rome

The hidden gem of EUR

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Palazzo Dei Congressi

 

 

 

 

With the upcoming EXPO I have been thinking a lot about the layout of the would be Rome EXPO of 1942, however as it was never used, there has still never been a World Expo here in Rome, although it has been hosted in Italy four times.

Benito Mussolini, in is hopes of expanding his fascist empire and building a new Rome, as well as in his desire to display the greatness of Italian power to the world, attempted to hold a world exposition here in Rome. It was to be held in 1942, on the 20th anniversary of his March on Rome.  In 1937 construction began to build this new city which would hold this exposition.

The project was called E42 or Esposizione 1942. It was to be built along the Via Imperiale that stretched from the Altare della Patria all the way to Ostia. Today this road is broken into Viale dei Imperiali and Via Cristoforo Colombo.

At the same time as this project, Mussolini worked to clear out the center of historic Rome. He believed this would solve two problems. The first was opening the historic Rome, as an image of italianita and grandeur, the second would solve his problem of necessity for modern buildings and housing.

EUR, as it is known today, was Rome’s first major reinvention. While many other cities continuously changed and renovated, Rome was the same as it had always been. This development was a push forward to bring Rome to the same modern field as all other capital cities.

Mussolini entrusted the design of this new city to Marcello Piacentini, a young architect who was the leading designer of fascist architecture. His work was Reactionary, Imperialistic, and Monumental. EUR became a meeting point for Rationalist and Antique architecture, mixing functionality with ancient motifs.

Everything about this city was to mirror Centro Storico. It included elements that paid homage to ancient structures such as the Colosseum and the Forum of Augustus. The entire message of the city is one of authority. This area has been used in a number of films depicting future societies including Equilibrium.

Although the Exposition never occurred, the area was salvaged around the later 1950’s and was reused. EUR served as presentation space during the 1960 Olympics. To this day EUR still functions as an industrial and office space of the city. Recently Fendi has taken the Palazzo della Civilita as its official Rome headquarters.

Unfortunately, the beauty of this area is not often realized as it is so far out of the city. EUR can be reached through Metro and is definitely worth a visit if you have the time. Although it is filled with Fascist propaganda architecture, the locals have forgotten this heritage, and choose to appreciate the area for it’s beautiful architecture.  “You can’t reject those past 50years because intelligent people made art and it’s still art, whatever its flaws are. It’s not the ideology that matters it’s the art, one cannot forget or cross out history.” Director of the Luigi Piggorini Museum, found in EUR.

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San Pietro e San Paolo, climb up this ramp for one of the greatest views of Rome.

 

 

 

 

The details of Michelangelo’s David

052    On March 6th, the anniversary of Michelangelo Buonarrotti’s birthday I had the chance to finally visit the David. Upon walking into the Accademia there is no excitement, the first room is yellow tinted with unappealing lighting. In the center stands an early cast of Rape of the Sabines by Giambologna, the walls carry scattered paintings. Turn left and you enter a long hallway where suddenly the David strikes you. The hallway includes a number of statues by Michelangelo as well but they are impossible to focus on when there is the beacon of natural light meeting marble at then end of the hall.

It is impossible not to rush straight ahead to the David. He stands on a pediment, and although I have seen the one in Piazza della Signoria, I thought the real statue was smaller. This massive larger than life statue holds your attention. A large part of this is due to its position.  A jewel of the museum it is almost as if the museum was built around this statue, rather than having it moved there later.

Michelangelo David Florence

 

When I imagined David smaller, I imagined the viewer could meet his gaze, whereas in reality Michelangelo’s ability to create moving emotion shows through and David intently looks up to his left, as if meeting the gaze of Goliath.  In reality, it originally looked to Rome, a message sent from the Medici Democracy to the Papal State.

While his gaze does not meet the views, the strong aspect of his hand and his overall presence within the space is enough to complete a sense of awe.

Michelangelo's David Gaze Michelangelo's David, Hand detail

Once the viewer can pull themselves back into the moment, away from the statue, the other statues in the hall become clearer. Of these 6 other statues, 4 are Michelangelo’s unfinished Slaves, meant to be placed on the Pope Julius II tomb. While they may not seem “beautiful” in our eyes that are trained to see finished works as beautiful, they reveal a new part of the process. How does a block of marble become an inspiring work of art? Michelangelo carved from the front back, having the figures emerge. When looking at these however, it appears the reverse, that the figures are slowly melting back into the marble.

