Promenades

While I am preparing a couple of posts I want to gain time and show readers something of my life (house, places where I live etc.).

Above you can see one of my usual promenades along the ‘via della Domus Aurea’ in the Colle Oppio (Mons Oppius.) Oppius is part of the Esquiline Hill, the highest of the Roman Seven Hills (Septimontium) and a fashionable district at the end of the Republic and at the times of the Empire (Cicero for example had a house there.)

Going uphill to my right (another promenade of mine) we in fact get to the top of the Esquilinus, a no man’s land outside the city’s walls in Republican times, full of witches, assassins and a place for slaves’ executions (see a post of mine on this) until emperor Augustus totally redeemed the area and made it residential.

The lower Mons Oppius – where we are now – was part of the Augustan Regio III. Later emperor Nero had there built his Domus Aurea with its vast gardens (after the great fire of Rome in 64 AD). In his extravagant villa the flat area you can see above at the base of the Amphitheatrum Flavium was occupied by an artificial lake.

Via Serapide, perpendicular to Via della Domus Aurea. See the Coliseum behind the trees

By the way, Regio III was also called Isis et Serapis. The reason is two important nearby sanctuaries dedicated to the two oriental deities – very much to the point as for the mystery religion stuff I am about to narrate.

Should we in fact pull back from the Colosseum and walk 50-70 yards we’d cross the perpendicular ‘Via Serapide’ (see image above.) Continuing in the same direction for a further half km we’d also reach ‘via Iside’.

Ψ

I almost every day walk downhill along the ‘via della Domus Aurea’. I border Subura on my right (the red-light district where penniless Caesar spent his youth) and the amphitheatrum on my left. Then I finally reach the forums area along the ‘via dei Fori Imperiali’ built by Benito Mussolini.

Right in the centre of Imperial Rome I admire the elegant remnants of a majestic past.

See below the base of the splendid Colonna Traiana or Trajan’s Column in the Trajan‘s Forum, 30 meters high (98 ft) and made of candid Carrara’s marble, the same marble later used by Michelangelo for his David, or by Antonio Canova.

Home Sweet Home

I have a terrace in my apartment in the close-by (1 km) Caelian Hill (or Mons Caelius, another of the Seven Hills.) On the terrace opposite ends there’s a shameless Venus on the left corner and a caste Minerva on the right one. Pretty symbolic, isn’t it. The house was built in the 1920s and these are statues typical of that period.

Now Minerva’s time below, she being covered with snow. Our lemons are covered with snow as well and our terrace, well, it falls apart a bit. We have invested our money in a touristic facility and we are waiting to restructure our home as soon as we can.

Look once more at the poor lemons. They cannot bear cold climate. Will we ever make limoncello this year? Below is the dining room with the piano.

The same room is now seen below looking towards another window. The piano is behind on my left. I love the Lebanon cedars or cedri Libani in front of our windows. Such important plants for the life of the ancient Eastern Mediterranean!

And this is me in Apulia (Ἀπουλία) 3 years ago.

I wish you all a very good week readers.

39 thoughts on “Snow in Rome. Here some pictures from Man of Roma’s place

  1. These are wonderful pictures.

    You are fortunate in being able each day to see reminders of Rome’s ancient history, and to breathe and luxuriate in the history and culture of your native Italy.

    As an amorphous Anglo-Saxon, with therefore no culture or roots, I feel this lack acutely. Which is why each time I’ve returned from a visit to Britain or Europe, with their long history and culture, I’ve felt as refreshed as a parched desert-dweller might, who has just drunk from an oasis.

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    1. If these are wonderful pictures, yours are wonderful words.

      It is without a doubt a privilege to be born, be raised and be living here, with some cons, like anywhere. You also have an amazing past, and you bring it with you in your mind.

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  2. Nice history laden surroundings and those snow covered lemons are something but then, I would not call that “covered”, it would be much worse over here…Although this year we have it easy with less than 6 inches of snow on the ground around my house. Across the street, more exposed to the sun, you see grass.
    I guess the US states on the Atlantic seaboard got it worse than we did this year.

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    1. those snow covered lemons are something but then, I would not call that “covered”,

      16 inches? God! Ok, gently touched then. But consider Romans were so surprised. It is 5 years we didn’t have snow here, which arrives every 5-10 years and when it does it breaks many umbrella-like pine trees branches!

      I understand in the New World everything is bigger, even snow storms.

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  3. The late 19th and early 20th centuries were great periods for the public display of erotic sculpture. Last time I was in London, I looked around and exclaimed, “This city is filled with naked women!” Modernism killed that off…

    As an amorphous Anglo-Saxon, with therefore no culture or roots, I feel this lack acutely.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk…Man of Rome is pretty clear on how suffocating all that Old World heritage can be, despite it’s fascination. As a boy, I was a rabid Anglophile – then I sent half a year there…

    What better connection to our cultural roots than our wonderful English Language? I’m not even an Anglo-Saxon, but I feel deeply connected to it. Read Shakespeare when you’re feeling that old anomie…

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    1. @Lichanos
      @Phil

      Man of Rome is pretty clear on how suffocating all that Old World heritage can be

      Yes, pretty much suffocating.

