September in Rome – 2017

September in Rome – 2017

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in Italy, Lazio-Rome | No Comments

In 2017, Rome, and all of Italy, suffered the worst drought in 60 years. Rainfall was close to 80% below normal. The water flow to Rome has been continuous, without interruption, for over 2000 years, and yet, the drought of 2017 has changed all that. Many of the fountains of the larger Piazze still flowed, […]

Ancient Greece in Sicily – Akragas (Agrigento)

Ancient Greece in Sicily – Akragas (Agrigento)

Akragas – Agrigento Around 580 BC, the wealthy colony of Gela in the south of the island began trading their crops to the west, to the Sicani, Elymian and the Carthaginians. The Greek colonies didn’t really trust the Carthaginians but business was good. Instead of fortifying the walls of Gela, just in case Carthage did […]

Ancient Greece in Sicily – Segesta vs. Selinunte

Ancient Greece in Sicily – Segesta vs. Selinunte

The colonization of Sicily in the 8th century BC pretty much kept the Greeks to the East and the Carthaginians to the West, but by the 7th century BC the Greeks began to expand. In 628 BC the colonists from Megara Hyblaea, about 12km north of Syracuse went West. Hoping to capitalize on trade with […]

Ancient Greece in Sicily – Syracuse

Ancient Greece in Sicily – Syracuse

Sicily is the melting pot of Italy, a cultural mélange that has taken over 10,000 years to create. From around the 9th millennium BC till around 1200 BC the island was populated with farming communities. Their origins are a bit cloudy. The Sicels (Siculi), the ancient namesake of Sicily, probably came from the Italian peninsula […]

Pausylipon: Imperial Villa, ancient tunnels and eels

Pausylipon: Imperial Villa, ancient tunnels and eels

Posted by on Oct 29, 2017 in Campania, Naples | No Comments

Once upon a time in the 1st century BC, Publius Vedius Pollio, a freedman of modest origins worked his way up the social ladder to become an Equestrian (Knight), economic advisor to the Emperor Augustus and Governor of the Roman Asian province (Modern day Turkey). Between the years 31 – 27 BC, he reorganized the […]

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 […]