Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Rome Journal: Via Venti Settembre

Via Venti Settembre (photo: Latupa)
The Via Venti Settembre is named after the Presa di Roma or the Capture of Rome. September 20, 1870 marked the final chapter of the Risorgimento when Rome finally became part of a unified Italy. This street in downtown Rome runs past one of the great presidential palaces on the Quirinale which itself leads to the Piazza Venezia with its famous, Wedding Cake, the Victor Emmanuelle monument. For a street marking a liberation, it’s actually dour with lines of dark government buildings whose entrance ways are patrolled by machine gun carrying soldiers. A few blocks down on the other side is the Piazza Repubblica and Termini, the central train station in Rome. In between Termini and the Place Repubblica are green bookstalls some of which display old style porn magazines (remember them) and videos. The side streets leading to and away from Termini are filled with cheap tourist hotels and there's a McDonald’s’s on the nearby Via Nazionale. There are even some Thai massage parlors whose windows are filled with girls at rush hour and you keep waiting to come upon an Italian version of Graham Greene's Pinkie Brown from Brighton Rock, lurking in the shadows.  The air of squalor and misery is only mitigated by Bernini’s “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” which stands in the nearby Santa Maria della Vittoria like a beacon of transcendence.

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