On some days I feel really Canadian, especially with Canada day right around the corner, this scene made me stop and laugh out loud to myself. Although team Italy’s presto exit from the world cup (lots of Suarez bitting jokes here) football fever never fades.

Here’s why I love the contrast of the kids playing soccer/football in the middle of the piazza. Seeing this group on almost a daily basis, they always make me smile. They remind me of my amazing childhood growing playing soccer in Montreal. What is striking to me though, is the location! My nostalgic soccer memories take place on wide, green fields with nets and grass in the middle of suburbia.

I marvel at these mini romans, firstly playing on the cobblestone and secondly in front of Palazzo Farnese (current French embassy headquarters) which is considered one of the wonders of Rome and one of  one of the most important High Renaissance palaces in the city. Dating back to 1514, owned by the Republic of Italy, it was given to the French Government in 1936 for a period of 99 years! I wonder how well that contract negotiations will go in 2035?

With a long history, the piazza was also the central place for Rome’s tournaments, bullfights, and festivals. In addition, the famous summer flooding events that later made Piazza Navona famous started here. Palazzo Farnese design also involved some of the most prominent Italian architects including Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta and Jacopo Barozzi. Not pictured are the two fountains at the center of the square were created from granite bathtubs taken from the ancient Baths of Caracalla are absolutely stunning in the evening and a late night hangout for the giant “satanic” Gabbiani Reale (aggressive seagulls who have a reputation for taking down the doves at the Vatican and pigeons).

The cobblestones may be a bit tricky to play on but how cool is Piazza Farnese as an after school playground for a game of calcetto?

Info on visiting Palazzo Farnese  http://inventerrome.com/index.php/en/component/content/article?id=13

Then walk a few steps over for an aperitivo at low-key and casual Camponeschi Wine Bar (Thursday evenings are best). This old-school Roman wine bar offers excellent antipasti, desserts and wines by the glass, of course there is also a selection of French wines.