You’re in the center of Rome. You’re wondering where all the (modern) Romans might have gotten off to. I will answer for you. Some of them are living their daily lives well away from the tourist-clotted center, well away from the Roman monuments you’ve seen in pictures, well away from creepy, overpriced food.
Ad nauseam: the web, these same pictures, these top ten things to visit in Rome monstrosities. As if the modern culture that arose from these crumbling monuments was safely encased in Plexiglas and everyone should see only ten ancient monuments in Rome.
For a cure for that nausea, try heading north to the Ponte Milvio, or, as we say with smugness using a word that sounds quite nasty, the Mulvian bridge. It’s out of the tourist bullseye, but there’s an interesting history there.
The Mulvian bridge was, way back in this history, a focal point for bloodshed. On the 28th of October in 312, an emperor named Flavio Valerio Aurelio Costantino (or, as we say, “Constantine”) and his boys beat the troops of the other emperor named Maxentius, who drowned in the Tiber. Constantine seems to have had a bit of help from God, which makes the date a turning point for Christianity—or should; among Italians only Sardinians consider Constantine a saint and commemorate his victory at the Ponte Milvo at the annual L’Ardia di San Costantino.
Today, or at least at some point in the day I write this, the bridge is festooned with locks. Lovers whose bonds will no doubt last forever write their names on a lock, clamp it to chains (!) and fling the key into the turbid waters of the Tiber. Modern economic theory dictates that commerce will invade even romanticism, thus there are sellers of blank love-locks available for your convenience, as you can see in the picture. The collective weight of the locks, like the weight of Roman armies battling in heavy armor, threatens the structural integrity of the bridge.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere. I think it is constructed upon these pillars:
- Marriage is a bridge between two persons.
- The “forever and ever” bond between two persons is signified by a lock, which holds the pair by definition in…bond-age, or bondage.
- The result is that the bridge falls down, and all the kings men and all the kings horses…
In any case, near this historic bridge is the Mondi. The Mondi is a bar/gelateria/pasticceria that will knock your socks off if you are wearing them.
They have the cutest sandwiches. Look:
They also have frozen delights and all manner of gelati with fanciful names, loaded with nuts, fruit and other gooey goodness.
Mondi is a fantasy world for folks with the munchies, however one has come upon his state of munchiness. You can sit outside on the shaded terrace, or you can eat while wandering in this gleaming under-forest of creamy and miniature goodness.
You’ll be held spellbound by the sight of the cakes, the pies, and the tarts in their gleaming, refrigerated cases, not to mention the cubes of frozen gelato wrapped in frozen chocolate and stuck with a tongue depressor so you can walk out of the joint licking lasciviously your little treat!
Oh, and you’re no doubt wondering what one of these little sandwiches, or picolo paninni, will cost you: € .80—but they also sell them by weight so you can take a pile home with you.
Why not take a minute away from visiting the ancient Rome everybody knows and head over to the Bridge of the real Romans. Please. I want to lead you astray. You deserve it.
Via Flaminia Vecchia 468
Thanks to Wendy of Flavor of Italy for taking us to this fine foodie stop in Rome.
Find our more about Rome and its neighborhoods: Rome Map and Guide