“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
Shaggy-haired poets like Keats and Shelly were once the toast of Tridente, but carefree Bohemian style doesn't make the signorinas swoon like it used to along Tridente's famous Spanish Steps. Today there's no excuse for shagginess in Rome's most fashion-conscious neighborhood, where Italian designer flagship boutiques brush Valentino-clad elbows against new Gap superstores. Along its broad store-lined boulevards, Tridente can seem all dressed up with no place to go, but the backstreets are lined with swanky velvet-clad bars and plush boutique hotels. Once the site of public executions, Piazza del Popolo is now the stomping ground of street artists, protestors and art history classes headed for classical masterpieces at Santa Maria del Popolo church and Villa Borghese. Dashing new arrivals on the scene are the Zaha Hadid-designed MAXXI museum for contemporary art and Richard Meier's controversial minimalist Museo dell'Ara Pacis, which hosts contemporary art shows alongside Rome's 13 B.C. marble Altar of Peace.