Ancient Rome

RED PETALS RAIN IN THE PANTHEON!

RED PETALS RAIN IN THE PANTHEON!

A 2,000 years old tradition will occurr in few days in Rome: on Sunday 24th May, 2015, red rose petals will be let fall down from the oculus of the Pantheon as part of the religious celebrations of the Pentecoste feast. The thousands of fluttering petals thrown from the ouside into the world-renowned top hole of the Pantheon’s ceiling symbolise the Holy Spirit descending on Earth. This is precisely what on Pentecoste is celebrated, that is to say the spread of the Holy Spirit bestowed by Christ’s resurrection, and the foundation of the Christian Church. Red roses symbolise indeed also Jesus Christ’s blood. Pentecoste falls on the 50th day after Easter, that is why it is a mobile feast as well.
This rite, which is part of the mass that will be performed from 10.30 am, has its root in the times of the early Christian community, when the Pantheon – originally a pagan temple – was converted into the present Church of Santa Maria dei Martiri.
The Pantheon can be easily reached by bus from Termini Station: ask our staff at Hotel Des Artistes for more details!

BAROQUE: THE AGE OF ART BLOOMING IN ROME

BAROQUE: THE AGE OF ART BLOOMING IN ROME

Until July 26th Rome hosts a gigantic and “multi-venue” exhibition entirely focused on Baroque, the artistic style which still chracterizes most of the architectural features of the Eternal City.
The exhibition shows the evolution of Baroque art from its birth (first two decades of the Seventeenth century) to its highest peak, which gave the city a new shape.
More than an exhibit, Baroque in Rome is a huge cultural project including, beyond painting masterpieces collected from several museums in the world, also conferences, concerts, workshops for both kids and adults, thematic tours and many more satellite events around the city center. The following locations are involved:

  • Museum of Rome (Palazzo Braschi): exhibition; “baroque parties”
  • St. Yves at the Sapienza: thematic tour; exhibition
  • Oratorio dei Filippini: thematic tour
  • Palazzo Colonna: guided tour
  • Palazzo di Propaganda Fide: thematic tour
  • Vatican Museums, Apostolic Palace and St. Peter’s basilica: a special itinerary about Bernini & the Vatican
  • Doria Pamphilj Gallery: thematic tour
  • Capitoline Museums: itinerary across the baroque masterpieces in the
  • National Gallery of Ancient Art (Palazzo Barberini): itinerary
  • Academy of Fine Arts: conference
  • Castel Sant’Angelo: thematic exhibition on the baroque fireworks
  • Fondazione Roma Museo – Palazzo Sciarra: conferences

Each of these place is located in the heart of Rome: ask our staff at Hotel Des Artistes about directions!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROME!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROME!

The old, charming lady is turning 2768 next week: following the tradition, indeed, April 21st marks the anniversary of the foundation of the Eternal City by Romulus in 753 BC. After Roman age, when the city foundation was regularly celebrated with a ceremony called Palilia, its occurring in modern time dates back to 1870. The choice fell on this day on the ground of Marcus Terentius Varro’s studies, an historian of the 1st century BC.
Celebrations this year will take place far beyond the birth day itself, and will include a number of public events. All for free. Major performances will be offered by the great Gruppo Storico Romano, an association which for 20 years has been accurately looking after historical reenactments in the shape of plays, battles, dance.
Everything will start on April 19th, when a parade of 2,000 costumed Romans will reach Circo Massimo (namesake stop on metro line B) at 11am, after the previous fire-lighting ceremony fixed still there at 10.00am.
The peak of celebrations will be on April 21st, though, against Circo Massimo’s backdrop once again: at 4pm the Tracciato del solco will be performed, i.e. the trench-digging ritual by which Romulus founded the city according to legend.
But that’s not all. Mayor Ignazio Marino promised a couple of surprises, such as the brand new lighting design of some parts of the Forum by Oscar winning director of photography Vittorio Storaro and, last but not least, an event to be enjoyed with augmented reality glasses
Hotel Des Artistes will be glad to provide with more info on venues and events on the occasion of Rome’s birthday!

NEW ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE JUST UNCOVERED: 80 METERS AURELIAN WALLS!

NEW ARCHAEOLOGICAL TREASURE JUST UNCOVERED: 80 METERS AURELIAN WALLS!

