History By Pictures – 8. MACRO ASILO (Rome)

History By Pictures – 8. MACRO ASILO (Rome)

In Via Nizza, in Rome. is the MACRO, one of the seats of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome.

Since 30 September 2018, under the direction of Giorgio De Finis, the Macro has become a nursery school, a place of welcome for artists.

If you are thinking of a traditional museum, you are definitely off the beaten track. First of all, you don’t have to pay the entrance fee (yes, you read it right) and there is very little fixed and static, just a small exhibition, that of the  photo here. Everything then changes, almost every day … you can come for coffee, to sit and study, to attend the presentation of a book or the screening of a film, to lie down on the deck chairs of the courtyard …


Not by chance, it has been defined as the Non Museum of Rome.
The idea of the Director De Finis is in fact just this: to unhinge the traditional idea of a museum and transform the MACRO into the place where the city of artists meets the rest of Rome and the world.


And this meeting also takes place in a truly original way. Upstairs, in fact, in addition to the characteristic “Room of Words”, there are 4 ateliers, or rather boxes, in which the artists come to work.

Take care: the MACRO Asylum is a sort of timed project. This “museum” has a deadline of 31/12/2019 and does not claim to be a right model or replicable in other locations.

You can’t describe the kaleidoscope of emotions that overwhelms you when you open the glass doors of the entrance: disorientation, emotion, amazement… my advice is: take a jump and let me know what you think!



Posted by Sara Pandozzi in MUSEUMS, 0 comments
History By Pictures – 7. The Centrale Montemartini Museum (Rome)

History By Pictures – 7. The Centrale Montemartini Museum (Rome)

The Centrale Montemartini, in the Ostiense district of Rome, is a branch of the Capitoline Museums of Rome.

It is an extraordinary museum where two diametrically opposed worlds meet and merge: that of industrial archaeology and that of classical archaeology.


Its history begins in 1997, when the spaces of the old power plant were restored and recovered to house some works transferred here from the Capitoline Museums (in particular from the Palazzo dei Conservatori) underwent restoration work in those years to create a new layout.

The success of this exhibition, entitled “The Machines and the Gods”, was such that in 2001 it was decided to transform the place into a real museum.

The exhibition is divided into four separate rooms that collect the whole of numerous and interesting exhibits from the excavations carried out during the urban transformations carried out in Rome at the end of the nineteenth century and during the great gutting of the thirties of the twentieth century.

The diesel turbines and the old boilers of gigantic dimensions, seem to blend perfectly with the white classic marbles, composing a very special mix.

If you are looking for a special museum in Rome, this is the place for you!



Posted by Sara Pandozzi in MUSEUMS, 0 comments
History By Pictures – 6. The Area of the Roman Theatre of Terracina in Middle Ages

History By Pictures – 6. The Area of the Roman Theatre of Terracina in Middle Ages

In these days, Terracina is witnessing, in an increasingly feverish way, the rediscovery of its ancient theater.
But what happened to this monument with the end of the Roman Empire?

The arrival of the Barbarians (5th century AD) had a devastating impact on the city. The town contracted drastically and the curtain of history fell on the ancient buildings, now devoid of any form of maintenance.


Odoacre, king of the Eruli, the barbarian king who deposed Romulus Augustulus, last emperor of Rome (Credits: skuola.net).


The archaeological stratigraphy of the theatre documents, for this phase, a strong damage that caused its collapse. A thick layer of earth covered the marble and statues. However, life would have continued along its course and from those ashes the medieval landscape of Terracina was born. The northern front of the Foro Emiliano was in fact occupied by a new district, with many roads, some still existing (Via della Palma), others disappeared (Salita Castello and Piazza Urbano II).


Traces of the block that developed on the area of the ancient Roman theatre of Terracina. Some modern houses damaged by the Second World War also survived.


The traces of this new urban block are still partly evident.

Next to the portico of the theater is in fact the tower house of Orazio Migliore (his name is engraved on the lintel of the entrance), dating from the thirteenth century and built on the ruins of the ancient temple of Vicolo Pertinace. The mighty tower house at the beginning of Via della Palma dates back to the 12th century, to which a Gothic domus (the so-called “house with mullioned windows”) is attached.


The gothic domus called “house with mullioned windows”. Dating back to the 13th century A.D., it bears witness to the new medieval quarter that developed over the area of the ancient Roman theatre of Terracina.

It was thanks to these medieval buildings that the structures of the theater were “protected” from the disastrous bombing of World War II and that have come down to the present day.


Posted by Sara Pandozzi in ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, 0 comments
History By Pictures – 5. The Church Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.

History By Pictures – 5. The Church Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.

Almost everyone knows this church because in its porch there is the famous Mouth of Truth. Very few people enter the church and visit it. Tourists prefer to be photographed while shoving their hands into the most famous detector of lies in Rome.


A tourist and the Mouth of Truth (Credits: tripadvisor.it).