Exploring Garbatella

GarbatellaThe last Roman neighborhood, Garbatella, meaning the well-mannered innkeeper, an area that manages to be both incredibly lively and peaceful at the same time. There is a reason it is on the top of every “off the beaten path in Rome” list. This neighborhood will stick with you.

Garbatella is a puzzle of public housing, some made quick and cheap, some designed in the manner of an English Garden, some staying true to the fascist architecture. One of the greatest sites to wander through are the many lotti, apartment blocks which are built around communal gardens.

Garbatella offers many culinary experiences from the classic bars featured in Passolini’s work to the trattorias which offer a different menu every day, depending on the fresh ingredients available. There is also a food market found behind teatro palladium, it is up every weekend throughout the day. One of my greatest finds there was balsamic honey, perfect on bread, or for medicinal purposes as well.

A.S. Roma is the team of choice here, and they won’t let you forget it, murals to the team, tasteful grafiti with the symbol of the wolf. The passion for the team, with the colors of red and orange decorating every corner, holds your attention and inspires you as you walk through.

Lotto of GarbatellaThough not as ancient as centro storico, this  area holds much history. Built up under Mussolini to serve as a suburb to rome, the houses were commissioned by the Public Housing team. different architects worked on them at different times, this is clear in the changing styles, throughout the blocks.

When the allies bombed this area took a small hit, and it managed to stop the clock that stands on top of the “Red Hotel”. No one ever bothered to fix it, so it stands as a reminder to the event.

Also found in Garbatella is Eataly, which I do recommend stopping at for a treat! I also recommend Lavazza Tierra coffee, which I found only there.

The truth is Garbatella’s beauty cannot be described through words, and you ought to see it for yourself. Go get lost, but if you need a little more structure, I recommend the tour found in Modern Rome: 4 Great Walks for the Curious Traveler.

Lotto Signs in Garbatella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows in Garbatella

Why the Italian Response to ISIS is the best response.

In the last week, as you might have read, Italians had some fantastic responses to the ISIS generated hashtag #We_Are_Coming_O_Rome  (seriously guys there are only 160 characters, stop using underscores). You can read more here. Most of these responses were jokes about Italy’s already terrible government, transportation problems, and even some advice on where to eat.

Italian tweets ISIS

Anybody who knows Italy and Rome had a laugh about these. And that, right there, is the reason this was such an amazing response to ISIS: Not fear, but a little humor.

I read about the Italian response while watching Star Wars Ep. V where Yoda tells Luke not to fall to the dark side and be overcome with hate. But back in Ep. 1 , he does reference fear into this mix.

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.

The world is a constant fight between good and bad. Always on the good side is happiness, love, and trust; and always on the opposite side,  hate, anger and fear.

That’s why joking around with ISIS threats is just a little bit better  response than panic and anxiety.   I’m not saying let’s go Hebdo on this– seriously, learn to also be respectful; Italy’s humorous response was appropriately self-effacing, not de-humanizing. But a little laugh, a smile, is going to go a long way in a time where we are all so driven by sad and hateful news.

Fear leads to hate and is probably even worse. It is fear that drives people to shoot their neighbours, to burn down religious buildings, and cause pain to those who may not deserve it. I am too young to remember pre-9/11 but I know that after that date a new era took over, one completely run by fear. This idea of the post-9/11 world is run by the constant reminders to report any suspicious activity, and to be cautious of every bag left unattended. It’s the constant stares given to the people on the bus with you in the morning, and the  comments made at passers-by, like those in Milan:

 

Obviously you should be reasonably cautious, and take care for the safety of yourself  and your family.But don’t allow the occurrences in Libya, Australia, Denmark and Syria to scare you into not trusting those around you, or into hiding away. If we don’t act as willing consumers  of all this fear that many news channels and all terrorist groups heap on our plates, we don’t feed their power. An organization, a person, a cause is only as powerful as the power that you give it. The less fear we have of these organizations, and the more faith we put in our own armies, governments,  each other, and in the idea this will stop, it will, sooner rather than later.

