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Coliseum (and Nero) by night PDF Print E-mail
Jun 20, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Image Starting on June 25th, the much loved Roman Coliseum (the single most visited Italian tourist attraction) will be open every Saturday night from 9pm to 11pm. The Superintendency of Monuments clearly has succeeded in resolving the personnel problems that in other periods interfered with the extra-hours openings so that this year anyone wanting to book (bookings are handled by Pierreci) will be able to make a night-time visit to the remarkable monument and have access to the recently restored underground areas, the and the exhibit dedicated to the Emperor Nero on the second tier.

A sculpted head of Nero
The Nero exhibit, which opened on April 1 and which will last through September 18, follows an earlier exhibit on the Emperor Vespasian, who succeeded Nero, and this time focuses on the man who reigned from 54 A.D. to 68 A.D. and who, probably erroneously, has been accused of having had the major fire of 64 set in order to buy up more land cheaply. The idea is to try and come up with a portrait of the man who has been known through the centuries as a brute and a matricide and was known for "fiddling while Rome did burn".

The Coliseum did not exist in Nero's day (it's construction was begun a few years after his death (by suicide), but historical records say he made it the site of a colossal statue representing either himself or a god. Across the street are the ruins (closed at the moment) of his magnificent palace, the Domus Aurea, which stretched as far as the Palatine.

Only part of the exhibition is in the Coliseum itself. Other parts are in the Curia Iulia and the Temple of Romolo in the Roman Forum and yet another on the nearby Palatine Hill, the idea being to spread the exhibits through places where Nero and his contemporaries lived and where many of the events mentioned in the exhibition actually happened.


New Lorenzo Lotto show opens at the Scuderie! PDF Print E-mail
Mar 07, 2011 at 06:45 PM

The Scuderie del Quirinale (the musem across the street from the Quirinale Palace in Rome)) last week inaugurated a major monographic show of some of the most important works of the High Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto. The exhibition, which will last until June 11, includes 56 canvases illustrating the painter's work - religious and non. The exhibit is divided into two sections. The first floor hosts around 13 or 14 altarpieces, four of which from Lombardy and four from the Marche. The second section on the upper floor features a selection of Lotto's portraits and depictions of religious figures, such as his famous Susanna and the Elders (1517), on loan from the Uffizi in Florence, from the Veneto and Lombardy regions and from major world museums.


Tod's to "foot" the Colosseum bill PDF Print E-mail
Jan 30, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Diego Della Valle
Don't worry, folks. There will never be a sign emblazoned across the top of the Colosseum that reads, in giant letters, "Tod's". But you can bet that Diego della Valle, the CEO of the internationally known shoe manufacturer, and one of Italy's richest men, will find a way to let people know that he - and he alone - will be footing (yes, it is an intended pun) the $34 million bill to restore Rome's best-known archaeological monument.

Della Valle made the offer several months ago but the Rome municipality had hoped to have the work financed by a multi-partner consortium. That didn't work out and so, last week, mayor Gianni Alemanno gave him the go-ahead to stand the bill for the work on the Roman amphitheatre that, following its completion in AD 80, was used popular public shows including gladiator battles involving both men and wild animals. Considering the fact that it was built so long ago, the Colosseum is a real survivor, still standing despite earthquakes, repeated pillaging and many wars. The urgency surrounding the need for doing work on the monument was highlighted last May when chunks of mortar plunged through a protective netting

"I won't put Tod's shoes on the Colosseum," the company's chief executive, Diego Della Valle, promised last week at a news conference when asked if huge advertising billboards would appear on the almost 2,000-year-old monument. City officials have said the branding will be discreet, with the company's name appearing only on the placards listing architects, building companies and licenses that generally accompany all building projects in this country. Tod's will also film the restoration and use it in its advertising.

Some six million visitors line up to visit the Colosseum every year, but like many other cash-strapped archeological sites in Italy - for example Pompei in the Naples area where thee have been several recent collapses  - it is in bad condition. But it is the first time that someone in the private sector has offered so much money for such a major restoration project 

"We wanted to make a gesture which said 'if the Colosseum needs to be restored, we are here,' " Della Valle said. "An Italian company that has the good fortune of having made a success of representing 'Made in Italy' products simply decided it was time to say 'thank you' to the country."  Piero Meogrossi, the architect overseeing the restoration work, said the Colosseum has been getting 500,000 euros of public money a year for its upkeep, one tenth of what it needs. Work is due to start in March, but the Colosseum will remain open to the public throughout the restoration, which is expected to last about two years


Happy Birthday from "Art" PDF Print E-mail
Jan 29, 2011 at 06:58 PM
ImageArt wishes you a happy birthday. Nope, not some guy named "Art", but ART, as in culture. The Italian Ministry of Culture has come up with a great promotion, L'Arte ti fa gli auguri" - as long as you are a European. Any European national having a birthday while in Italy can have free admission to any of the country's state museums or archeological sites as long as he or she has proper ID. Furthermore, if you already qualify for free admission for any other reason, on your birthday you can bring a friend for free, or - should the museum be closed for a holiday - you will get free admission the day after.

It's a lovely idea, designed to stimulate museum attendance, just like last year's Valentine Day special, two admission's for the price of one, which pushed admissions up 31.2% over the same day in 2009. . But why limit it to Italian and European nationals? Just think what a great PR move it would have been to extend this to any visitor, from anywhere, who showed up on the day he or she was born. A real missed opportunity, says I.

Colosseum opens third tier and underground areas PDF Print E-mail
Oct 28, 2010 at 07:28 PM


On October 19, two areas of the Colosseum that have been closed to the public for decades were re-opened. One is the towering third tier- some 33 meters tall -- where salves worked the sails that were used to provide shade from the sun for the arena's spectators and from which there is a magnificent view of the Roman forums below and the historic center. The other part are the dungeons - the ipogei - where lions and tigers were caged and where gladiators waited to be called to what was usually mortal combat. These were filled in completely around the 6th century and are therefore is good condition.

The Colosseum, built by the Emperor Vespasian in about 70 A.D. had more than 4.5 million visitors in the first ten months of this year. Guided tours that include the newly visible areas for the moment will be available only through the end of November. Those wanting to see the new areas can call +39 06 39967700 or go to Visits will be held for groups of 25 at a time but in the caseof heavy rains,, the subterranean parts of the column may not be accessible.


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