Every week, we highlight one of our 300+ Untapped Cities contributors worldwide. This week, we’re featuring Ellen Ryan, an Untapped city correspondent based in Rome.
What’s your “day job”?
Right now it’s exploring Rome while my husband completes his felllowship at the American Academy here. Previously I was interim executive director at openhousenewyork and before that I was a senior staff member at three great organizations: Brooklyn Bridge Park, the NYC Department of City Planning and the Municipal Art Society.
What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?
Pamphili Park is a true gem, a local park the way only Rome can do them. A former estate of one of the city’s wealthy Renaissance families, Pamphili is lush, filled with decrepid follies and the perfect retreat from the constant hum of motorinos and carabinieri.
Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped?
Centrale Montemartini, a beautifully restored thermoelectric plant filled with imperial era sculpture. This museum is the perfect pairing of industrial architecture and classical archaeology.
What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling? Where do you want to visit next?
I’ve used UC at every opportunity to get inspired! In Amsterdam it was the recently-expanded Stedelijk Museum. I’d like nothing more than to hop a jet to Paris this fall to see the the Paris By Night exhibition and La Nuit Blanche tours and events.
What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?
Rome is a city that has been studied for centuries by many disciplines so that’s a challenge. I was surprised to find that in the Catholic stronghold of Rome, a mosque opened in 1995 that can accommodate 12,000. I hope to visit the modern complex before I leave.
Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Quitting a stable but boring corporate job a few years after college and switching gears to pursue urban planning. I’m so happy I made what might have appeared to some like a risky move.
Best Celebrity Sighting?
It’s a two way tie! Lou Reed food-shopping in Chinatown and Iman dining solo at the NoHo Star.
What are some of your favorite websites?
Right now, I’m studying up on my new home. So PlanPhilly, AxisPhilly and Hidden Philadelphia are where I’m gleaning the guts and soul of Philly.
Get in touch with Ellen on Twitter @ellenville8. Join our community of Untapped Cities contributors around the world by contacting us here.