31 December 2013

happy new year, y'all

it's been a long year ---  dead parents, dead job, but a whole lotta stress slowly evaporating --- onward and upward, glad for the people i know and love ---
after an excellent afternoon in assisi, back to cannara to celebrate new years eve with lots of our own fireworks --- ate lentils at midnight, which is a neapolitan version of our black-eyed peas on new years day --- i missed being with robert on this day for the first time in nearly 20 years

29 December 2013

a day for relics, sacred and profane

mouth of the cloaca maxima, the roman sewer begun six centuries before christ --- not too good for the tiber river, but one of the first sewers in the world

view of the palatine hill from the aventine hill across the circo massimo (where they're having a big-ass concert on new years eve)

s, giovanni in laterano, which is technically part of the vatican
in the upper part of the baldacchino at giovanni laterano are supposed to be parts of the heads of peter and paul --- unfortunately recent dna tests have shown that the peter head does not match the remains at st. peter's basilica, which archeology has purty much proved are those of the saint --- somebody pulled a fast one on the pope

these are the original 2nd-century bronze doors to the roman curia (interior and exterior sides) installed  at laterano in the 17th century 

the gilded columns here, also at laterano, were taken from the roman temple of jupiter optimus maximus on the capitoline
among the many relics (including the true cross, which history suggest apparently contained enough wood to build a small house) that constantine's mother acquired in the 3rd city were the scala santa, the holy stairs, taken from the palace of pontius palace and upon which jesus walked --- can't believe they leave them out in the rain

s. pietro in vincoli displays the chains with which peter was bound in jerusalem and in rome --- when brought together god knows when they miraculously fused into a single chain and have been venerated for over 15 centuries
the catholics do spooky memorials real good
by far the best thing today was basilica di san clemente al laterno, but they allowed no photography --- it's a 12th century church built over a 4th century church ruined by the normans, itself built over a building that possibly dated to republican rome --- in the 1st or 2nd century it was adapted for worship of mithras, one of the major influences on early christianity  --- down, down, down, with the sound of running water from a spring overhead --- i don't think i've seen anything quite so awesome

the sad and the beautiful

like the crowds on the corso this afternoon and the lines at the vatican and everywhere else, the beggars here are of "biblical proportion," as frances puts it --- this bronze is at the front of a church --- notice the nice warm gloves and scarf someone has offered

walky, walky, walk

one of the most interesting ruins is the theater of marcellus, incorporated into a later building with a bit of the original features recreated there on the right side

i have been mocked by some for what was seen as an overly ambitious sightseeing agenda, but unless i fall out today, i'm going to accomplish most of it

the heart of christendom

a long day: the vatican museum and st peters (including climbing the dome) --- crazy long ticket lines all over --- i don't understand why people don't get tickets beforehand since that saves a ton of time ---

my favorite thing at st. pete's was the medieval statue of peter, all detail on his right foot worn absolutely smooth from a thousand years of pilgrims kissing and rubbing it --- it is one of the few things salvaged from constantine's basilica --- other remnants in the crypt, but most of it (as was too much at the forum, the vatican, and elsewhere) could only be glimpsed through barriers ---

27 December 2013


it's relaxing to get back to trestevere in the evening and have friends who know great non-tourista places for supper

roma, giorna due

what a day! the palatine, forum, and colosseum, trajan's market, santa maria sopra minerva and god knows what else --- i'm exhausted ---

 the colosseum was absolutely over-run with people and i found it very depressing, knowing it as a place where thousands of people were killed and god knows how many animals slaughtered for entertainment ---  hundreds of ostriches, e.g., decapitated with arrows ---
 santa maria sopra minerva, the only gothic church interior left in rome
theater of marcellus
2nd century CE Roman copy of a dying persian 3rd century BCE original from pergamum