Roman Holiday

Have you ever seen the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck movie Roman Holiday? Peck’s character lives in a small apartment on the street in the photo above, Via Margutta, Rome. To the right, below, is the door to the actual address he mentions in the movie. No peeking in on this day. My wife’s been by before and says there’s a pretty courtyard inside. Of course, there’re pretty courtyards behind every door in Rome.

I show this as a gardening destination in that the narrow street is beautifully planted from top to bottom with greenery. Considering there is no “earth” to plant in, it is impressively verdant. Climbers, drapers, overhanging trees and planters keep the street quiet and cooler than surrounding streets.

There are natural-spring, continuously-running fountains up and down the street for drinking water (left). This is not a “top” tourist destination – it’s not listed in any tourism info we saw. It’s not far from the Spanish Steps – so if you’re planning a visit, it’s worth a walk down this quiet street. There’s no shops or restaurants here, so it’s a welcome peaceful walk in a hustling bustling city.

Much of the film was shot nearby, including the sequence with Hepburn’s princess driving a scooter through the streets while Peck hangs on for dear life. There are also scenes of the two interacting near the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, and Castel San Angelo, a round fortress used by past popes.

In one scene, Peck and Hepburn visit the Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth). Peck tells Hepburn, while his hand is in the mouth, the Roman legend–if one tells a lie while one’s hand is in the mouth, the hand will be bitten off. Then he scares her by screaming and grabbing for his mangled hand. Don’t worry, it’s not mangled, it’s a romantic comedy, not Saw VI. We watched the movie before we went and my daughter was scared out of her mind that her hand would be bitten. She didn’t want to touch the thing. She must have something to hide.

Jim Charlier is an advertising designer/photographer/crafter with a serious gardening problem. He's co-written a garden design book featuring the funky, quirky and fun gardens by the gardeners of Buffalo titled "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" (BuffaloStyleGardens.com); he writes a long-standing garden blog (ArtofGardening.org); led the largest garden tour in America, Garden Walk Buffalo; has written for, or provided photography for dozens of magazines and books; has made presentations and participated in panel discussions on garden design and garden tourism nationally and internationally.

6 comments on “Roman Holiday

  1. What beautiful photos and memories. And what a treat for those of us who love the movie to see these current images.Did you see the great article in the 11/16/08 New York Times on Buffalo’s architecture and preservation efforts/problems?


  2. Ah, Rome…our home away from home…but, we’ve been lured away lately by the temptress called Mougins (France). My husband has mentioned Rome about 50 times in the last few months….missing it.Cameron


  3. I love the movie and it is a treat to see the actual locations. Would love to go there one day.


  4. ms.wis,I did see the article in the Times. It was a great article and some much needed exposure for our under-valued architecture. I know I say it often, but Buffalo is one of the most architecturally interesting cities in the US, chock full of buildings by architects considered to be American masters.cameron,I feel your pain. Every time we start planning a vacation we start off with what reasons we have to NOT visit Rome. If we have enough reasons we go elsewhere. Italy (Rome in particular) has the best of everything you could want in a European vacation – history, art, architecture, food & drink. 'Course the food & drink is enough to get you there without all the other stuff.phillip,Hopefully you'll get there. Start saving your Euros. It is a good movie and still is entertaining today, at least our daughter got a kick out of it. Unfortunately the movie was made back when the world was black & white. Now that the world is in color, it could be worth a remake – Clooney & Anne Hathaway?


  5. I went to Rome for the first time about 5 years ago and it is hands down the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to. I think we only took a cab once, instead walking everywhere (which considering the massive amounts of food and wine we enjoyed, was probably a good thing). Your photos bring back memories of all those beautiful alleys and courtyards we peeked into. If you simply drove to all the museums and tourist attractions, you would miss out completely on the real beauty of Rome.


  6. hello, to those who are planning to travel to Rome I suggest to check out vacation rentals in rome to choose an apartments or hotel room and read about the city….ciao


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