Yet this church is a real masterpiece!

Born behind the ancient Forum Boarium (the oxen market of ancient Rome), was transformed by Pope Hadrian I in the eighth century AD and delivered to the Greeks escaped from persecution of the East. And it was they who called it “Schola graeca” or “Santa Maria in Cosmedin” (cosmedin = ornament).


The area of the Forum Boarium, whose remains are located in front of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Credits: capitolivm.it).

Don’t miss a visit to the underground crypt.

“Hidden” under the floor of the presbytery of the church, was built by Pope Hadrian I (772-795 AD) by digging the large tufa base of an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Ceres.


The crypt of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


The central nave ends in a small apse with an altar carved into a Roman stone that contained the relics of St. Cyril.

The crypt also housed other relics, as evidenced by the sixteen niches arranged along the side walls and on the inside of the entrance wall.


Some of the niches that open along the aisles of the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


All you have to do is come to Rome and admire this splendid masterpiece of medieval art!



See you next Tuesday with a new episode of History by Pictures!


Posted by Sara Pandozzi in CHURCHES & HOLY SITES, ROME, 0 comments
History By Pictures – 4. The Water Source of Feronia in Terracina

History By Pictures – 4. The Water Source of Feronia in Terracina

Once upon a time there was a nymph. Her name was Feronia, she lived on the outskirts of Terracina and she lived cultivating flowers and plants. Despite her beauty, she disdained the company of all her suitors. But Jupiter, who fell in love with her, took on the appearance of a child and made it his own. From that day on she became one of her lovers and gave her immortality. Feronia then began to be venerated as a goddess, making the cities and fields of her devotees rich, prosperous and flourishing. Juno, Jupiter’s jealous wife, however, discovered her husband’s infidelity and, coming down from the sky, drove Feronia out of her lands, asking the rivers Ufente, Astura and Ninfeo to help her in her vengeance. They broke in and transformed Feronia’s happy world into the sad and unhealthy Palude Pontina.


Sketch reproducing the sources of Feronia and the head of the goddess found near the sanctuary (Credits: megalithic.it).


This story is told to us by the poet Vincenzo Monti in the poem “Feroniade”, inspired by the hunting trips around Terracina organized by Prince Luigi Braschi – Onesti, nephew of Pope Pius VI, promoter of the work of reclamation of the Pontine Marshes at the end of the eighteenth century.


The poem “La Feroniade” written by Vincenzo Monti (Credits: ibs.it).


In fact, at the gates of Terracina, exactly in “Le Mole”, there is a place called “The water source of Feronia”. The place, near the “Punta di Leano” and along the route of the Appian Way, is rich in vegetation and water sources. This must have been the habitat of Feronia, or rather the seat of its sanctuary mentioned by Horace in the V Satire and of which today almost nothing remains.


The Water Source of Feronia in the place called “Le Mole” at the entrance of Terracina.


Goddess of Sabine origin, Feronia was the protector of fields and crops. Her bond with the libertines was also strong. In the Lucus Feroniae of Terracina, in fact, the ceremony of liberation of the slaves took place and, according to the sources, there was a stone seat with the inscription: “The slaves who have well deserved, follow here and stand up from free men”.


Posted by Sara Pandozzi in ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, 0 comments
History By Pictures – 3. The Roman Forum of Terracina

History By Pictures – 3. The Roman Forum of Terracina

The Roman Forum of Terracina (also known as the Emilian Forum from the name of the magistrate who paved it), is one of the few in the world to preserve such a large portion of the ancient Roman pavement.


Reconstruction of the aspect of the Emilian Forum in Roman times (Credits: flickr.com).


The function of the square has also survived.

Fulcrum of the political, religious and social life of Tarracina – Anxur, Piazza Municipio (this is the actual name of the ancient square) confirms itself as the religious heart of the modern city, hosting the Cathedral (from whose porch I took the picture), but also the political one, given the presence of the town hall.


The Piazza of the Roman Forum of Terracina (now Piazza Municipio) photographed from the porch of the Cathedral of Terracina.


Have you ever been to Terracina? Discover the wonders of this seaside town just 100 km from Rome!

Come for a walk with Sara! 


The Piazza of the Roman Forum of Terracina (now Piazza Municipio) in a current photo.

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History by Pictures – 2. Constantine

History by Pictures – 2. Constantine

He is one of the most fascinating characters of ancient Rome. Some historians say that he was the illegitimate son of an innkeeper. What is certain is that his father was the general of one of the four parts into which the empire had been divided.

When the father died, he was acclaimed emperor in York and while Maxentius declared himself emperor, he reunited all the north-western lands in his hands and established his headquarters in Trier.

The decisive clash with Maxentius took place in the famous battle of the Milvian Bridge, then just outside Rome.

Constantine, the absolute master of the West, entered Rome as a triumphant man, exhibiting Maxentius’ head on a lance.

He was depicted in a giant statue (now in the Capitoline Museums) once located in a civil basilica, a kind of prefecture built by Maxentius.

