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Gianluca Pica




26/03/2020, 12:53

#atourguiderome, #unaguidaturisticaroma, #romeisus, #rome, #roma, #guidedtour, #tour, #aventino, #medioevo, #middleages, #mosaico, #tomba, #santabalbina


 A small and unknown church at the Aventine Hill, with several medieval surprises inside...

The Church of Santa Balbina, a Christian martyr of the II century AD, is not known and it is completely off the beaten path. It is set at the #Aventine hill, not so far from the huge remains of the Baths of #Caracalla. From the entrance of this church, looking between the leaves of the Roman pines, you can see some massive ancient walls, that ones of the majestic Roman baths. But now it’s time to speak about the Church of Santa Balbina! The first document where we can read this name is date back to the 595 AD, but probably the first Christian sacred place was erected before, around the end of the V century AD. The only proble of this nice church is its position, because as I told you before it is located at the Palatine Hill. But this natural hill is off the city centre, outside the walls of #Rome. It is the reason why over the centuries it was sacked several times and, of course, it was also rebuilt and restored several times! #Pope Leone III, at the IX century AD, commissioned some restorations, as the Marco Balbo, the powerful brother of the Pope Paul II, who at the 1449 restored the ceiling (and still today there’s an inscription on the wooden ceiling remembering that). But the Church of Santa Bibiana was also restored three, two and one centuries ago! The main age represented here is the #Middleages! First of all the portico, just above the entrane. It is always closed by iron gates, but you should not how in the portico are displayed several pieces: a capital with an inscription dedicated to the Pope Sixtus V, a "tabula lusoria" (a sort of ancient Roman board game carved on the floors or walls), Roman vases or some elements of the medieval church. The entry is through a door located along the right nave. Before to reach the entrance you will be in a small garden where you can see the buildings of the monastery of Santa Margherita, that is related to the church. Standind here you can see a medieval tower with battlements, used in the past to defense this place. But now let’s go inside, where you will be surrounded by a nice and peacefull atmosphere! Several things are remarkable, like the chair, used by the bishops, with its caracteristics colourful medieval decorations. Or the "schola cantorum", marble made, that is the corral that you can see in the middle. All the medieval churches had this architectonical element, that was used to phisically divide the clergy by the believers. Moreover let’s go to the entrance, walking along the left nave: you will find a marble crucified Christ probably made by the school of Masolino da Fiesole, one of the main artists of the XV century. Reaching the entrance you will also find a nice monumental tomb, with a marble sleeping man at the top. It is a tomb fromm the 1303 made by Giovanni da Cosma and dedicated to the Cardinal Stefano de Surdis (this tomb stood in the first St Peter Basilica, because its renaissance restoration). But try also to look down, looking at the white and black ancient Roman mosaics on the floor. They are original from the Roman Age, and they were found at the 20’s of the last century during the excavations of the Roman Forum. Maybe to make more famous the church, maybe to preserve better them, the mosaics were moved here! And now the last surprise, that is related to a legend that we can read on some medieval stories named "Mirabilia". It is the history of a candelabra:"During the ancient times, in front of the church there was acandelabra, made of a burning and inexinguishable stone. The whole candelabra burnt, but it was not shabby by the arcane fire: the air powered its stamina, and next to it there was a statue depicting an archer, ready to fire his arrow. But there was a intimidaating Etruscan inscription that said "If somebody will touch me I will wound". Many centuries went on but one day a stupid touched the fatal arrow and the fire was not alive anymore". So, do you see how many nice things in one place? #unaguidaturisticaroma #atourguiderome #romeisus #rome #roma #medieval #middleages #marble 
13/02/2020, 12:12

#unaguidaturisticaroma, #atourguiderome, #romeisus, #rome, #roma, #arte, #art, #rinascimento, #renaissance, #painting


 The canveses in Palazzo Barberini are able to depict us mythologycal episoded, thanks to Renaissance colors and style

