Our 2021 trip concluded with a week in Rome. Unfortunately, the apartment we have been renting for the past few years has been taken off the rental market. Karen found an apartment on the trendy street, via del Governo Vecchio, which had access to a private roof-top patio. We paid a premium for this abut given the time of year, a patio was not needed in November as the weather is much cooler than our usual September stays in Rome. The patio did, however, provide great roof-top views of the city.
We returned with a little excitement. Glenn keeps the addresses or all locations we are going to written in a small notebook. Don't work if the cab driver can't understand your "perfect Italian" - just show the address in the book and you'll get a "Grazie" and the cab speeds off. Well, that is what we did, but Glenn wrote the wrong address. We were not located on Viccolo del Governo Vecchio, 6 but on via del Governo Vecchio, 9. Luckily we called the rental agent and we were only a few blocks away. She can down met us, and even helped us with our bags.
We needed help as what we took to be a "few steps up to the elevator" turned out to a full flight of stairs to climb to reach the elevator. When you rent apartments at the top of the buildings, for access to a patio, the elevator becomes very important.
Anyway, check you addresses!
Just as Paris has Arrondissement or districts, 20 in total; Rome has 22 districts or Rioni. To add complications, the city has 15 municipal districts, each with its own President. The Rioni's were first created back with the Roman Republic. It was in 1743 that Pope Benedict XIV defined each in a precise method. They are not all the same size as the goal was to have an even distribution of the population, grouped near the river Tiber. First the Rioni were only known by their number, but later as time passed, they took on the name of a of a monument or geographic feature of the area.
They will show on the street signs on the boarders of the Rione - a sign on each side of the street showing the change in Rioni.
Walking around the older areas, such as along via del Governo Vecchio, buildings have plaques referring to "Rioni" usually indiated with the initial "R". We were in Rione V, Ponte. Ponte is bridge, and this refers to the Ponte Sant'Angelo. Historically the rioni was important as the streets lead to the Ponte Sant'Angelo, and were used by the many pilgrims travelling to St. Peters.
Although the Reg numbers have changed, this street sign indicates via della Chiesa Nuova is in Region II, Rioni VI (Parione)
I like to spot the signs on the sides of buildings indicating the Rione, here via del Melone is is Rione VIII (Sant'Eustachio)
Not just old signs, the new sign for via dei Coronari shows "R V", Rioni V (Ponte)
This old street runs 5 blocks long beginning at the Piazza d'Orologio and continuing to Piazza Pasquino. Along those blocks, where our apartment was located the street is hopping with restaurants, stores and architecture. We loved it. Go one more bloack past the Piazza Pasquino and you arrive at the Piazza Navona.
The name of the street, old government, is because the Papal government, up to around 1700, had their administrative offices at a palazzo (#39) on the street. In the 1970s the palazzo Nardini became occupied by the feminist movement in Rome.
While mentioning the Piazza Pasquino, that is where the massive Palazzo Braschiu starts, and today it holds the Museo di Roma.
Some of the places to note on your walk down the via del Governo Vecchio include:
As you walk along the street stop and admire #104, the building has been restored and the exterior has numerous cameo-type decorations.
At the end of via del Governo Vecchio is the Piazza Pasquino where you will see the ancient battered statue that dates to the 3 BC. It was dug up in the Parione Rioni, which starts here, in the 15th Century. It is the first of the "talking statues" in Rome. These statues provide a way for anonynmous political expression. Comments are written in the form of poems or witticisms. The practice becan in the 16th Century and continues today. Thre are five talking statues in Rome.
In the 15th Century, the city marked from from the Campidoglio to the Piazza Navona. In the 1600s it wass transformed into a baroque masterpiece. It was a public city market and in the 15th Century, Pope Innocent X, of the Pamphili Family, started the transformation of the space. commissions tfor the Fountain of the Four Rivers (Gian Lorenzo Berini), Tte Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone (Francesco Borromini) and the construction of the Palace of his Pamphili family (Carlo Rinaldi) to name some of the major work.
Visiting Rome means visitng the the Piazza Navona. In particular to admire the Fountain of the Four Rivers. The fountain has an Roman Imperial Aswan granite obelisk, and river-gods for the rivers of the four great continents. The fountain was to celebrate papal power in the world.
Here I captured thew River God Ganges. The Ganges sulpture carries a long oar to represetnt the navabaility of the Gange River. Of the four river sculptures of tths fountain, this is the one that keeps pulling me in! Each is a river-god, and sits in a semi=prone angle in awe of the central tower - the Egyptianh obelisk which symbolizes Papal power. When this fountain was unveiled to the public it was considered one of the greatest water spectaln any European urban space.
