Saturday, March 19, 2011
Today we returned to the Colosseum, or Flavvian amphitheater for a closer look. The Colosseum is the largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity. It is a model for sports arenas of modern times. It is a very powerful building, however quite a lot of it has been damaged over the centuries by fire, earthquake and neglect. Pillaging of marble, travertine and metal was rife and used for construction of other palazzos etc. In more modern times damage from pollution is evident.
There are 80 arched entrances. These once held statues, now long gone. It held 50-60,00 spectators.
The floor has long gone, but visible today are the corridors and rooms below which held cages for animals, rooms for gladiators and slaves etc
Apparently animals were imported from Asia Minor, Africa and Europe to compete in brutal fights in the Colosseum.
It is hard to believe that bloody battles between elephants, tigers and cheetahs were quite a common occurrence in the Colosseum, an outrageous idea in the modern world of today.
There was a complicated system of platforms and winches to bring the animals from below ground up to the elliptical arena.
This must have been an astounding sight to the average spectator who was by all accounts just your average farmer.
Gladiators were chosen for their height and strenghth; the average height for a Roman man at this time was a mere 4 foot 6 ( so said the guide- seems unreal, doesn't it!)
Gladiators used to perform during a fight, but not necessarily kill each other. Slaves and criminals on the other hand would fight to the death or be condemned to death after a fight by the vote of the crowd and the Emperor's hand signal.
1. Colosseum arches
2. A numbered archway
3. View across the Colosseum with the exposed underneath area visible.
Apparently a very wealthy Italian has recently left 25million Euro for the restoration of the Colosseum which will begin next year.
Cheers until next time,
1. Note the license plate on this little fiat!
2. See the Roman city logo, on this police box, Romulus and Remus. Romulus was the founder of Rome. Legend says that he and his brother, Remus, were orphaned and brought up by a she wolf.
3. A couple of centurion guards, waiting for a photo opportunity!
Friday, March 18, 2011
We arrived in Rome yesterday.
This morning we chose to go on a city tour to see the sights.
It was a double decker bus, a 2-day pass for E15 each and the type of bus that you can jump on/off at various stops.Not bad value.
We saw The Colosseum, a "noble wreck in ruinous perfection" said Byron
It used to seat over 50,000 bloodthirsty spectators who revelled in the spectacle of gladiators fighting to the death!
Ruins of the Ancient Roman Forum.
The Trevi fountain.
This flamboyant rococo-style fountain was designed in 1762 by Nicolo Salvi.It's central figure is the sea-god Neptune standing astride a giant shell drawn by winged horses led by Tritons. One horse is placid, the other agitated, symbolizing calm and stormy seas.
The fountain was beautiful, but oh so crowded, however I did throw a coin in to the fountain over my left shoulder. Apparently this means I will come back!
We saw so much today and once again walked until our feet were aching, there is just so much to see! Not too sure if some things will be closed tomorrow or not.
The Sistine Chapel is CLOSED tomorrow, some type of holiday, and we leave on Sunday morning so will not be able to see it. I was SO disappointed, so here's hoping that coin works!
Cheers for now,
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
1. This first photo is a church, re-built in the 17th Century. It was formerly the headquarters of the Ciompi or wool-carders.
At the two sides of the 16th Century doorway with it's broken pediment, you can still see carved in stone the carding comb and the rack, the insignia of the corporation.
At one time filled with works of art, the church was later closed to the public and turned into a workshop.
2. A very unusual iron handle.
3. This door bell is recessed in what looks like a miniature marble bath. To ring the bell, you pull out the button in the centre which is attached to a string.
There are just so many interesting doors and door knobs in Florence.
Even the plainer ones are beautiful to me.
All the doors are massive, I guess a smaller one would look rather lost on these impressive and tall apartment blocks. ( most in this street are 3 stories high)
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
1. A picture of Brunellesschi's cupola del duomo (cathedral dome) on the Cathedral of Florence, an engineering marvel.
2. The Ponte Vecchio bridge, the oldest bridge in the city, built as it is now in 1345. The little row of houses on either side are jewelry (mostly gold) shops.
Above the houses, on the upstream side of the bridge, is Vasari's corridor, built by Vasari so Cosimo could go from Palzzo Pitti to Palace Vecchio, a "secret" corridor.
A local pharmacy, note the old sign .
Cheers for now,
Monday, March 14, 2011
Today we went to see the Palazzo Vecchio, originally the seat of city government since the 1300's now a museum.
The Medici dukes turned the medieval building into a Renaissance palace in the 1500's filling it with art and frescoes that still grace it's labyrinth of rooms.
The building dominates the Piazza Della Signoria. It looks almost fortress like, with it's high walls and soaring 94m high tower.
I was delighted to see a small tour of little children, they looked to be only 3 or 4 years old learning about art in their town with the help of a guide and a puppet- very sweet.
1. Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza Della Signoria.
2. The internal front courtyard.
3. A frescoe on an internal wall.
4 (below) The 450 year old floor. Note the heraldic device of Cosimo de' Medici(1519-1574)a turtle with a sail.Cosimo 1 was appointed head of the family when only 17 years old. He the became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1569.
Cheers until next time,
We arrived in Florence yesterday, the weather grey and drizzling with rain.
We walked from the railway station down bumpy, cobbled streets to find our accommodation on the via San Zanobi.
Entrance to the main house is through these magnificent doors (see photo).
We then walk through the house belonging to Daniella and Roberto and their 3 children, to our sweet and surprisingly spacious courtyard apartment.
The apartment is decorated with eclectic pieces from all over the world, as Daniella and Roberto have been serious travellers over the last 12 years.
Down the end of the street is a supamercato (supermarket) which was appreciated.
Apparently, via San Zanobi used to be the location of Michelangelo's workshop, although , unfortunately there is no sign of it today.
1. Courtyard apartment.
2. Via San Zanobi
3. Doors through to main house.
4. A painting over our bed
Cheers for now,