Strolling the Backstreets of Rome

Shades of yesterday still chatting today

Shades of yesterday still conversing today–seen in some windows as I explored Rome’s back streets.

Sunday afternoon in Rome is a bustle of activity. Families, friends, tourists, and every conceivable group of people can be found roaming the cobbled streets and piazzas in search of good food, shopping, museums, fountains, or just enjoying the presence of good company. In the rush of activity I found it so easy to miss my surroundings and the intriguing sites that Rome has to offer.

Last September, as the days began to stretch into October, I found myself rambling away from the old familiar piazzas and landmarks. The bustling crowds had enveloped me and, like a river, taken me away with them in their enthusiastic and lively banter. It was all nice, but I needed a refresher. Moving away from the crowds was the perfect solution to really see some of the easily missed charms of Rome.

Gluten-Free, what a relief for many

Gluten-Free, what a relief for many

Outside restaurant menus flourished everywhere with a list of mouth-watering meals, often accompanied by photos. This pizzeria offered gluten-free pasta which was the first I had seen it advertised here. The outdoor seating and ambience of the ancient surroundings was very charming. Combined with a delicious plate of pesto pasta and a good local red wine, it was the perfect recipe for a leisurely meal that could easily have lasted late into the afternoon.

A quiet street...unusual in Rome

A quiet street in Rome

A turn down this momentarily vacant street was a nice break from the maddening crowds. Hemmed in by cars and tall buildings, I could see greenery on the rooftops and beyond to distant hills. Voices from open windows that I passed brought up visions of sumptuous Sunday repasts leisurely shared with families and friends.

A gorgeous entry along the street.

A gorgeous entry along the street

Geraniums, flowers and vines embellished this doorway in the most attractive manner, the results of a generous green thumb. What a burst of pleasure it offered to those passing by with its ambrosial display of vibrant whites, purples, reds and greens. Someone cared enough to bring life and color into a stone and stucco environment. Even a small bird house was attached to the wall with a little bird perched on it. It was all very captivating.


The Presidential Palace

Before long I had found the Quirinal Palace, known also as the Presidential Palace, elegantly placed on the highest of the seven hills of Rome. Pope Gregory XIII had it built as a summer residence for the papacy in 1573. After the unification of Italy in 1870 it became the royal residence and later the Presidents palace.

In the middle of the Piazza del Quirinale is an ancient obelisk next to the Dioscuri fountain. Nearby are 18 foot sculptures of Castor and Pollux, Roman replicas of the Greek originals from the fifth century BC.

Rocking Sculpture

Rocking Sculpture of Castor and Pollux. Pollux stands unseen on the right side.

Presidential Guard

Presidential Guard

This palace guard was very serious but a good sport when I asked to take his photo. The guards are very watchful and appear to be quite aware of their surroundings.

Roman skies

Roman skies peak between tall elegant buildings toward the end of my meanderings.

My afternoon had been greatly enriched and I was ready to get back into the mainstream. Rome, I discovered, has many faces, more than I had previously thought. A verse written by Mark Twain came to mind just then. I challenged it….

“What is there in Rome for me to see that others have not seen before me? What is there for me to touch that others have not touched? What is there for me to feel, to learn, to hear, to know, that shall thrill me before it pass to others? What can I discover? Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.” From Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad

What did I discover? Many things, wonderful things, all of it ready to share their wonderful stories if one just stops to listen.

Categories: History

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. Really enjoyed your blog, congrats!



  2. Your writing is beautiful. Rome is very special to me and you’ve captured its flavor around every corner. I’m a writer and I appreciate good prose. Well done!


  3. Your writing is beautiful. Rome is very special to me and you captured its flavor around every corner. I’m a writer and I appreciate good prose.


  4. I’m a bit late in commenting having been stuck out of town without a computer to use, but as usual a great post with some new and some familiar sights/sites!


  5. You’ve captured beautiful images of a beautiful city!


  6. Amazingly enough, I just finished walking through the Piazza del Quirinale and visiting the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps when I returned to my hotel room and found your story! You added some much appreciated explanations. I did not know Pope Gregory XIII’s palace was now the Presidential Palace. That would explain the guards and police nearby. Thank you for a very informational post. – Mike


    • Thank you, Mike, for your kind words. I would love to be there again….lucky YOU! Glad you found the article helpful…now, I would love to see your photos and take on the backstreets of the eternal city! Enjoy your stay!!


  7. Thanks for the stroll! One of my favorite things is wandering around Rome. I always find something surprising. Maybe I’ll be back in May when I always get Rome fever! Thanks for sharing so much about your travels. I’m waiting for the book–or is it already published! (send a link)


  8. Urgh! You made me miss Italy instantly! Yes, as much as I love the landmarks, the crowd and the authentic feel in Italy, I do love getting ‘lost’ around the backstreets of actually any Italian city. I can definitely do just that the entire day.


    • Yes, I know what you mean. I was aching for Rome while writing this article! I agree with you, ANY Italian city is a gift just waiting to be unwrapped…and it never gets entirely unwrapped! Thank you for your comment….


  9. Lovely, thanks for sharing. Rome, and other Italian cities, are on my bucket list, my seemingly endless bucket list.


  10. Thank you for the virtual tour and the lovely pictures. One day I hope to see them myself.


  11. I will be there in May. I am now excited to explore the back streets of Rome thank you


  12. Hate seeing those iron bars on the residential buildings – even on the first floor.


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