In the Palazzo Barberini, where a gorgeous museum is located, a lot of masterpieces could be usefull in order to get in touch with the ancient Greek and Roman mythology. I suggest to visit this museum not only to admire the Renaissance works of art (here you can find Raphael, jjust to have an idea): no, this museum could mean for you a real time travel. Trough the painting is possible to see, with your eyes, mythological episodes, Gods or traditions from the ancient times. In this picture, for example, there is a canvas by Bigio, a Renaissance artist, that is depicting the three Parcaes, the depositary of the Life and Destiny. Just them could decide our Fates, and nobody could escape. Even Gods or Titans are defeated by the Destiny, even them could not win. Here Bigio, following the style of his time, depicts the Parcaes like three young, parlty naked and beautiful girls. The details of their bodies are impressive. Their bodies are muscular, but at that time it was simply a symbol of perfection. Although it the Parcae seem to move in a very soft way, with the background that with a great harmony is around them. On the right we have Cloto, with a red strand, symbolizing the love that creates. On the left we have Lachesi with a white strand, that underlines the purity of life. And at the centre there is Atropo, hanging the scissors that are able to cut the strands of the life, provoking Death. To make stronger this concept a skeleton is visible at the background. The poses, the colors and the setting are usefull to surround the importance of the three figures at the centre, who are larger and bigger than the others. Moreover, according to other versions of the same myth, the Parcaes could be depict as a kid, a young girl and a old woman (the Three Ages). So this canvas is full of symbolisms. A work of art that is able to depict, throuh colors, the ancient mythology that was the origins of the knowledge for the Renaissance people. They were almost feed by the ancient world, so much that they considered it as a model of perfection. The style and the figures are perfectly representing this concept. #romeisus #Rome #unaguidaturisticaroma #atourguiderome #Roma #painting 
08/02/2020, 12:03

#unaguidaturisticaroma, #atourguiderome, #romeisus, #rome, #roma, #archeologia, #archeology, #fororomano, #romanforum, #tourguide, #guidaturistica, #saturno, #saturn, #mitologia


 A row of columns could be seen in the Roman Forum; they belonged to one of the greatest temple of the ancient Rome...

On this photo, at the background, are clearly visible the impressive columns of the Temple of Saturn that, since the V century BC, is embellishing the Roman Forum. But who really was Saturn, so important to have a temple in the real heart of Rome? He was Crono, for the Greek mythology, the Zeus’ father. The figure of Saturn, like other mythological characters, is not clearly defined. The epysode related to him are a lot, and some of them are different comparing the others. But what we know is how Saturn, for the ancient Romans, was more than a simple God. However, according to the tradition, at the base of everything there was a prophecy: it said that Crono/Saturn will be killed by one of his children. So, in order to escape by the Destiny, slowly slowly Saturn started to...eat each single child of him! A final solution that should be perfect, for him. So when the poor infants were born they simpy died. But one day Rea, the Saturn’s wife (who was also his sister...), decided to save their last child: Zeus. So she switch Zeus with a little rock, surrounding it with a shroud. Saturn thought that it was Zeus and he ate it. In the meantime the young god was hidden in the depth of a forest, feeding and helping by the bucolic creatures of that area. According to this legend the all fact happened in the island of Creta. When Zeus became the Father of the God, and the most important one, so when he simply grew up, he found his vengeance, killing Saturn. But for the Roman version of this story Jupiter (the Roman name for Zeus), didn’t kill Saturn. His father was exiled and it was forced to abandon the Greek. In the art history, and according to the traditions, Saturn is always depicted as an old man, with a long grey beard, who used to walk along seas and mountains. At a certain moment he came to the coasts of Lazio, the region where Rome, today, is located. Here he was host by Giano, a Roman local God, who lived in the hill that is close to Rome that is called Gianicolo... So, in order to thank him, Saturn gave a great reward to all the inhabitants of these foreing lands: a golden age! In this way, for centuries and centuries, the mankind lived in a wonderful way. Men didn’t need to work, the ground was always fertile. Something like that, for the Roman mythology, centuries before Romulus, the founder of the city. So you can understand now why the ancient Romans considered Saturn in a very important way. Where Rome was founded the Jupiter’s father lived, thanking the people for their hospitality. Over the centuries the ancient Romans remembered this golden age with a specific holiday named "Saturnalia". On December, for some days, everybody couldn’t work. There were parties and meals, the people used to give gifts each other, using also candles. It reminds me Christmas... Now let me tell you something more about this temple. It is considered as the third most ancient Roman temple in the city, but it is also true that nothing of the original structure could be seen. Today we can admire the fine granite columns from the III century AC, when the temple was restored after the fire. Still today there is the inscription that is telling us why it was restored: "SENATUS POPULUSQUE ROMANUS INCENDIO CONSUMPTUM RESTITUIT". It was a common fate for a lot of ancient Roman temples. So we can say that we are lucky if, after centuries, we can see something about it... #Roma #romeisus #Rome #unaguidaturisticaroma #atourguiderome #archeologia #archeol

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