My first impression of Rome came from an outdated tourist book I picked up. This Rome guide by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls was from 1993 but I figured the general spirit was the same. In their introduction, they say:
Two thousand years ago Rome the Predator brought the first unity and peace to Europe, while evolving into a new urban life form: the Eternal Parasite. It bullied battled and excommunicated itself into this unique position, and with smug complacency the city still lives off the pennies of the faithful, the travellers’ cheques of tourists, and the grudging lire of disgusted Italian taxpayers. In its overfed and overripe state, the Eternal Parasite distorts all that it touches, distorts into staggering proportions. Yet its kitsch-colossal architecture, its enormous appetites, its modern maelstroms of traffic, crime and misbegotten redevelopment throw into focus rare moments of nobility and beauty; Michealangelo’s Pieta becomes all the more poignant for its setting in The World’s Biggest Church.
Why go to Rome? Go to Rome to understand the excesses the western world must outgrow for its own survival, an inheritance of imperial brutality and exploitation, religios megalomania, and endless, insatiable greed. It’s all on exhibit; in Rome the past lies about higgledy-piggledy at every turn to create an intriguing spontaneous cubism of time and space, layer upon layer, where ancient temples jostle medieval brothels next to your neighborhood grocer. James Joyce said that Rome was like a man who made a living by putting his grandmother’s corpse on display.
Not exactly a compliment but not negative either.
It’s incredible seeing ancient monuments sprinkled throughout the city in various stages of decay. It’s a new experience for me, with most of Colorado and British Columbia history so recent it is documented by camera.
The natural next thought is to wonder how the monuments of current civilizations will hold up in the future and even what they are. I’m not the only one who thinks that today’s glass highrises are tomorrow’s slums.
Further, Roman concrete is superior to modern formulas so these gorgeous ruins may endure them all.
The temple was originally built in 27 AD and rebuilt in 126. Originally dedicated to all (pan) of the gods (theos), the building survived the Dark Ages by being rededicated to Christian gods and has been in continuous use since it opened.
The Pantheon is a half dome on top of a square, and is 143′ wide and high. I might love it because my first designs in landscape architecture school were a giant square and a giant circle.
The design is ultra simple but breathtaking to step inside this thick building that seems to defy gravity. The light source, the ocululus, is 30′ across and also lets in rain. The floor is slanted and has drain holes.
The famous Trevi Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in the Rome. The name comes from tre vie, “three roads”, and is the terminus of 3 aqueducts.
Legend states that throwing a coin in the fountain will ensure a return trip to Rome. An estimated €3,ooo is tossed in a day and is donated to feed the impoverished.
This is an accurate depiction of Rome near any of the known tourist attractions. A lot of people. They must all want to come back.
Two things you can count on in Rome: Fountains and Scooters.
A little of the Rome the Predator at Piazza Venezia’s Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. The seagull on the left is devouring a swallow.
It’s shocking to think of the bloodshed that took place in this renowned building. The upper seats of the Collisseum were free and intended as a way to entertain the numerous unemployed men of Rome. The arena was inaugurated with one hundred days of games, slaughtering 9,000 wild and exotic animals.