Federico Fellini’s films captured Rome’s quirk & glamour. La Dolce Vita & 8 1/2 were two films, which most inspired me to study his work in film school. The glamorous world of Rome’s glitterati was a far cry from my humble American life. However, Fellini’s Rome would wet my appetite for a strong dose of Italian culture. Therefore, I took the plunge and booked my plane ticket to Rome one winter.
I didn’t just want eat pasta and flirt with Italian fellas. My trip to Rome would be more cinematic and relevant. Not only did I want to see the sites, but also see the world, which inspired “La Dolce Vita.” So I set off looking for cinematic inspiration in the eternal city.
There were the quintessential Roman sites. The Coliseum was grand and imposing. Sitting on the Spanish steps watching vespas and tourists stroll by was stimulating. The Pizza Navona provided a quintessentially Roman square. However, nothing felt completely cinematic. Then, I galloped into a most peculiar place, Vatican City.
I make an art form out of skipping church on Sunday. In fact, spending my formative years in a Catholic school made me quite rebellious. Hence, it was interesting flying overseas to Rome to visit religious sites. I stood in the middle of St. Peter’s square. Then, I remembered that if I stood at a certain part of the square, the arches surrounding St. Peter’s basilica would look as one arch (as opposed to several).
I tried every angle. Still it didn’t produce one massive arch. “Was this a myth?” I thought to myself. I plugged away, but didn’t receive that cool effect I wanted. Like a frustrated filmmaker, I left the St. Peter’s Square without the memory I wanted to capture.
Roaming in Rome during Christmas my lack of inspiration didn’t last long. Rain poured from the sky as fogged rolled from the sidewalks. Surprisingly, Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world” blasted from a local skating rink. As I crossed a bridge over the Tiber River glancing at the basilica from the other side created the cinematic moment I was seeking.
I continued my journey through Central Rome. The imposing buildings and monuments took a back seat to Romans. The men in long black trenched coats waiting for the bus, groups of nuns touring the city, women in fur coats carrying shopping bags and the overall Italian chic oozing from the sidewalks created the grand epiphany of my mind. The Romans truly inspired Federico Fellini from the outrageous to the religious.