Archive for the ‘Seeing Sights’ Category


Young Raphael

It is a joyful thought to see this exception that confirm the rule. The stereotype of an artist is weird, depressed, anxious, if not schizophrenic. His creation is the ‘relief valve’ of his malaise which brings to light his talent and genius.

What about Raphael? I am browsing through pages and pages that describe his life and his character but I can’t find the typical tortured mind and soul of an artist. I perceive a happy life. Short but happy.

A sublime image of beauty throughout his works. Smart flattering towards his employer, talent-scouting his own workshop, layers of interpretation in one work.

Raphael in the Vatican 

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Affresco Sotterranei San Giovanni

One of the most fascinating sites in Rome is the underground of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. Difficult but not impossible to immagine to find yourself in a house of the I. century with rests of frescos  rests and parts of the mosaic floor. Then you walk through tunnels and areas that have integrated the remainings of this domus – the Barracks of the Imperial Horse Guard, created by Settimio Severo in the II.


You walk through these subterranean rooms which were the undergrounds of the Barracks as well, because in these Rooms where designed for being the dormitory of the Imperial Guard.


You are actually below the middle ship of St.John’s cathedral. The first official Christian church and one of the few christian churches that were built based on political purposes and not on tombs of martyrs like Saint Peter or St. Paul.  “San Giovanni” is the most important of the churches,  consigned by Constantine to the Bishop of Rome in the IV AD. Being the seat of the Bishop of Rome, it is the mother of all churches, as you can read in the inscription on the façade.

More info in English, German and Italian 🙂

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Mithras Mitreo di MarinoThe cult of Mithras during the Roman Empire had its peak during the III century. It is a mystic and secret religion that only chosen adepts could be part of through a rite initiation and trials to overcome.

The Mythras temples were present in Rome and its provinces and some of these sites show their fascination and mystic still today

Mithras temples in Rome 

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Colosseo e la meta Sudans 1870-80We all know that  the real name of the Colosseum is Flavian Amphitheatre but instead of calling it a full theatre they call it 2 halfs?- I did not remember that! It was made by the Flavian Emperors. After Nero’s death, Vespasian wanted to return the territory to Public and started this huge eliptical theatre in ’72 right upon the artificial lake in the Golden Houses’ Gardens – the building was finished by Titus in 79 AD and the famous 100 days and nights of games, feasts and battles took place in 80AD. The undergrounds where done by Domitian afterwards.

“Panem et Circenses”…bread and circuses, were given to People (after Nero’s extravagant rule) with Gladiator Combats and Wild beast fights to entertain. It was a huge arena on which these battles took place and the stadium like theatre could hold 50.000 spectators.

Colosseo cut

I went with Mami to visit these places about 2 years ago and here I am again to visit it with our American Friends. Every visit is a discovery and what I liked most during our recent tour was our tour guide saying:


I thought that was excellent: reminding us of not just watching those ruins  but trying to imagine how they were 2000 years ago. Again I could see the “backstage, behind-the-scenes”, the places that were very important to make this all work! We could see the basic structures of the ancient elevators,  the bronze cross bearings were the winches were hold, these bearings unfortunately are not visitable anymore. Here is my 2-year-old picture….

Boccola crociata bearing

In this labyrinth of pillars, cells and corridors you could breath the real life of Gladiators…. well… it must not really have been clean air, men and animals together thousands of people working and preparing for “the show”

view with lightA very suggestive sight and perspective of the amphitheatre.

upper floor colosseum mamiAfter we went up to the third ring, the terzo anello which normally is inaccessible – walking through these corridors on the upper level and admiring the panorama on this “terrace” was simply magnificient!!!!

The ruins that you can see on the meadow between the “rest” of the Meta Sudans and the trees are the foundations of Terraces, that Nero started to build, in order to admire the view of his Lake.

View from Colosseums top


In Depth

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Now that my brain is back to normal (it took me two weeks to relax!) I can tell what surely everyone in our study group knows: without Domizia’s and Folco’s lessons we would not have passed the verbal exam. Well, I can only speak for myself, I would have never passed this test.

  • Their program  based on all the questions that were asked during the last tour guide exam which took place about 4 years ago
  • handing out essential and important information for each of the 4 themes: Archeology, Art History, Geography, Legislation on countless sheets of paper, teaching HOW to (not only) absorb, but how to reproduce this humongous amount of information
  • a relentless schedule of going ahead without stopping ever
  • the “mandatory” interrogation each meeting on the passed questions

was extraordinarily efficient.

Without their recipe, I would have had no strategy in studying. Without their guidance, I would have resigned months ago.337


       THANK YOU


      Guide Rosse!!!

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Fabio’s surprise! My prize for having passed the verbal exam. Isn’t that fun? I am an official tour guide of Rome now!

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Michelangelo censurato

Passeggiando per il Campo Marzio, per scorgere alcuni capolavori e opere d’arte, ci siamo fermati nella SS. Trinità dei Monti, dove Daniele da Volterra nell’ affresco dell’Assunzione ha inserito un ritratto di Michelangelo, di cui era collaboratore  e amico.

Daniele da Volterra è conosciuto con il soprannome Il Braghettone, perché fu lui il primo ad essere incaricato a coprire le nudità del Giudizio Michelangiolesco dopo il Concilio di Trento.

Ciò mi ha ricordato anche il fatto che DdV  aveva manomesso nello stesso Giudizio Santa Caterina e San Bagio, scalpellando quest’ ultimo.

Grazie al Venusti, che aveva copiato l’affresco del Michelangelo,  si può vedere cosa è stato modificato e intuire il perché. La chiesa riteneva questa nudità e le posizioni dei corpi troppo indecenti, forse inducenti a pensieri ambigui in un luogo di culto cristiano?

Copia Venusti

Manomissione DdV

A parte il Gossip…

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