The aim of this paper is to investigate the “countless gazes” Heinrich Böll devoted to the city of Rome in 1961, during his residential fellowship at the German Academy ‘Villa Massimo’. Böll’s views of the “eternal city” – which reveal unexpected contacts with Bachmann’s perspective – do not involve the canonized and iconic beauties of Rome, but rather the contrasts between richness and poverty. The German author points out – through an optical device focused on the marginal aspects – the movements, the chromatic range, and also the “aesthetics of human being”, which characterize Rome.