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Rome, “Capital” masterpiece

Everything has been said about Rome, that “whole” that is spread on the web and crams the libraries of the world. What can we add? Maybe we can mention the places that recall the past and are biting the present at the same time in order to read a superb town but human too, rich of unrest that stretches out towards its future.

A town to be discovered simply by chance aiming at visiting a museum or a famous monument then finding yourself in the middle of an old street facing ancient remains and when restarting your route being captured by a palace. Thus the best way to visit Rome is the one suggested by Stendhal, “Sans songer au devoir le voir” (without thinking you have to see it) that is cheerfully walking around.

The Campidoglio is the most comprehensive anthology of history that can be found in such a “short” volume: thick walls, foundations of ancient temples, medieval edges, lavish buildings from Renaissance and precious remains from the XVIIIth century. And wherever you look out, plenty of stones with the names of the emperors, Patrician coats of arms and Popes’ triple crowns on memorial inscriptions, eternally there. The view on the Roman Forum is terrific, with the Arches of Septimium Severus and Titus and in this view of the ancient town – with the Patrician villas and the cloisters’ vegetable gardens – the green is not missing and even today you can see some “green spots” in the pale avana colour of the urban areas: for instance from Porta San Sebastiano to the Caracalla Baths there is the archaeological walk.

In the matter of gates, the most famous one is Porta Pinciano – between the entrance to Villa Borghese and Via Veneto – that marks the border of the city full of designer clothes shops and the cult locals. Let’s go down to Porta del Popolo along Via del Muro Torto, almost a Triumph Arch then Porta Pia, designed by Michelangelo and finally Porta S. Paolo, featuring two impressive cranelled great towers dating back to the era of Aureliano and Onofrio who watch it. The four main “rivers” that mark the border of the city surrounded by the walls? Piazza dell’Esedra, via Nazionale, via Veneto and via Condotti. Still reminding the present smart-set days we must mention the streets that originate from Piazza di Spagna, such as via del Babuino and via Margutta that stretches parallel next to it. The “Corso” (avenue) is the main street of the city: of course there are many other avenues but this is the most famous, around one kilometre connecting piazza del Popolo with piazza Venezia, where the horse races used to be held from the XVth to the end of the XIXth century and that’s the origin of its name.

And the Colosseum, what has it got to do with all that? It represents the best picture of Rome: near almost untouched remains, the labyrinth of the arena and the quarries, the breaking of the ring against the sky and the amputations of time. The enchantment of these stones is amazing, pervaded with an inviolable loneliness when visitors are leaving. The Colosseum has got an “opponent”: St. Peter. It is not a competition between a secular and a religious power and it is not a competition based on the supremacy of magnificence since they cannot be compared. What St. Peter can oppose to the Colosseum is the fact that it is still…….”alive”. You shouldn’t leave Rome without ascending the Dome and sense the fabulous view from the round balcony on the beacon above the sheer waves above the vaults. Downwards there are the amazing squares of Rome that are spread in the town and are all enriched with wonderful fountains.

 There’s a long list of fountains to see, headed by the Trevi Fountain followed by the Fountain of the four Rivers, the Fountain of Triton, the Fountain of the Naiads and the Fountain of Barcaccia (Fountain of the Old Boat). And what can we say about the Vatican State and City? Its museums keeps the everlasting beauty and charm of survived treasures from the past where the artistic beauty was and it is still a kind of liturgical celebration.

Luciana Francesca Rebonato

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