rome

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

rome

Colosseum, the Flavian Amphitheater, maybe the most iconic structure in Rome.

Rome

Rome feels like a second home for us.

We have been traveling to and staying in Rome ever since we were married. So we are not rushed to see sights, but to enjoy the city for what it is. A living museum.

Our walks take us to iconic locations. We typically make our way to Trevi Fountain, however, we are finding the crowds unbearable. The more recent annoyance is the sound of a whistle everytime someone sits on the edge of the foundtain. I understand the next change will be a fence and gates at entrances to control crowds. The fountain is a few blocks from the best pen store in Rome, Novelli Pen, so we will probably be at the fountain every year.

We then leave the Trevi Fountain on Via delle Muratte, an interesting and busy small street. Wwe turn on the second left, Via di Santa Maria in Via which takes us through the Galleria Sciarra Colonna. This also is no longer a hidden treasure in Rome. The gates through the galleria are closed on Saturday and Sunday. But just through it is the small street Via di San Marcello and we visit with our friend Marco Parascenzo at Novelli Pen.

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 buildings 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.

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.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a tradition, although getting harder to enjoy because of the crows. We used to sit on the ledge and throw a coin over our shoulder. Now, you can no longer sit on the ledge and even more controls are on their way.

The fountain was built to be at the end of the Acqua Vergine, an ancient aqueduct that supplied water to Rome in 19 BC. A number of artists had their hand on this fountain. In 1629 Pope Urban VIII requested Gian Lorenzo Bernini to renovate the old fountain at that location. We could be looking at another Bernini classic, but the Pope died and Bernini never completed his work. Pope Clement XII awarded the work to Nicola Salvi. He began work in 1732, however, Salvi died in 1751. Enter another artist, the fountain was finished by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762.

It was here the iconic film director Federico Fellini shot the famous fountain scene in 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

Love this place. 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 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 failed and coupled with overall financial troubles the Prince went broke selling hisart collection, the galleria and the family palace. Today the family palace, located on Via del Corso is a bank. The Prince spared no expense for its decoration, he commissioned painter Giuseppe Cellini to complete the interior. 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.

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.

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, has been restored and 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 hole 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 oculus is always open and there is a drainage system under the floor for rainwater to leave the building.

Pope Urban VIII had 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 for painter Raphael, composer Corelli, architect Peruzzi, Vittoria Emanuele II and Umberto I.

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. In the 15th century, the City Market moved from the Campidoglio to the Piazza Navona and the area became a high profile public space. The market was moved to the Campo de'Fiori in 1869.

The piazza 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, created by Giacomo della Porta. It was added in 1878 to make the overall piazza more balanced with the fountain at the south end, La Fountana del Moro.

In 2005 we planned a group event, the Amalfi Event. The grand plan was that we would all enter the Piazza Navona, using different entrances and meet at the fountain. Great planning. I even bought a new fountain pen, the special production Pelikan M600 Piazza Navona. Unfortunately a major rain storm hit Rome that evening. We all met, huddled under the canopies of the cafes and line the piazza and drank Prosecco for the evening! On well, the pen of course lives on!

Colosseum

Colosseum

Colosseum

We remember our earlier stays in Rome when we could just walk into the Colosseum. There were no ticket gate or lineups. Now it is all very different. Tickets, line ups, crowds. But it is still worth it.

This is the largest Roman amphitheater built and dates from 70/72 AD completed in 80 AD. It could hold some 50,000. It still stands despite the work of those who stole it stones and the damages 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.

via dei Coronari

via dei Coronari

This is one of the best streets in Rome. Forget the streets with the high end store, here you will find antique dealers, bric-a-brac shops, bars, cafes and shopping that is within the reach of us mortals! The street, some 500 meters, half a kilometer, has retained the layout it was originally given by Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84) and is lined with buildings from the 15th and 16th centuries.

The street runs from the Piazza Navona to the Ponte Sant'Angelo. It was a street used by the pilgrims to make their way to the then toll bridge, to cross the river and travel to St. Peters.

Rome via del Governo Vecchio

via del Governo Vecchio

Another of the streets that lead into the Ponte district of Rome. Just off the Piazza Navona, and leading towards the Ponte Sant'Angelo, this street is loaded with stores, cafes and bars. The palazzi, nubers 123 and 134 is where Renaissance architec and painter Donato Bramante and San Filippo Neri once lived.

Aurelian Walls

Aurelian Walls

I saw a photo exhibition in 2017 on the Aurelian Walls, the walls that were built between 271 AD and 275 AD around Rome during the reign of Roman Emperors Aurelian and Probus. The exhibition was so moving that the walk along the walls became my plan for one of my days in Rome. Of course you can't miss them. I just jumped a cab, walk along the walls and then took a bus back into the centre of the city. Great way to experience Rome, without the crowds. The walls, constructed of brick-faced concrete are 11 feet thick and 26 feet high with a swuare tower every 100 Roman fee. At one time there were 363 towers!

Pictured above is the Porta San Sebastiano is the largest and one of the best-preserved gates. It has held other names in medival times. The towes have the  Museum of the Walls, that exhibits, among other things, models of the walls and the gates during different phases of their building.