Portrait: Emperor Titus

21 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Château de Versailles - Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Château de Versailles – Bust of Titus © Coyau/cc-by-sa-3.0

Titus was Roman emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to come to the throne after his own biological father. Prior to becoming emperor, Titus gained renown as a military commander, serving under his father in Judea during the First Jewish–Roman War. The campaign came to a brief halt with the death of emperor Nero in 68, launching Vespasian’s bid for the imperial power during the Year of the Four Emperors. When Vespasian was declared Emperor on 1 July 69, Titus was left in charge of ending the Jewish rebellion. In 70, he besieged and captured Jerusalem, and destroyed the city and the Second Temple so that the city became uninhabitable for over 60 years (the present day Old City was then the whole of Jerusalem). For this achievement Titus was awarded a triumph: the Arch of Titus commemorates his victory to this day. The influence on the later developments of Christianity and Judaism through the results of the Jewish-Roman Wars (First Jewish–Roman War, Kitos War and Bar Kokhba revolt) was considerable. While Christianity experienced a rapid worldwide growth, Judaism declined into Diaspora groups.   read more…

Portrait: Roman emperor Hadrian

24 October 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Emporer Hadrian and Antinous busts in the British Museum in London © SanGavinoEN/cc-by-sa-3.0

Emporer Hadrian and Antinous busts in the British Museum in London © SanGavinoEN/cc-by-sa-3.0

Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born Publius Aelius Hadrianus, probably at Italica, near Santiponce (in modern-day Spain), into a Hispano-Roman family. His father was of senatorial rank, and was a first cousin of the emperor Trajan. Early in Hadrian’s career, before Trajan became emperor, he married Trajan’s grand-niece Vibia Sabina, possibly at the behest of Trajan’s wife, Pompeia Plotina. Plotina and Trajan’s close friend and adviser Licinius Sura were well disposed towards Hadrian. When Trajan died, his widow claimed that immediately before his death, he had nominated Hadrian as emperor.   read more…

Piazza Navona in Rome

27 April 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© Myrabella/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Myrabella/cc-by-sa-3.0

Piazza Navona is a square in Rome. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans went there to watch the agones (“games”), and hence it was known as “Circus Agonalis” (“competition arena”). It is believed that over time the name changed to in avone to navone and eventually to navona.   read more…

Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome

10 May 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Berthold Werner

© Berthold Werner

The Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, commonly known as St. Paul’s outside the Walls, is one of Rome‘s four ancient, Papal, major basilicas, along with the Basilicas of St. John in the Lateran, St. Peter’s, and St. Mary Major. The Basilica is within Italian territory and not the territory of the Vatican City State. However, the Holy See fully owns the Basilica, and Italy is legally obligated to recognize its full ownership thereof and to concede to it “the immunity granted by International Law to the headquarters of the diplomatic agents of foreign States”. On 6 December 2006, it was announced that Vatican archaeologists had confirmed the presence of a white marble sarcophagus beneath the altar, perhaps containing the remains of Paul the Apostle. A press conference held on 11 December 2006 gave more details of the work of excavation, which lasted from 2002 to 22 September 2006, and which had been initiated after pilgrims to the basilica expressed disappointment that the Apostle’s tomb could not be visited or touched during the Jubilee year of 2000. The sarcophagus was not extracted from its position, so that only one of its two narrow sides is visible.   read more…

Cinecittà Studios in Rome

27 March 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Set of Martin Scorsese's 'Gangs of New York' © Supercazzola

Set of Martin Scorsese’s ‘Gangs of New York’ © Supercazzola

Cinecittà (Cinema City) is a large film studio in Rome that is considered the hub of Italian cinema. The studios were constructed during the Fascist era as part of a scheme to revive the Italian film industry. In the 1950s, the number of international productions being made there led to Rome’s being dubbed Hollywood on the Tiber. The studios were founded in 1937 by Benito Mussolini, his son Vittorio, and his head of cinema Luigi Freddi under the slogan “Il cinema è l’arma più forte” (“Cinema is the most powerful weapon“). The purpose was not only for propaganda, but also to boost the Italian feature film industry, which was in crisis at the time. Mussolini himself inaugurated the studios on April 21, 1937. Post-production units and sets were constructed and heavily used initially. Early films such as 1937’s Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal and 1941’s The Iron Crown showcased the technological advancement of the studios. Seven thousand people were involved in the filming of the battle scene from Scipio Africanus, and live elephants were brought in as a part of the re-enactment of the Battle of Zama.   read more…

Casa di Goethe in Rome

3 March 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries, Universities, Colleges, Academies

Goethe in the Roman Campagna by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein © Tom86/cc-by-sa-4.0

Goethe in the Roman Campagna by Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein © Tom86/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Casa di Goethe is a museum in Rome, in Via del Corso 18, dedicated to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, his Italian Journey and his life at Rome in the years from 1786 tthrough 1788. During his journey Goethe wrote a journal and also many letters which would be published in 1816-17 as the Italian Journey.   read more…

Theme Week Rome – Villa Borghese, Villa Massimo and Villa Medici

17 October 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Galleria Borghese © Alessio Damato

Galleria Borghese © Alessio Damato

VILLA BORGHESE
Villa Borghese is a large landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner in Rome, containing a number of buildings, museums (see Galleria Borghese) and attractions. It is the second largest public park in Rome (80 hectares or 148 acres) after that of the Villa Doria Pamphili. The gardens were developed for the Villa Borghese Pinciana (“Borghese villa on the Pincian Hill”), built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Scipione Borghese, who used it as a villa suburbana, a party villa, at the edge of Rome, and to house his art collection. The gardens as they are now were remade in the early nineteenth century.   read more…

Theme Week Rome – Vatican City

3 September 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, UNESCO World Heritage

Vatican City State Panorama from St. Peters Basilica © Marcus Winter

Vatican City State Panorama from St. Peters Basilica © Marcus Winter

Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. The Vatican City is the world’s smallest state, being only around 44 ha (110 acres). In July 2007, the Vatican agreed to become the first carbon neutral state. They plan to accomplish this by offsetting carbon dioxide emissions with the creation of a Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary. Vatican City was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of the Holy See and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy. Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports. In each case very few passports are issued.   read more…

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the largest Marian church in Rome

6 September 2014 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Frontside © JEK/cc-by-sa-3.0

Frontside © JEK/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (English: Basilica of Saint Mary Major), or church of Santa Maria Maggiore, is the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome. Other churches in Rome dedicated to Mary include Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, and Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but the greater size of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major justifies the adjective by which it is distinguished from the other 25.   read more…

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