photography by alessandro ciapanna

Posts from the ‘reportage’ category

GHETTO – Rome’s Jewish neighborhood

The beauty, the grace, the style, the ruins. Rome’s ghetto is like an ancient city within an ancient city.





The ‘fontana delle tartarughe’ – turtle fountain – is easily one of Rome’s most beautiful and sits in Piazza Mattei, on one edge of the ghetto.





True to tradition: if you don’t have a clothes dryer, the laundry goes on the drying line.





Antique book and art shop. The chair with a large rock on it bears a sign saying ‘pre-occupied’.





Rome has so many foreigners that it is not unusual to spot signs in both Italian and English.





Love thy neighbors. but also always lock the door.




One end of the ghetto is determined by a huge ancient amphitheatre, the Teatro di Marcello.





If these walls could speak, they would have a lot of stories to tell.





Tip of the iceberg: this ancient column on Via del Portico di Ottavia continues under the pavement for several meters, to where the ground level was in Roman times.





Every good meal ends with a caffe’. ote the ancient bas-reliefs in the walls.





Stylish Roman ladies chatting away on a cold but sunny may day.





Thankfully, there is no shortage of benches in this charming area.





This unassuming little door leads into what many swear to be Rome’s best bakery. Closed on saturdays.





We’re young, we’re handsome, we’re well-dressed, it’s springtime and we’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – of course we’re happy!





There’s always time to catch up on the latest news. Ladies enjoying some street conversation.





Sitting at a kosher restaurant in a warm shank of midday sunlight.





Going home for lunch. Note the ancient architectural elements integrated with the more recent ones.





A painter’s display between parked cars and motorcycles.





Cellphones, Vespas and skullcaps. you’re in Rome’s Jewish ghetto, baby!





Physical barriers determine the ghetto’s outer limits. Unwieldy, these are designed to allow wheelchairs through but not motorcycles.





There’s just too much going on. I think i’m just going to doze off for a while…



I am not a historian, so for hard facts about Rome’s Jewish ghetto you will have to look elsewhere. All i can say for sure is that history has conspired here to create one of Rome’s most charming areas. The close-knit sense of community exudes from every corner: people chatting away, laughing, smiling, sitting, strolling…

The ghetto’s run-down look goes back to some papal bull (i’ll say!) forbidding Jews from owning houses. And you’re obviously not inclined to maintain what you don’t own.

The remains of ancient Rome literally jut out from every wall or break through the surface of the pavement.

Finally, one mention goes to the local eateries, catering to both Romans and skull-capped tour groups from New York. The food in the ghetto is easily among the best Rome has to offer. And if you can make it here in springtime, you can’t possibly leave without trying one of rome’s proudest and oldest recipies: i carciofi alla giudia, literally ‘Jewish style artichokes.’

Pictures taken at lunchtime on may 14th.

Alessandro Ciapanna

GIOLITTI – rome’s best gelateria

the narrow alley is packed solid with kids of all ages happily slurping away. getting a cone at giolitti’s gelateria is a true roman tradition well over 100 years old.






the most difficult part is choosing the ideal combination of flavors






scooping it up. you can get your gelato on a cone or in a paper cup.






a whipped cream topping is another option. loved this guy’s expression






the annoying part is you got to stand in line twice: once to pay for your ticket, and then to exchange your ticket for your ice cream. obviously, complications sometimes ensue






sitting indoors is a classy experience that comes at a premium price. free wifi, though






most people eat their gelato on the street, standing, sitting, or walking






many people just get their cones and then plunk themselves down on the little tables outside, but the waiters don’t like this







it’s probably impossible to lick a cone and preserve a dignified expression at the same time… and she doesn’t seem too happy about this






young romans have no qualms about sitting on the sidewalk for a gelato-fortified chat






artsy doorknobs and gilded g’s on giolitti’s glass door reflecting the crowds of kids slurping their cones in the alley outside






happiness is a couple of good friends and a gelato di giolitti






oh, man. that was unforgettable!






few would argue that italy has some of the world’s best gelato. and rome being rome, it has attracted italy’s most talented over thousands of years. so it is fair to say that rome offers some of the best that italy has to show off. today’s photo essay was taken in rome’s most celebrated gelateria, giolitti, smack dab in the heart of ancient rome.

alessandro ciapanna

ROLLING ROME – a city on wheels

you know what happens when you give an italian a set of wheels.

and tourists are just as quick to imitate them…






wheelies require concentration: note the tongue sticking out of his mouth. villa borghese, rome






this kid was trying his hardest to flip over – to no avail. piazza del popolo, rome






this would have made a funny speeded-up video. the lady was trying out a segway, going around in circles, and the little girl chased her the whole time. piazza del popolo, rome






no, he actually didn’t fall… villa borghese, rome






the pair on the right were obviously on their very first rollerblade experience. the thingy in the background is a water-driven public clock (which never tells the right time) villa borghese, rome






tourists just lovin’ that italian-style cruising. villa borghese, rome






german kid getting hooked on a nasty habit at an early age. villa borghese, rome






these kids were racing, and nothing would have stopped them. villa borghese, rome






wait, no. one pilot losing his shoe, that’s what stopped them, but only temporarily. villa borghese, rome






the stylish guy on the mountain bike looks like he’s struggling. little does he know that the statue in the background is dedicated to enrico toti, who became a cyclist although he was missing one leg. villa borghese, rome






photographs captured in april 2012 in rome

alessandro ciapanna