Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rome - Via Appia Antica

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Our flight home was canceled on short notice, so we had an unexpected extra day in Rome. We decided to get a bit more adventurous and take the Metro to the Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica to see the ancient Appian Way, catacombs, and monuments.

We walked a few short blocks to the Lepanto Metro station. On our way we passed San Gioacchino in Prati. Mass was in progress, so we did not walk inside.
The Fontana delle Cariatidi in the Piazza del Quiriti, just up the street from our hotel.
We got off the Metro at the Garbatella station. The guidebooks and Google said we should use the Colli Albani station, but Garbatella looked a bit closer (and it was). This interesting suspension bridge was next to the Garbatella station.
The aroma of peaches emanating from this produce market in Garbatella was heavenly.
We made our way over to the main entrance to the Archaeological Park (Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica), picked up a couple of maps, and started walking the old Roman road, Via Appia Antica (Appian Way).
Another section of Via Appia Antica with original Roman paving.
"Modern" (relatively speaking) cobblestone paving can be seen the upper left. Roman paving used much larger stones. Here you can see wheel ruts in the old stones.
The Via Appia Antica is mostly a very straight road.
But at one point it made a slight jog before continuing on its straight way.
Mostly the Via Appia Antica is lined with lavish privately-owned villas, but there are also numerous ancient ruins as well. Some are large complexes, like the Mausoleo di Cecilia Metella (above).
Others were small roadside monuments like this one.
And some were perplexing stone "pyramids" on a small base.
After visiting the Catacombs of San Callisto (sorry, no photos allowed), we walked to the Colli Albano Metro station. It was definitely further from the Appian Way than the Garbatella station was. The small lane above is a private road that leads to a gate into another section of the Archaeological Park. Altogether, we walked about 14 miles today.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Rome - Ancient City

Saturday, 24 September 2016

I'll finish the day with sights from the Roman era (mostly).

Across the street from the Bocca della Verita is a fountain and the Temple of Hercules Victorius.
Is this old Roman ruin a stable with rings for hitching horses and water bowls?
Trajan's Column (Colonna Traiana) and an unidentified Baroque era dome. Trajans's Column has a spiral of his exploits. The figure at the top of the column is St. Peter, which replaced Trajan in1587.
Another view of Trajan's Column with Trajan's Forum in the foreground.
Augustus' Forum (?)
Trajan's Market with Trajan's Forum in the foreground.
Trajan's Markets
We were here!
In the ancient area, but totally out of place is the early 20th Century Victor Emmanuel Monument. It looks like something the colonial British would have build in India, but it's all Italian!

Rome - Art & Music

Saturday, 24 September 2016

One could argue that art and music are everywhere in Rome -- on the streets, in the churches, in the galleries, literally everywhere. Today we visited two sites specifically for art and music.

Villa Farnesina

We were drawn in by the promise of frescoes by Raphael. There was so much more.

A ceiling fresco
This is only a small part of the walls in what was the main bedroom. I think this might keep me awake!
This stood out as the only monochrome fresco in the villa.
Not real drapes, but "trompe d'oeil" painting. The villa was filled with painted millwork and textiles. Painting was cheaper than wood!
In the "Perspective Room" wall paintings looked like major vistas of 16th Century Rome.

Sant'Agnes in Agone

The church does not allow photography, but we attended a concert of Italian opera arias, and for some reason they allowed photographs at the concert in the church sacristy.

Pianist, soprano, and tenor for the concert of Italian opera arias in the sacristy of Sant'Agnes in Agone.

Rome - Parish Churches

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Rome is churches and churches are Rome. We visited several "regular" parish churches today -- no cathedrals here. Weddings were popular.

Even though these churches may not have any "name" artwork, they were well-worth visiting. The rather plain exteriors belied the riches within.

Chiesa Santo Spirito in Sassia near the Vatican. The exterior is quite plain, but the interior is impressive.
Chiesa Santa Maria della Scala
Chiesa Santa Maria della Scala
Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
We were not able to go into Santa Cecilia in Trastevere because a wedding was in progress.
Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The Bocca della Verita ("Mouth of Truth") is in the portico of the church. The line was too long for us to visit the Bocca, but we did go into the church and the crypt of Adrian I. The church is among the oldest in Rome with additions over the millennia.

Rome - Neighborhoods

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Today we took a very long walk through Rome. A 9-hour 10-mile walk (with plenty of stops) cannot be covered in one blog post, so I've divided it into four posts.

Neighborhoods and street life reveal the true charm of Rome. This post celebrates the streets of Rome.

The Jewish Ghetto. It was the Sabbath (Saturday), so the synagogue and museum were closed to tourists. (But most of the restaurants and delis were open.)
Behind Piazza Navona
A shopping lane between Piazza Navona and Castel Sant'Angelo
Campo di Fiori from the perspective of our lunch table. (Our only pizza while we were in Italy.)
Italians take pride in their cuisine.
A BMW motorcycle with cowling, head restraint and seat belt. Other versions had a small "trunk" on the back seat.

Italy - An Evening in Rome

Friday, 23 September 2016

We returned to Rome today to spend a day and a half there before returning home. Flight and airport delays, not to mention Friday traffic in Rome, turned our afternoon excursion into an evening one.

Our hotel was near the Castel Sant'Angelo, so that decided our itinerary.

Castel Sant'Angelo started out as Hadrian's Tomb. The Romans build a long spiral ramp from the ground floor up to the level where presumably Hadrian's remains were entombed.
Many centuries later, the tomb was remodeled into a fortress to which the Pope could be secure when under attack. There are many papal apartments in the Castel.
Another richly-decorated papal room.
There were also prison cells in the Castel -- sometimes occupied by Popes as well.
Artwork is everywhere. There are many paintings ...
... and sculptures throughout the papal rooms of the Castel.
Even musical instruments like this harpsichord have lavishly decorated surfaces.
The Castel has some of the best views of Rome.
Rome from the Victor Emmanuel Monument to St. Peter's.
We watched the sun set directly behind St. Peter's.
Castel Sant'Angelo from the Ponte Sant'Angelo
St. Peter's Basilica from the Ponte Sant'Angelo
On our evening rambles we came across the only Fabindia store in Europe. I checked it out the next day -- nice, Italy-oriented (i.e. warmer clothing than India) clothing and home furnishings, but pretty pricey. A blouse that might be $40 in India was about $100 here.