All posts tagged: Rome

Chiaraviglio Apts

Observations from the road: “Final Rome edition”…for this visit

As we prepare to leave Rome and head home, I have pulled together a few final observations about things we have seen while in this most fascinating of countries.  I’ll begin with the serious, and then move on to – shall we say – less serious thoughts that have popped into my head before returning to a final note of thanksgiving.  As always, these Observations From… posts are quick and quirky.  You’ve been warned! The Non-Catholic Cemetery is a treasure – Several people told us to make sure we visited the “Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome” (also known as the Protestant Cemetery), and we are so glad we did.  On the day we visited Ostia Antica, we walked across the street from the train station upon our return and spent a good hour roaming through this beautiful space. Here is a bit of the background, from the cemetery’s website: The Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome (to give it its full name) is also widely known as the Protestant Cemetery although it contains the graves …

Contemporary Art in Historic Rome (Continued)

I believe it was those sage philosophers Rodgers and Hammerstein* who said, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”  That describes our Friday in Rome. After seeing the stunning Santa Maria del Popolo in the morning (more on that later), we had planned to take in the Bernini statue The Ecstasy of St. Theresa  at Santa Maria della Vittoria and then walk down the street to see Francesco Borromini’s fantastic San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane.  Both were closed.  Thankfully, I’ve seen San Carlo (and will try to get Candice there tomorrow).  But we were disappointed, and the gelato we had after our picnic lunch only partially brought my spirits back. However, as has been our practice, when we walk by a church or open historic building that we haven’t seen before, we’ll ask each other, “Do you want to go in?”  More times than not, we’ll say “yes” and head in to find some new hidden gem. We were walking back towards Trastevere when we passed Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio (the …

Excavated street and buildings

A trip Into antiquity

Earlier this week Candice and I found time to visit two sites that have taken us at least as far back as the 4th century BCE and up through the 7th century CE.  Both were fascinating while serving as good platforms for thinking about historic preservation past and future. On Tuesday, we walked through our neighborhood to get to the Basilica of San Pancrazio, where we had attended Palm Sunday services three weeks ago.  We heard a presentation the night before from one of the fellows at the academy on labor practices in the catacombs, and it stirred us to visit the catacombs under the basilica. San Pancrazio’s catacombs are one of the few in Rome that have been consistently visited through the ages.  The fact that they were not lost over the centuries has been attributed to the fact that pilgrims from the cult of St. Pancras consistently visited the site throughout the Middle Ages. (Pancras) came to Rome together with his uncle Dionysus after his parents’ death and was decapitated in 304 after …

Ceiling detail

The pleasures of Villa Farnesina

If yesterday’s post – full of gruesome scenes of martyrdom from Santo Stefano Rotondo – turned your stomach, we found the antidote today in the pleasures of Villa Farnesina. Commissioned in 1508 by the wealthy Sienese banker Agostino Chigi and designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi, this suburban villa is at the foot of the hill from the American Academy in Trastevere.  We joined our friend Jeff Cody there for a guided tour and concert of Renaissance music on a beautiful Sunday spring day in Rome. The Wikipedia entry gives a good description of the difference between this suburban villa and an urban palazzo (or palace). Renaissance palaces typically faced onto a street and were decorated versions of defensive castles: rectangular blocks with rusticated ground floors and enclosing a courtyard. This villa, intended to be an airy summer pavilion, presented a side towards the street and was given a U shaped plan with a five bay loggia between the arms. In the original arrangement, the main entrance was through the north facing loggia which was open.  Today, …

At Prayer in Santo Stefano Rotondo

Three churches (part one)

On Andrew’s last full day with us in Rome, he joined Candice and me in visiting three very different churches with widely varying histories, architecture, and art work.  It was a great introduction and send-off for Andrew, as we hoped to whet his appetite for future visits to the city. It turns out that we’ve had two tours, each consisting of visits to three different churches, this week. So I’ve titled this post “Three churches (part one)” and I’ll get to the other three in a later post. The first we saw with Andrew is one of the city’s best-known historic sites and regularly shows up on “must see” lists.  The second was recommended by friends at the academy as a “lovely and troubling space” rolled into one.  And the third was found entirely by accident (which is the way we often find hidden gems). The 12th-century Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano is a minor basilica  that consists of three separate buildings located one on top of the other and dating back to ancient …

Observations From the Road (The “Quick” Edition)

About three weeks ago I realized I was going to have too much material to post from Rome and too little time in my six-week schedule to do it justice. Right now I have one draft written that needs some editing, (fully understanding that many regular readers don’t believe I actually edit this stuff), an entire weekend in Venice that is calling for my attention, visits to amazing historic sites that I want to capture, and so much more that I can barely keep it in my head.  Oh, and I’m trying to meet as many people as I can at the academy, attend lectures and tours, visit places throughout the country, and do some work on my project. But at least I’m not stressed!  That would be very un-sabbatical-like. To help out, I’ll rely on my trusty “Observations From the Road…” formula and will throw out some very quick and unrelated posts to ensure that I don’t lose these thoughts.  As always, these may not be worth seeing the light of day, so feel …

Basilica di Santa Maria

Observations from the road: Scenes from Holy Week in Rome

Sorry.  No pope sightings (or even attempts at pope sightings). We have had a relatively low-key Holy Week while in Rome, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had its memorable moments. Olive Trees and Palm Sunday:  Our week began last Sunday with a Palm Sunday processional at the neighborhood Basilica di San Pancrazio in Monteverde.  A 6th century basilica that was extensively renovated following Garibaldi’s 1849 attack on Rome, San Pancrazio was a lively place last Sunday. We met about a block away from the basilica and followed priests and musicians through the streets, waving olive branches in place of the palms we see in the United States.  During the service, conducted (of course) entirely in Italian, we only understood the occasional word. But we knew the shape of the liturgy and could follow along without getting lost.  The nave was filled with worshipers, while the aisles were used by parents and nuns to walk or stroll young children throughout the service.  The music was similar to Catholic folk masses in the U.S. these days …