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Julius Caesar returns to Rome PDF Print E-mail
Dec 27, 2008 at 10:01 PM


The Chiostro del Bramante in Rome's medieval historic center has inaugurated a series of exhibitions on the great protagonists of Roman history. And who better with whom to begin this journey then Julius Caesar (BC 100 to 44),  himself, "the man, his accomplishments, his legend". A brilliant military commander, a man of culture and an unquestioned man odf eminence who many see as Italy's greatest leader and others as its first dictator, he was the architect of what was soon thereafter to become the Roman Empire, an extensive realm of which his adopted son, Ottaviano (later the Emperor Augustus), was to become the unquestioned ruler.

Even in those ancient times, Caesar was media-savvy enough to begin constructing his myth in his own lifetime. He presented himself as a descendent of the goddess Venus and therefore of the hero Aeneas, who the poet Virgil describes as the founder of Rome.

The exhibit, which lasts until May, 2009, and which is open every day but Monday from 10 a.m. to 8pm (9pm on Saturdays and Sundays), for the first time brings together archaeological documents of great beauty and importance belonging to the major Italian and foreign museums as well as plaster of paris models designed to reconstruct various aspects of Caesar's Rome. A vast assortment of art works have been assembled to illustrate the myth of Caesar from the Middle Ages to our own times.

Chiostro del Bramante
Via della Pace




Roman Domus exhibt (all too) briefly reopened PDF Print E-mail
Dec 27, 2008 at 04:19 PM
ImageSix months after shutting down supposedly for the summer, the Province of Rome - or rather its president Nicola Zingaretti - reopened the underground excavations under the Province's headquarters (Palazzo Valentini) in Via IV Novembre, a stone's throw from Piazza Venezia. for the holiday season. The response was a total success with over 4000 reservations leading to an "all sold out" result. The excavations will shut down again on January 18th and one can only hope they reopen again later in the year. Between January and June of last year, 36,000 visitors took advantage of this charming multi-media show.

Anyone who is coming to Rome in the next two weeks and who hasn't yet seen this charming exhibit (which by the way is free) could try and get in anyway by showing up in the hopes of no-shows or cancellations. The underground excavations that were begun in 2005 and have still to be completed uncovered the remains of two luxurious Domus Romanae that must have been occupied by important folk (senators, perhaps) given their proximity to the imperial forums and specifically the Forum of Trajan. In fact, an underground corridor that leads to Trajan's Column, was recently discovered.

The houses, which date back to somewhere between the second and fourth centuries and which may have been destroyed in the barbarian invasions, were richly decorated with frescoes and statuary and have been "virtually restored" by a multimedia project inspired by Piero Angela, one of Italy's best known TV historical narrators and his long-time collaborator Paco Lanciano.

To check whether Zingaretti reopens the show further down the line, keep your eyes on the Palazzo Valentini website - - which unfortunately seems to be in Italian only.

My favorite Roman fountains PDF Print E-mail
Nov 01, 2008 at 12:47 PM

First published by Momondo

Although the seaside is only a 30-minute drive away from the city, and frequently you can sea seagulls right downtown, it's clearly too far away to hear the waves breaking. And yet the sound of flowing water is one of the first things you notice about Rome. No, not from the Tiber river, but because just about everywhere you may go, there is a fountain with running water, some of which are still connected to the aqueducts that the ancient Romans built.. Water trickles, drips or spouts from gargoyles, nymphs, dramatic masks, stone tiaras, lions' heads, barrels, seahorses, tortoises and in one case even from a heap of stone cannonballs.

EXHIBITIONS: Giovanni Bellini PDF Print E-mail
Oct 10, 2008 at 03:32 PM

Image From Wanted in Rome  (Exhibit to reopen in Venice)
This retrospective is dedicated to Giovanni Bellini (1430-1516), known to some as Giambellino, one of the most famous Italian Renaissance painters. On display are about 60 paintings of sacred and profane subjects. The collection covers three quarters of Bellini’s known production, with contributions borrowed from the most important museums in Europe and the United States, as well as from Italian museums and churches, the Vatican and the city of Venice. Along with his more famous works, such as the Madonnas, there are also two large altarpieces, the Baptism of Christ, commissioned for the church of S. Corona in Vicenza and the Pesaro altar piece. His oil paintings offer heartfelt and intimately Venetian subjects bathed in soft lighting.  

Scuderie del Quirinale. Via XXIV Maggio 16, Rome, tel. 0639967500. Sun-Thurs 10.00-20.00, Fri-Sat 10.00-22.30.

[30 Sept 2008-11 Jan 2009 ]

Trastevere: Past and Present PDF Print E-mail
Sep 24, 2008 at 02:47 PM

S. Maria in Trastevere
First published on Momondo.

Some compare it to London’s Soho, others to New York’s Greenwich Village, yet others to the Marais in Paris. But the comparisons are valid only in that this ancient neighbourhood of Rome is today a place where Romans and tourists alike love to come for its restaurants, cafés and boites. Otherwise, Trastevere (pronounced Tras-TEH-ver-ay) is unique with its warren of narrow cobblestoned  streets, its old buildings, some dating back three or four centuries, its courtyards, its  centuries-old churches, its antique fountains and country-village atmosphere.