Bar, Food, Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, Rome,

Trying something new: Tales of the Table

As this is my last semester, I decided to jump out of my normal zone, also somewhat as a way of distancing myself from Archaeology and more Roman history. So, I took Online Journalism, still a little nervous as I am bad at talking to people, but I thought it would be fun and another great way to use my photos. So I chose to focus on Food, but more than that, how food is in our culture and what it means to people. It won’t be a constant line of reviews, or recipes, but more of individual stories surrounding food.

My first story was about Michele Ferrero‘s death, as it was meant to be a “hard news” story, you can read it, and future posts on Food here: www.talesofthetable.weebly.com

I hope this new blog will be able to push my comfort zone and get out there talking to more people throughout Rome!

Side note: weebly is so frustrating, I wish we could just use WordPress.

My next piece will focus on the culture of Aperitivo in Rome, and hopefully further through Italy. If you have any great aperitivo spots or stories let me know and I will include them!

Avoiding the Vatican Museums

The last Sunday of every month, the Vatican Museums are free, if you are planning a trip on a budget you might want to think about that. But, there is also no limit to the amount of people going in. So while you may be able to get in, passing through the line which reaches all the way to Colonnade, after only a 40 minute wait, the museum will be so packed you really won’t be able to see much. Instead, I just waited for our students to be done, but had a look around the Vatican City while waiting. Carabinieri Vatican Capes Vatican Street Black and white Vatican Street Peek into Saint Peter's 026

First Christmas Away

Gingerbread Christmas Cookies

This year will be my very first Christmas away from my family, in another country and without snow. It’s been really strange trying to get excited for Christmas when there are still palm trees outside my window and when I can walk outside in just a sweatshirt. It doesn’t even feel like December. So to make it feel more like the holidays I managed to buy a mini tree (a real one even!), decorate with my roommates and make a million cookies, most of which were eaten immediately.

I had always wanted to spend the holidays in Rome thinking it would be lots of fun, but have realized it’s just not the same without snow, my kittens, and my wonderful wood stove. Although, the city is decorated beautifully with lights shaped to be the flag of every country, and  my favorite sight was a Fiat 500, decorated with Santa driving around.

What has your experience with Christmas in Italy been? Have any recommendations for how to spend Christmas-New Years here in Rome?

I hope you all have a wonderful and happy holiday!

Christmas Lights

A Fruit Stand In Venezia

A Fruit Stand In  Venezia

Everything in Venice lives up to their “Myth of Venice” image, even the fruit stands. In Rome we have piles of plastic boxes filled with fruit, but it is all cheap, fresh and delicious, who cares how it is stacked?

In Venice it is neatly arranged below an awning and a beautiful porch from the building above. It is set directly at the end of a long alley, becoming a shining light in the winding dark alleys of Venice. And when you reach it to one side you have the canal with gondolas waiting, and another quaint little bridge. To the other side you have an open piazza filled with people settling into their spritz at every hour of the day.

It sure was beautiful, except for the fact the fruit was set at Venetian prices as well.

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Throwback Thursday

 

Fountain

 

 

I came across my old documents in Google Drive, and found my old photos I used for a final portfolio in my High School photography class.  It is so amazing to see how much I have improved, for starters I have done much less editing which I am happy about. Most of these evencame from my last trip to Rome before I came for school.

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This however if from Middlebury, we all needed a movement photo and this became the go to pose.

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The photo above is one of my favorites, it is just so cute. Also fun fact, there used to be a man standing in the center, I spent hours getting rid of the figure.

 

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 What high school photographer would I be without a black and white photo of a dandelion?

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Doorway

Cloudy Day

meeting

Pigeon pillarsoflife Resting Roman Rose

When making everything but one item black and white was the coolest possible thing.Standing

 

 

 

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Roseto di Roma Capitale

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Today while shooting for With Love From Roma, I finally got to visit the Roseto di Roma Capitale. This is a small Rose Garden, open free to the public, which opens every spring. Within it grows all different types of Roses, the garden is filled with colors (and bees… but nevermind). Now that I know where this park is, I definitely plan to visit more often! It is right next to Circo Massimo and has plenty of benches. The Perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon…I only wish there was a bar where I could enjoy my coffee too!

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Another great thing about the Roseto is the view of Rome and the Forum, paired with the perfect Roman pines creating a border to the scene. These gorgeous trees always remind me of Trufallas…

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