When we first moved here getting lost was just part of my day. I would naively assume that if I headed in a general direction I would end up where I needed to be. This either turned out well for the cab drivers of Rome (i.e. rescue team), or ended up with me trying to nonchalantly smartphone navigate without looking like a tourist. Which is always a fail, because no matter what I do I will always be taken for a tourist. But that’s another post. It’s not that I have a bad sense of direction, I don’t, but the curvy lanes and constant name changes mess with even the best navigator’s head.
But now that we’ve been here five months (I know, it went fast!), I’ve gotten much more confident about what leads where. It was this confidence that lead me to believe that I could make a short cut to the grocery store from a neighborhood I didn’t know very well, because I thought I recognized the other side of a park I kinda knew. I got lost. But as much as I complain about it, getting lost in Rome is often very rewarding.
On this particular trip I stumbled across Quartiere Coppede. Which in the surrounding turn of the century neighborhood stands out like it was transported from another time, and very different from the rest of the architecture of Rome. On closer inspection though, you realize that it is an Italianate design, but not nearly as old as it tries to look. It had an outdoor chandelier though, so I walked through the arch to explore.
A quick google search told me that Quartiere Coppede was designed and built between 1915 and 1926. The area is named after the architect who designed every detail of the whimsical district. He incorporated medieval motifs and other romantic elements with Art Nouveau and Art Deco to create a fanciful, vibrant, and romantic environment to be enjoyed by Ambassadors and higher government officials, who wanted to be in the fashionable new part of Rome, but also wanted that old world charm from the historic center.
I tend to be snotty about “revival” architecture, but this area is an exception. I mean, it has a “frog fountain”, “fairy cottage”, and “Palace of the Spider.” It won me over.
Not a bad way to get lost. Just when I think I have seen Rome, I realize we’ve only just begun to get to know one another.