Friday, November 07, 2008

Via Corsini

Via Corsini, Rome, Nov. 6—

the via Corsini

TIME TO WRITE a little about our apartment, no. 10C, via Corsini, Rome. Except for one problem we couldn't have done much better. The apartment is huge: thirty-one meters long, Anneke says, after pacing it off, and nearly five wide, divided into two bedrooms, a big sitting room with two couches and an armchair, two bathrooms, and a nicely equipped kitchen.
The via Corsini is rarely driven on; across the street from our building is the Villa Corsini's "back yard," a one-acre lawn behind a handsome iron fence and set about with huge palm trees; down to the left, at the corner, past the carabinieri station (which keeps us safe), is the equally handsomely gated entrance to Rome's Botanical Garden, always worth a stroll.
We're at the foot of the Janiculum hill, and Garibaldi's huge bronze presence above the Garden seems to watch over us. Down the street to the right, the via Lungara would take us straight up to the Vatican, if we only cared to go. Instead we turn the other way, coming in twenty meters or so to the Porta Settimiana, the southern gate in the old Roman wall on this side of the Tiber.
Across the Tiber: trans tevere; Trastevere. We feel at home. A free wi-fi cafe around the corner on via Dorotea takes away the sting of our apartment's one failure: the advertised Internet connection has never worked. A little further down, my favorite breakfast place supplies organic milk and blood-orange juice and fine breakfast pastries, to be eaten there with Trastevere's best cappuccino or taken home.
The Ponte Sisto is very close, just at the Piazza Trilusso: it's only a few minutes' walk across the river to the Campo dei Fiori, the via Pellegrino, and, a little further, Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, where the best coffee in Rome (and possibly all Italy, therefore the whole world) is available at Tazza d'Oro.
The days have been quiet and lazy. There was of course the exciement, muted in our apartment for lack of Internet and English-language television, of the presidential election. Otherwise we've been strolling with Hans and Anneke, taking in the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, Trastevere, and, yesterday, the Aventine, whose hill I'd not yet climbed.
Last night we dined at the American Academy, where we first listened in on a little seminar comparing Ovid lines in Latin, English, and Italian translations. I've written about dinner over at Eating Every Day and won't repeat that here: but let me note that after dinner we ventured downstairs to a media room to watch Margaret Fisher's Letters from Duchamp, a video presentation of her work from my opera The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, and then her half-hour video Exquisite Corpse, a cut-up of haunting prose, sound, and visual material including actors and documentary footage. I always find Margaret's work supremely intelligent, deep and solid; clearly narrative though never restricted to linear story or fixed plot. Work, I think, for connoisseurs.
moonlight at the Academy

We left the Academy about eleven o'clock, walking across the dark dark garden, admiring the moon beyond the pines, then turning down the street, past carabinieri protecting a consulate, across the piazza in front of the silent Fontanone supplying Trastevere's many fountains, and turning down a staircase to find our way home easily. Quiet night; civil town. We feel quite at home.

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