      As far as I understood Phil is kind of an uprooted Anglo-Saxon, born, if I recall well, in Rhodesia now Zimbabwe and then moved to Canada (in his 20s?).

      So now at my age he possibly thinks he has no roots. That’s why I told him roots are not only monuments and we have them in our head – very complex ones indeed the Anglo-Saxon, such an outstanding civilization.

      And the language example, Lichanos, is an excellent one for this mysterious ‘archive’ we have in our minds, plus naturally I agree with the utter beauty of the English language.

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    2. @Lichanos

      I had forgotten:

      The late 19th and early 20th centuries were great periods for … erotic sculpture …Modernism killed that off…
      So true. I like decorations and erotic sculpture. There are houses in Rome of that period that are absolutely amazing, like the Quartiere Coppedè. See it’s main *Piazza Mincio* and *other pictures*.

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      1. Hmm…what a strange neighborhood! I see it was created by a single developer. There are such places in the USA, but not in that particular style I don’t think. (Could be wrong…) Next time in Rome..!

        Since we are discussing eroticism in architecutral/public ornament, I found this commentary of interest:

        …Lalique would give you a steamy femme fatale-dragonfly monster…Klimt a terrifying and powerful “gray-eyed” Athena…Coppodè offers us a dour helmeted goddess, whose lowered eyebrows but otherwise blank expression suggests not so much a femme fatale as, well, a statue.

        From the detailed images I was able to find, I have to agree. Some appeared to herald the coming era of fascist-classical-realism that I associate with Mussolini.

        I was thinking more of this, a memorial to Sullivan of operetta fame, placed on the Embankment in London:

        It’s the only example I could quickly find, although it’s not architectural. Consider this image from a little-visited building in NYC:

        Now imagine those dragonfly ladies looking like the statue in London, and you’ll have an idea of what I saw all over the place.

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        1. Not that great expert on architecture … what you say about a pre Fascist era thing though makes sense to me only a bit.

          Leaving alone the women statues, the overall atmosphere of the place (the district is so small) is not rendered by the pics at all. I lived close-by for quite a while and had the weirdest and unprecedented impression of it all. A magic fairyland where inhabitants eat mushrooms all the time, certainly not a place for conquerors! I might be influenced by my age: I was 15-17.

          Gino Coppedé died in 1927. In the 20s Roman buildings are not that fascist like mine is not (later Fascist modernism I though like a lot, much appreciated today beyond any political tendency, while Nazi stuff is …heavy).

          Coppedè mixed liberty and Art Decò with Barocco and Manierism, plus added heavy doses of Middle Ages and ancient Greece: crazy and fascinating (I am influenced maybe by my being often there at 15-17).

          Coppedé’s …dour helmeted goddess, whose lowered eyebrows ..and eyes blank expression suggests …well, a statue.

          Not the femme fatale, ok, but an abstract thing, like many Greek statues were.

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  4. Thank you for the lovely virtual walking tour of your magnificent city, Roma. Seeing your lemons, sculpture, apartment, and finally YOU, helped me to enter your world.

    Fun!

    As for limoncello, yum!!! First tasted it in a small restaurant in the Dursodoro District of Venice. Luckily for me, we didn’t have to drive home.

    😀

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    1. Cheri,
      it is always such a pleasure to have you here!

      Well, here I am then! The pictures are part of the outing – getting less enigmatic – I was talking about somewhere else. Yes, Limocello is great, but try to find the home-made type, or the Sorrento Amalfi commercial type, or better make it yourself at home. Very easy and lemons should grow in California. Read Lola’s *recipe and post* on limoncello.

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  5. Well, we’re all a bit jealous, obviously, that we’re not living among the Seven Hills of ancient Rome.

    Regarding those seven hill, by the way: Were there really seven, and are there still seven?

    I heard from a scholar that the “seven” is mostly apocryphal, a nice symbolic number, and that it’s actually always been hard to point to the seven hills.

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    1. Hi Andreas,

      Well, 7, magic number, like 7 days of Creation, the 7 Sages of Greece etc.

      There were / are more than seven hills. At first we had Palatinus possibly, well defendable high over the marshes, close to the Tiber island so that river passage and salt trade were easily controlled.

      From Palatium a Septimontium grew, with different hill names: Palatium (of course), Velia, Cermalus, Oppius (where I walk), Subura etc. We also had a Septimontium festival.

