il sorriso dei colli, del pincio di villa borgheseprologue-12 – italy 2014

il-pincio1For the longest time, I had no idea what the term del pincio – from the pincio – in the song Carozzella romana referred to. So I hit Wikipedia and found that Il Pincio is the short name for the Pincian Hill in the northeast quadrant of Rome. At the bottom of the hill is Piazza del Popolo and there are steps from the Piazza up to the top of the Pincian Hill to the belvedere and La Villa Borghese. The belvedere serves as a great overlook to the ancient city. The image on the left is of a painting of spectators on the Grand Tour on the belvedere atop the Pincian Hill. (The post title, with its great alliteration, translates to: from the top of the Pincio, which is also the entrance into the Villa Borghese, one can see the Roman hills smiling.)

What is today the Piazza del Popolo was the starting point of the Via Flaminia, the road to Ariminum – modern-day Rimini – and the most important route to the north. The Via Flaminia is the road we followed through Le Marche. I always wanted to know where it ended up in Rome.

With each of these posts that I’ve put into the prologue, I am slowly planning the week in Sicily and the week in Rome. I now have a list of traditional tourists sites and things somewhat-off-the-beaten-track. On the tradition list are things like: the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Campidoglio, Piazza Venezia. On the somewhat-off-the-beaten-track list are places like: Tivoli, San Pietro in Vincoli (Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, the chains of St. Peter), Piazza del Popolo, Campo di Fiori and the Jewish Ghetto, Il Lungo Tevere, Il Museo dell’Ara Pacis, Trastevere, the Monti neighborhood, the Basilica di S. Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. (At least now I feel like I’ve over-planned and can pick and choose from my two lists. I have not done this level of planning for our week in Calabria and Naples.)