rome

it is called the eternal city, visit Rome and you will know

rome

Colosseum, the Flavian Amphitheater

Rome

Rome feels like a second home for us.

We have been traveling to and staying in Rome since we were married. For us, it is not a mater of having to visit specific sights, but deciding where we want to go on an individual day. Once the pressure of sights to see passes, it is easier to enjoy the city and being there.

Our walks take us to iconic locations. We would typically make our way to Trevi Fountain, however, last year (2017) we are starting to feel it is not worth visiting the Trevi fountain because of the crowds. It is so crowded it is unbearable. There is also a new level of annoyance. If you sit on the edge of the fountain, the police blow a whistle. With the crowds, there is a non-ending noise. Although, since it is only a few blocks from the best pen store in Rome, Novelli Pen, we will probably going by the fountain every year we are there.

We then leave on Via delle Muratte, which is an interesting and busy small street as it is on the way to the Pantheon. But we turn on the second left at Via di Santa Maria in Via. This takes us through the Galleria Sciarra Colonna and then to the small street of Via di San Marcello. This is a short stop, but this small galleria is quite elegant and restoration is now complete.

On via di San Marcello we visit with our friend Marco Parascenzo at Novelli Pen. We have a tradition with Marco to go to lunch at L'Archetto, on via dell'Archetto, 26 for a great pasta. During the day lots of locals eat at this restaurant. Wine, pasta... it is a good basic lunch.

From there we make our way back to the Via del Corso and we walk along Via di Pietra past the columns of the Temple of Hadrian at the Piazza di Pietra. We continue along Via dei Pastini. If we cut down to the Via dei Seminario that takes us by the Chiesa di Sant'Ignazio di Loyola a Campo Marzio, the Sant'Ignazio. - go in and look up at the ceiling. This routes take us to the Pantheon.

The Pantheon is one of my favorite structures in Rome. I have always enjoyed just walking into the building. Great when you are at first opening at 9:30, a little less pleasant in the middle. Now, in 2018 they is an admission ticket required. They need to raise funds to help with restoration costs. I support that.

It is then a few more blocks, which takes us past the Sant'Eustachio as well as some pretty impressive government offices complete with police guards to the Piazza Navona.

Hard to believe but it was only on our most recent trip that we spent some time in Trastevere. There are some quaint streets in this area. Again, the earlier in the day you walk the streets the more pleasant the experience.

So that is just one of our regular walks. There are other places we visit, and so many places to see in Rome, but this walk is one of our traditions.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

We have been returning to Rome ever since we were married. Our time in Rome always includes walking by the Trevi Fountain. We sit on the ledge of the fountain and throw a coin over our shoulder. Well, I should say we have been doing this as starting in 2108 police would blow whistles and wave people off the ledges. But it was all because if you throw a coin over your shoulder and make a wish to return, you will. I hate to say it, but we are tending to put off our visits as the crowds around the fountain are unbearable.

The fountain is the end of the Acqua Vergine, an ancient aqueduct that supplied water to Rome in 19 BC. In 1629 Pope Urban VIII requested Gian Lorenzo Bernini to renovate the original fountain. We could be looking at another Bernini classic, but the Pope died, Bernini never completed his work. Pope Clement XII awarded the work to Nicola Salvi. Work began in 1732, however, Salvi died in 1751. Enter another artist, the fountain was finished by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762.

The fountain is noted as director Federico Fellini shot the fountain scene for the movie La Dolce Vita. When actor Marcello Mastroianni died in 1996, the fountain was draped in black and the water turned off to honor the star, Marcello Mastroianni.

rome is a city, and a state of mind

enjoy the city, not only the sites

Galleria Sciarra Colonna

Galleria Sciarra Colonna

This is one of my favorite places in Rome. We walk through this galleria on our way to Novelli Pen to visit our friend Marco Parascenzo. Over the years we have always stopped in the galleria to admire the painting and decorations. I remember on our first visits to Rome it was semi-abandoned with an eerie feel. But restoration work took place and now it is stunning, and in a way sadly, very popular.

The former family palace of Prince Maffeo Sciarra Colonna sat on what is now Via del Corso, a block over from the Galleria. The Prince owned land behind his palace and in 1870 he decided to build a retail galleria. Gallerias were becoming popular in Europe. This galleria is different from the longer "mall" type buildings in Paris and and other European city. This is a beautiful square. Colonna thought that its central location in fashionable area would be ideal for a shopping arcade. Across from the galleria he built the theatre Quirino which would draw even more people to the area. Unfortunately, it never really took off.

