Sunday, December 16, 2007

Buon Natale!

Merry Christmas! The Christmas decorations around Rome are in full swing. Getting around town and seeing the sights again....... but this time decorated for the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Deja Vu, Again!

Andy's parents are in town to visit, so we have been out and about today to show them the sights of Rome. Here we go again!

The guys and Oliver:

The ladies and Oliver:

The Piazza Navona with the Christmas Fair set up:

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, this building is the Pantheon:

Some kid let go of their balloon inside the Pantheon and it was stuck all the way up in the dome. That thing isn't coming down until the helium wears off.

Hanging out in the courtyard of Sant Ivo:

The Trevi at dusk:

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Today was a wet and rainy day. At 8:00am , Michele and Oliver decided to sit this one out, probably having flashbacks of Pompeii. So I caught the bus at 8:30 and headed to Tivoli, a town outside of Rome less than an hour. The most popular tourist sites in Tivoli are Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este.
Hadrian as you may recall gave us the famous Pantheon, among other great public works. Hadrian preferred to rule from this country estate rather than Rome. In addition to preferring it to the Palace on Capitoline hill, Hadrian, being of Spanish origin preferred to be close to Tivoli which had a strong Spanish community. As emperor, he was well traveled, and as a result he built the villa almost as a city of recreations of the greatest architectural hits he had encountered on his journeys. For this reason, the villa and its grounds have been a fertile ground for architects throughout history, including Piranese, Borromini, Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn just to mention a few.
Even though it was rainy and cold, I found the complex extremely rich in its variety of typologies and portico networks linking these individual follies into a fairly systematic organization. Although these works are impressive, it takes a lot of imagination to fill in the missing pieces from what fragments remain. For this reasons, the images don’t make as much sense as actually being there and reconstructing it in your mind.
The model of the reconstruction at the entrance is quite helpful as well.

Villa d’Este is a few minutes up the hill form Hadrian’s Villa. It is a baroque villa and more importantly garden. It is named after Cardinal Ippolite II d’Este. After his failed bid for the papacy, he governed Tivoli and sought to impress by bringing the splendor of Rome to Tivoli.