Carrera marble and cobblestones.  Raised and laid here long before us, they will remain well after we are gone.  Marcus Tullius Cicero, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giuseppe Garibaldi - men of immeasurable talent, honor and character have wandered down the same ancient, ivy-shaded alleyways, seemingly frozen in a just-right state of beautiful decay. This is Rome.  The unspoken deference paid to those who came before and the Eternal city they left for our senses to see, taste, smell and feel is palpable.


Nowhere is this more clear than on the short walk from Giolitti, the city's oldest gelateria, to the Piazza S. Lorenzo in Lucina. Austere figures in deep navy suits, solid navy ties and polished black shoes, clutching cakecones filled with colorwheels of delicious gelato, avoid the shade that the walls of the solid, unchanging palazzos provide, unfazed by the intense June sun as they meander to and from the Senate.  Like the architecture and often stifling temperature, these men, their penchant for formal clothing (and taste in ice cream), remain unaltered as time passes.  Dignity, propriety and elegance are a constant state of being. 


It is often said that Rome should be avoided in the summer months due to the aforementioned heat and the masses of tourists flooding its narrow thoroughfares.  While the crowds and swelter are not myths, they should not be seen as deterrents but rather enhancements integral to the proper Roman experience.  A shaded, solitary viewing of S. Ivo's chapel, hidden in plain sight next to the teeming Piazza Navona, becomes transcendent.  That second or third stop to the gelateria moves from gluttony to a refreshing necessity. 


This is Rome.  May it never change.


A collective body of work by
fashion designer Antonio Ciongoli
Photography courtesy of Glen Allsop.
© 2019 Antonio Ciongoli. All Rights Reserved.