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Rome Tour

Aired March 1, 2012 - 03:30:00   ET



LUCA RAGAZZI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And my name is Luca Ragazzi. The last name. You have to say your last name, Gustav. Gustav Hofer. Ay, yia, yia.

HOFER: And now we are going to show you one of our favorite spots. It's called the MAXXI.

RAGAZZI: Which stands for Museum of the Art of 21st century.

HOFER: XXI. And it's made by Zaha Hadid. Let's go inside.

RAGAZZI: Wow. When I come here, every time it's the same emotion. It's unique, I guess.

HOFER: The reason why I like it so much is that whenever I come to the MAXXI, and I come quite often, it's always a different experience.

For 50 years, no contemporary building has been built near the city center or close by. So, for the Romans, it was really like a shock, seeing a space ship exploding here. When finally it opened, Romans really started to love it and actually they come quite often.

RAGAZZI: There is a new generation of people which is tired of the contemporary art and contemporary architecture.

HOFER: I mean and we -- here we are in the place where actually the heart of contemporary art is beating and the construction of the MAXXI changed also the attitudes towards contemporary art.

Here we are in Sant'Eustachio or Sant'Eustachio as the foreigners say. It is the best coffee in town.

Very, very much forbidden to film (ph) in here.

There's secrets of their land nobody knows.

Look at this (INAUDIBLE), huh?

RAGAZZI: The aroma. The blend. The perfume. You should use a special that can capture the (INAUDIBLE)

HOFER: One reason to live in Rome.

RAGAZZI: Here we are on the first level of this monument, which is called Melipinato (ph), which means "the unknown soldier."

HOFER: It's called Vittoriano as well.

RAGAZZI: Yes, also. And those to the typewriter (ph).

HOFER: And, actually, the Romans never really liked this building because when they built it, they had to destroy all the medieval part of the city, which was here. And actually they only started to like it since -- in the last 15 years when they reopened it in 1995.

RAGAZZI: Here ware in definitely the center of the two. And --

HOFER: Best (INAUDIBLE) of Italy. So all the streets, all the major streets from Italy start from here, from (INAUDIBLE).

And, finally, here we are on the top of the Vittoriano Monument. The Monumentissimo as they also called it.

RAGAZZI: Oh, really?


And where can you -- where can you have this. You know, you have the Roman empire, or what is left of it, on one side. Then you have the renaissance on this side. Then you have the view of the whole city. So, I mean, it's probably the most beautiful place on earth.

JESSICA STEWART, ART HISTORIAN & PHOTOGRAPHER: Hi, I'm Jessica Stewart. I'm an art historian and a photographer here in Rome. And I wanted to show you guys one of my favorite places, Villa Farnesina. So let's go and check it out.

We're in the main Loggia, and these are frescoes by Raphael and his workshop done at around 1519. And they show basically the story of Cupid and Psyche and kind of the love between a mortal and immortal.

The villa was kind of the pleasure palace of this rich banker, Agostino Chigi, during the renaissance period. He used to lend money to all the different popes. And there are stories about his legendary banquets where they actually used to throw all the gold and silver plates into the Tiber River, as kind of showing, I don't really need all this stuff, I'm so wealthy. But then he would have servants put nets down in the river so that he could scoop it all up later and keep it. This is definitely one of my hidden gems of Rome for sure.

This room is also one of my favorites because we have another Raphael here. This is the Galatea. One of his most famous paintings. I kind of look back at the great masterpieces of art that I studied and that you see here in Rome and it's definitely a huge, huge influence.

When you look at the urban fabric of the city and everything that's old and decaying, this city has so many layers. I mean going back to ancient history, all the way up to contemporary.

We are here in Pinata (ph), which is just south of the train station. And that's the neighborhood where I live.

It's always been a kind of grittier area on the kind of outskirts. And that's one of the reasons why I love it. It's filled with different ethnicities, with street art. So now it's become a really popular area for young people, artists to come and to experience a different side of Rome.

Pinata really comes to life at night. And one aspects of that is street art. Omino 71 (ph) and Mr. Clevra (ph) are two Roman artists leaving their stamp on the city.


GABRIELE BONCI, THE MICHELANGELO OF PIZZA (through translator): The secret behind a good pizza lies in the land, the wheat and the farmer's hands. All I do is make the dough using a fifty-year-old recipe.

Another secret lies in the kneading of the dough. It is important that it maintains its air bubbles.

A bit of oil. In goes the all important tomato. And now the mozzarella cheese. With this kind of pizza we put it in half way. Back into the oven. The pizza is ready. Here's a piece. Beautiful.

PAOLO MULE, SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST: Hi, I'm Paolo and we're in Porta Portese, the biggest flea markets in Rome. I'll show you around. Follow me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Porta Portese is history. Porta Portese is people. Porta Portese is life. Porta Portese is laughter. This is my Porta Portese.

