ei'iv enl'Ak ROME

City of movie memories

Think of Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck riding about Rome on a scooter, making like a princess and a newspaperman in love in Roman Holiday. Better, think of them ascending the Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna, off to the church of Trinita dei Monte. Rome is the most filmic city in the world.

Not convinced? OK, 51 years after Hepburn and Peck, Italy’s answer to Woody Allen, Nanni Moretti, was also scootering about Rome. In Dear Diary Moretti took his Vespa out to city suburbs such as Garbatella and filmed himself, and that was enough, because even the ’burbs of Rome are filmic.

Italy’s filmmakers reinvented cinema in Rome with something called neo-realism. Roberto Rossellini got the ball rolling with Rome, Open City, a wartime Resistance drama filmed immediately after the war around the rubble. A few years later Vittorio De Sica filmed on the neo-realism hoof, following a father and son about some of the seedier sites and sights of Rome as they searched for Bicycle Thieves.

So Rome doesn’t even have to look good for filmmakers to make it look good. The theme of La Dolce Vita might have been the ugly moral decay of a generation of Romans, but Federico Fellini’s 1960 film contains two extraordinarily beautiful images: a helicopter flying across the city carrying a statue of Christ, and voluptuous party girl Anita Ekberg flouncing through the water of Fontana di Trevi. Despite focusing on the grotesque, Fellini indulged his passion for the place.

and recreate Gladiator

‘Hollywood om. leer’

114 THE LIST '. - 2.

And let’s not forget, passion for the place isn’t the soul province of the Italians. Come the 19505, Hollywood couldn’t get enough of Rome. It sent its stars and filmmakers to Cinecitta, the vast studio complex Mussolini opened in 1937. After they shot such epics as Ben Hur and Cleopatra there, Cinecitta was dubbed ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’.

In this light, it’s only right that anyone visiting the city ought to get a look at the places they’ve previously seen only on screen. And, considering just about every part of Rome has been filmed by someone at sometime, you goes to Roma, you likely to be in for a case of deja vu.

l was. Helped by the fact that I made a conscious, and quite pretentious, effort to dress like Gregory Peck when I started my hike through the city at the Villa Borghese. This is a big park on a hill that overlooks the city and can be reached via the Spanish Steps, so I immediately get to make like Peck, although sadly with no Hepburn on my arm.

And then: what luck. En route to the Pantheon over in the Centro Storico, l chance upon the old Fontana di Trevi. It’s quite magnificent with its cavorting sea horses and horn-blowing tritons. You can see why Ekberg jumped in. I don’t; I light a cigarette and continue to make like Gregory Peck.

Finally, the most cinematic of all Rome’s locales: the Colosseum. It’s dusk when I arrive, but despite the bad light and the fact that the structure’s decayed into something akin to a giant Swiss cheese, I squint and think of Ben Hur and Gladiator and I’m back in 72AD with chariots and swordsmen, lions and Christians. (Miles Fielder)

.. R'V. ‘9 Grab a passing Christian l . ,. 3

do the Spanish Steps

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Festivals, flights and fabulous fares


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PETER MOORE No Shitting In The Toilet ._ ,. (Bantam £6.99) 0.00

No Shitting in the Toilet

Taking its title from a sign on

the loo door of a dodgy cafe

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revels in the most undignified.

Seasoned traveller's v/ill find plenty to relate to in this witty and ()l).‘3(?.".iil‘i mink, especially the gentle dig at some of the more conventional guides: ‘Q: \‘Jhat tells lies. (:oitstar‘tlg. gets things wrong and costs a small fortune to iiiaintai't'z‘ A: No. it's not your lover, it's a travel guide-hook]

Whether it's accommo<Iatioii. emh.’ ssies o' {Eillll‘tl Moore has an opinion. And he (‘i‘oesn't Juat sto : with the travel advice. In the ‘Sex And Romance ithapte": ‘If you’re no ()Il painting. don't worn. It's (it"il.’-l‘vg} -’l()‘.'.'

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