We read a fair amount between us during the year of mainly historical factual topics, but when it comes to relaxing at the beach or lake I have my favourites - easy reading that doesn't require much from me as I get baked in the sun. However, this year I've decided to make my vacation educational and following a wonderful recent weekend to Naples, and a quick visit back home, I found these...
The "Old Masters" are well-covered in the Eternal City - but when it comes to contemporary art it's perhaps not as easy to know where to go to purchase something from emerging or lesser-known artists, so I've been exploring some small galleries, which are definitely worth a look.
Starting in the Monti district - often described as "cool" or "arty" and popular with a younger crowd (when I first came to live in Rome I had an apartment here and spent a lot of time enjoying the area) - there is a high concentration of small galleries tucked away between independent boutiques, bars, restaurants and attractive buildings with hanging plants and flowers. Even if art isn't your thing, it's an intriguing zone to wander around.
So first up is SCRIPANTE GALLERY on Via Panisperna. The venue is very laid back, with a small bar serving cocktails from 6pm - 2am, or slightly earlier if all you want is a cold beer.
MAXIMA GALLERY on Via Agostino Depretis, currently has some challenging pieces of both sculpture and wall art.
GALLERIA CHIARI on Via Napoli had some tempting items. I couldn't find a website but they seem to be closed at weekends and on national holidays.
In the area between the American Embassy and the British Embassy I found ROSSO CINABRO on Via Raffaele Cadorna, in the district known as Sallustiana. They exhibit work by figurative and abstract artists, photographers, digital artists and sculptors.
FRANCESCA ANTONINI not far from Piazza Barberini, has some nice work. I personally like Alessandra Giovannoni, born and working in Rome, plus several other Italian artists.
If you're an artist looking for somewhere to exhibit your own work, take a look at some of the links below:
NVMEN not far from the Colosseum.
MAKEMAKE in the Monti district towards the Roman Forum end.
These are just a few from one or two areas of the city, with more to be added as I get chance.
If you have visited Rome, or the surrounding Latium (Lazio region) you have, no doubt, seen floors like these. So striking - hard not to notice - and the intricacies, craftsmanship and colours are amazing. The Cosmati were a Roman family, spanning four generations between the 12th & 13th c. AD, of sculptors, architects and workers in decorative geometric mosaic. The designs are to be found in churches, mostly on the floors but also on pulpits, doors, columns, tombs and other areas.
Pictured are some fine examples of this type of flooring in Rome and Lazio. As you can see the tiny mosaic pieces of coloured stone and glass are triangular, rectangular and rhomboid in shape - some inlaid with gold. One can notice the Byzantine and Islamic influences in the style of the work, coming down through Ravenna, and up through Sicily.
The main locations in Rome are:
Some of the best examples outside of Rome in Lazio are:
Curious note: Westminster Abbey has two Cosmatesque pavements, created during the same period - one is set before the High Alter and the other is in the Sanctuary associated with the Shrine of Edward the Confessor.
Below are examples photographed from around Rome and the Lazio region.
Filming has just about come to an end now :(
Bond's actual car - the Aston Martin DB10
NEXT FILMING SCHEDULE:
In the next couple of days (4th & 5th March), filming is expected to take place at Lungotevere Arnaldo da Brescia, in front of the 'Ministero della Marina', where a vehicle is supposed to end up in the river. Some roads will be closed again from around 9pm until 5am on both nights.
Friday 6th March filming is expected to take place in Via Panisperna (Monti district) and Sunday night/Monday morning there should be the famous car chase down Via Nomentana, from Porta Pia to Piazza XXI Aprile!
Last scenes to be filmed will be the Ponte Sisto scene!
Info taken from the repubblica.it Italian news website.
JUST FOR FUN WE HAVE PULLED TOGETHER A LIST OF HOTELS IN ROME & LAZIO WHICH WE THINK WOULD HAVE MADE GREAT LOCATIONS FOR AGATHA CHRISTIE'S HERCULE POIROT!
We are enthusiastic fans of Poirot partly because we love David Suchet and partly because of the extremely glamorous locations in the episodes. Although Poirot never filmed in or near Rome these fine establishments are all places which we feel would have fit the bill - with more than a hint of Art Deco and elegance of a bygone era.
OUR POIROT-ESQUE HOTEL LIST
...JULIUS CAESAR IS ASSASSINATED!
