Except for brief stints in Paris and New York 41-year-old photographer, journalist and filmmaker Luca Ragazzi, has lived all his life in Rome.
His first feature documentary with partner Guatav Hofer “Suddenly Last Winter” (www.suddenlylastwinter.com, 2008) won more then 20 prizes at international film festivals and their latest film “Italy – Love it or Leave It” (www.italyloveitorleave.it , 2011) has also won a ton of accolades including audience awards in Milan, Thessalonika and Brussels.
What is your favourite view in Rome?
I especially like the one from the top of the old Vittoriano Monument in Piazza Venezia in the centre of town. Romans never liked it but I do. For the last six years or so you can go to the top by in a lift, and from there, there are awesome views of the forum, the Colosseum, the church of St Peter, Via del Corsaetc.
I live in Pigneto, which is a lovely neighbourhood and there’s a bar there called Necci, which I like because there’s a terrace with wi-fi and you get lots of artists hanging out there.
A beautiful elegant one is in Via Nazionale, where you have a huge building, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, and in there is a revamped spot which is very designer and modern, called the Open Colonna and at night they serve great cocktails with a perfect view over the city.
Where is your favourite place to get lunch?
In Piazza Augusto Imperatore there is a restaurant called Gusto. For lunch they have a great, fresh buffet where you load your plate and then go and get it weighed so you pay depending on what you’ve taken and you’ll pay around 15 euro.
And for dinner?
There are many good trattoria with typical Roman cuisine. My favourite is probably Gino al Parlamento in Vicolo Rosini, but also there’s Otello a la Concordia in Via della Croce. just around the corner of Spanish Steps and then In Trastevere you have Augusto, very old – it looks nothing special but the food is phenomenal.
Your favourite place for ice cream?
It’s embarrassing because there are so many good places but in areas a tourist would go, the best is Via dei Coronari and it’s called La Gelateria del Teatro. They serve very particular flavours. For classic flavours go to Giolitti around the Pantheon – it’s the oldest gelateria in Rome and they make huge cones. Even the little one which is 2 euro is massive – you can’t really finish it. Sometimes American tourists want the bigger ones but that’s ridiculous because even the little ones are too huge for me.
Where’s your favourite day trip out of Rome?
If it’s summertime I love to go to the beach in Ostia – you can travel by train in half an hour from Ostiense station. Lots of great fresh pasta con le vongole restaurants. If you have a car you can go to Martignano, a little lake half an hour from Rome, very beautiful. And then there’s something very special, less than one hour’s drive, it’s called Giardino di Bomarzo, a sculpture park from the 16th century. You walk in a wild garden and you see giants and dragons but Romans don’t really know about it and most have never been.
Rome always seems quite noisy – where is your favourite place to get some peace and quiet?
There are many beautiful villas and parks and the most well-known is Villa Borghese, which is very central and inside you have plenty of museums like the Museo Borghese and the Villa Medici, but also Villa Pamphili and Villa Torlonia – so beautiful. Next to the Colosseum there’s the Colle Oppio, which is a nice park, a perfect stop for a coffee with a great view.
My favourite area for shopping is a neighbourhood called Monti, especially Via del Boschetto, which has lots of boutiques and also Via del Governo Vecchio, near the Pantheon, lots of shops, restaurants and second-hand boutiques.
Luca’s favourite Italian films that he thinks everyone should see:
A Special Day (Una Giornata Particolare, 1977)
Eclipse (L’eclisse, 1962)
Two Women (La Ciociara, 1961)
Nights of Cabiria (Le notti di Cabiria, 1957)
Europa 51 (1951)
Marriage Italian Style (Matrimonio all’italiana, 1964)