The Eternal City keeps on being a treasure trove of discoveries: few days ago 80 meters Aurelian Walls were uncovered during the excavations works which have been taking place around Rome for the construction of her third underground line (so called line C). They were surprisingly unburied in the area of St. John Lateran’s Archbasilica, one of the four major churches in the Eternal City (together with St. Paul Outside the Walls, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Peter’s).
What makes this discovery so astonishing is that this section of the Walls was thought lost long ago, precisely in the 18th century, when the whole area underwent massive tranformations as a consequence of the works for the new majestic facade of St. John Latern’s Church itself. Being this event traceable in the scientific literature, but lacking in turn any reference to the actual destinity of the Roman Walls, scholars supposed they had collapsed or were torn down.
The conservation status of the structures is nearly perfect: eleven arches, two towers, even traces of medieval painting (as those walls served as shelters to hermits during the Middle Age), plus a complex hydraulic system of the modern era (from the 17th century) and slits for archers with visible amendments after the invention of gunpowder were uncovered from earth.
A great project is now under consideration: to set a huge open walkway for visitors which might link this stretch of the Walls with no less than those at the Church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. In so doing new life would be given to this gigantic difensive system of the Ancient Rome.
Ask our staff at Hotel Des Artistes for information on the sections of the Aurelian Walls already open to public!

JULIUS CAESAR HAS TO DIE (ON MARCH 15th… FOR REAL!)

JULIUS CAESAR HAS TO DIE (ON MARCH 15th… FOR REAL!)

Julius Caesar was killed on March 15th, the so called “Ides of March” in Latin: the event caused a dramatic change in history of the Roman Republic.
This Sunday special events are in programme at largo di Torre Argentina, where the murder took place: guided tours both in Italian and in English will allow people to better understand the ancient meaning of this archeological area now immersed into modern buildings and activities.
But that’s not all. A philologically faithful reenactment in three scenes will show what happened exactly that day in 44 BC:
1) Mark Antony, Cato, Cicero, senators and tribunes have a meeting at the Senate and at end of it they declare Caesar a public enemy of Rome;
2) Caesar arrives to the Curia and meets the haruspex Spurinna, who had warned him: “Caesar, beware the Ides of March”. It follows his assassination with twenty-three stab wounds;
3) Brutus and Mark Antony hold a funeral speech to honor Caesar at the Roman Forum (the speech is taken from Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”).
The 45 minutes long reenactment will be played twice: at 12pm and 15.30pm.
Guided tours will be starting every 40 minutes from 9:45am, with a break during the two reenactments.
The whole event is for free and you can easily reach it from Termini station with 10 minutes bus journey: ask our staff at Hotel Des Artistes for directions!

EVEN ROME HAS GOT HER PYRAMID!

EVEN ROME HAS GOT HER PYRAMID!

Did you know Rome has a pyramid? Pyramid of Cestius is actually one of the most intriguing and still less known monuments in the Eternal City, standing at the crossroad between via Ostiensis and another fundamental lane in ancient times.
Its story is kind of unusual: it was built in just 330 days by Caio Cestio’s heirs under the threat of losing their rights on the inheritance, as prescribed by Caio Cestio himself. It’s one of the few monuments dating back to I Cent. BC survived for us, and it’s particularly remarkable because it testifies the spread of Egyptian customs in Rome as a consequence of the conquest of Egypt by Roman army in 30 BC.
The reason why time passing spared the pyramis major damages (despite it was covered in marbles, which were commonly reused in the antiquity to build new constructions) has probably to do with the fact that since III Cent. AD it was included in the Aurelian walls as a stronghold, which thing prevented both abandon and devastation.
Restoration works of the Pyramid of Cestius have been recently completed, the monument being now open to public with guided tour upon reservation.
Getting there is very easy: just catch metro line B (2 minutes walk from Hotel des Artistes) and get off at the namesake stop Piramide. Ask our staff about other sites in the area, such as the suggestive Protestant Cimitery. And whenever you want to take a rest, Eataly is just beyond the corner… your boutique for Made in Italy food!