The colossal statue of Constantine is a kind of visual example of a message that was to be strong and clear: “I am the emperor!



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History by Pictures – 1 . Castel Sant’Angelo

History by Pictures – 1 . Castel Sant’Angelo

First appointment of my new section called “History by Pictures”. A new chapter available every Tuesday! Today we discover Castel Sant’Angelo.


Castel Sant’Angelo, near the Vatican, is one of the most visited and well known monuments in Rome.

Born as a mausoleum of the emperor Hadrian and his family, in the course of its millenary history, it was also a fortress, a residential palace and a very strict prison.

But why was a castle dedicated to an angel?

In 590 A.D. a plague struck Rome. Pope Gregory the Great then decided to organize a procession to ask God to end the terrible scourge. It is said that suddenly the Archangel Michael appeared on top of the Castle placing the sword in the scabbard. From that moment the plague ended and the Mausoleum began to be called “Castel Sant’Angelo”.




Posted by Sara Pandozzi in ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, ROME, 0 comments
In case of Rain….What About the Pantheon?

In case of Rain….What About the Pantheon?

The Pantheon, a mysterious monument in some aspects. A Spasso con Sara to discover what the Romans invented in case of rain!


The Pantheon, a masterpiece of ancient Roman architecture, is characterized by the oculus, the circular window in the center of the dome.

As everyone knows, it is open, there is no glass, nor other systems of coverage … so what? What if it were to rain like this morning?

No problem! In case of rain, an upward current of air shatters the drops of water (it is called “chimney effect”) and then, even if there is a thunderstorm outside, in the Pantheon it seems to rain less!

Special drainage holes, skilfully distributed on the floor surface, prevent the formation of puddles inside the monument!



Posted by Sara Pandozzi in ROME, 0 comments
Borromini, the mysterious architect of the Roman Baroque

Borromini, the mysterious architect of the Roman Baroque

The Baroque style was born as an artistic style functional to affirm the magisterium of the Roman Church shaken, in its foundations, by the Lutheran Reformation. The heart of the artistic movement was Rome and its protagonists were Bernini and Borromini. A Spasso con Sara for a little in-depth analysis.


Blurred by his contemporary Bernini, Francesco Borromini is the misunderstood genius of the Roman Baroque. His architecture, apparently mute, monochrome and poor, imposes itself, instead, in the Roman architectural scenario with a cryptic message, all to be discovered, full of symbols and hidden meanings, esoteric, wisely enclosed in circles, squares, triangles, crosses and angelic heads that decorate the churches and facades of Borromini.


Bernini and Borromini were said to be rivals. Legend has it that one of the rivers (here in the photo) of Bernini’s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers, in the centre of Piazza Navona, covered its face so as not to look at the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone in front of it, built by Borromini (Credits: myvisita.it).


Unlike Bernini, he managed to create the typical wonder of the Baroque with minimal expense. His churches did not have precious marbles. Instead, they were as poor and simple as the manger in which Jesus came into the world.

Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza, behind the famous Piazza Navona, is his masterpiece. Lines, overlapping planes and perspectives merge and merge in an amazing game.

The facade of the church is concave and overlooks a courtyard. It is surmounted by an unmistakable dome (one of the most famous in Rome, I dare say) with a lobed lantern with an octagonal contour that wraps itself in a spiral ending in a crown surrounded by tongues of fire. From it depart a pedestal of iron arches that supports a globe, the dove Pamphilia with olive branch in the mouth and the cross.


The Church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza behind Piazza Navona.


The plan of the sacred building recalls a bee, the symbol of the Barberini family (to which Pope Urban VIII belonged, who first commissioned Borromini to build the church and the adjoining palace), originating from two equilateral triangles which, superimposed, generate a six-pointed star. It evidently recalls the seal of Solomon, a synthesis of hermetic and Masonic thought.



Map of the complex of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza (Credits: seieditrice.com).


These subtle references permeate the structure in its totality. One need only think that 111 stars are represented in the internal dome, a number that can also be considered as 1 + 1 + 1 which, when added together, gives 3 as a total. And 3 are the phases of the mystical evolution and the 3 is also the symbol of the sky. The stars are then divided into 12 elevations, a number easily ascribable to the Apostles and to the Heavenly Jerusalem.


Interior of the dome of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza (Credits: pinterest.it).


Not even the floor escapes this game of references. It is made up of half white and half black hexagons that allude to the two sides of life: light and darkness, body and spirit, truth and error, in memory of the legendary temple of Solomon.


In the image is partly visible the floor of the church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza (Credits: storiaeconservazione.unirc.it).


Sant’Ivo is just one of the many mysterious masterpieces by Francesco Borromini. If you want to know more…you’ll have to come A Spasso with Sara! 😉


Posted by Sara Pandozzi in ART & CULTURE, CHURCHES & HOLY SITES, ROME, 0 comments