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Janiculum Hill, View, Roma, May 2007
“You, too, women, cast away all the cowards from your embraces; they will give you only cowards for children, and you who are the daughters of the land of beauty must bear children who are noble and brave.”
— Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882)
Known as Rome’s balcony, the Janiculum, the second highest hill in modern-day Rome and separate from the famed Seven Hills of Ancient Rome, was the center for the Janus, god of beginnings and endings. Because of its stunning location overlooking the city, the priests of the worship of Janus would stand atop the hill and look for signs from the gods.
The Aurelian Wall was built up to the Janiculum Hill, to include inside the city walls the water mills, used to grind wheat for making bread, located there. The ancient water mills were in use until the end of ninth century AD.
Centuries later, Janiculum Hill was the site of a memorable battle. In 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi fought French troops, who were attempting to reclaim Rome for the pope following Garibaldi’s capture of the city in his effort to unify Italy. Although the French outnumbered Garibaldi’s troops, they were able to resist the French for several weeks; but ultimately were defeated. To commemorate this battle, several monuments were built on Janiculum to pay homage to Garibaldi and his comrades.
Come for the views. Stay for the sights, including, an authentic puppet theater for kids; the Garibaldi Monuments, one to Giuseppe another to his wife Anita; the Independence War Memorial; San Pietro in Montorio and Tempietto; and Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
Doors of Rome, May 2007
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
—Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
The doors of Rome are many and varied. Most are closed for privacy.
Campo dei Fiori, Roma, May 2007
“A Bruno - Il Secolo Da Lui Divinato - Qui Dove Il Rogo Arse” (English translation: “To Bruno - the century predicted by him - here where the fire burned”)
—the inscription on the base of the monument to Giordano Bruno
At the center of Campo dei Firoi stands a monument to the philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was burnt alive for heresy in the square 17.February.1600.
Ettore Ferrari (1848-1929) is the sculptor who created the monument; and it was positioned on the exact spot of his death in 1889. Bruno stands facing in the direction of the Vatican, which opposed the tribute to the scientist. Bruno is celebrated as a martyr to freedom of thought. Bruno’s execution was the only one to take place in Campo dei Fiori; it was commonly used for such purposes.
The Field of Flowers (Campo dei Fiori) has been used as marketplace for centuries. Each day flowers and fresh vegetables are still sold from tented stands set up in the square.
Other Contact: South of Corso Vittorio Emanuele
Ponte Milvio, Roma, May 2007
“Through this sign, you shall conquer.”
— the prophecy, accompanying a crucifix, which Constantine saw in sky as he and his army rode to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge
Bridging the River Tiber, Ponte Milvio (Milvian Bridge) saw history made when Constantine and Maxentius battled for the position of emperor of Rome on 28.October.312. Constantine won, believing in part that the new Christian God blessed his victory. First he stopped persecution of Christians; then, he made Christianity the state religion.
At the time the area around the bridge was far outside the city center. Still outside the historic center, to the north, the bridge is close to Foro Italico, the sports center where soccer, track & field, tennis, swimming, etc. competitions are held. See my Off-the-Beaten Path Tips “Foro Italico : Stadio dei Marmi” and “Foro Italico : Black + White Mosaics” for a look at parts of the stadium grounds and the arenas.
A bridge has stood here since the first built was built in 206 BC. Renovated or rebuilt through to the 20th century, the bridge took on a romantic air in 2006 when young couples, to prove their love for each other, put a padlock on one of the bridge’s lampposts, then tossing the key into the River Tiber. Six months later when the lamppost fell, lovers began to use other stationary objects, including trashcans and traffic signposts for their ritual.
#1 Villa Medici, Rome, May 2007
“War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it.”
— Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
THE COURAGE OF A LEO Perhaps Italy’s most infamous Leo, Il Duce, was born on the 29th of July.
Is your astrological sign Leo, the lion? If it is, or if you travel with some who is a Leo as I do, here is a fun way to honor that person and that birth sign and to make unique photos: pose with lions, not real ones, but architectural ones, decorative ones.
