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Von.otter, Parco della Musica, Roma, May 2007
“Wood is fundamental. Wood is music itself. Just remember Steinway, and Stradivari.”
— Renzo Piano (1937- ), remarking about his choice of material (cherry wood) for the auditoriums’ interiors.
Designed by Renzo Piano in 2002, Parco della Musica is a large public music complex north of the city center; this site was part of Rome’s 1960 Summer Olympics.
It is composed of three large concert halls (the largest concert facility in Europe!). Resembling giant beetles the buildings are separate, sound-proofed auditoriums, with a Roman-inspired amphitheater providing an outdoor venue between them. An area of Roman ruins, discovered while construction was underway, gives some historic context to the complex. Bookshops, restaurants, bars are also on-site.
We attended a wonderful classical piano recital by Russian-born Evgeny Kissin; we bought our tickets the day of the recital and had great seats in the Santa Cecilia Auditorium, the largest of the three spaces. The Parco is the base for the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Fondazione Cinema per Roma, and Fondazione Musica per Roma. The range of musical offerings is wide and ticket prices within reach; look at the website for what is current.
The complex is open daily between 10am and 6pm for a free a look around, or guided tours (9€) are available on an irregular basis.
Dress Code: Dressy / Casual
Address: Viale Pietro de Coubertin, 15
Directions: From Rome's train station, take bus number 910. This will take you close to the auditorium; you have to walk along the fence to find the main entrance. Also,you can take tram #2 from Piazza del Popolo to the end of the line.
Other Contact: Box Office: +39 199 109 783
St. Paul’s Within the Walls, Rome, May 2007
“Paul, receive our prayers,
Thou whose zeal overcame the philosophers.
Thou that art steward in God’s house,
Bring us food full of divine grace,
So that the wisdom which nourished thee
May feed us too through ty teaching.”
— From a 9th/10th century poem, written at Verona
Rome’s American Episcopal Church St Paul’s Within the Walls must not be confused with the Roman Catholic basilica, St. Paul Outside the Walls.
Here we attended a concert performance of “La Traviata”. It was not of good quality. The poor quality of the show is a common flaw with these amateur productions. Part of the trouble for not enjoying it was the oppressive heat; not that it was a warm evening. The church does not have air conditioning, and the fans on site were ineffective. With so many spectators crowded into a small, non-air conditioned space for two hours those people will be uncomfortable.
The church is quite lovely, though. Above the outside front door (see photo #4) on via Napoli is a mosaic of St. Paul preaching to, who else?, the Romans (see photo #1). And on the rear all of the interior is a 19th-century mosaic “The Adoration of the Magi” (see photo #2). Some highly glazed tiles (see photo #3) decorate the wall at the rear of the church.
In 1859, the first worship was held in the Rome according to the liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church; Alonzo Potter, Bishop of Pennsylvania, celebrated the Eucharist in a private house on Trinità dei Monti. A group of Americans, from various Protestant denominations, resolved to establish an Episcopal Church. This church became known as Grace Church.
By 1870 a united Italy passed a constitution allowing freedom of worship, and non-Roman Catholic Christian denominations were permitted, for the first time, to build churches within the walls of the Rome.
The name changed in 1871 to St. Paul Within the Walls. Ground was broken for the foundations in November 1872, and on the feast of St. Paul, 25th January 1873, the cornerstone was laid.
Dress Code: Casual
Address: Via Napoli 58
Phone: +39 06 4883339
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