Friday, February 12, 2010

My old place

I lived in 1968-69, with Pamela and our children Susan and Simon at via degli Orsini 34, archway in wall on left. Street of the Orsinis because their palazzo was at the top of the street. This is the Palazzo Taverna, through whose great gateway and garden I took Susan to Montessori school some mornings. There are palaces of the Orsini in many places, I am writing beneath one (open for visits only at the weekend in winter, we have not yet been). This was their Rome residence.

If you enlarge the photo below you will see that the plaque notes that Pope Pius XII was born on the first floor, the piano nobile. I did not meet him, the apartment was locked up and various stories were told about madness in the family. Pio XII had himself died and been succeeded by the great reformer Giovanni XXIII. I did meet a Marchese Lorenzo de' Medici, who had the much grander than ours apartment next door. Not this Lorenzo de' Medici, but an altogether more elegant and handsome fellow wearing a more modern hat and scarf, who, when Pamela and the children left before I did, invited me in for an aperitivo, but who then, failing to find me responsive to his charms, never spoke to me again.

Our landlady was a Signora Carrocci, wife of then frail and elderly Alberto Carrocci. Many of the shelves of our bookcases were lined with copies of his radical intellectual journal, Nuovi Argomenti, co-edited at that time by Alberto Moravia and Pier Paolo Pasolini. So few degrees of separation from the mighty.

Our apartment was on the second floor, Pacelli's below. We approached our door via the balcony.

1 comment:

  1. there are some good memories there.