The “Love & Gelato” guide to Rome

Anyone who was a teenager in a generation gone by would have a romanticised vision of Rome told through the eyes of the tween character Lizzie McGuire. Before you start making references to “Paolo” and chanting the saccharine melody of “This is what dreams are made of”, Netflix has returned to this trope for the film “Love & Gelato” based on the novel by Jenna Evan Welch:

Lina, on the cusp of starting college, flies to the Eternal City to filfill her mother’s dying wish. What she finds is a late teen “eat, pray, love” adventure with romance, pasta and gelato. Although I feel like the coming-of-age film slips below my radar as I am a tad too grown up, the set is one of the most beautiful in the world: Rome. To get you in the mood for this latest release, I have put together a list here of filming locations scattered around the city to stick to the theme.

File:Aurelian Walls Rome 2011 1.jpg
Aurelian Walls

  • The Aurelian Walls: As the adrenaline rush and exhaustion cocktail hit protagonist, Lina, she is sped through Rome by her mother’s cousin, the free-spirited Francesca. To enter the city, the car flies past the Ancient Roman walls, which were built between 271 and 275 AD by the Emperor Aurelian. It once wrapped the seven hills of Rome and the now tourist-trendy Trastevere inside its fortified protection. Book a Vespa or vintage Fiat 500 tour through “Bici Baci” to skirt around.

Via dei Fori Imperiali
  • Via dei Fori Imperiali When Lina is sped towards the city centre in the Fiat 500 with Francesca at the helm, the intense driving scene ends at the street of the Roman Forum, the road that connects the Colosseum to the Altar of the Fatherland. On either side of the road the Forum of Trajan, Forum of Augustus and Forum of Nerva jut out. Beneath the road, which ploughed through historical sites when it was built in the Fascist era, still has ruins beneath that are being excavated to this day.
Casa dei Cavallieri di Rodi
  •  Casa dei Cavallieri di Rodi (House of the Knights of Rhodes): Lina slaps on a smattering lipstick, loses the glasses and ends up at the dreamlike aperitivo overlooking the Roman Form and the Altar of the Fatherland. The exclusive location is the House of the Knights of Rhodes and, if you have a local tip, is able to be visited Tuesday and Thursday morning (Click here). Perched on the Forum of Augustus, the 12th Century building itself is a Jenga tower of pieces of history; it has housed the Sovereign Military Order of Malta since 1946.

  • Castel Sant’Angelo (pictured above): After reading her mother’s diary, Lina is wandering across a statued bridge with a round castle in the background. Castel Sant’Angelo is layered in history like a lasagna: originally the Mausoluem of Hadrian, construction actually began in 135 A.D. Later, it was transformed into a papal military fortress and is able to be visited. Besides crossing the bridge to get your tourist snap, it is worth getting tickets and heading inside: the views from the cafe at the top stretch out across the mottled clay colours of the city’s facades.
  • Foro Romano: Lina seems to read her diary in the most drool-worthy sites of the city. To get to this dreamlike vision, head towards the Camipidoglio square (designed by Michelangelo). When you are facing the statue in the centre, you will see an enclosed bridge to the right, head underneath it and walk about 50 metres or so and you will have a free view of the Roman Forum.
File:Piazza della Repubblica (Rome) at night 20150814-3.jpg
Piazza della Repubblica
  • Piazza della Repubblica: Whizzing around a roundabout on a Vespa like Lina, shrieking in both exhilaration and terror is every tourist cliche in one: Right near Termini Train Station (also featured in the film) is the Republic Square with the majestic and controversial Fontana della Naiadi, Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri church (Michelangelo design) and the ancient thermal baths of Dioclezano.

  • Lungo Tevere: Locking a cutesie couple lock like Lina may not be your thing, but I would strongly suggest hiring a bicycle and riding along the Tiber river. There are several ramp access points down to the river around the city and it gives you the opportunity to discover the stories behind each era of Roman history. Keep your eye out for the “Broken Bridge” that is the most ancient bridge in Rome.
  • Scalinata dei Borgia: This is an enchanting staircase right in the city centre located a short stroll from the Colosseum. If you head up the staircase, you will pass beneath an ivy-framed tunnel and reach Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli. Head inside the San Pietro in Vincoli church to see the Mosè di Michelangelo.

Enjoy the movie-inspired hunt, but don’t forget your gelato!

Un bacio

Skye x


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