The galleria, however, failed and this was coupled with the overall financial trouble of the Prince. He went broke and had to sell art collection and eventually not only the galleria but even his family palace. Today the family palace, located on Via del Corso is a bank. We have walked by it many times and until now, never knew the history of the Prince, or the beautify Galleria Sciarra Colonna which stands around the corner. The galleria remains a private building, and it is closed on Sundays.

But today, even with more and more people walking through the galleria, there is a beautiful feeling of solitude when you walk into the inner courtyard.

The Prince spared no expense for its decoration, he awarded a commissioned to the painter Giuseppe Cellini. Architect Giulio De Angelis was responsible for the design of the galleria that includes a cast iron glassed canopy and elegant designs on of the supporting structures. Every inch of the interior of the arcade is painted and decorated. There are large frescoes portrayed scenes of family life having a moral intent, long Latin inscriptions celebrated the virtues of motherhood -- “Little one Begins or child to know from the smile of the mother”. There are also various coat of arms of the family (Colonna/Barberini) as well as the initials of Maffeo Sciarra on the interior walls.

 

Pantheon

Pantheon

 

Pantheon

 

How many times can I go the Pantheon? I let you know when I reach my limit but in the many years we have been in Rome, it is still a location that fascinates me.

Starting in 2018 to better control the crowds, there will be a ticket system.

During the day the crowds in the Piazza dell Rotunda are thick, and at night you will find many walking around the piazza. But arrive first thing in the morning it is a sight to see.

Walk around the exterior walls of the Pantheon for glimpse of its grand architecture.

Here is a structure that is meant to remain. It was built by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to the gods of Rome in 27 BC. Fires in Rome destroyed the building. Rebuilt by Domitian and then again struck by fire in 110 AD. In 126 AD by Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the structure.

The structure was consecrated as a church, and this saved the building from destruction, a fate of many ancient Roman buildings during the medieval period.

The external marble has been stripped but inside, the marble, although restored, is beautiful. It is a remarkable building, and there it stands, some 2,000 years and it still has the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world.

The oculus, the whole in the centre of the dome, is the only source of light for the interior and sunlight moves around the interior of the building like a sundial. The whole is always open and there is a drainage system under the floor for rainwater to leave the building.

Pope Urban VIII has the bronze ceiling of the portico melted down and used for work on the Castel Sant'Angelo among other locations.

The inside has the tombs on people that include painter Raphael, composer Corelli and architect Peruzzi as well as Vittoria Emanuele II and Umberto I, two Kings of Italy.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

The space was originally the ancient Roman Stadium of Domitian. A piece of the foundation can been seen in an excavation area long the outside. It was in the 15th century, when the City Market moved from the Campidoglio to the Piazza Navona that it became a high profile public space. The market was moved to the Campo de'Fiori in 1869.

It is a Baroque architectural delight. In the centre stands the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Along one side is the Sant'Agnese in Agone church designed by Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi.

At the north end is the Fountain of Neptune, Rome, created by Giacomo della Porta. It was added in 1878 to make the overall piazza more balanced as there is also a fountain at the south end, La Fountana del Moro.

In 2005 we planned a group event, the Amalfi Event. The grand plan is that we would all enter the Piazza Navona, by a different entrance and meet at the fountain. Great plan. Unfortunately a serious rain storm hit Rome that evening and we all met, huddled under the canopies of the cafes and line the piazza and drank Prosecco for the evening!

Colosseum

Colosseum

Colosseum

We remember our earlier stays in Rome when we could just walk up to and into the Colosseum. There were no ticket gates or lineups. Now it is all very different.

Today you buy tickets, wait in lines, follow a set route to walk the various levels of the Colosseum.

This was the largest Roman amphitheater built and it dates from 70 or 72 AD being completed in 80 AD. It could hold some 50,000. It still stands despite the work of those who stole it stones and the damage due to earthquakes. The most damage by earthquakes occurred in 1349 when a large portion of the south wall collapsed. Stones were taken and used for buildings in Rome. Not only where stones removed, but the bronze clamps that held the stonework were removed and today the building has the pockmarks of the former clamps.

It is also known as the Flavian Amphitheater. Vespasian lived to see three levels of the Colosseum built, with the top level completed by his don Titus in 80 AD.

I must admit, my visit to the Colosseum in 2009, with the tickets, a 20 minute wait to get in, and the crowds inside was not a moving as some of our previous visits, it is still one of the must-see structures of Rome. Despite the people, find a spot where you can be alone for a moment and look out at the inside structure. It is very impressive.

