I went on a walk this morning, after a doppio cappuccino didn’t help my concentration. Down the steep steps, around the curve of Via Garibaldi, through some narrow Trastevere streets, across Ponte Sisto to Campo di Fiori, where Giordano Bruno presides over the messy mosaic of the open air market. I stopped in some shops with “Saldi” signs—holiday sales still going on. (Found a rust-colored viscose-velvet skirt that has a nice swing to it.) I walked by Roscioli and didn’t go in, for once.
I took lots of pictures of architectural angles that struck me, and found, on my way back up the steps to the Janiculum that the door to the courtyard where the Tempietto stands was open. This is a symmetrical, serene little place. A tiny round temple that somehow feels proportionally perfect inside the plain block of a cloister courtyard, it was designed and built by Donato Bramante around 1502. All of my new architect friends have me thinking about how the treatment of space translates—and translates into—emotions. The dignity and simplicity of the Doric columns, the details, down to the rainwater drain, made me feel a subdued awe, peace, calm, as if the world, for a moment, had some harmony.
Soon, though, I realized that the two guys in easy conversation at the gate, jingling their keys from time to time, were waiting for me to leave. We all laughed when I finally caught their eye and hurried out.
After my brisk communion with commerce, architectural curves, and sacred spaces, I arrived just in time for lunch at the Academy. It was one of those days when everything was good—especially the baked scamorza in a spicy tomato sauce, the farro roasted with lemons and fennel, the ricotta al forno, and the dessert: torta mimosa. This cake would be perfect at a wedding. It is white, fluffy, with citrus hints and intensities in its delicate layers of crumb and buttercream. The frosting on the outside is dusted with crumbly crumbles of the cake’s delicious crumb. Of course I didn’t get a picture, and when I looked for one on google, all I found were these, which are vulgar, garish, impostors of the angelic dessert we ate today.
If you’d like to see my pictures of some architectural history and whimsy that’s at every turn in Rome—like this curvaceous facade—go to my Flickr page.