Pedaling through the cycle paths of Rome – Cristina Galardini’s Vlog.
As always, if you haven’t seen the previous episode, here’s the link.
“Return to the scene of the crime” as the main actor of a thriller movie would say. We will return to the same scene of the Tevere, this time passing under Ponte Regina Margherita that will lead us to discover two large Roman squares.
A particularly fabulous appearance of the Tevere’s legends are about the treasures hide inside: or the historical vicissitudes of the city and the great fears caused by the barbarian invasions, brought to looking for a strange hiding place, or the furious cunning caused during one particular Era, overthrew in the Tevere, hated symbols or objects that preferred to be lost then to be enemy possession.
Ponte Regina Margherita, designed by the architect Angelo Vescovali is also known as Ponte Margherita. It was built from 1886 to 1891and was dedicated to the first Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoia. The bridge was the first masonry built on the Tevere after many centuries and connects Prati district with Piazza del Popolo. Piazza del Popolo is one of the most famous squares in Rome, under Pincio park.
The origin of the square’s name is uncertain: there is an etymology that derives “Popolo” from Latin language it means Populus, following the tradition that said around this area there was a grove of poplars associated to the tomb of Nerone. An excellent example of “stratification” architectural is the square and his door, a phenomenon occurred because of continuous rotation of popes that involved changes and reworking at the building works and roads.
Three churches overlook the square. The oldest is Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo, on the side of the homonymous gate. It was erected on the Domizi’s tomb where Nerone was buried in the eleventh century by Pope Pasquale II. Baccio Pontelli and Andrea Bregno rebuilt the church following the order by Pope Sisto IV giving a more Renaissance appearance.
Pope Alexander VII, also decided to restore the church by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from 1655 to 1660 giving the church a clear Baroque imprint that still be admired today. Via del Corso was redefined the shopping street of Roma by the Romans people. It is a straight line full of shops, souvenirs, street vendors, but also churches, monuments, banks, institutions and important political institutions.
Via del Corso is the most famous street in the historic center of Roma. His length is almost one and half km from Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo. Already existing in Roman’s Era, originally it was the suburban section of the Via Flaminia. In the third century A.D. took the name of Via Lata in conjunction with the construction of Mure Aureliane.
In the Imperial Era it was a street sparsely populated but with a lot of imposing tombs of illustrious characters, including the tombs of the Emperor Augusto and Nerone. In the Middle Ages Via Lata-Flaminia in a state of complete abandonment, assumed a rural role for 700 years and in the Fifteenth century, by the Popes who considered it an important way of communication with the river Porto of Ripetta returned to have a central role in the planning of town.
In 1467 by papal decree, it was decided that all the activities and races of the Carnival, were transferred right on the Via Lata and the toponym changed to via del Corso, with evident allusion to the carnival races. The carnival of Rome, with the magnificence, the activities that characterized it and in the true “madness” that animated the Roman people, obscured all the others, including Venezia.
In 1883 the King of Italy decided to abolish the carnival races show, and take some measures to transfer from Via del Corso the butchers, the seller of the tripe, the livers, the fryers, the chickens, in other place to safeguard the decency of the intended way at the public walk. At that time, confectionery and high fashion shops, bookshops, antique shops and jewelers opened.
One of the best known routes that cross Via del Corso is Via dei Condotti. It is a street full of high fashion boutiques, beautiful and elegant, where you can find the best of Italian and international brands. We are riding all the way to arrive in the elegant Piazza di Spagna. It owes its name to the palace of Spain, seat of the embassy of the Iberian State to the Santa Sede.
At the center of the square there is the famous Fontana della Barcaccia, made by Pietro Bernini and his son the most famous Gian Lorenzo during the early Baroque period. The square is mentioned in a famous poem by Cesare Pavese, called “Passerò da piazza di Spagna”, the text has been written on a plaque near the Babington’s tearoom. The monumental staircase, of 135 steps, was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XIII on the occasion of the Jubilee of 1725.
From 1721, thanks to French funding It was built, to connect the embassy of the Bourbons of Spain, to which the square owes its name, to the church of the Trinità dei Monti. The sumptuous, aristocratic staircase was designed in the way the stage effects approached, they gradually increased. Typical of the great Baroque architecture was in fact the creation of long, deep perspectives, culminating with monumental backgrounds.
As Alberto Sordi said: Get this to the mouse!