Reenacted by the Gruppo Storico Romano at Largo del Torre Argentina, Rome 2013 - as close as allowed to the original murder site. Caesar, according to history, was stabbed 23 times by senators during an assembly in the Curia of Pompey's Theatre (now ruins) on 15 March 44 B.C.
At the time of Caesar this area was known as Campo Marzio and didn't take the name Largo del Torre Argentina until the 15th Century when a fellow from Strasbourg built a villa with large tower on this site - the explanation of this is that Strasbourg in Latin was Argentoratum and he was referred to by locals as "Argentoratina". This original tower and building still exist and are visible, but having been both damaged and developed over time they now blend with surrounding buildings. The more noticable tower in the area is the Medieval Torre del Papito (Tower of the Little Pope). However, it is most probably named after the family who owned it: the Papareschi, and not, as was first thought, that it was named after the Antipope Anacletus II, who was short in stature.
So, what exactly are the Ides of March? Well, the Ides (lat. Idus Martii or Idus Martiae) was a day on the Roman calendar corresponding to 15th March, which was a day of religious observances but mostly notable as a deadline for settling debts - poor old Julius Caesar made the date notorius when he was brutally stabbed to death on 15 March in 44 BC, which in turn set off a chain of events marking a change in history - the period known as the Roman Republic would transition into the Roman Empire. Some citizens were pleased, others were not; but history had struck a new course!
Films shot on location in Rome and some of the towns around Lazio. Films are American and Italian. Posters courtesey of IMBD. In chronological order with the most recent first!
To Rome With Love (2012) – Penelope Cruz, Alec Balwin, Roberto Benigni. Filmed entirely on location in Rome.
The opening scene is set in Piazza Venezia where American tourist Hayley (Pill), meets an Italian lawyer, Michelangelo (Parenti).
Other places featured are: the Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps (Hayley stands admiring the view and says "the city is really special" an "I could stand here all night, it's too beautiful"),
Milly (Mastronardi) is seen at Piazza del Popolo, Jack (Eisenberg) & Monica (Page) meet by the little lake in Villa Borghese Park. Leopoldo (Benigni) and Sophia (Nappo) walk the red carpet into the Cinema on Piazza della Repubblica, John (Baldwin) and Jack meet at Villa dei Quintili, Michelangelo and Hayley take a romantic walk by the Trevi Fountain. Leopoldo is persued by papparazzi along Via Veneto. The Grand Hotel on Via Veneto is also featured. Anna (Cruz) is seen on Via del Corso, and Leopoldo's house is in Garbatella.
Eat Pray Love (2010) – Julia Roberts. First scene is from the top of Castel Sant’Angelo, next you see the apartment she will rent which is said to be in Via dei Portoghesi, no 7, with her map she seems to be just behind Chiostro del Bramante, she has breakfast - cappuccino & Napolean cake - in the busy Caffè Domiziano, Piazza Navona 88, then also located in Piazza Navona is the marble bench she sits (left) in front of the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone to eat gelato, the fountain squirts her with water on Via del Orso.
Other brief scenes are: Via del Corso, Coliseum, Piazza del Biscone near Campo de’Fiori, she has a meal with her Italian instructor in Caffe della Pace, on Via della Pace behind Piazza Navona near Chiostro del Bramante.
We see her walk back to her apartment on Via del Orso, with Hotel Portoghese nearby and at Ristorante Santa Lucia (Largo Febo 12), Roberts shows off her Italian to her friends by reeling off the Italian on the menu. Roberts eats a plate of spaghetti “for one” in Osteria dell‘ Antiquario on Piazzetta di San Simeone!
Mission Impossible III (2006) – Tom Cruise. Shooting began in Rome. The first thrilling action sequence took place on the Tiber River. Filming in such a public place caused great excitement, with crowds of paparazzi and onlookers crowding the banks and bridges overlooking the river. Tom Cruise took part in a high speed motor boat chase on the Tiber, which featured the incredible backdrop of the Vatican itself. Jonathan Rhys Meyers describes the scene: "We're flying along in this speedboat, going through these archways, and all of a sudden I hear this sound in my head of the theme to Mission Impossible': dun dun, dun dun,
dun dun, dun dun, doodle doo, doodle doo - and realize, it's coming from Tom! Tom's actually singing it. He's still that same kid, sitting down with popcorn and ice cream to watch the show on a Friday evening. He still believes in the magic of it.” From Rome, the production moved south to the Palazzo Reale of the Reggia di Caserta, near Naples, which would double as the Vatican.
