The Tombs of Via Latina Coming Soon!
The Tombs of Via Latina Coming Soon!
Our visit takes us to the Aurelian Walls, where a small park nestles between the Via Appia and the Via Latina. In the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., this was the boondocks of Rome. And the two roads bristled with tombs that, respecting ancient burial laws, were outside city limits.
On the Via Latina, near the Sepulcher of the Scipios, is the Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas. Columbarium comes from the Latin columba, which means “dove.” A columbarium was literally a dovecot, where birds were raised for their eggs and as food. When cremation burials became common, ash-urns were deposited in small niches that were carved into tombs walls. The niches produced a dovecot effect, which gave this type of tomb its name.
Ready to explore a more unusual corner of Rome? Then let's head to Trastevere! We'll focus on the works of two late Medieval artists, the revolutionary Pietro Cavallini and Arnolfo di Cambio, in the churches of San Giorgio, Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Santa Cecilia, and Santa Maria in Trastevere. As we admire their masterpieces, we will also concentrate on general trends in Medieval architecture, mosaics, and frescoes.
First, meet Agostino Chigi, the Renaissance tycoon, and then revel in his unique summer home in Trastevere. He had it built in the early 1500s by Baldassare Peruzzi, an architect who loved ancient Rome's glorious architecture and applied its grandeur to his own works. Chigi's Villa was then frescoed by some of the most talented artists that money could buy (namely Raphael, his students, Peruzzi, and Sodoma). It's a gorgeous glimpse into the rip-roaring early Renaissance!
Ostia is "Rome's Pompeii" and it reveals a lot about daily life in the classical world: we'll stroll from a hotel to the town's center, from apartment buildings, to ritzy villas, from taverns and greasy spoons to artisans' workshops and public baths. When you smell the salt air blowing in from the nearby sea, you'll understand why patricians were enchanted by Ostia and why ancient sailors called it home.
Rivalry fueled Bernini and Borromini's genius. Nearly the same age, they had wildly different temperaments: Borromini dressed in an ostentatious (and out-of-fashion) "Spanish style," cultivated his studies ptivately, and unintentionally alienated his patrons. He put an end to his tormented career by committing suicide. Bernini, who lived to a venerable old age, surrounded by family and friends, was a personable mad-hatter with public relations skills in overdrive!
Jews settled in Rome almost two millenia before Pope Paul IV instated a Ghetto in 1555. Today very little of Paul IV's Ghetto is left. What a delight to discover, however, that Rome's Jewish Community has left signs of its continuing existence in the ancient, medieval, renaissance, and modern city!
During the Middle Ages did artists truly lack inspiration and did the Arts stagnate? What messages did patrons want to express in the churches and chapels they commissioned? What did the gestures in medieval frescoes mean to contemporaries? How did they continue to manifest themselves in Renaissance art (and even in modern culture!)? We will answer these questions as we concentrate on the upper and lower levels of the church San Clemente and the frescoes in the chapel of San Silvestro at the church of Santi Quattro Coronati.
Around the corner from the Trevi Fountain, is the Cinema Trevi. Faced with excessive humidity, the movie theater's owners probed deeper and deeper to discover the root of the problem. Their explorations led to the birth of an archeological area approximately 27 feet under the modern street level. Referred to as Vicus Caprarius or “Goat Alley” in Latin, the site contains two Imperial Roman apartment buildings and lots. I mean lots, of natural running water!
"How can a city be built in layers?" you ask. It is common in Rome! Imagine hundreds, if not thousands, of ancient Roman buildings in brick and concrete collapsing... then add the filth and mud of floods... and voila', ground level rises! Incredible examples of this phenomenon can be seen at San Clemente, the Vicus Caprarius, and here at the Nymphaeum (or water feature) under Via Annibaldi...
The Celian Hill is not on most tourists' itinerary... Spangled with churches and a large park, the Hill still retains some of its sleepy, Medieval flavor. During ancient Roman days, however, this was a bustling neighborhood, full of middle-class and proletariat housing together with stores so full of merchandise that their owners piled goods for sale on the sidewalk...