a bit about Giovanni
What are you working on these days?
I’ve got the immense privilege to play a minuscule part in shaping the future of the last encyclopedia still published in the world, which is 100% italian.
What drives you mad these days?
What makes you happy?
Rome’s traffic while I’m on my bicycle. You’ll need to develop your passive-aggressive riding skills.
When was the last time you cried?
I was watching Inside Out. It wasn’t in when the Bing Bong thing happened, but at the beginning of the “Lava” song short. I felt as if my soul was being x-rayed by that movie, in a quiet, deep way. I was right in the heart of the city, at Nuovo Olimpia, the last original language cinema in Rome. Very romantic.
What’s your latest musical obsession?
The new anthology album by Franco Battiato and Taranta Project by Ludovico Einaudi which has been one of the most inspiring encounters while I was still living in Salento.
What was the last movie you watched? Was it any good?
The Lobster and it was really good. I would have definitely chosen to be transformed into a cute Peruvian bear with a nice accent called Paddington.
When it’s time for a new wardrobe, where do you go?
Mostly to my old wardrobe. Occasionally, when I want to change my look a little, there’s a great vintage pop-up market in Bartolomeo Castaldi square (in the Parioli neighbourhood), which is open only on certain mornings. If you’re lucky enough, you can find the cheapest cashmere sweaters ever.
What’s your go-to café – to meet a friend or use as your base for all your meetings?
The Chiostro del Bramante’s cafeteria. I’m fortunate enough to be best friends with the four beautiful women who run the most fabulous private museum in town. They have the best cheesecake and a stunning view of the Sybilles frescoed by Raphael in Santa Maria della Pace.
Where’s your favorite street or neighborhood to wander in, the street or neighborhood that you won’t mind taking a detour for, just to walk through it?
It’s via della Reginella in the Roman Ghetto, the old Jewish quarter. In this tiny, cobblestoned street you can find an art gallery so proud of itself it is called le Louvre de Rome, a chili pepper-only shop and my summer office (which is 100 meters from the real one) – my favourite bench – which is always in the shade (if not, you can always move it), where I spend the warmest hours tapping on my tablet and chatting with the neighbours.
What’s the thing you LOVE to do in the city but never actually do?
Spending the day again in one of the neighbourhood libraries. My all-time favourite is the Biblioteca Flaminia, which specializes in movies (the fiercest competitor to Blockbuster Video when I was a student).
Who’s your hero (dead or alive) and where would you take them to show them a good time?
My personal Jesus is P.G. Wodehouse. Or is it Jesus my personal P.G. Wodehouse? Of course I would bring them to some pristine, abusive, typically roman osteria, like Cacio e Pepe (or simply da Gianni, on via Avezzana, in the Della Vittoria neighbourhood): the perfect location to test their self-possession and coolness.
What would make a perfect day in the sun for you?
Of course a ‘tramezzini’ pic-nic + Kindle reading session with my girlfriend at the Parco dei Daini, one of the lesser known sectors of Villa Borghese, the famously heart-shaped, once pope-owned park. The tramezzini are always courtesy of Natalizi at via Po. I especially love the Parco dei Daini because of its silence, when the rest of the Villa is crowded with noisy rented carts.
If it’s been raining outside for days and you’re sick of staying at home – where would you go?
Playing tennis on the artificial turf, especialyl if still wet. I would be like. “after all that pouring weather, great to see you again, my beloved knock-off”.
What’s that place in the city that you feel like only you know about? Where’s your secret spot and what make it special for you?
It’s my barbershop. It’s quite unique located, as it is, in a church. Specifically, in the sacristy of an old baroque church in Trastevere. Like a bizarre mashup between a Fellini movie and The Miracle of Marcelino, you enter the church with all your hair and then you exit the same way you entered but with your hair cut. Please don’t tell anyone, it’s meant only for a few people.
If tomorrow was your last day in town before you left for good, how and where would you spend it?
Simply put, eating Bernabei’s porchetta in Marino, between two fresh lariano bread slices. Even though it’s about 20 kilometers away from the city center, it’s part of the town and surely, a part of me. If closed, Cioli in Ariccia would work too.
What’s the place (or places) you’ll never be caught dead in?
Any of the clubs between the Ostiense neighbourhood and Testaccio.
What’s the thing you love doing that isn’t work, relationship or family related?
Looking for good reading benches. I’m particularly fond of giving the black and white pages of my books the chance of being paired with the glorious background that only a Roman view could fix.
When you feel like going on a night out, what’s the first place that you usually consider going to and why?
I’ve just realized I spent more time trying to figure out an answer to this than all the other questions combined. Maybe just the night spot nearest to me, the Treebar in via Flaminia, which happens to be – fortunately enough – not a bar on a tree but a more comfortable bar with wooden decor located in a garden.
You’ve just got the best news ever. Where would you go to celebrate and with whom?
When I first knew about this interview I went straight to MoMa Pizzeria Romana in Tuscolano, to taste the best pizza of the day. I was accompanied by my girlfriend and a supplì classico.