The Eternal City does not want for lions: indoor, outdoor, ancient, modern, large and small, on doors as knockers and integrated into fountains, in Rome, there’s a lion for every Leo.
The lion, the king of animals, was mainly associated by the Romans with Hercules, who was always portrayed wearing a lion’s skin. This association was not lost and was used again in many Renaissance works. Lions protected the dead in the Roman sarcophagi. Ancient Romans were fond of scenes that showed a lion hunting and killing a deer.
Photo #1 — The lions that flank the steps leading to the gardens of the Villa Medici are copies. The originals had stood there since they were sculpted by Flaminio Vacca in 1600. At the end of the 18th century, Villa Medici was sold by Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the originals were moved to Florence. When, in 1803, Napoleon relocated the French Academy to the Villa Medici, the copies were added.
Photo #2 — The lion detail from Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s 1650 marble grouping “Daniel in the Lions’ Den” in the Chigi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo.
Foro Italico, Tennis Mosaic, May 2007
“Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism.”
— Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
Il Duce was right about what the 20th century will be remembered for. The pain and destruction brought about by Fascism will long out live this political philosophy. It produced few good things.
Foro Italico, a sports complex in the north of Rome, built in the 1920s as a testament to the culture of power and strength as exemplified through athletic prowess is a notable exception to the destructive nature of Fascism.
It is well worth the small amount of effort needed to get to Foro Italica if you enjoy sculptural art as much as I do. See von.otter’s Rome Travelogue, 'Marble Athletes', and my Rome Things-To-Do Tip, “Foro Italico : Stadio dei Marmi” for more details and more photos, about the stadium.
In addition to the marble athletes, the courtyards between buildings are paved with black and white mosaics. These simple but effective works seek to capture the Ancient Roman art form to glorify a modern-day emperor, Il Duce, and the athlete in action.
Although Foro Italico is located outside Rome's historic center, it is nonetheless easy to reach by public transportation. Take the No. 2 tram from just outside the Porta del Popolo. The stop is to the left and across the street as you exit the gate. Ride the tram to the very last stop. You will need to cross the River Tiber but from the last tram stop you can easily walk to Foro Italico.
Tom + Pie di Marmo, May 2007
“It is certain that only being in Rome gives you an idea of what school this is. I really have to say that when we are born again our old ideas look like the shoes we wore when we were children.”
— Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) from “Viaggio in Italia”
As you walk the streets of Rome on your way to visit its world-famous sites your path will take you past countless offbeat antiquities. If you aren’t paying attention, or if you do not know where to look, you could easily miss these amusing treasures.
One such archeological find is tucked away on one of the city’s many narrow streets, paved with granite bricks, not cobble stones. It is a large marble foot wearing a sandal! It is thought that the foot is all that remains of a temple statue of an Egyptian god.
You can find it on Via del Pie di Marmo (Marble Foot Street) near to the church of the Dominican monks, Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The foot is at the corner of Via Santo Stefano del Cacco and Via Piè di Marmo
Via Piè di Marmo stands between Piazza Santa Caterina di Siena and Piazza della Minerva.
A Moss-covered Discus Thrower, Rome, May 2007
“The fate of nations is intimately bound up with their powers of reproduction. All nations and all empires first felt decadence gnawing at them when their birth rate fell off.”
— Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
Il Duce built Foro Italico, a sports complex in the north of Rome, in the 1920s as a testament to the culture of power and strength as exemplified through athletic prowess.
Although Foro Italico is located outside Rome's historic center, it is nonetheless easy to reach by public transportation. And it is well worth the small amount of effort needed to get there if you enjoy sculptural art as much as I do.
Take the No. 2 tram from just outside the Porta del Popolo. The stop is to the left and across the street as you exit the gate. Ride the tram to the very last stop. You will need to cross the River Tiber but from the last tram stop you can easily walk to Foro Italico.
See von.otter’s Rome Travelogue, 'Marble Athletes', for more details and more photos, about the stadium.
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