Saturday, 9 August 2014

Seeing Stars

If we were in Rome this evening ,10th of August, we would be looking towards the heavens & wishing upon a shooting star. For tonight is La Notte delle Stella Cadenti or La Notte dei  Desideri which commemorates the Martyrdom of San Lorenzo on this day in 258 AD. The shooting stars seen on the same night were said to be his tears which are now suspended in space and fall to earth once a year.
Sadly, with light pollution it is extremely unlikely that a shooting star will be seen but here are other places to see stars in the city.

In the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva look upward to the glorious ceiling to see stars.
In the piazza outside the church stands the delightful elephant statue by Bernini.

If you look closely at the saddle cloth you will see a star.

This is the Chigi family symbol of six mountains and a star which can be seen all over the city including the entrance gate to Piazza del Popolo.

Yet another church where stars make an appearance are in Santa Maria degli Angeli. A meridian line passes through the church that is marked by a marble line in the floor. There are stars' names marked along the meridian at different points.

Up in the corner is a small hole where, if you stand on each star's name at certain dates of the year, you can see the star through the hole as it passes over the meridian.
The huge bronze doors that lead in to San Giovanni in Laterano once stood at the entrance to the Curia in the Forum. It is amazing to think that these very doors were held open for Caesar & Cleopatra! However when they were moved a new frame needed to be added. Bernini decorated this frame with....yes, you have guessed correctly - stars.

Finally, where better to see stars than at an observatory. Rome has an observatory on Monte Mario which overlooks the city.


Unfortunately it isn't possible to visit at the moment as it is under restoration but the appropriately named Lo Zodiaco bar & restaurant has wonderful night time views over the city.

For those of you with a deeper pocket ,in the same area , is the three Michelin starred (tenuous link) La Pergola restaurant at the Cavalieri Hotel where Heinz Beck creates magic upon the plate.

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