We hope that you are enjoying our series of articles and guest articles on Italian tourist attractions, covering the entire country except for its major cities. In a sense we have left the best for last. We will describe what to see in Italy’s great cities neighborhood by neighborhood. You may not realize it, but Rome is divided into 20 districts. And each and every one of these districts boasts its own sightseeing attractions. If you have time, visit them all. In any case, read these articles to help plan your trip to The Eternal City. You may be in for some real surprises. Roma, Non Basta una Vita (Rome, a Lifetime is not Enough) .
The Salario district is in northeastern Rome. Its centerpiece is the neo-Classical Villa Torlonia built in the mid-Eighteenth Century for an extremely wealthy family. But times changed and the property was rented for only one lira per year. When you consider that the tenant was none other than Benito Mussolini, that rent hardly represented the property’s true value. After BM lost his job (and his life) the villa was allowed to decay, but it has now been reopened as a museum operated by the municipality of Rome. Don’t miss the medieval-style Casina delle Civette (House of the Owls) on its grounds. Just north of Villa Torlonia you’ll find the beautiful Villa Paganini public gardens.
To the west of the district you’ll find the beautiful Villa Albani originally built for Cardinal Alessandro Albani, the nephew of Pope Clemens XI, in part to house the Cardinal’s spectacular collection of antiquities. And perhaps to reaffirm their vows of poverty. Later this property passed to the Torlonia family, the most affluent family of Nineteenth Century Rome where the competition was said to be tough. I don’t know which of the two villas the family prefers.
The Santa Constanza Church in Salario’s northeast corner was built for Emperor Constantine I in the Fourth Century as a mausoleum for his daughters. Don’t miss the beautiful flora and fauna mosaics and scenes of a Roman grape harvest that decorate the church interior. The nearby Santa Agnese Fuori Le Mura Church also dates from the Fourth Century but was rebuilt in the mid-Eighth Century. It includes the ruins of some catacombs and the crypt where St. Agnes was buried at the age of 13, murdered because she refused to marry the son of the local prefect. The church was altered over the centuries, but the form and the major part of the structure of the basilica remain intact.And wherever you go and whatever you do, check out the fine Latium or other Italian wines.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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