Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone are second and fourth from left on top row¹
This is a bonus cache. Nearby, on the wall of a building at the base of the steps, there is a marble plaque dedicated to Sergio Leone, the director of the spaghetti-western genre that starred Clint Eastwood, titles such as For a Fistful of Dollars and Once Upon a Time the West.
Leone wrote an autobiographical screenplay of everyday life in the 1930's Trastevere called Viale Glorioso.
About his life, he says: "We lived in the trastevere district of the city. Within this quarter, there was a distinct area. From Via Dandolo up to the Gianicolo is one of the steepest hills of Rome. We're talking about a good address, where the Jewish burgeoisie, members of the Papal court and senior professional people lived. Two hundred metres further on, though, was the more downmarket area. The kindom of real louts. And we had pitched battles with them. These scuffles happened on the steps of the public staircase, which led to the Viale Glorioso."²
The gang's stomping ground was bordered at one end by the Viale di Trastevere and at the other by the Gianicolo Park. Just below the meeting of the Via Dandolo and the Viale Glorioso were 126 steps, flanked by cast-iron street lamps set into balustrades. The gang used to gather on these steps
Screenwriter Vincenzoni recalls being puzzled by Sergio Leone's insistence that their film Giù la Testa should begin as a peasant urinates on a large ant's nest inside a tree. But finally an explanation was forthcoming: "it was a game that he used to play as a child. In the spring, he would go with friends, beneath the trees where there were colonies of ants, and they used to play a game to see who could hit the greatest number of ants while they were pissing. The story he didn't make into a film, Viale Glorioso, begins this way - with small children who go to the top of a public staircase, piss down planks of wood, and then run as fast as they can to see whose piss will arrive first at the bottom of the staircase".²
To provoke each other among the gangs, a kid would stomp on some other kid's shoes, a scene that Leone would include in For a Few Dollars More where the characters of Monco (Clint Eastwood) and Col. Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) stomp each other's boots¹, and being watched by mexican children who say, with the director's autobiographical insertion, they are doing the same things we do.
In another autobiographical insertion, in Once Upon a Time in America, Noodles's childhoold sequences included various memories from Leone's own experiences in Trastevere²
¹ Associazione Sergio Leone
² Christopher Frayling, Sergio Leone: Something to Do With Death, Faber & Faber, 2000
Cache is a small plastic container.
Newspaper article in italian newspaper La Repubblica on recent maintenance of the steps
Small note on cache maintenance: cache is maintained by local resident with whom I'm in e-mail contact.