Un’epoca raccontata attraverso una pista da ballo” (trad. An era told through a dance floor) is the title of the last book published by Osvaldo Sponzilli. A tribute to his friend Walter Santinelli, a dance master of ancient family tradition.
A journey through the history of Rome from 1932 to the present day: the biography of a family of dancers, who made dance known in every corner of Italy.
Rome is now seen as a city for the rich, through the centuries it has always been a city of the poor, if we exclude the papacy and the great noble families. Life took place between the Borghi and the Rioni, on this side towards St. Peter’s the villages occupied the space between Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican Area, on the other side of the Tiber the Rioni.
Our story begins in the villages of San Pietro a Spina di Borgo, the area that the Fascist period of twenty years demolished to make room for Via della Conciliazione. There in the Spina and precisely in Piazza Scossacavalli was born the protagonist of our story: Walter. He was obliged to leave with his parents in continuous moves between Torpignattara, Trastevere, via dei Coronari up to via Ennio Quirino Visconti.
The biography alternates with the stories of the various corners of Rome: medieval areas such as the area of the theatre of Marcellus whose lower arches were home to artisan workshops of various kinds of food. That area was also demolished, and medieval buildings and churches disappeared, hiding the Theatre from view. So the Romans could appreciate it: for many it had been unknown. However, Via della Bufola, the Arco dei Saponari, Vicolo della Campana, Monte Caprino, Via Tor de’ Specchi, S. Maria in Vincis and Piazza Montanari disappeared.

The history of Rome merges in the book with that of Walter Santinelli and his father Antonio who, after many misadventures, landed in Via Ennio Quirino Visconti during the war and soon transformed part of their house into a dance school.
It is the story of “Er Ciriola”, a local dance club with a beach on the Tiber under Castel Sant’Angelo, which was the scene of post-war films.
In a frame of other times, bike rides through the newborn Via del Mare to the pinewood of Ostia where to the sound of a violin were improvised dance steps and teachings to little Walter. There is no lack of descriptions of corners of Rome that have disappeared, such as the soldier’s bridge so called, because you paid a penny, or five cents, to cross it.
In his biography Walter, which fascism for the law on names had transformed into Gualtiero, tells the lynching of the director of Regina Coeli’s prisons in front of his eyes as a boy immediately after the war.
Characters of the past such as Renato Rascel, Ugo Gregoretti, Alberto Sordi, Pietro Germi, Monica Vitti, Michelangelo Antonioni and current ones such as Lino Banfi, Elena Sofia Ricci, Milena Vukotic, Beatrice Fazi, Luca Angioletti cross the pages of the novel.
The correspondence dance courses that Antonio Santinelli patented open the world of dance to many Italians even in remote villages.
The official dance school in Rome immediately after the war in the area of Piazza Vittorio involves the entire Santinelli family whose memories are in the films of the RAI archives.
The first school of the young Walter in Cola di Rienzo, then Viale Mazzini, Val Favara and Via Medaglie d’oro up to the Santinelli Dance Academy founded by his daughters, choreographers for television.
The novel from Rome moves to Paris in the world of Toulouse Lautrec, to London and Germany for the world dance championships.
Glimpses of history that cross the world of the student revolution of ’68 until the Travoltismo of ’78.
Even objects symbolic of Italian technological progress enter the story with the Vespa, the Lambretta and the legendary Olivetti letter 22.
The life of the Santinelli family enters the world of cinema with the preparation of actors in the English Patient, the Marauders of the Sahara, Blue-eyed Lisa, Murder on the Highway and many others; in TV dramas the “Doctor in the Family”, “All crazy for love”, “Don Matteo” “I Cesaroni”.
A biographical novel to read all in one breath in which the story alternates with historical narrative and in which the author here and there also comes into play for events that have crossed the life of Maestro Walter Santinelli.
The book is completed by an extensive appendix with the history of dances from the origins to the present day, the Italian dance federations and associations and a series of images dating back to the 50s with the tables of Antonio Santinelli’s correspondence courses.

Osvaldo Sponzilli Books

Avatar photo

By Rome Central Redazione

The Rome Central - Italy in the world  editorial staff consists of freelance editors, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, doctors, writers, video-makers, supporters, poets, writers, actors, singers and many friends. RomeCentral is a Magazine completely no-profit , whoever writes in this magazine does his job without any commercial pressure. NB: No people in Rome Central, from managers to employees etc .., receive any type of compensation. The love for the free journalism repays all our efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rome Central Mag
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Privacy Policy

What information do we collect?

We collect information from you when you register on our site or place an order. When ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your: name, e-mail address or mailing address.

What do we use your information for?

Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions Your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order.

How do we protect your information?

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information. We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to?keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be kept on file for more than 60 days.

Do we use cookies?

Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business. If you prefer, you can choose to have your computer warn you each time a cookie is being sent, or you can choose to turn off all cookies via your browser settings. Like most websites, if you turn your cookies off, some of our services may not function properly. However, you can still place orders by contacting customer service. Google Analytics We use Google Analytics on our sites for anonymous reporting of site usage and for advertising on the site. If you would like to opt-out of Google Analytics monitoring your behaviour on our sites please use this link (https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout/)

Do we disclose any information to outside parties?

We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


The minimum information we need to register you is your name, email address and a password. We will ask you more questions for different services, including sales promotions. Unless we say otherwise, you have to answer all the registration questions. We may also ask some other, voluntary questions during registration for certain services (for example, professional networks) so we can gain a clearer understanding of who you are. This also allows us to personalise services for you. To assist us in our marketing, in addition to the data that you provide to us if you register, we may also obtain data from trusted third parties to help us understand what you might be interested in. This ‘profiling’ information is produced from a variety of sources, including publicly available data (such as the electoral roll) or from sources such as surveys and polls where you have given your permission for your data to be shared. You can choose not to have such data shared with the Guardian from these sources by logging into your account and changing the settings in the privacy section. After you have registered, and with your permission, we may send you emails we think may interest you. Newsletters may be personalised based on what you have been reading on theguardian.com. At any time you can decide not to receive these emails and will be able to ‘unsubscribe’. Logging in using social networking credentials If you log-in to our sites using a Facebook log-in, you are granting permission to Facebook to share your user details with us. This will include your name, email address, date of birth and location which will then be used to form a Guardian identity. You can also use your picture from Facebook as part of your profile. This will also allow us and Facebook to share your, networks, user ID and any other information you choose to share according to your Facebook account settings. If you remove the Guardian app from your Facebook settings, we will no longer have access to this information. If you log-in to our sites using a Google log-in, you grant permission to Google to share your user details with us. This will include your name, email address, date of birth, sex and location which we will then use to form a Guardian identity. You may use your picture from Google as part of your profile. This also allows us to share your networks, user ID and any other information you choose to share according to your Google account settings. If you remove the Guardian from your Google settings, we will no longer have access to this information. If you log-in to our sites using a twitter log-in, we receive your avatar (the small picture that appears next to your tweets) and twitter username.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Compliance

We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.

Updating your personal information

We offer a ‘My details’ page (also known as Dashboard), where you can update your personal information at any time, and change your marketing preferences. You can get to this page from most pages on the site – simply click on the ‘My details’ link at the top of the screen when you are signed in.

Online Privacy Policy Only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our site, you consent to our privacy policy.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.
Save settings
Cookies settings