      We then had 4 regions (or hills): Palatinus, Caelius, Quirinalis and Viminalis, and later A LOT happened [the 14 regions of Augustan Rome include many more hills], tho the classical 7 (Aventinus, Caelius, Capitolinus, Esquilinus, Palatinus, Quirinalis, Viminalis) were and are important.

      The ones of my area are the most recognizable, historically grounded (or the entire Rome’s history would fall apart): Caelius, Palatinus, Aventinus, Capitolinus and Esquilinus.

      Complicated topic in any case.

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  6. I have often wondered why certain sculptures of female deities require that their robes be falling to the ground, revealing their exquisite charms. Not that I am complaining. Far from it.

    MoR: the moral codes of antiquity were somewhat different, and art inspired by antiquity …. follows the lane 🙂

    I live in a city on a spit of land that had no buildings of anything but wood and palm frond until the 16th century. Most of the state has been washed away by the occasional, but persistent, hurricanes we are blessed with on an almost annual basis. In my particular city, our concept of antiquity is a house that has lasted the ravages of rain, wind, and sun for 80 or so years. Or maybe a 1928 Model T Ford Sedan.

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the short tour of your house. I would like to drop by and be your uninvited (and lingering too long) guest someday.

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    1. Thank you for being here Douglas.
      Yes! I am planning to have a gathering of bloggers some day in Rome. What the hell, I have a tourist facility, almost fully booked I’ll say, except for free low season spaces. And my house is big, plus my wife and I ADORE foreigners of ANY kind.

      Something must / will / be planned – gods, God, stoic or Christian Providence, or Roman Fortune, helping…

      Pls remember I like so much you guys from a NEW place, people with NEW adaptable attitudes, so little bureaucracy around, where ALL can be done (and rethought).

      It’s like being reborn, and I like new dresses and things, I LOVE modernity and, living in Rome you know, there’s a price to pay, there certainly is a price.

      See these two conversations ( *one* and *two*) with *Paul Costopoulos* on this topic.

      Like

    1. @Douglas
      @Andreas

      🙂

      Tomorrow friends. Now it is late here. Being an introvert – as we said with Andreas and Phil *at Phil’s* – I need to withdraw within myself and read in bed, before going to sleep.

      Valete.
      _____________
      Day after:

      @Douglas, I’ve replied above to u.

      @Andreas

      Do you feel that Rome is over the hill?

      Yes, it is over the hill, together with Italy, France, Germany etc unless we get a solid, tighter EUROPE (two-velocity? ok). Big challenges are ahead, do we have any choice? We go up together, or down together, Titanic-like.

      And the UK, that don’t feel European – what can we do with these die-hard islanders? – the UK that play the *Trojan horse* of Europe, I’ll tell you:
      they’d BETTER BEHAVE! 😉

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  7. Beautiful pictures, MoR. Please send the snow to Vancouver, BC, Canada as they are hosting some kind of tournament of “winter” games and could really use it.

    How I miss lemons. I love Campari with soda and a slice of lemon, but lemons are hard to find here. The lime rules in this country.

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    1. Ah ah, I will, I will send it to Vancouver. Yes, lemons …so round and golden, but Brasilian limes are not at all bad, and I love variety in all things, you know. Viva il Brasile!

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  8. Ah, la bella Roma sotto neve!
    Not really!
    Those lemons will survive, yes?

    I grow lemons indoors all winter. Come summer, I put them on the deck to catch real weather. They don’t make it through the second year, unfortunately. Somehow, I go down to California and bring back another batch. Stubborn of me.

    It was lovely to see your surroundings.

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    1. Ciao Rosaria! Thank you for coming back.

      Yes, not really, compared to the snow one can get out there. And people, children, love snow so much also here! Lemons will survive – now we have just mild rain.

      I’d have commented your stories earlier over at your blogs if I weren’t totally moonstruck because of my next posts.

      It was lovely to see your surroundings

      Maybe I am now less ‘abstract’ lol. I probably owed this to my readers, like it was so nice to see your places too, and that ocean! The biggest of them all!

      Tutto il bene possibile a te e ai tuoi.

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  9. Yes, MOR, you are now flesh and blood like the rest of us. Knowing a bit more about the world you inhabit allows us to walk in your shoes. I’ve added my memoir pieces in a companion blog to expand and share my roots. What I found most illuminating here in America are the close-knit congregations. You’d think that open people would be willing to share meals and activities with you. No. Americans are very private, very tribal.

    I had to accept that and move on.

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      1. You know, it fascinates me that you would suggest my picture is charismatic because I think you might be doing a little projecting there — Charisma has always seemed to me to be one of your qualities.

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        1. I just now had a thought…We are probably both a wee bit more charismatic than either one of us thinks, MoR. Yet, because we both of us fail to recognize it in ourselves, neither one of us will ever really enjoy the fact we have a touch of it. How silly, how much like life is that?

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