Further On (Up The Road)

Number 13: The One That Got Away

Location: Passo del Turchino, Rome

xxx, Connie



Following the via Adriatico, a sideway from the via Nomentana, it took me a long time to get at the Passo del Turchino. As I lost my map on the way and forgot the exact name of the streeet, I asked people the way for the Passino dei Turchi. Finally a woman exclaimed: "Ah, you mean the Passo del Turchino! What do you want to do? There's nothing!" (Che vuoi fa'? Non c'č niente!).

"Well, I answered, "it's the place where Nerone killed himself. There should be some remains of the cistern of the Roman villa where he stayed." "Ma guarda!" she shouted at an other woman standing at the same bus-stop, "Did you know? The place where Nerone killed himself! Right here!"

"Signorina, you just have to follow that small road, but really, there's nothing!" So I entered the road, a fence at the right side closed of a big valley and at the other side another Roman suburb emerged. Two boys where crawling through the fence and entered the wild part. At the end of the Passo del Turcho I discovered the ruins of the cistern at my left side, and on my turn, crawled through the fence to get a closer look.

Back at the bus stop I had to wait 40 minutes. From the small snackbar on the other side of the road, once a while different men popped out to watch me and then went back inside. Also from the garden centre men came out and watched. A not unusual experience in Rome. I started to worry when men passing by in their cars sometimes stepped their brakes.

I just tried to act tough with my dark sunglasses and to have the annoying kind of "can't you see I'm waiting for a bus" expression on my face. Nevertheless I started to send sms messages to a friend to announce where I was located in case of emergency and if I didn't send him a message in 15 minutes...

I must confess that without a mobile phone I would not have had the courage to visit all these suburbian environments. Finally the bus came and I waved so fanatically at the busdriver that he asked me, it was the same as the one who brought me, if everything went well because of my enthusiasm to get into the bus.

Altogether, in Italy you have to behave so different on the street. I had a hard time with that in the beginning. I had to learn not to smile friendly at people and to look straight ahead when I walk.

Last week an Italian friend visited Amsterdam, it was her first visit, and asked, "Connie, people do smile so often when I pass by, not only men, also women, they smile, not really a big smile but they all seem happy. Even the people who pass by bike, They glance, just a moment, and sometimes they smile. What does it mean?

If you do so in Italy, smile friendly at people on the road, as a woman, it means that you're in to it (Pensano che tu ci stai!). So funny! Are you sure it doesn't mean anything?"


Passo del Turchino...Prendendo viale Adriatico e poi via delle Vigne Nuove (che ricalca in gran parte l'antica via Patinara) giungiamo ad una strada senza uscita, posta sulla destra, denominata via Passo del Turchino. Dopo averla percorsa tutta (circa 600 m.) possiamo vedere sul lato sinistro, nei campi posti oltre una balaustra, i resti della cisterna che faceva parte della [villa del liberto Faonte] dove Nerone si suicidō prima dell'arrivo dei partigiani di Galba.