Pirates of the Colosseum? What next? PDF Print E-mail
Aug 18, 2008 at 06:56 AM

What next? Will children visiting Rome now have the chance to be thrown to fake lions in a make-believe Colosseum?  Let's hope not. The news item about an ancient Rome theme park being planned by the new center-right city government is distressing. It apparantly ran in Corriere della Sera but I didn't see it so I am reproducing below the Reuters article someone sent me. The only thing that consoles me is that even if it were decided, would no doubt take decades to build.

Pirates of the Colosseum? Rome plans theme park
Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:30am EDT

ROME (Reuters) - With the ruins of ancient Rome, the splendor of Vatican City and countless Renaissance art treasures, what does Italy's capital lack to attract tourists?The answer, according to the mayor's office, is a Disneyland-style theme park.

"The model is Euro-Disney in Paris," said Deputy Mayor Mauro Cutrufo, announcing plans to build a vast ancient Rome theme park just outside the city which he says could be up and running within three to four years.

The park would provide family-friendly attractions to show visitors what life was like in the Rome of 2,000 years ago.

To be built on an as yet unspecified 400-500 hectare (1,000-1,200 acre) site, it would put a Roman twist on rides like Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean, in which visitors float on boats through a fantasy pirate world.

"You would relive scenes from the Colosseum, from ancient Rome, gladiators or maybe Julius Caesar or other things," a Rome city official told Reuters.

A decision on whether to go ahead with the park could be made as early as next month after market research has shown potential demand for the plan.

But the park has already run into some opposition.The government of the Lazio region, of which Rome is the capital, is run by the centre left and they are hostile to the proposal from the city council which is in the hands of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre right.

"I say no to Americanization," said Claudio Mancini, a member of the Lazio council, who hopes the project will be stopped at the planning stage."There are planning considerations to weigh up because 500 hectares isn't nothing," he was quoted as saying in the Corriere della Sera daily.

(Reporting by Robin Pomeroy, editing by Silvia Aloisi and Mary Gabriel)

Trambelcanto; a musical tour of Rome PDF Print E-mail
Aug 12, 2008 at 03:24 PM

ImageRome's bus system, Trambus, has come up with an intriguing idea for tourists: Trambelcanto, a romantic Friday night city tour on an old 1920's streetcar where guests will be serenaded with operatic arias and accompanying guitar music. But that's not all. The three-hour trip also includes dinner with a fabulous view, while parked in the Celio park, of the illuminated Coliseum. The tram departs every Friday at 9 p.m. from Piazza di Porta Maggiore. The price, including dinner, starts at 55E and, depending on the menu chosen, can go as high as 90E. For bookings, tel. 339 6334700 or 338 114876 or e-mail: 

EXHIBITION: Mario Schifano, ten years after. PDF Print E-mail
Jul 12, 2008 at 10:31 AM
Mario Schifano
Ten years after Mario Schifano's untimely death at the age of 64, an exhibition in Rome celebrates his career and the variety of art works he produced in his lifetime. The show, at the Galleria D'Arte Moderna on the fringes of Villa Borghese, lasts through September 28th and was put together by one of Italy's best known art critics, Achille Bonito Oliva who says in the accompanying catalogue that Schifano was both a"a friend and an enemy".

        According to the Rome-based American artist and art critic Edith Schloss, "his output was enormous, outrageously varied in style, his life a turmoil of intercontinental trips, colourful affairs and fashionable drug experiments. But above all he was blessed with a most felicitous painterly hand." Writing in Wanted in Rome,  
Schloss says Schifano kind of "blew it" in the last years of his life but says many of the earlier art works on view at the Galleria are truly marvellous.

Galleria di Arte Moderna , Viale delle Belle arti 131, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Viale delle Belle Arti 131, tel. 0632298221 Closed Mondays. Later the show will go to the Accademia di Brera in Milan from Oct 2008-Feb 2009 and then, from Feb-April 2009, to the Musée d'art moderne in Saint-Etienne.

EXHIBITION: "Correggio and Antiquity" at the Galleria Borghese PDF Print E-mail
Jul 01, 2008 at 12:00 AM
         This is the third in the Galleria Borghese's "Ten Great Exhibitions" series (the first two were dedicated to Raphael and Canova) and is dedicated to Correggio, the Parma painter whose real name was Antonio Allegri (1489-1534) and who was a less famous contemporary of Michelangelo and Raphael. The exhibition consists of about 60 paintings borrowed from the world's museums which the Galleria displays next to classical Roman sculptures so as to demonstrate the artist's inspiration from things classical and Roman.

Galleria Borghese, Piazzale Scipione Borghese 5, Tel. 0632810, 9-19. Closed Mondays.

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