Sant'Egidio charity market

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icona vintageicona abbigliamentoEvery Saturday and Sunday afternoon, since fifteen years, in two hangars in Porto Fluviale road, there is a charity market held by Sant'Egidio Community, where a group of volunteers collects, categorizes and fixes furniture, clothes and other things which people donate and which income is used to fund many of the Community activities.

A walk through the stalls


Some of the clothes are given directly to those in need (gypsies, prisoners or people facing an emergency, as it happened during L'Aquila’s earthquake), and some others (most of them) are being sold. Therefore at Sant'Egidio charity market you can find bicycles and trikes, pushchairs and highchairs, lamps, tables, chairs, wardrobes, beds and many other household items: plates, glasses, sport equipment, but also sewing machines and typewriters. There is almost anything and if the most spontaneous comment would be “I have half of this stuff in my basement”, the truth is you could probably find something you need, low cost.

10A different story for the vintage section. “The idea came up a couple of years ago – explains Marco, one of the 5 volunteers working there – when we decided to repair old stylist clothes from ‘800 to the 90’s, selected among all those that were being donated. We had a positive feedback both by private clients and collectors, not to talk about cinema or theatre costumers who come to look for a costume or an accessory for the set. The vintage corner has the goal of fund raising for Dream, a program to prevent AIDS in Africa, working also with children born from HIV positive mothers.
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With the vintage corner start up, Annamaria opened a tailor’s shop, which makes repairs and changes, but also modeling. Aside the tailor’s shop there is also a school giving the chance to some foreign girls with no job to develop some skills. “ The Community offers this training to some girls selected by motivation – says Annamaria – on the other hand the girls offer their work for some repairs or other small tasks here in the shop. It’s mutual giving, as it happens in the Community. None of them had ever used a needle and in a few lessons they can sew a hem, and then we move from there”.
In the few weeks before Christmas, the market is open almost every day, while in summer the Vintage volunteers often organize cocktails or events to raise awareness on Sant’Egidio charity market.

 

Alice’s wonderland

“One night my parents told me: tonight we are going to a cocktail in a charity market. I didn’t really get where we were going, but I was happy to go out, especially as it was already getting dark outside… how fun!! We got into a courtyard with plenty of chairs, little sofas, armchairs… 9very funny, it looked as if someone had moved the living room out of the house. Then I realized there were also some mannequins dressed with clothes, some coat racks full of clothes and I realized they had taken me to some market… but a special one. The clothes were not the ones you see every day, they seemed to come out from a movie of from one of the plays my auntie plays in at the theatre. In a corner I even saw many games some kid used to play many years ago… they were so different from ours. Then there were the drinks. I saw Mummy not really happy drinking her red wine glass, but I really enjoyed the popcorns. And at the end we were all really happy because the money for the cocktail went all the way to Africa to some mothers and children who have many problems and one dream… in fact the project is called “dream” which in English means dream (Alice speaks Italian of course, in Italian dream is sogno). I studied it at my English class!”

