18 October 2010

SQUATRITI: AN OLD DOLL'S HOSPITAL IN ROME


Before we went to Rome, I broke a ceramic figurine of sentimental value.  I should have packed it, because one of our finds was Squatriti, this doll's hospital in the Via di Ripetta. It's not the sort of thing you look for, but it's typical of the unexpected things you come across while wandering in the city.

Among the others were a modernist sports centre from the Fascist 1930s designed by Luigi Moretti. The centre, Casa GIL, opposite our hotel in Trastevere, is still used as a gym and steps are being taken to restore it, but it's in a sorry state and there are sensitivities about restoring Italy's Fascist past. Here are pictures of it as it was and as it is today (below).

The government was introducing austerity measures and a round of demos was under way. This demo by school students (bottom left) went past Casa GIL to the ministry of education down the road It was different from demos in England: here the teachers joined in instead of trying to stop it and addressed the students from the steps of the ministry.

Intense secular and religious demonstrations take place streets away from one another and in Trastevere there was a religious procession by Rome's Peruvian community (bottom right).
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