In 2007 the Colosseum was added to the one of the the lists of New Seven Wonders of the World.

The Colosseum is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Vespasian lived to see three levels of the Colosseum built, with the top level completed by his don Titus in 80 AD.

I must admit, my visit to the Colosseum in 2009, with the tickets, a 20 minute wait to get in, and the crowds inside was not a moving as some of our previous visits, it is still one of the must-see structures of Rome. Despite the people, find a spot where you can be alone for a moment and look out at the inside structure. It is very impressive.

In 2007 the Colosseum was added to the one of the the lists of New Seven Wonders of the World.

Basilica San Paolo fuori le Mura

Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura Cloisters

Basilica San Paolo fuori le Mura

This is an impressive basilica with a rich history. We specifically went to see the cloisters which were built between 1220 and 1241. The San Paolo is easy to get to. Just take the Metro and get off at the San Paolo stop. More information on the cloisters and the basilica is on the Travels to Cloisters web site.

Saint Paul's Outside the Walls, outside the Aurelian Walls, it is one of Rome's four ancient, papal, major basilicas,[a] along with the basilicas of Saint John in the Lateran, Saint Peter's, and Saint Mary Major. The basilica is within Italian territory and not the territory of the Vatican City State, but the Holy See owns the Basilica, and Italy is legally obligated to recognize its full ownership and provide the immunity granted by International Law to the headquarters of the diplomatic agents of foreign States. Founded by Roman Emperor Constantine I, over the burial place of Saint Paul.

You can take the metro with only a short walk of a few blocks to visit the Basilica. If your time in Rome is short, grab a taxi.

 

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo

The Trident

The name is the piazza of the people. Of note is that on this piazza are two churches that sit across from each other - the Santa Maria dei Miracoli and the Santa Maria in Montesanto on either side of Via Del Corso. Del Corso leaves the Piazza del Popolo and travels down towards the Via Venezia. They look like they are mirrors of each other but they are both different sizes and shapes. Looking towards via del Corso, the Santa Maria, on the left, is smaller. Being smaller it has an oval dome while the Santa Maria dei Miracoli on the right has a circular dome.

In Roman days, this location was the start of the Via Flaminia, the road to what is now Rimini on the east coast, to the north. The ancient via Flaminia was one of the most important roads into Rome, so this is where many would have entered the city. On the north side of the piazza is the Porta del Popolo. The gate, or port, was built in 1562 (Pope Pius IV). The piazza as it stands today was designed in 1811 to 1822.

The Egyptian Obelisk of Sety, is the second oldest, and tallest that stands in Rome. It is from Heliopolis and dates from the era of Ramese II and came to Rome in 10 BC. It originally stood in the Circus Maximus and then moved to the Piazza (Pope Sixtus V).

The Trident is the reference to the three streets that branch out from the north of the piazza: in the centre: (1) via del Corso was the ancient via Lata that led to Piazza Venezia; (2) via Ripetta goes past the Mausoleum of Augustus and leads to the Tiber River; the (3) Via del Babuino (named after a grotesque sculpture of Silenus - given the label the Baboon, leads to the Piazza di Spagna. The aqueduct Vergine Nuova (1820) brought water into the piazza for the fountains. The area of Rome from the Piazza del Popolo up to the Spanish Steps is one of the areas enjoyed by movie director Fellini. One of his favorite places was the Café Canova.

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

The good thing about return to Rome is once all the big sights are accomplished, there are lots of other interesting locations to explore. One morning I just stumbled on the Palazzo Mattei di Giove, located at Via Caetani 32.

This is one of the most prominent of the group of Mattei houses in Rome. Designed at the beginning of the 17th Century. The outside facade has a Florentine look. Walk inside and the couretyard is a full on tribute to ancient Rome. There are many busts and reliefes.

The palazzo is now the home of the Centre for American Studies, The State Record Library, the Historical InTrtitute for Modern & Contemporary Age and the Library of Modern and Contempory History.

Carlo Maderno designed the palace at the beginning of the 17th century for Asdrubale Mattei, Marquis di Giove and father of Girolamo Mattei and Luigi Mattei. He was also the brother of Ciriaco Mattei and Cardinal Girolamo Mattei. It was Maderno who was responsible for the extravagantly enriched cornice on the otherwise rather plain stuccoed public façade, the piano nobile loggia in the courtyard and the rooftop loggia or altana. For the interior of the palazzo, Pietro da Cortona received a commission for the ceiling of the gallery.