Have you ever tried to go to IKEA in New York? You have to take a boat. A freakin’ boat. And while yes, ferrying across the East River at sunset to have a looksie at some bookshelves and desklamps and duvets and whatnot is actually not an entirely unpleasant experience, it’s certainly not the most convenient. So imagine my excitement when I finally looked up the address for IKEA here in Rome and noticed it was hanging out down at the end of the Metro A at Anagnina. Awesome. I live about twelve feet from a Metro A stop, so popping down there one evening after work seemed like the easiest thing in the world to pick up some necessities for my new apartment.
Of course, despite the seemingly easy access, I kept delaying the trip until this past Friday. My mom was in town, and since there’s nothing more exciting for a visitor to Rome than a trip to IKEA (I jest, she really wanted to go!), we decided to head out there and stock up. We boarded the Metro in Prati around 4:55 – a little later than intended, but, in my opinion, still with plenty of enough time to get back to the city for an aperitivo or something. Thirty to forty glorious minutes later, we disembarked at the end of the line. I, foolishly, had ignored the suggested buses noted on the IKEA website, thinking it would be either walkable or very obvious which bus to take. Upon exiting and noticing the giant autostrada standing between us and our Swedish destination, I whipped out the ole iPhone to consult my all-time favorite app: Roma Bus. A quick search indicated that we could hop on the 507 – one of about forty eight thousand buses that stop at Anagnina. We tracked down the stop and commenced our wait. Twenty minutes later, as we watched the sun slowly descend below the horizon and the parking lot sparkle with headlights and streetlamps, I saw a 509 pulling in, checked the sign, and noticed we could take that to the same stop. Of course, this being the capolinea, our dear driver was obligated to take a brief pausa upon pulling into the stop. But we didn’t have to wait long, for just thirty minutes later, he reemerged from the inky black night to guide our chariot along.
Finally, we were under way and zooming across the parking lot. We raced down the aisle of the bus stop, as the driver pulled a wicked U-ie (I actually have no idea how to spell that) toward the exit, where we came upon an impenetrable line of traffic. Undeterred, the driver pressed on, occasionally even moving 6-10 inches forward over the course of 7 minutes. Forty five minutes later, those final fifty yards were traversed, and we were sailing along Tuscolana, ready to pass those two remaining stops before our destination. Of course, as much as I love the Roma Bus app, what it doesn’t tell you is that the 507 (or 509 as the case may be) slows down along the side of the autostrada, opens up the doors, and deposits you in a dark, deserted parking lot where somehow even the everpresent glow of the yellow IKEA sign has been blocked out. Still, we forged ahead, navigating through intuition and the North Star until those golden block letters finally beckoned to us. But wait…what is that? Some sort of grid upon the sign? What is this mesh-like overlay from our vantage point? No, no, no, not…a chain-link fence between us and IKEA! But alas, ’twas yet another barrier to the land of milk crates and honeycomb mattress pads (I don’t know if they carry either of those, but I do know that I always enjoy a good dose of biblical punnery).
Courage and fortitude carried us through as we navigated the motorized ramps, escalators, and parking lots of the shopping mall in which we now found ourselves – an entity whose existence in this country I was heretofore unaware. Finally, with one final sprint across a highspeed motorway, we gained access to the IKEA parking garage, and, by extension, the store itself.
I won’t bore you with the details of the return journey, but I will tell you that the 551 stops in front of the main entrance to the store as its final pause before returning to Anagnina. Which is fortunate, because it allowed us to catch the last Metro back to Prati before the whole thing shut down at 9. We didn’t even have time for meatballs.
If you go…
IKEA Anagnina, Via Fattoria Rampa 35
Open daily, 10am-10pm
Take the Metro A to the end of the line (Anagnina), and then catch the 046, 502, 504, 506, 507 or 509 to Tuscolana/Filogaso. To be honest, from here I don’t know a better way to access the store than by trekking through parking lots and malls like we did. If anyone does, please leave it in the comments. Of course, you could always follow ATAC’s suggestion, and just stroll along the autostrada for 1.5km. For some reason, the 551 doesn’t stop there on the way out, but it’s a gem for getting back to the metro and stops right in front of the main entrance to the store. AND BY ALL MEANS, DO NOT GO DURING RUSH HOUR ON A FRIDAY.