Once upon a time, there was the Red Riding Hood dreaming about visiting the city of Rome. She dreamed and dreamed and kept dreaming but somehow this city kept avoiding her. Until March 2016!
So much history from different time periods, so much good coffee and vines and food and nice little charming restaurants and of course: the sunshine! 🙂
When I arrived there I notices the chaotic city and how noone respects the traffic rules, but I was not discouraged. Like in Paris, I put my pink sunglasses on and started to explore.
The first thing that came on my way was Santa Maria Maggiore, a 19 century basilica, the largest church in Rome that is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not famous at all, but standing glorious in front of me I thought: if this uknown building is so big and impressive, what are the mos famous one like? Inner part of the church is entirely shiny in gold and marble. Under the high altar of the basilica is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt, with a crystal reliquary said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ.
But I wanted to start from the beginning, as the history lover and discoverer. So I went down to Foro Romano where the history of the Western civilisation started.
Rome’s history spreads for more than two and a half thousand years. There are signs of Roman mythology and culture everywhere you look around… So the Roman Forum was a city square today surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of antique Rome.
A bit outside of the Palatine Hill is the famous Colosseum – the largest amphitheater ever built, around 1 century built by emperor Vespasian. It could hold around 80 000 spectators coming to watc gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.
Opposite of the Colosseum is the Temple of Venus: the largest temple in Ancient Rome. Located on the Velian Hill, it was dedicated to the goddesses Venus Felix (lat Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune). The architect was the emperor Hadrian and construction began in 2 century.
Left of the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 4 century.
The last thing from the ancient Roman states I visited was the Pantheon whic literally translated from latin language is temple. A former Roman temple, now a church, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus around 1 century and completed by the emperor Hadrian. It is famous by its central opening (oculus) to the sky and the grave of grande Rafaello – the famous painter and architect.
In Rome, classical ruins and early Christian places of worship stand next to each other. The examples are the Foro Romano where you can find the worship of the Venus and Virgin Mary, or the Pantheon that was built by the Romans as a sacred place but later turned into a church as the christian religion was recognized as one of the officials religions in ancient Rome.
I didn’t have much time to discover Rome in Middle Ages or Renaissance and Baroque Rome, and trust me, there is so much work to do, but I did photograph Ponte Sisto. It is the bridge over the river Tiber from 15 century, made by reusig the foundations of a prior Roman bridge, the Pons Aurelius, which had been destroyed during the early Middle Ages.
Rome is much about fountains like the one in Piazza Navona originally the Stadium od Domitian built in 1 century. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones (lat game), hence nowadays name ”navona.” It is where I decided to sit down and enjoy my café and gelatto (ita ice cream).
One of the most popular places in Rome is Fontana di Trevi – a standing fountain and the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in several notable films, including the movie of Federico Fellini: La Dolce Vita. Legend says that in 19 BC, some thirsty Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water outside of the city of Rome. The discovery of the source led emperor Augustus to start the construction of an aqueduct that will go into the city, named Aqua Virgo, (lat Virgin Waters), in honour of the legendary young girl. The aqueduct served the hot Baths.
From there I went directly to Piazza di Spagna to sit on famous spanish steps but they were under construction so I hide myself in nearby Cafe Greco Antico – historic landmark café which opened in 1760 in Via dei Condotti. It is the oldest bar in Rome and within Italy only Caffè Florian in Venice (established in 1720) is older. Historic figures including Stendhal, Goethe, Byron, Franz Liszt, Henrik Ibsen, Hans Christian Andersen, Wagner and even Casanova have had coffee there. Today Caffe Greco remains a heaven for writers, politicians, artists and notable people in Rome… me, I got even three roses from a cavalier. 🙂
The Altar of the Patria also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II built in honor of the first king of a unified Italy is one of the grandiose places in the city.
In the end, together with some of the friends I have in Rome, I visited La Sapienza University – one of my favorites and one of the oldest in history, founded in 14 century.
In front of the main entrance to the building, there is a faountain and great statue of the greek goddess Minerva (gre knowledge).