MULE: Since it was established in the '50s, it became a really typical things to do for people from Rome.

This is the most interesting area of the market, because you can find antiques and furnitures and vinyls and books and stuff like this. This is an amazing edition of "The Divine Comedy" by Dante Alighieri. It was printed in 1838. This is 100 year old, which is not bad. Expensive.

This is a Pink Floyd record from 1970. And this is a really beautiful edition, actually. That's why I love to come here on Sunday mornings because I can find vinyals that I would never find anywhere else in Rome.

When it comes down to flee markets, Porta Portese is the real thing. So people from Rome and tourists come here every Sunday. And if you walk by, you're going to get stuck in the crowd because everybody's here on Sunday morning.

Here we are in front of Calecha (ph) at Testaccio (ph). I love coming here. It's my favorite restaurant when it comes down to Roman foods. And today we're going to have a signature dish, the best pasta cacio e pepe (ph) in Rome. Follow me.

So here is the famous cacio e pepe. And now you're going to see how they prepare it. Right at the table. Cacio e pepe actually means cheese and peppers. So it's a quite simple pasta, apparently. I mean when you want a cacio e pepe, you want -- you want it to be done the proper way. This way.

This is the perfect example of how Roman people from our organgluck (ph) neighborhood like Testaccio normally eat. Brilliant. You have to taste this.

So now we're reaching the top of Monte Testaccio. Monte Testaccio means something like mountain of shards, because it's actually made out of millions of pieces of broken vessels and shards that were literally dumped here by the merchant in the Roman era. I love coming here because it's sort of a hidden treasure, but it guards traces of the Roman empire. Here you can -- you can really see Testaccio from the top of it and you can see the fire (INAUDIBLE) the Non-catholic cemetery, which is rather strange to be in Rome.

In sunny days like this, it's great to rest here from the crowd and the noise of the city and of the touristic places which Rome is stuffed with.


HANDE LEIMER, (ph): Hi. I'm Hande and we are in Rome's oldest neighborhood, Monti. I'm going to show you around.

It's called Monti because it is built on some of the seven hills of Rome. Whenever you want to just take a breath of fresh air and you just want to sit and relax a little bit but not be completely alone, you know, have a little bit of life going on around you, I always come here just for a 10, 15 minute break. It is lovely.

These are (INAUDIBLE) so-called nasoni, the big noses. And we do have, I think about 1,200 of these all around Rome -- in central (ph) and Rome. And the water is definitely potable. It is somewhat the cleanest water you will ever encounter, actually. And we can always tell if someone is a tourist or not by the way they use a nasoni. A tourist is going to come up with a little bottle and fill it here, OK, fine, which is perfectly OK. But the Roman is going to do something completely different. This is how you drink from a nasoni.

We are now going here around the corner to one of my all-time favorite restaurants to have some lunch. I love this place because here you can eat very local things without them being too traditional.

Imsamolier (ph) and wesamolier (ph). As we learn all these rules, so to speak, about how to combine your food and your wine. But, you know, for the regular wine drinker who just wants to enjoy, there is very easy rule that you could follow. If it grows together, it goes together. It's so simple.

Rome is the center of Italy. So you can have all kind of Italian food. My Italian friends are going to kill me because there is no Italian food. There are all these different regional foods. And you can have the matching regional wines and just perfect. For me it is heaven having the food and the win together.

THE NIRO (through translator): Hello, I'm "The Niro." I'm a songwriter here in Rome. And right now we are in Rome's oldest working theatre the "Teatro Valle."

Right now, artists have taken over the theatre and they are doing a fantastic job. Here it is. The theatre was founded in 1727 and it still retains its allure. Some of Italy's biggest names have performed on this stage. I have played here three times and every time it has been an extraordinary experience. This is a place that for centuries has been spearheading Rome's cultural evolution.

We are on the Aventino, one of the seven hills of Rome. It is a beautiful place, steeped in history. It was named after the emperor Aventino. We're here because there is something special I would like to show you. Right behind that door. You can see people peeping through the key hole. It is a stunning view of St. Peter's dome. What's special is that it feels like you are spying on the church by getting a more intimate view of the Vatican.

HOFER: It started with Rome as a love story, because I came here with the idea to stay in Rome for six months and actually now it's 13 (ph) years that I live here, because once you get used to the beauty, it's hard to live without it. And that makes (INAUDIBLE) really unique.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Rome is a cosmopolitan city. One can find so many sources of inspiration.

STEWART: You walk around and ever where you turn there is something incredible, something ancient, something historic. But at the same time it's also a living, breathing city. And I think it's exciting to be part of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Rome is a city that loves and nurtures. Whoever comes here can easily become a Roman.

STEWART: It is kind of this -- almost like a disease. Once you get bit by the bug, you never kind of want to leave.

MULE: Rome, it's a big, big, big contradiction. It's the craziest city that I've ever seen in terms of a melting between period, eras, cultures, the past melting with the present and the future.