Sunday, June 26

Hot Time-Summer in the City

Each June, Italy pulls out all the stops when it comes to providing the plebes with ‘panem et circensis’ and seriously, there’s no better place to be in terms of backdrops for your sensational events.  New York in the summer means concerts & Shakespeare in the park, street artists, picnics in Central Park.  But the boot – well, ‘lo fa la scarpa’ – meaning, gives it a run for its money as well…It’s as if the entire boot will burst its laces so full up with cool events for all and sundry.  Following is a brief recap of my last few weeks, with some ideas of what to look for should you be looking for fun in the sun.

My month really kicked in when the pool opened in Monteleone.  Life in the Lazio environs is filled with much more than lazy days under the olive trees.  Farmers markets (where, near Rieti you can buy a goat or sheep if they happen to catch your fancy), horseback riding, and “Sagre” fêting every type of food across every tiny town (mushrooms, pasta, sausage, you name it --one of my favorites, 'Sagra of the Spaghetti all'Amatriciana, held fittingly in its birthplace, Amatrice) keep everyone sated yet always hungry for more.  In Rome, the pool near the Colosseum opened in the “All’ombra del Colosseo” in a place that at night turns into a cabaret, music fest, and bar area as well.

While at the Colosseum, I treated friends & relatives to the Rome Rewind show nearby, but this summer's highlight is the show on Nero – while plans are underway for its restoration, sponsored by the Todd’s shoe company.  On Rome's Isola Tiberina, you can catch an outdoor movie, have drinks on bean bag chairs, or listen to music here and there – come autumn, you will truly miss nights out with the river roaring by you.

We held our Professional Woman’s Assoc year end party on the terraces of what will now host The Wine Club at via Veneto's Hotel Baglioni.  The view is something to behold as you enter, but elsewhere on the terrace, you lose the views completely.  I didn’t really care as I was busy cutting the immense sacher torte having been voted ‘Woman of the Year’

Dinners out under the stars have taken me to a few terrific places (see my last post for my fish extravaganza), but one of my favorites still remains the terrace of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna  (near Villa Borghese).  Other terraces worth the hefty price tags include the rooftop of the Hotel 47 (right by the Bocca della Verità), the top of the Hotel Minerva (Pantheon), and the Wine Academy overlooking the Spanish Steps run by the nearby Hassler Hotel. 
As for the most magnificent terrace of all, but whose views you should take in on a full stomach as the food offering is crummy at best, is on the Castel Sant’Angelo.  Summers there used to mean music, night life, comedians, jugglers, cabaret, and fun for kids…It unfortunately proved to be too excellent an enterprise and was put to an end last year for no apparent reason [Reason given: wear & tear on the monument but alas 6 months later there was talk of turning it into a gigantic theme park so go figure].  
Hot off the press: The Castle will be open on Saturday nights (like many Roman museums until 1am, with Tuesdays & Sundays openings of hidden places (like the dungeons), and Wednesdays & Sundays, readings, music, & theatre taking place.

A quick jaunt to Florence brought me to enjoy the New York University's Villa La Pietra campus year end affair, including a theatrical performance in the gardens followed by a buffet and concert by Italy’s most talented jazz pianist, Marco Fumo, playing a repertoire of all the Scott Joplin greats (& more).  Set in a grotto and overlooking all of Florence, it just couldn’t get better than that.

That is, until I found myself racing back to Rome to attend the inauguration of the site that once seated the Temple of Hercules in Tivoli.  We were treated to a video reconstruction of the site brought to us by Piero Angela, my favorite TV presenter for all things ancient, a musical ensemble of Tarantella while we (tried) to eat – the catering dis-organization left a lousy taste in your mouth – followed by a concert by one of Italy’s top folklore guitarists, Eugenio Bennato.  All with a stunning view of all of Rome and Lazio below, and a sunset that seemed to have been carried across by Mercury himself.

The night after, we had to go one better - so ran with friends down to the Pino Daniele – Eric Clapton concert in lovely Salerno.  Welcomed into the stands by the locals, listening to thousands sing along or chanting PI-NO! and going wild over Clapton’s “Cocaine”, pretty soon we were all dancing, passing beers, and having a generally excellent time.  Staying just outside of Naples, we recovered with a day at the beach and the southern hospitality of friends who fed us a perfect leisurely lunch at – 3pm!

Next up:  Fourth of July celebrations, the magnificent fireworks displays of the Feast Day of Rome's Patron Saints, Peter & Paul (June 29th) and in Venice, the Redentore, and of course Umbria Jazz in Perugia.  Music festivals, outdoor jazz concerts in Villa Celemontana,  the Casa del Jazz, Villa Ada (world music), and pretty much every other park across the country.

If my summer keeps going at this pace I don’t know if I’ll make it to the fall. 


Dave514 said...

Hey, Woman of the year," who was the other person at the party?...LOL!

The Hotel Regina you two really know how to live it up. I especially like the barroom and the penthouse suite with covered hot tub.



Renata said...

Congratulazioni per "Woman of the Year" nomina!

Irreverent Italy said...

Ha ha ha - thank you for your undying loyalty...!