When I found out I was going to the Mastercard Priceless Rome press conference, I wouldn’t have expected it so casual and multi-thematic.
There were six guests: Paolo Battiston, Division President of MasterCard for Italy and Greece; Monica Biagiotti, Head of Marketing Division Mastercard Europe; Antonello Colonna, Chef of international relevance; Paolo Colombo, research manager of Doxa and responsible for “Rome Lovers”; Marco Lodoli, writer and journalist; and Claudio Strinati, Art Historian.
After a presentation made by a talented but anonymous speaker, spoke Alberto Mosca, director of Eataly Rome, who gave a welcome speech mainly focusing on technology, food, and culture. After him , it was the turn of Monica Biagiotti , who explained the meaning and some details on the priceless philosophy: the main objective of the campaign, which started 15 years ago, is to enhance the unique experiences that money can’t buy such as the feeling you get from going early in the morning in Piazza del Popolo, at dawn, with the cool air of the night, and the deserted square, when it seems that the square was built there only for us, because we could enjoy it to the full.
Eventually the “Rome Lovers” created a Top Ten of Priceless Experiences:
10) Visiting the workshop of a craftsman , watching him work and taking advantage of special discounts on its creations.
9) A tour of Rome on a Vespa scooter, together with a local expert, to discover its “great beauty” .
8) Seeing the son going into the football field with the captain of his favourite team before a match of the UEFA Champions League.
7) Visiting Cinecittà in company of a VIP director/actor and attending an acting class.
6) A front row seat for a concert at the Auditorium or the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.
5) Visiting the places and monuments which are usually not opened to the public, such as Castel Sant’Angelo’s prisons.
4) Attending a Film Festival premiere, along with the director and the cast .
3) An exclusive “closed doors” visit of an art exhibition under the guidance of his curator
2) Living Rome at sunset, to capture the capital’s magic of its most hidden places in the most striking light.
1) A signed dinner from a Michelin-starred chef, to be enjoyed on a terrace with panoramic view on the city.
It was also made a list of the favorite Roman dishes: Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (pasta with Cheese and Pepper); Spaghetti Carbonara (pasta with eggs, bacon and pepper); Bucatini Amatriciana (pasta with tomato sauce, bacon, cheese)
Marco Lodoli, as the Local Expert that he is, with reflections on the city’s must-see sites , such as the house of De Chirico in Piazza di Spagna or the “Nasone”, the famous little fountains of Rome, painted of gold by an artist who wanted to pay respect to a so important thing of the Eternal City, because, as he said, giving water to anyone is a symbol of hospitality, and water in Rome is given to everyone, even to dogs, with the fountain to them dedicated in Piazza San Salvatore in Lauro.
Did you know that in Rome there is the Vicolo Spada di Orlando, where is situated the column that the paladin of Charlemagne divided in half in the attempt of breaking his sword Durendal, so it would not fall into the hands of the Saracens after the ambush at Roncesvalles?
Other places to visit in Rome are the municipal rose garden; the botanical garden; the amazing “dome” of the church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which, although if watched from below seems perfectly real, it’s just a “3D” painting by Andrea Pozzo; the Temple of Claudius at the Passionist Fathers in Piazza dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, reported by Professor Claudio Strinati.
In the end spoke the Chef Antonello Colonna, who said: “the kitchen is not art, but if it is an art, it is the most perfect one” because once a work of art is defined, always remains the same, while kitchen it’s real research that never stops. He spoke specifically of the Roman cuisine, claiming that the great strength of the Roman cuisine is that it is a brilliant, not creative, cuisine; in fact, “it is the most extreme excellence of rural cooking”, and is part of a tradition in which food is eaten to survive.
“The Roman cuisine is not subjective, either it is good, or it is wrong”.
He also told a funny story that happened to him in the cab while giving telephone instructions to his team for the Bucatini Amatriciana which would then be tasted in the cooking show, after yet another phone call the taxi driver told him: “Listen, I’ve been cooking Amatriciana for the last 50 years, what the fuck do you put in it that requires all those calls?”.
At the end of the conference was the turn of the cooking show, where the chef explained all the secrets of the Amatriciana.
So what more is it left to say except: run to Rome to enjoy all kinds of arts that this magnificent city has to offer?