Via Giulia runs from the Ponte Sisto and along the Tiber for about 1km. It’s one of those streets that isn’t necessarily super exciting but there’s something so quietessnetially Rome about it that I have a little love affair with it. It’s also a great street for people watching as this seems to be heavily traveled by locals – grandma’s all the way to hipsters.
The weather has turned hot and sunny here in Rome, and after a few days of jet lag and expat blues I decided that the best remedy was to get out (why do all of my posts this week seem to have happened on Saturday?). I dressed up in a forgotten black dress, heels (wedged – I’m not crazy) and full makeup. At this point in my life I’m ok with blue days. I know that I have them and always will – but I also know sitting around with the shutters pulled isn’t going to help… Anyways, I don’t know why, but I felt the need to walk Via Giulia.
I started out in front of Chiesa Nuova and crossed Corso Vittorio Emanuele going towards the Tiber. At the Tiber I went left until I reached the very start of Via Giulia. After the city-ness that is Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Via Giulia is a quiet little street that is something of an oddity in Rome – it’s straight. There is little chance of getting lost on Via Giulia and if you follow it until the end and then zig zag your way left there is a very good chance you’ll end up in the well known Campo De’ Fiori.
Because it was Saturday, locals and students were out in full force, but unlike the other streets in the area, Via Giulia is wide and only the rare car bouncing down the cobblestones broke the quiet.
There is something so real about Via Giulia.
Watching the old nonna’s pick their way back from markets. The flower man in his bouncing mini truck stopping at each establishment bringing the flowers that will sit in the middle of your cafe table. The students greeting each other with such enthusiam that you would question whether they just saw each other only yesterday (students go to school here on Saturdays). And hipsters picking their way down the sidewalks, giving quick sideway glances to see if you’ve checked out their moda (fashion).
Even though Via Giulia starts in the Rione Ponte (the rione I live in) I wasn’t really expecting to see anyone. However, Rome, as large as she is, is still quite town like and I ran into a friend driving back from the park.
At one time, somewhere in the Renaissance Via Giulia was home to the fashionable. However, like many other “in” things, the rich moved on and Via Giulia was forgotten. There are a few bars (for coffee and light snacks) that pop up every now and again but it’s the little shops that are the real draw.
Not having my purse (still lost) I passed all those boutiques and dodged the students. It was the end of Via Giulia that I was really looking for.
It is here, at the end of the street that you will find the vine covered bridge and large stone water basin. Even with the Roman sun baking the streets, this little bridge is something magical – pop underneath and it’s a whole new view. I like to turn and look back from the direction I came from.
A woman tourist (after a while you can just tell) was eatting a gelato and looking quite summery in her long flowing skirt and tank. When she saw me purpusfully stopping, turning and just watching from under the shade of the bridge she did the same thing. I think in another place and time we probably would be friends. Rarely do I find people who stop and enjoy the beauty around them instead of dashing here and there to this museum or that. It is in the people who stop and “be” that I find my friends. Plus she was eatting gelato. And I really like gelato.
The thing is, living in a city like Rome can be difficult. Somedays you love it and somedays you need little places that help you to remember why you love it. Via Giulia is just one of those places that make a huge city feel just a touch smaller.