Monday, January 7, 2019

Rome Journal: Via Margutta

110 Via Margutta (photo by Francis Levy)
Fellini lived on the Via Margutta which runs parallel to the Via del Corso one of the main arteries off one of Rome’s central shopping areas, the Piazza del Popolo (which is also famous for its Caravaggios). Many Americans know the location not because Fellini lived there, but because it's where Gregory Peck sequesters Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Picasso also had a studio on the Via Margutta, where he worked on sets for the Ballets Russes. In other words Fellini didn’t live on some recondite street, far from the madding crowd, say like Pasolini, who gravitated to backwaters (he lived way out near the Rebibbia prison with his mother when he first came to Rome and then in the working class neighborhood near the Piazza di Donna Olimpia in Monteverdi). Fellini, who died in l993, lived at 110 and a plaque above its comfortable-looking, almost bourgeois doorway commemorates both the great director and his wife, the actress Guilietta Masina. Next door is Il Margutta which advertises “vegetarian food and art since l979." On the other side is a shuddered storefront over which a sign simply reads Antichita. Several doorways down down at l04 is a Lavanderia and Lavasecca (06-323-624) and there there’s an expensive men’s shop Sergio Nesci across the way which displays suede shoes in the window and sports a rack of elegant vests. Onc can imagine Fellini in one of the building’s garden apartments looking down on the spillover of from the agora or perhaps venturing across the street to buy himself an ascot. Margutta is long and narrow and full of charm and it’s a perfect place to envision the procession of characters from buxom starlets to tortured intellectuals who made up his Dolce Vita.

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