2000 – A visit to Rome and buying art on the via Margutta

We drove from Sorrento into Roma, with one stop at an AutoGrill – ah, AutoGrill, deep sigh here. It is without a doubt the best highway food experiences.

We soon found our way to the Roma Termini (train station) to return the car. From the car to the train station to the cab, to the Hotel Raphael, a wonderful ivy covered building near the antique shops along the Via Coronari and one block from Piazza Navona. We were so happy to be there, but for some strange reason our  reservation was cancelled 3 days before we got there. We never cancelled it. No one knew, or at least they didn’t give us an explanation why it was cancelled and of course, the hotel was “fully booked”… But there is always someone wearing a satin trimmed black jacket and gold tie to come to the rescue. How about that, a room just happened to open up for us. We are such lucky people.

The first thing anyone does in Rome is to go for a walk. If you know the city you have your favorite places to visit. If you don’t know the city, you just get lost.

We went through Piazza Navona, over to the Piazza della Rotunda (Pantheon), up to the Spanish Steps and over to via Margutta. This is the famous street of art galleries near the Piazza del Popolo. For all you movie afficionatos, Joe Bradley, the character portrayed by Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday” lived at 51 via Margutta. Via Margutta is choc a block with at galleries and it was just our luck to happen upon an outdoor Art exposition along the street. This was not your run of the mill “hotel/Motel” variety. These were very talented atists. We stopped at a gallery called “Il Tetto Art Company”.

The owner, Signor Roberto Nardacci was in the shop and happy to show us anything. We were taken by an artist named Franz Borghese, a local Roman painter who’s work reminded us a lot of George Grosz. The dollar was incredibly strong at this point and Signor Nardacci would also throw in the shipping crate and the shipping. And, he would have Signor Borghese sign the back to us. How could we refuse. It’s still one of my favorite pieces of at in our house.

Post script – It is sad to note that Franz Borghese died in 2005. He was 64 years old.