Friday, 15 June 2018

Street Art at The Rome Hello

The Rome Hello is a design hostel inspired by street art. The front of house staff were kind enough to let us non-residents look around to see for ourselves the works on display.
Each of the artists involved chose to donate to a charity which 
included Amnesty International, Baobab Experience and Doctors without Borders.

In the hostel hallway are two works by Jana & JS, an Austrian & French couple who have been painting together since 2006. Their stencil artworks always incorporate elements of the city in which they are working in the background.

Also in the hallway is the work of Victoriano, a graffiti and street artist from Spain. His mural blends the legend and history of Rome with the innocence of youth and features his daughter, Frida.

The guest lounge is home to the work of Alice Pasquini, a local artist from Rome who represents people and their relationships in her works. She especially likes to draw strong and independent women.

Dima Fatum from the Ukraine combines history and culture of the country in which he is painting in his works. Roman symbolism in his mural at The Rome Hello includes Julius Caesar and the Belvedere Torso from the Vatican Museum.

The work desk area in the lounge has a geometric background by Minimal Construction, a street and tattoo artist from Bordeaux.

Ale Martoz, an Italian illustrator and street artist from Assisi based his mural on the art installation 'Stonehenge Cars', representing pollution and renewable energy.

The hostel bar 'The Barrel' (where they serve a mean negroni by the way) features a B for Barrel by the graphic artist Jeremy Schiavo and a decorated toilet door by Valentina Fiorini, an artist and filmaker born in Rome.

The Rome Hello has many advantages as a place to stay in Rome, super friendly staff, great communal areas and a funky bar but the icing on the cake has to be this wonderful indoor street art gallery.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Rome 365 - Appia Antica

Walk in the footsteps of Ancient Roman soldiers, merchants and saints on the Appia Antica. It makes a lovely trip out to the edge of the city, especially on a Sunday when part of the road is closed to cars.

The Appian Way was built in 312BC and connected Rome to some of its most distant settlements through the port of Brindisi.

Start at Porta San Sebastiano, one of the best preserved gates in the Aurelian Walls.

Just along the, road on the right hand side, is the church of Quo Vadis. Legend tells us that as St Peter was fleeing his persecutors he saw a vision of Christ and asked him where he was going ('Quo Vadis') Jesus replied that he was going to Rome to be crucified anew, prompting Peter to turn around and accept his fate. The church contains a replica of the stone said to be marked with the footsteps of Christ.

Close by is the Circus of Maxentius, the best preserved of Roman circuses, which could accomodate 18,000 spectators. it was here that the obelisk of Diocletian was found which now stands in Piazza Navona.

The Tomb of Cecilia Metella was built for the daughter in law of Marcus Licinius Crassus, perhaps the richest man in Roman history .He was Julius Caesar's financial backer.

A little further along is the excavated area of Capo di Bove where remains of a thermal bath complex belonging to a Roman Villa can be seen.

Beyond Capo di Bove the road is lined with cypresses and funerary monuments which, thanks to the sculptor Canova, remain in situ rather than placed in museums. 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Martket to Table Revisited

It was a lastminute decision to take the Market to Table class at Latteria Studio and what a good decision it was. There was no better way to spend our last few hours before leaving for the airport.

We met in the centre of Mercato Testaccio and got to know our fellow classmates over coffee and were delighted to discover that they were all from Canada. Rachel, as always, was a delightful hostess and introduced us to favourite stalls in the market. Of course we all felt we knew the stall owners through Rachel's writings in 'Five Quarters' and The Guardian.

Pizzette from Da Artenio staved off any hunger pangs whilst we picked up shopping for lunch.

On the way over to Latteria Studio Rachel explained how the area of Testaccio fitted into the culinary history of Rome.

Latteria Studio is the most delightful space filled with light and fitted out with retro furniture as well as Alice's collection of flatware.

The most delicious aroma of cinnamon buns, freshly baked by Carla, filled the air. These were enjoyed with juice squeezed from oranges from Carla's garden.

Pretty soon we were all tasked with preparing the raw ingredients including artichokes....

...and puntarelle with a nifty little tool.

The joy of a Market to Table class is that it doesn't matter what level of cooking skills you have you are made to feel like you are helping out in a friends kitchen

At this point Carla produced focaccia from the oven for a snack.

 Pasta making next - cavatelli must be the most satisfying pasta to create.

Simon opened bottles of prosecco which heralded lunch

The fruits of our labour were placed amongst the vases of fressia on the pretty table.

All to soon it was time to say goodbye to our new found friends, Trish, Brenda, Susan and Simon and of course, Rachel, Carla and Alice.
It was, as ever, the best of days.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Julius II - The Warrior Pope

Giuliano della Rovere became Pope Julius II on November 1503 with an immediate objective of regaining the lands that had been taken away from the papacy during the reigns of Innocent VIII and Alexander VI by the French, Germans and Spanish. To this end he started a series of wars and secret alliances. However this warrior pope also left a lasting legacy to the Eternal City.

Santa Maria del Popolo is the Della Rovere family church and their chapel is the first on the right as you enter. Above the chapel altar can be seen the charming Nativity scene 'Adoration of the Child' by Pinturicchio.

Via Giulia was laid out by the pope's favourite architect, Bramante, and was intended as a triumphal approach to the Vatican.

On the opposite side of the Tiber is Villa Farnesina, home to Agostini Chigi, treasurer of the Papal states.

The villa contains the work 'Galatea' by Raphael 

The Della Rovere symbol of the oak tree can also be glimpsed on the decorative ceiling.

Pope Julius also commissioned Bramante to build the Cortile del Belvedere in the Vatican.

The courtyard linked the Vatican with Julius's collection of classical statuary which was to become the the Vatican Museums that we know today.

Julius also spurred both Michelangelo and Raphael to produce their finest work - the former in the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and the latter in the 'School of Athens'

San Pietro in Vincoli is the last resting place of Pope Julius. Michelangelo was asked to design his funeral monument which was to be the centrepiece of the new St Peter's Basilica but for various reasons it was referred to by the artist as the 'tragedy of the tomb'. The statue of Moses is one of the few that remain of the original grandiose plan. Other sculptures from the unfinished tomb are to be found in Florence and the Louvre.

I've no doubt that Julius would have thought his tomb a tragedy too if he had seen the comical effigy of himself by Tommaso Boscoli.

To complete the Julius experience you could stay at Hotel Colombus which is housed in Palazzo della Rovere. A well in the courtyard bears the family coat of arms.