Take a walk with us as we discover Rick Steves’ Gloryhole of Ancient Rome.
To date, my only exposure to the Aventine was knowing it was a den of thieves where Lucius Vorenus ran around screaming about fucking Concord in the ass.
So I’d say it’s more like Queens. Malba perhaps. Just as expensive but a little classier.
By now we’re totally lost but we keep walking anyway. A church up ahead appears to be letting out after a wedding. Lots of men in tuxedos and women in ball gowns are emerging. As I recall Catholics take church seriously, being the only Christian sect to bother dressing up for services. So this could have just been a normal Tuesday evening.
The church had a name (Saint Alessio) but we couldn’t find it on our utterly useless map. Nothing in the Aventine showed up on it because the streets were so dense. We paused to try to get our bearings anyway. At this point we would have been happy just to find the fucking Tiber just as a point of reference.
We must be going somewhere relevant.
No wonder people are lining up to take a peek. It turns out we stumbled across the Aventine Keyhole at the Priory of the Knights of Malta completely on accident. We’d both heard about it but figured we’d never be able to find it.
But our journey was far from over. We still didn’t know where the hell we were. So we walked past Saint Anselmo’s down some more streets.
My wife explains that the Aventine used to be housing for the plebes but now stands as testament to the dangers of gentrification. You probably won’t get stabbed to death for your cloak while walking the streets of the Aventine but you’ll probably never be able to afford to live there either.
Back at the main drag, we come across something that looks like Lucius Vorenus’ den of iniquity! Finally, something we think we recognize at the Aventine! We celebrate, take some pictures, dance around trying not to evacuate my bladder and head back to civilization.
We cross the street and get a good look at the Tiber. We run through some quick numbers as to how many bodies we think have been tossed in there over the ages. It was a question that nobody will ever be able to answer.
Supposedly there is an island in the middle of the Tiber somewhere. On it is a former hospital or nunnery or something.
Now with some sense of bearing, we head back towards civilization by means of Capitolini Hill. Along the way we see some interesting housing built in the shape of the Colosseum. And I still need to pee.
We stop in every random store we can find. No bathrooms. Eventually I get desperate enough to do it in a bottle in an alleyway while my wife takes point. On a related note, there are no discreet places to urinate in public in Rome. I’m sure there is good reason for this but come the fuck on. Rome is a tourist city with no public bathrooms.
Our journey ends at the Victor Emmanuel Monument once more. I grab a few pictures I couldn’t earlier and we head back to the hotel to wash our disgusting clothes in the shower since Rome is also a tourist city without 24-hour laundromats.