The past year has seen many people across the world grapple with a very specific type of loss; the sadness of a trip not taken, the mourning of exploring new cultures, the yearning for experiences beyond the anomie of the supermarket. As that strong desire for, and impulse to, wander the world fell prey to the pandemic in a turbulent 2020, we seemed at one point to be surging toward an anticipatory dystopia. Who were we without travel? What do we have to look forward to when there is no international holiday booked for summer?
Over the course of the past 12 months, we’ve been commissioning artists, painters and illustrators from different cities all over the world to paint a picture of what they see out their windows – either real or imaginary. Most artists have been confined to these cities during the global lockdowns, and all have a close connection to the place they have illustrated. Each artist has a “GRAZIA At Home City Guide” perched on their window sill, insider guides to the cities you need to visit and recollections of moments past in these nooks of the world; how they drank in the palaces, how they wandered through the parks and how they ate and ate and ate. There’s recommendations too – local dishes, phrases and lessons – so you can start imagining your own itinerary from the comfort of your own home. Today, we’re headed to Rome.
“One of my favourite films about Rome is Nanni Moretti’s Caro Diari,” illustrator Shu Garbuglia says. “In a very famous scene, the main character, played by the director himself, wanders around Rome in the middle of August with a Vespa, going as far as the most suburban areas. Most of the Romans are at the sea and the city is empty, beautiful and at the same time surreal.”
Born and raised in Rome, Garbuglia spent a lot of her childhood playing in Villa Ada, one of the largest parks in the city. As an adult, she still lives here and can sometimes be found at a restaurant with a bowl of pasta – Amatriciana (tomato, guanciale, pecorino cheese) – and a glass of Grattachecca (scratched ice and syrup).
“Rome is a chaotic and stressful city, with many problems that do not make it very liveable,” Garbuglia says. “However, sometimes I take long walks in the city centre – where the city reveals its ancient beauty – and it always makes me feel reconciled with this place. It reawakens my love for it.”
When the pandemic hit, Garbuglia and her family were unable to walk around as freely as they would like and were instead, like the rest of the world, confined to their home.
“I tried to admire it anyway,” she says. “I often used webcams to see the streets. It was really impressive to watch it empty without tourists and locals.”
For the beauty girl, Garbuglia recommends Essenzialmente Laura, a perfume-maker located on one of the most beautiful streets of Rome, via dei Coronari. “Inside, you can find perfumes but also products for the body and for the home, expertly mixed by Laura who creates perfumes for the major cosmetic houses and customised mèlanges,” she says.
When night falls, the artist suggests getting out the city centre and heading to the Trastevere district for dinner. “You can stroll and stop in several classic trattorias for a typical pasta dish, such as the Tonnarello restaurant,” she explains. “Then you can hang around for a beer or a drink. The neighbourhood is usually very animated in the night. Admiring Rome at midnight is not to be missed. You can do it from the Gianicolo, where you have a stunning panoramic view. Afterwards, if you are still hungry, you can stop into an open night bar for a croissant or a freshly baked doughnut.”
Follow Shu Garbiglia @shugarbuglia
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