Just around the corner

Via del Porto Fluviale is the epicentre of an art earthquake which is changing the look of Rome: the explosion of street art. Born as a sort of clandestine counter-culture, it’s now in the official circles, representing a new ace to play to attract a new kind of tourism. Or, to better say, to attract tourists in some places of the city not usually so common. The consecration comes with a recent publication by the culture department of Rome City Council, a “street art map” including an app to better locate it. It's a creativity wave which is coloring many Roman suburbs, turning the city into an open air museum. The most valued masterpiece of this collection is just in front of you, as you get out of the market: THE PORT FRONT MURALES, painted by Blu, the most popular Italian street artist in the world. It actually seems that the masterpiece is looking at you: Blu has used the windows and the slits of the former Aeronatic barracks to draw the lines of 27 huge faces, looking at the people passing by with empty orbits. Behind those facade, there are faces and stories of dozens of immigrants families who have funded the work and hosted the artists in the two years of the painting. If Blu is the diamond point of the movement, a walk in the neighborhood gives you a flavor of the level of Italian street art.
Along via del Porto Fluviale, there is also the light shape of the “Swimmer”, Pellegrino Iacurci’s work, which seems to be floating over the fishmonger shop below.
In the parallel road, Magazzini Generali, there are – one in front of the other – JB Rock’s “Wall of fame” (a gallery of portraits, from Dante Alighieri to Sergio Leone, from Elvis to Pope Wojtyla, from Barack Obama to Jimi Hendrix, from Yuri Gagarin to Zorro) and the “Black and White Power” by Sten & Lex, pioneers of stencil graffiti in Italy.
The next two stops of our walk will be associated to additional murals. The ax is Ostiense road, but you can choose if you want to go south (towards Saint Paul’s Basilica) or go back towards the center (looking at the Cestia Pyramid as your reference point). If you decide to go south, Blu has another surprise for you. At number 122, where he painted a circle of cars, decorating the entrance of the social center Alexis. Just a little earlier, you should have seen one of the most suggestive landscape of the city: MONTEMARTINI PLANT MUSEUM. The maple of ancient sculptures lives together with the iron turbines, while a dreamy Icarus looks at the ingenious beauty of the first diesel motors, and the muse Polimnia, wrapped in her veil, dances through the boilers which used to bring light in Rome at the beginning of the ‘900.
The museum is actually hosted in the thermoelectric plant, wanted by the city mayor Nathan at the time, in the industrial area of the city. As of today, Ostiense neighborhood shows evident signs – the gasometer, the iron bridge, the slaughter house and the general markets – of its old qualification. Montemartini plant is a brilliant example of how an industrial archeology piece can meet with classic archeology. Imagine that the museum was born accidentally, when in the mid ’90s some of the Musei Capitolini had to go through some refurbishing and a hundred of ancient statues and sculptures had to be moved for some time. They tried an experiment with a temporary exhibition, “The machines and the gods”, but the result was so impressive, that it became permanent.
Going back towards the subway station along via Ostiense, you will run across another magic old industrial place. It’s the TRAIN MUSEUM PARK at Porta S. Paolo, which hosts the historical engines of Roman trains, refurbished and kept with care up to date. The most ancient one, is the Roma-Fiuggi train: it dates back in 1915 and it has collected the memories of all those passengers who for many years have been traveling towards south, looking for the benefits of the thermal baths. Heading north, towards other thermal baths, the beautiful engine of Roma-Viterbo (1931), also known as “Tuscia little train”, a route which is still working and should probably be enhanced for touristic purposes, considering the beauty and the history of the landscapes it goes through. And then the masterpiece, which deserves a dedicated chapter (in fact we have talked about it before): the “train of the dreams”, the tram 404 going to Castelli, which used to stop at Cinecittà for those dreaming to become a star in the 40s. The tram was brought back to life by Fellini in the movie “The interview” and can now be seen inside the museum. (The interest of the tram is not only related to cinema, but also technological. If you ask the staff about “Urbinati merry-go-round”, they will explain you that it’s not something for children, but actually the invention of one of many good Italian engineers. And if you want to go back to your childhood for a few minutes, the museum shows a three-dimensional old station created by engineer Urbinati’s son.)
Fiuggi, Viterbo, Castelli Romani: we’re still missing a destination, probably the most appreciated and desired by all. The train Roma-Ostia Lido, that of the movie ““Domenica d'agosto” (literally, August Sunday) by Luciano Emmer and of thousands of Sundays all squeezed and sweating to get to the Romans’ beach and spend a few hours having fun.

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where via del Porto Fluviale 2
open

Saturday from 5 to 7 pm and Sunday from 4.30 to 8 pm for shopping; Thursday and Saturday from 4.30 to 8 pm for handing in clothes and others

PARking along the road
METRO

line B (Piramide stop)

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