I never tire of walking the streets of Roma. I always find something that catches my eye!The Fontana delle Anfore, in Piazza Testaccio, is certainly one of the symbols that I associate with this wonderful city. The fountain, along with the nearby famous market, is a symbol of the Testaccio area. The vases depicted on it meant to call to mind the thousands of shards of ancient pottery that make up the man-made hill, Monte Testaccio, just steps away. The Mercato di Testaccio used to be one of Roma’s best outdoor markets, but today, has been modernized, and is now enclosed, and has become not only a place to buy fresh produce and other goods, but also a dining destination. For me, no trip to the mercato would be complete without a stop at Cups, and a taste of Chef Cristina Bowerman’s incredible food, all of which is served in a cup, hence the name!All of Roma’s markets are fun to walk around in, but the Mercato di Testaccio is even more so, as here, there are plenty of options for those looking for a quick bite to eat. The shopping isn’t bad, either!I decided to walk from Testaccio back to the center of the city, hoping to find a new church or building, to explore along the way. I chose to walk across the Aventine Hill, as there were some churches up there that I’d never visited before. One of the first things I noticed, upon reaching the Piazza Dei Cavalieri di Malta, was the long line of people in front of the green door at the far end of the Piazza. These people were all waiting to peek through a keyhole, for an almost perfectly positioned, though tiny view of St. Peter’s Basilica, across the river. In the same piazza as the famous keyhole, I saw the sign for the Church of Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino, and decided to pay it a visit. The Church is named after Saint Anselm of Canterbury. It is popular with Romans as it is one of the few churches where Gregorian Chants are still sung during the Sunday religious services. It is also a lovely place to visit. From there, I continued along the hill until I came to the Basilica di SS. Bonifacio e Alessio. Though named after two saints, this church is dedicated to Saint Boniface of Tarsus. Saint Alessio, as it turns out, may or may not have actually existed, but legend has it that he was the son of a Roman Senator who left home when he was a teenager, to live the life of a beggar. When he returned, years later, he lived in a shed built beneath an exterior staircase of the family home, never being recognized by his family. This is where he supposedly died. A monument inside of the church portrays the body of the saint lying underneath the stairs of the family home. Next to the Church is the lovely Historical Garden of St. Alessio. From the far end of the garden, there are lovely views of Trastevere, across the river.There was also a staircase which looked as if it would lead me down to the street below, the Lungotevere, but once I got to the bottom, I found that the exit was locked, so I had to go all the way back up, in order to get out.Once back at the top, I continued walking until I found a road which looked as if it went downhill. Other people were strolling it, so I decided to try my luck a second time, and headed down. By the time I’d made my way down, the sky has cleared and it was a lovely day. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked past the large building that seems to span at least two city blocks along Via San Gallicano, in Trastevere.The large complex was once the Hospital of S. Maria & S. Gallicano, established in 1725, to deal with some of the most undesirable diseases found at that time in the city: namely, leprosy, scabies and tinea. It was one of the first Dermatological Centers in all of Europe. Today, it houses the headquarters of the National Institute for Health, Migration, and Poverty. The small Church of San Benedetto in Piscinula, dedicated to St. Benedict, is a place that I like to visit whenever I am in Trastevere. This is where St. Benedict is said to have lived while in Roma, and the small room in which he stayed is located just to the left of the entrance of the church.
Next up: more from Roma!
Note: this blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear.