The most beautiful Piazza in Rome

The most beautiful Piazza in Rome

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

Architects of the Renaissance created the concept of the Piazza in the 15th century, a redesign of the urban landscape into marketplaces and public spaces surrounded by buildings. Piazze (or Piazzas if you wish) still define the Italian city. They were used for religious and political propaganda, commerce, festivals and public executions. They are a second […]

Via Scelerata and the Evil Steps

Via Scelerata and the Evil Steps

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

A foreign visitor stopped me on the via Cavour and with two words he asked one of the most frequent tourist questions in Rome’s Monti District. “Saint Peters?” He phrased the question with an expression of frustration, as if he had been searching for the church for quite a while. I knew right away he […]

The Walls and Gates of Rome

The Walls and Gates of Rome

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

The Walls of Rome The Servian Walls If you’re arriving to Rome’s 1930’s Termini Train Station, look to the right as you walk out the front of the station into the Piazza dei Cinquecento, the square named for the 500 Italian soldiers who were wiped out by 7,000 Ethiopians at the Battle of Dogali (Eritrea) […]

The (not so Spanish) Spanish Steps

The (not so Spanish) Spanish Steps

Posted by on Feb 25, 2016 in Italy, Lazio-Rome, Rome | No Comments

  Oh the streets of Rome are filled with rubble Ancient footprints are everywhere You can almost think you’re seeing double On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs Bob Dylan, When I paint my Masterpiece, 1971     The Spanish Steps have become one of the most famous landmarks of Rome. Each Spring […]

Mussolini’s Architectural Legacy in Rome

Mussolini’s Architectural Legacy in Rome

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

Rome is a very old city, by most estimates, over 2800 years old. You can literally wander from the 8th century BC to the 21st century in a day’s walk. The architectural styles of Rome are just as eternal as the city itself. The Classical city was mostly built between the 1st century BC and the […]

Christmas in Rome

Christmas in Rome

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

Christmas or Saturnalia? In 336, the Roman Emperor Constantine inserted a celebration of Jesus Christ into the fun and frolic of the Saturnalia, a festival dedicated to Saturn held annually from December 17-23. The holiday included great feasts, gambling, gift giving and a once a year role reversal where Masters would become Servants. It’s hard […]

September in Rome – 2015

September in Rome – 2015

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

When the ancient Roman year began in March, at the time of the Vernal Equinox, September was the 7th month. Septum is Latin for 7. A lot has changed over the years. In 1582, the calendar experts of Pope Gregory XIII (Boncompagni) discovered a major flaw in Julius Caesar’s Julian calendar. Every 128 years, the ancient […]

Secrets of the Castel Sant’Angelo

Secrets of the Castel Sant’Angelo

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

At age 59, the Emperor Hadrian returned to Rome and began work on his legacy. He spent most of his life traveling to the extents of the Empire, through Africa, Asia, Egypt, Greece, Judea, Britain and northern Europe. He mostly shunned life in Rome, preferring to learn about the cultures of the world instead of […]

The Coliseum – Fact and Fiction

The Coliseum – Fact and Fiction

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

We rent an apartment that (literally) overlooks the Coliseum, the ancient Flavian Amphitheater that first opened in 80 AD. We sit on the terrace every evening and watch ‘closing time’ in the Piazza del Colosseo. A voice comes over the public address system and informs the tourists, the great Amphitheatre is about to close. The […]

Byzantine treasures of Rome

Byzantine treasures of Rome

Posted by on Mar 21, 2015 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

A short history of Byzantium In 660 BC, Byzantion was an ancient Greek city named for Byzas, one of the many children of Poseidon, there were more than 60 of them. Byzas was instructed by the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi to settle the land where the Golden Horn meets the Bosporus, and so he […]

The curious tale of the Laocoön and his sons

The curious tale of the Laocoön and his sons

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

On January 14, 1506, a farmer named Felice da Fredis was digging up his vineyards in the Esquiline Hill and discovered a concealed chamber. Inside was one of the most fabled statues of all time. In the 1st century AD, Pliny the Elder claimed it was the most amazing statue ever seen in ancient Rome, […]

The Life and Death of Via dei Fori Imperiali: 1932-2015

The Life and Death of Via dei Fori Imperiali: 1932-2015

Posted by on Feb 17, 2015 in Italy, Rome | No Comments

On October 28th, 1932, Benito Mussolini sat atop his horse, looked out over his newly built ‘Via dell’Impero’ (Road of the Empire) and smiled. He was about to lead the 1st parade down the grand avenue. These were good times for ‘Il Duce.’ The 4 lane boulevard was a crowning achievement of Mussolini’s new ‘Third […]