DIVINE AUGUSTUS… 2000 YEARS AFTER

DIVINE AUGUSTUS… 2000 YEARS AFTER

Two thousands years are in between us and Augustus, Julius Caesar’s great nephew, one of the most charismatic personalities of the Ancient Rome, the first to be named Emperor.
The year 2014 precisely marked two millennia after his death (he expired in Nola, not far from Neaples, on 19 August 14 AD), and two great exhbitions in Rome are still open to public to commemorate him and his revolutionary impact on Roman politics.
Both the exhibits take advantage of the ultimate high technologies and go far beyond a mere display of pieces from the past: they allow visitors a true interactive experience where they feel like walking in the Imperial Fora shoulder to shoulder with other big personalities of the time.
The set-up at Mercati di Traiano is mostly a digital expo, the fruit of a majestic joint project involving at the same time 4 cities from the former Roman Empire: Amsterdam, Sarajevo, Alexandria of Egypt and Rome of course. Each of the four museums (Allard Pierson Museum, City Hall Museum, Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Imperial Fora Museum respectively) offers a different perspective on the Roman Empire during Augustus age.
The exhibit at Palazzo Massimo is rather focused on one of the most important cultural revolutions by Augustus: the changes he introduced within the Roman calendar, marking new days with festivities and events as tools for propaganda.
Here a short compedium of the two venues:
MERCATI DI TRAIANO, “Keys to Rome – The City of Augustus”, 9 am- 7 pm (Mon closed)
ROMAN NATIONAL MUSEUM AT PALAZZO MASSIMO: “Augustus Revolution”, 9 am – 7.45 pm (Mon closed)
Hotel Des Artistes is at walking distance from the latter and at 10 minutes bus journey from the former!

Some More Tips About Rome

AmphitheatreAlmost two thousand years after its collapse as an Empire, Rome now lives under the shadow of a once powerful and prosperous nation.

The beauty of the Spanish Steps with its sinking boat, massive amphitheatre called Coloseum, fine wall arts sparsed across the city’s Catholic santuaries, monuments, catacombs, religious abondance etc. Visiting all these and others is definitely going to be an unforgotable memory.

After roaming, the Trastevere area is good area to chill out, certainly if you have time because this is located on the other side of the river Tiber, opposite to the major touristic sites. This neighbourhood is full of Trattorias, bars and/or restaurants, mainly giving service to the locals. After a good lunch, espresso  would be fantastic. The small and condensed coffee, rouses from sleep instantly. If not familiar with espresso, better not to try it before going to bed.

Other good stuff worth trying are: gelato (icecream), cannoli and pastries. To name some of the best gelateria in Rome: Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè, Said, Cristalli di Zucchero, Vice Gelateria, Gelateria Grom, Gelateria San Crispino, Mondi,Gelateria del Teatro, Biscottificio Innocenti, Fatamorgana, Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè, Gelateria Bocca Di Dama.

Love shopping, visit the Via Del Corso street, where you will find all the big brands. So expensive? Pass on to shopping malls like Porta di Roma, or take a cub and visit the Castello Romano Outlet where you will find best brands  for less pay. Non European residents have the option to get a refund of the VAT. Get forms from the store keepers and present the filled forms to the Customs office in the airport together with the items bought (tags not removed).

 

A K

GLADIATORS AT PIAZZA NAVONA: STADIUM OF DOMITIAN ON EXHIBIT

GLADIATORS AT PIAZZA NAVONA: STADIUM OF DOMITIAN ON EXHIBIT

Colosseum was not the only place where gladiators used to fight each other to death in order to entertain both common people and emperors. One more location was used in ancient Rome for this purpose: what we know today as Piazza Navona. The shape of the square doesn’t effectively leave any room to doubts, as aerial pictures clearly point out: it rises on what was know in the past as Stadium of Domitian.
After many years restoration, the remains of this stadium are finally accessible to public. The affiliated museum currently hosts the exhibit “Gladiators – Arms and armors in the Roman Empire”. On show the most perfect replicas of the gladiator’s equipment on the ground of the archaeological remains: more than 350 pieces on display to understand the evolution of a custom which has become a world-renowned symbol of Roman history.
Museum & exhibition tickets: €6- €8.
Hotel Des Artistes is connected to Piazza Navona by several bus lines: ask us for further info!

CASTEL SANT’ANGELO & PASSETTO NIGHT OPENING

CASTEL SANT’ANGELO & PASSETTO NIGHT OPENING

The Vatican is not just about St. Peter’s Church and the Sistine Chapel. Castel Sant’Angelo – the fortress raised by Middle Age Popes above Adrian Emperor’s mausoleum – is indeed a landmark of Roman skyline and a most beloved monument by visitors and Roman dwellers alike.
Autumn season allows to enjoy it at its best: until 31 December 2014 every Friday night it will be open until 9pm (last admission 8:30pm). And that’s not all. A few sections which are normally restricted to public will be now accessible, such as the Passetto (a 800 m. long secret walkway used by the Pope to escape dangers during warlike times); Clement VII bathroom (a rare Renaissance example of its kind); the frightful prisons (where many Church opponents were enclosed); the garrisons’ mill (open now to public for the first time).
Don’t hesitate to contact us: Hotel Des Artistes offers a strategically placed accommodation even to reach the Vatican area!