A the south end, designed by Giacomo della Porta, this is the oldest fountain, a marine-man stands on a shell fighting a dolphin. The work sculpted in 1654 by Ludovico Rossi di Fiesole. We see copies, the masks and sculptures of the triton originals are in the gardens of Villa Borghese.
At the north end, designed by Giacomo della Porta. For the first 300 years the fountain did not have sculptures. The water god Neptune fighting a large octopus, by Antonio della Bitta.
Perhaps my favorite building is the Pantheon. The Pantheon is an experience. Especially walking among the 16 massive portico columns.
Three rows —eight in the front and two rows of four. The granite and marble columns, weigh 50+ tons each, are from two different quarries in Egypt – dragged on wooden sledges more than 100 km to the Nile River, transferred to boats to arrive at the Roman port of Ostia and then by barges and pulled up the Tiber River to Rome. Every time I see the Tiber I have a hard time thinking about such a transportation challenge.
In the 17th Century, during restoration work, the three columns on the left were taken by the nearby Baths of Nero in Rome.
The Porticus Octaviae (Portico of Octavia) that remain are colonnaded walks of the portico that enclosed the temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina, as well as a library. The area was a fish market from the medieval period up to the end of 19th century.
Built around 27 BC by Emperor Augustus, named for his sister, Octavia Minor. They stand in the Roman Ghetto, next to the Theater of Marcellus. They are still her despite being burned in 80 AD, restored and burnt again in 203 AD. Next the structures were damaged by an earthquake in 442 AD, when two of the destroyed columns were replaced with an archway which still stands. A church was built in the ruins around 770 AD. After around 9:00 am the gate opens and it very moving to just walk along the sidewalk in the area. No tickets. No line-ups.
Pictured above are the remaining columns of the Temple of Vesparian and Titus. They sit within the Roman Forum but I enjoy looking at them from the roadway above the Forum, and just behind Palazzo Senatorio. Just go to the Capitolini Museum and walk down either on the roads to the left or right and you have a great over the Forum.
In Roman tradition, the fame and glory of a family name was recognized by monuments. To honor the Flavian Dynasty (Emperors Vespasian [69-79], Titus [79-81] and Domitian [81-96]), this temple was built. The temple suffered damage in medieval times, around 1300 with actions from Popes and the remodeling of the Forum. Still, I enjoy looking at what remains.
Located in the Rione of Borgo, this 1/2 km long street has a history. More than just connecting Saint Peter's Square to the Castel Sant'Angelo this is the entrance to St. Peter's. It was very different before. A maze of densely packed buildings blocked the view and easy access to St. Peter's. For hundreds of years there were plans to create an entrance. None implemented. But after the unification of Italy, and the 1929 political treaty creating the state of the Vatican City an independent sovereignty to the Holy Sea, something had to be done. The Pope claimed he was a prisoner with his state and never once left the Vatican to go into Rome. Opening up an grand entrance was achieved through the building of this street.
To do so, blocks and blocks of building were demolished. Residents were displaced to camps outside the city. Although started under Mussolini, it was finished after his death. The final touches, the obelisks along the sides of the street were only put in place in time for the Jubilee of 1950 (Roman Catholic Church celebration every 50 years).
One of the top iconic locations in Rome. The Trevi Fountain - The Taming of the Waters. For the past two years scenes of empty streets led us to beleive we might not have to fight a crowd at the fountain. Arriving at the fountain in November there was a sea of tourists. Why not. This is the place for a selfi and to document yourself as being in Rome. It was so busy we could not get down to the ledge and this is the first year that we did no throw a coin in the fountain. Oh no. I hope that will not be back luck.
In the Trevi Rioni, designed by Nicola Slavi and fionished by Fiuseppe Pannini and others, this is the largest barogue fountain in Rome. The Aqua Virgo was the source of water the Romans tapped into to feed the Baths of Agrippa. The name of the fountain comes from the latim work: trivium - the intersection of three streets. The Trevi Fountain is located where De 'Crocicchi, Poli and Della Muratte streets meet.
Pope Clement XII held a contest, with the design of the the fountain going to Alessandro Galilei from Florence. No, the people of Rome objected to an outsider getting the commission. It was awarded to Nicola Salvi. He died before finishing and four sculptors completed the decorations: Pietro Bracci (the statue of Oceanus in the centre at the top), Flilippo della Valle, Giovanni Grossi and Andrea Bergondi. Giuseppe Pannini, the architect completed the work in 1762.
Today the fountain looks like new, but we remember the period when a wood fence and a small opening was available to see the foutnain (June 2014 to November 2015) Big thanks to the Italian company Fendi who sponsored a 2.2 million Euro restoration project.