Monday, May 10, 2010

Ponte Saint' Angelo

These photos give new meaning to the the words "light at the end of the tunnel". After wandering delightful alleyways and never really being sure we were on the right track, we could see the end of the tunnel.

We spot our destination, the Ponte Sant' Angelo, the Bridge of Angels.

Image by Matthias with his permission.

This Bridge spans the Tiber River, connecting the city center to the Castel Sant' Angelo.

The statuary on this bridge has been replaced several times in it's history. Bernini's program, one of his last large projects, called for ten angels holding instruments of the Passion.  He personally only finished the two originals of the Angels with the Superscription "I.N.R.I." and with the Crown of Thorns, but these were kept by Clement IX for his own pleasure. They are now in the church of Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, also in Rome.
The remaining angesl were sculpted by students of Bernini.

Angel with the Whips 

Angel with Cross
If you want to see an awesome artistic rendering of this photo, see Photoworks

Also on the bridge are sculptures of Sts Peter and  Paul. These remain from one of the earlier artistic renderings. Pigeons are the ruin of all photographers in Rome. I am pretty sure the locals don't care much for them either. And I am positive that St Peter doesn't.

If you look closely, you can just see the Sculpture of St Michael the Archangel on top of the Castel behind.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Piazza Navona

This piazza is large and open and has three delightful fountains.

In the center is Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers, representing the Nile, Ganges, Danube and della Plata. It was erected in 1651 in front of the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, and yards from the Pamphili Palace belonging to this fountain's patron, Pope Innocent X  (1644-1655). This sculpture was being refurbished and was surrounded by plastic. Boo Hoo.
You can see the church with it's twin towers just behind the scuplture.

The Moor Fountain, located in the southern area of Piazza Navona, takes its name from the central figure, who is a Moor fighting with a dolphin. The work was sculpted based on a design of Bernini in 1654 by Giovanni Antonio Mari.

This fountain had all the water so the pigeons liked it as much as I did.
Gotta love those buns!

And then one who will sing?dance?sit? just whatever for his supper. This is not the third fountain although he seems to have been here long enough for green things to begin growing...


Monday, May 03, 2010

Next Stop - the Pantheon by way of Piazza Colonna

Continuing down the Via Something or Other, which by the way has an interesting array of shops and restaurants whose proprietors were busily restocking for the day's business, is quite interesting. Except for the fact that we were never quite sure just exactly where we were, who is to care.  Getting  a bit lost this time, landed us in the Piazza Colonna to the discovery of  The Column of Marcus Aurelius. Oh my!

 The column’s shaft is 29.60 m (about 100 feet) high, on a 10 m high base, which in turn originally stood on a
3 m high platform - the column in total is 41.95 m. About 3 metres of the base have been below ground level since the 1589 restoration. The column consists of 27 or 28 blocks of  Carrara marble (the good stuff that Michelangelo used), each of 3.7 m diameter, hollowed out at the quarry for a stairway of 190-200 steps within the column up to a platform at the top. This stairway is illuminated through narrow slits into the relief.

Just look at the detail. It is so beautiful.

Finally, we arrive at the Piazza Della Rotonda. Many of these squares contain obelisks. This one is called the Obelisk of Ramesses.

This square is most famous for the Pantheon, which was originally built in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa and reconstructed by Hadrian in the early 2nd century. The Pantheon is a perfect sphere, at 142 ft wide and 142 feet high, as is it's dome. Before the 20th century, this was the biggest pile of concrete ever constructed.

The oculus (latin for "eye") is an opening in the dome which is 30 feet in diameter and allows rain to enter. See the bird in the opening.

The Pantheon was originally a pagan temple but in 609, the Byzantine emperor Phocas gave the building to Pope Boniface IV, who converted it into a Christian church and consecrated it to Sancta Maria an Martyres, now known as Santa Maria dei Martiri.
Here it is decorated for Palm Sunday services.



Raphael and Vittorio Emanuele II, king of Italy, and his successor, Umberto I, are buried in the Pantheon. It is a beautiful space, which we visited twice. The first time was in the morning and it was ever so peaceful. The second time was on the eve of Palm Sunday and while it was beautiful because a choir was singing, it was ever so crowded and the sense of space was lost.