Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Rome Journal VIII: The 75
photo by Francis Levy
On your next trip to Rome, take the 75 bus.
It’s a great deal. If you start at Termini which is Rome’s central train station
and right down the block from the Piazza Repubblica, you will pass the
Colosseumand Tastevere before the bus
makes it’s way up the Jiniculum Hill (or Gianicolo in Italian). You literally
go from lo to hi in every sense of the word, in the meanwhile passing some of
the great monuments of antiquity. All major cities have their tourist buses and
obviously Rome, which is not only the capital of Italy, but the tourist capital
of the world, offers slews of guided tours. But if you want to mix an
appreciation of the past with a real dose of how life is lived for the average
Roman, then the 75 is the bus for you. At night, after rush hour with the cobbled
stoned streets rumbling underneath, the journey will be over in less than a half hour, but even during the day, Rome is miraculously free of the kind of gridlock that makes
traveling through midtown Manhattan in a bus or cab, an ordeal.
So the 75, which crosses the Tiber at Ponte Sublicio, seems to follow a steady and
uninterrupted current, as ifit were
floating down it’s own self created river. If you're going in the direction
Puerio/Marino, which is the opposite way from the Piazza Indipendenza, the last stop on the
other end of the line, you may want to get off, as the bus goes through an
ancient arch and then turns onto the Via Carini. From here you can easily walk to the Via San Pancrazio, that leads to the top of the
Gianicolo and a view that puts all of Rome in perspective.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.