The Talented Mr Ripley (1999) - with Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. The nightclub in Naples was actually Caffè Latino, via Monte Testaccio in Rome, and the Rome Opera House was actually Teatro San Carlo in Naples. The San Remo jazz festival is actually the seafront at Anzio (about 30 miles south of Rome - the real San Remo is on the coast at the Italy - France border). Ripley’s hotel in Rome is the sumptuous St Regis Grand Hotel, just off Piazza della Repubblica. The cafe where Freddie turns up is in Piazza Navona and is still a cafe today. When Ripley returns to Rome after Dickie’s murder you see the Forum from the Capitoline Hill and the monumental sculptures of the Capitoline Museum. Ripley stays in an apartment on fictitious ‘Piazza Gioia’, which is actually Piazza Mattei near the old Jewish Ghetto, and the interior of the apartment (which also functioned as the Grand Hotel suite) is 14th century Palazzo Taverna, via di Monte Giordano. The terrace cafe where Ripley arranges for Meredith and Marge to meet is Cafe Dinelli, Piazza Spagna, but today it's a clothes shop!
The Godfather III (1990) - directed by Francis Ford Coppola. With Al Pacino. Divided between various places in the USA and the Cinecittà Studios in Rome. Other scenes were shot in St. Peter’s Basilica inside Vatican City and also in Palermo, Sicily. In particular, the archbishop’s office is the map room of the pentagonal Villa Farnese (open to the public), at Caprarola, a small, historically important village near Viterbo, about 30 miles north of Rome. Michael is absolved by Cardinal Lamberto, the future Pope John Paul I, at the Church of Santa Maria della Quercia in Viterbo itself. The grandly operatic climax was filmed at Teatro Massimo, Piazza Verdi in Palermo, and though renovation work meant that the interior opera scenes had to be filmed at Cinecittá, but the tragic conclusion to the saga is staged on the actual opera house steps.
Ben Hur (1959) - directed by William Wyler. With Charlton Heston and Jack Hawkins. The famous chariot race in Circus Maximus was, disappointingly for many tourist, not filmed in the actual Circus Maximum but in fact in an amazing replica, constructed on over 18 acres of backlot space at Cinecitta Studios outside Rome. Filming of the sequence took about five weeks, and except for two of the most spectacular stunts, Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd did all of their own chariot driving in the carefully-choreographed sequence. The Hills of
Arcinazzo Romano quite close to Subiaco, is where Nazareth and the "Valley of the Lepers" was filmed.
Three Coins in a Fountain (1954) - with Clifton Webb and Dorothy McGuire. This
pleasant comedy-romance opens with a delightful view of the Trevi Fountain combined with another famous fountain garden at Villa d’Este in Tivoli. The villa where the three Americans live: Frances (Dorothy McGuire), Anita (Jean Peters) and Mary (Maggie McNamara) who work as secretaries in the capital, and which in the film is called Villa Eden is actually Villa Lante, located in Passeggiata del Gianicolo 10, Rome. Today it is home to the Finland Embassy to the Holy See. The villa where American writer, John Frederick Shadwell (Clifton Webb), lives and works, is opposite the one where his secretary, Miss Frances has just arrived, which is located in Via Garibaldi 35 on the Janiculum Hill right opposite the Janiculum Fountain (Fntanone per i Romani), this villa is home to the Spanish Embassy. There was also a TV remake of this in 1990 called simply: Coins in a Fountain, starring Stephanie Kramer, Loni Anderson & Shanna Reed, filmed in just about all the most famous landmarks in Rome.
Roman Holiday (1953) - with Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck. Filmed entirely on location. Main sites were: via Margutta 51, where Gregory Peck lived in a small apartment, the Spanish Steps, where Audrey tries ‘gelato’, the Mouth of Truth at the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, where Peck pretends to have his hand bitten off. She has her hair cut in via della Stamperia 85 but it’s not a hairdresser today. Sadly Bar Rocca, 24-25 Piazza del Pantheon, where Audrey has champagne is now a clothes shop. The plaques on the huge Roman wall were real as was Peck’s explanation of them, located on via del Policlinico, but they have since been relocated to the church at Divino Amore on the outskirts of Rome. Other filming took place inside Palazzo Brancaccio in viale di Monte Oppio; outside Palazzo Barberini (the embassy she exits from in the early part of the film) and Palazzo Colonna in Piazza Santa Apostoli where the film fades to an end.