|Rome without the tourists, near the Pantheon|
|the palms of Piazza di Spagna|
January and February are the best months to explore the center of Rome and when the sun is shining it is always a good excuse to spend the day in Rome.
It is rather fun to be a tourist in your own town.
We took a leisurely stroll through the centro storico from Piazza di Spagna to the Pantheon pausing to take photos and do some shopping.
I was surprised to find parrots making a racket in Piazza di Spagna's palms and the Orthodox church on Via delle Coppelle gave an exotic touch to the city.
Around the Pantheon the empty tables awaited the few tourists who could be spotted immediately - young couples in jeans without jackets, some even in short sleeves .
We turned right at the giant foot at Via S. Stefano del Cacco to make our way to the magnificent Scuderie, the former stables of the of Palazzo Altieri restored by Architect Gae Aulenti. Here the Italian Banks Association ABI was inaugurating a unique library with 10,000 volumes (especially art books) published by Italian banks
The opening of the ABI library gives researchers access to all those expensive volumes commissioned by Italy’s banks from about 1850 to the present and used as gifts for the banks’ major clients. Check the website for information and the online catalogue.
I was pleased to recognize a few volumes picked up over the years at second hand bookshops in Moscow and on Rome’s Via del Pellegrino.
Since the beautifully illustrated volumes were published in small quantities and not for the general public, some have become quite rare and worth a great deal.
There were few tourists as we crossed the usually crowded Trevi Fountain area and continued towards Via Veneto. Stopping to admire the Tritone fountain in Piazza Barberini, I spotted a memorial plaque dedicated to American journalist Margaret Fuller who lived in the building during the first years of the Italian Risorgimento
A close friend of Giuseppe Mazzini, Margaret Fuller ‘s articles kept the American reading public informed of happenings during the early Risorgimento years (1848-49) and she also coordinated the nurses caring for the wounded at Fatebenefratelli hospital on Tiber Island .
The romantic, tragic life of Margaret Fuller is well described in the latest biography "The Lives of Margaret Fuller " by John Matteson which you can find at the Anglo American bookshop on Via della Vite, near the Spanish Steps. They are also the exclusive agents in Rome for my books.