For the first time this century I got to spend a few days in Rome. In the throes of elections for Mayor, Regional Head, Premier and Pope, the city seemed more than usually disconnected—but the timelessly great stuff is still very visible and a tangible sense of community endures. Still seemingly on the edge of collapse, little has changed. Slow it goes.
Corruption and chaos condemns Rome to minimal progress and drives its children abroad to find work—but also stops the past being swept away by development and keeps the eternal city gloriously Starbucks-free. In the birthplace of the slow food movement the speed of change is close to zero. The only visible concession to this century, Zaha Hadid’s glorious MAXXI building is discretely tucked away well out of the centre and down a side street as if Rome is a little embarrassed by it. I made a third attempted pilgrimage to Trajan’s Column, ground zero for the western typographic tradition—on two previous occasions cloaked in restoration scaffolding, this time clean and clear but resolutely not open to the public despite facilities and signs insisting on the contrary. As ever, Rome is as frustrating as it is fabulous. I took snaps:
Sant Eustachio: literally the best coffee in Rome and almost certainly anywhere else. Unchanged since the 1930s.