Melissa for this nice picture of Bill, me and Ric at Lo Zodiaco, overlooking Rome from the west.

Today we retraced our route from Thanksgiving 2012, aided once again by the book “Rome the Second Time: 15 Itineraries That Don’t Go to the Colosseum.”  We were joined by friends and fellow-embassy retirees, Bill and Melissa, who had not yet made this trek. Very few minutes into the hike one completely forgets one is surrounded by a major city. All you hear is birds singing. Climbing past views of St. Peter’s Basilica and ever higher above the quartiere of Prati, after about 45 minutes one emerges at the Bar/Restaurant Lo Zodiaco, a perfect place for refreshment and contemplating the city at your feet.
The Madonna peaks through the trees as we descend Monte Mario.

The Madonna peaks through the trees as we descend Monte Mario.

The second part of the “hike” becomes urban, with some rather intense traffic, then one enters the woods yet again, enjoying views over the soccer stadium, a shiny Madonna high on the hill, and finally the Foro Italico (formerly Mussolini’s Forum) and the Stadio dei Marmi. It is an area of Roma that most visitors don’t see, but it is a treat to explore these pockets of the city a piede (on foot) and work off post-hike lunch before even eating it. 
We ate pizza at a convenient location along the Tevere by the Foro Italico. Our Weekly Pizza would only rate this place at 6-out-of-10 points, but it was convenient and we four enjoyed wrapping up our urban trek with lunch at the very Italian hour of 13:30. Ahhhh, retirement!
Click on any picture below for a better view. 

The Streets of Rome

22 Apr

Rome is ever-changing and full of surprises. Around almost every corner is not only a bit of history, but also encounters with people, art, and experiences that are in contrast with the setting. Sometimes it is a statue that has been there for years and years…


…but frequently we see performance art or installations that are more temporary.

Walking through the Villa Borghese one sunny Saturday in January, we happened upon a temporary installation of warriors on horseback, along with this rather unusual giant head. All made of a lightweight resin, I think. A few weeks later they had vanished.

Warriors on horseback

This installation was in Villa Borghese near Piazza Napoleone in January. Now it’s gone…


Terracotta head

Part of the same installation as the warriors















Another day in Piazza del Popolo, there was live art for Carnivale.

Street performers

Many things to be found happen in Piazza del Popolo: Trains, politicians, concerts, street performers.

And yet another, this duo entertaining a crowd with a Zen-like balancing act.

Yes, also in Piazza del Popolo.

Yes, also in Piazza del Popolo.

My favorite of late was walking into Piazza del Popolo on a Saturday and finding a shiny-red train engine on display with a backdrop of churches from the 17th century.

Frecciaroosso engine

21st Century train, 17th Century piazza

Frequently on my way to work I see this lovely parade of horses being exercised.

Cavelli di polizia

Many days the police exercise their horses, parading up the Via Veneto into Villa Borghese.

Yesterday we took a walk up Monte Mario, the highest hill in Rome at 139m (456 ft). Lovely day, fluffy clouds, not too hot, great view of Rome from above, and this.

Monte Mario

Jeans drying in the sun, Parco Riserva Monte Mario


Never boring!

La festa del ringraziamento

23 Nov

This is before we had the grappa.

I’m a little drunk right now (10:30pm). It might be because of the grappa the Swedes at the next table insisted we needed to try. We decided a few weeks ago that we could not recreate the usual American holiday spent with family and friends (you know who you are: Jonnie, Veronica, Barry, Derek, John, Susan, Debbie, Eddie), so we chucked it all and decided to embrace a different sort of Thanksgiving. We decided to continue our exploration of this marvelous city. Ric has to work tomorrow, and I committed to a couple of hours on Saturday, so leaving Rome was not an option.  We embarked on an urban hike up Monte Mario.It was a lovely fall day in Rome. We can see Monte Mario from our windows in Parioli and for

The green path up Monte Mario. Only 450 feet high!

the 6 months we have lived here have said, “We need to go see what’s up there.” So today was the day. Monte Mario is officially the highest peak in Rome at 450 feet. (Yes, Oregonians, it is a lightweight. Even Minnesota has a higher peak at Eagle Mountain. People here are always asking us how we manage the “hills” of Rome. To an Oregonian this is flatland.) Monte Mario was lovely! Rome is spread out at your feet, and the hoards are left far behind as only locals make the trek, often with their dogs. There is a magnificent vista from a cafe where we indulged in espresso and croissants. (Pictures from the top were less than stellar due to haze, but it was really quite stunning in person.) In 2 1/2 hours we covered Monte Mario and the Foro Italico (site of the 1960 Olympic Games and current soccer stadium). Great exercise. Va bene. In fact, this reminded us so much of our Portland “urban hikes” it was amazing!

We could be in Portland or in Rome, at this point.

So we explored a bit of Rome we had not seen before and worked off our dinner before we ate it.

We thought briefly about cooking a turkey. Very briefly. It’s a lot of work for only two people.  Once we discarded that idea of cooking, it was easy to decide what to do. This evening

Best melanzane al forno anywhere. If you come to visit I will take you here, blindfolded, I don’t want everyone going here.

we ventured to our favorite trattoria, where we were warmly greeted by the staff as we go here often (and have for two years now). With Australians on one side and Swedes on the other, we feasted on mussels, melanzane al forno (eggplant parmesan), and trippa. (Ric ate the trippa. I’m not having any part of that!) The mussels here are sweet and delicious. I could eat them all night. We also indulged in dessert and the Swedes insisted we needed to try the “good” grappa. My it was good! But it was also a good thing we weren’t driving! Every time we go to this restaurant we end up in conversation with wonderful people: Italians, Aussies, Swedes, French. (Not often Americans.) There were toasts to our American holiday, and reminiscing about favorite holidays in our respective countries. How lucky we are to have this experience in international living!Much love to you, our American friends and family. We’ll “do” turkey and all the trimmings with you again one day, but for 2012 this was our celebration. Hope yours was festive and that you were surrounded by love.

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