Together with Metronio and Trieste (Via Chiana) markets, Pinciano, covered market in Antonelli street, has fought against a city council resolution which was putting at risk the survival of the 3 buildings to allocate the space to another use, until it was rejected in April 2013. We visited the market the day after this good news.
A Walk through the stalls
The covered market in Antonelli street is a building that dates back to 1957, as confirmed by Mrs. Adua (also known as Ada), holder of the oldest license, which she inherited from her mother Rosa. Among ladies lingerie and linen, she holds the original documents that shows the passing of the baton along three generations of women, considering also Laura, her daughter. Who tells us: “Grandma had an haberdashery stall before the war, then she was forced to close for some time because of the racial laws, since ours is a Jewish family. After the war, they gave her back the license and she went back to work. Before the market was out in the street in Tacchini road, then it moved to Antonelli road”.
“Then in ‘57 it moved indoors” echoes the mother, showing us the letter in which Mrs. Rose wrote to the mayor for permission to set up the stall in the cubicle she had been given.
Talking about “cubicles”, Gemì tells us: “I moved in in '62 and it seemed to be in a cage as monkeys, everyone was locked in and we kept on complaining until we removed the cages supporting the expenses ourselves, until we freed up all the ‘monkeys’. Gemì, a strange name due to the desire of his father to make a tribute to an American friend called Jim, owns – together with his wife Maria – one of the most attractive fruit and vegetables stalls. Buying from them is funny because Gemi’s humor is contagious and also because, while the customer selects what to put in the grocery’s bags, he peels up an orange “you definitely need to taste”, breaks a walnut “feel how sweet” and then slips in the bags a number of gifts, not just the usual odors (even those), but a couple of lemons, two white onions, “these little apples are ugly but delicious, it’s my gift”. The wife Maria stresses the importance of the battle just won: “There is not much work for young people and they wanted to take it away from those who actually had a job. There are many young people working here at the market as they haven’t found any other job, so they took over their parents’ businesses”.
In fact, at the flowers’ stall, there is Flavio who on top of flowers also works in gardens, terraces and pruning, there is Davide with his little shop dedicated to pets, especially cats and dogs, which offers a set of useful objects on top of food (“but this a demanding neighborhood, the dog cover, they want it by a fashion brand”) and Francesca with her upholstery lab.
Il paese di Alice
“I have a Granny, her name is Giuliana. I think I told you about her before. My Granny has a real passion for flowers. She is very good at remembering all flowers names and the plants on her balcony are always beautiful. Mummy says she has a ‘green thumb’ and it took me a while to understand that she didn’t get her hands dirty with grass!Granny Giuliana has also a beautiful garden with flowers of all kinds, but the garden is in a house far away where she can go only every now and then. So, whenever we can, we give her flowers, so that she doesn’t miss her garden too much. When I went with Mummy and Daddy at Pinciano market, we bought a bunch of flowers for Granny Giuliana. They were beautiful, but the most curious thing was the name. They were called ‘Ornitogalli’ (literally Ornithogalum, but in Italian ‘gallo’ means cock). So, when the florist told Mummy I thought he was joking and I was going to say cock-a-doodle-doo! But then I found out it was the name of that beautiful flower which looks just like the crest of a cock. I have to say that Granny liked them a lot”.
Just around the corner
The market in Antonelli road is located in the heart of Parioli, fancy district of the capital which was developed in the 20s to accommodate the new ruling class of the country, the leaders of the fascist party, and then completed in the '50s, when it became home to the Capitoline upper class. Walking through its streets (Via Archimede, Via di San Valentino, Via Oriani) you will come across some of the most interesting buildings of the first and second world war, including elegant art nouveau buildings and some rationalist experiments. But as we left the market holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers, we suggest that you don't miss the SUNFLOWER'S HOUSE, in Bruno Buozzi avenue. It was built by Luigi Moretti, one of the most influential architects and planners of the fascist time (he also worked at the Foro Italico complex and contributed to the EUR's design). The "Sunflower's House" however, dates back to the '50s, when - after a short stay in prison for collaborating with the regime - Moretti started again to experiment new solutions that earned him the reputation of postmodern ante litteram. With its irregular lines, the asymmetries following the slope of the ground, the games of light that move the facade, the building at number 64 is certainly one of his most interesting works. If we had to mention the most famous one (but not for architecture), we should fly to another capital, on the other side of the ocean: it's the Watergate in Washington, site of the the scandal that costed the presidency of United States to Richard Nixon.
Back to our stories, and to our neighborhood, from Viale Bruno Buozzi we suggest you to go back along Via dei Monti Parioli and walk into via Ammannati, where an open gate will introduce you in VILLA BALESTRA. Of the original park, now dismembered (think that the ancient portal today welcomes visitors to the Orange Garden on the Aventine!), remains just a public garden, ideal for a refreshing break. It's a true "green" living room, with a gazebo bar, a very well equipped play area for children and - for basketball lovers - one of the most picturesque playgrounds of the city: it doesn't happen every day to shot basket with St. Peter's dome as a background! The view fromVilla Balestra says more about the nature of the Parioli district, built on a tufa hill dedicated to St. Valentine's in ancient times.
But the reference to the patron saint of lovers, leads us to investigate on the secret soul of Parioli: the underground one. While today its inhabitants stroll through the elegant shops on the surface, in ancient times the bowels of Parioli mountains - with their tunnels and caves carved into the tufa - were very lively. As a proof remain St. Valentine's catacombs, now in Viale Marshal Pilsudski, where it's believed were deposited the martyr's remains together with those of Saint Ermete, in Bartoloni road, which houses the oldest image of St. Benedict which we know of. But Parioli's underground were not only consecrated to the worship of early Christians. Other rituals - much more sinister - took place in its galleries, as evidenced by the recent discovery of ANNA PERENNA'S SOURCE, during the long excavations to build a parking in Euclide square. On top of the archaeological value of the fountain, dating from the fourth century BC, the objects found in its surroundings were a sensational discovery. Especially for the lovers of black magic. But first things first: Anna Perenna was probably an Etruscan deity related to land, water, fertility and abundance. Romans used to celebrate her on the day of the Ides of March with a picnic in the sacred grove dedicated to her on Flaminia road, where they indulged in colossal drinking, wild dancing and free sex. But in addition to commending the good offices of the goddess, the defendants also used to ask her to launch the evil eye to their opponents. This explains the real "voodoo dolls" perfectly preserved upside down in 14 small lead sealed packs and the 22 plates engraved with detailed and well-targeted curses. Examples? One for all, so up to date that it could have been transcribed live from the stadium during the last league match. And in fact it's addressed to a referee named Sura, bluntly called "natus de vulva maledicta" to which the evil eye requestor wishes to "rip the right and left eye". All in embossed letters, accompanied by menacing snakes.
Monday-Saturday, h 7:00 – 14:00
from Termini Railway Station, Line 910