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   R  O  M  A  N  I  T  A  S
   The Spirit of Rome

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Forum temple Saturn acquarello.jpg
Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum
watercolor  10 "  x  14"
       Schedule / ITINERARIES
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Day One

Arrival in Rome ; Meet in hotel lobby; Walking introduction to areas of the Pantheon, San Luigi Church and CARAVAGGIO,  Piazza Navona, and Campo dei Fiori
Distribute Sketching Handbook and visit Palazzo Altemps to practice Thumbnail techniques; talk about memory drawings; using geometry ; drawing to understand (not copy)
Dinner near Piazza Navona

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Day Two

Meet in front of hotel; sketching walk near hotel: Piazza di Pietra; Column of Marcus Aurelius; interior of Church of Saint Silvester in Capite; ancient epigraphs; portico
Visit to Campidoglio, sketching session: thumbnail sketch to large-scale version
to private home of contemporary art collector

Galleria Borghese visit  (sculptures by Bernini, paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael, Correggio)
(Free time for dinner, city touring)

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Day Three

Walking and sketching itineraries: walk-by Piazza Santa Maria Maddalena; visit inside ARA PACIS, the story and significance of the monument
Sketching session in Piazza del Popolo: dome, bell tower; window; façade; triumphal arch

Visit to The Pantheon (reserved entry)

Private visit to Palazzo Colonna (Public / private apartments )

Dinner at Vecchia Taverna, near Torre Margana

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Day Four

Brief visit to Saint Ivo alla Sapienza

Free time

Arrivederci Roma


DRAWING Itinerary 1

From Piazza della Minerva to courtyard of Teatro di Marcello and Portico Ottavia

  • Belfry church of Sant Eustachio (drawing 4-side forms from outside; varying angles)

  • Piazza della Pigna (thumbnail sketches of temple façades)

  • (Walk-by) Piazza delle Tarterughe (lines of force)

  • Courtyard Palazzo Mattei ("chessboard" drawing of 4-sided space from inside)

  • Balcony and stairs of RISD (façade)

  • Ministero Grazia e Giudizio (loggia)

  • Teatro Marcello, Portico di Ottavia and context

DRAWING Itinerary 2

From Piazza della Minerva to Campidoglio 

  • Edmund Bacon 5-points of design

  • Palazzo Venezia courtyard (thumbnail sketches)

  • Piazza Margana

  • Campidoglio (stairs and façades, stringcourses, balaustrade excercise)

  • FORUM overview ; church dome Sts Luca e Martina 

DRAWING Itinerary 3

From Piazza della Minerva to Campidoglio 

  • Edmund Bacon 5-points of design

  • Palazzo Venezia courtyard (thumbnail sketches)

  • Piazza Margana

  • Campidoglio (stairs and faÇades, stringcourses, balaustrade excercise)


DRAWING Itinerary 4

From Piazza della Minerva to Campo de'Fiori 

  • Palazzo and Piazza Farnese

  • Palazzo Spada façade /Borromini folly

  • Via Giulia bridge views; façades

  • Ponte Sisto frontal/angle views

  • Villa Farnesina: Back garden; frieze garlands, front entrance

  • Francesco Borromini loggia in Palazzo Falconieri

Itinerary 5

Viewing of RAPHAEL'S Sybils (frescos) and sketching of Bramante's Chiostro and the curved façade of Santa Maria della Pace, plus some of the moldings and details of this small piazza 

  • ARA PACIS Augustae + Romanitas

DRAWING Itinerary SUNDAY at 10 a.m.

Brief visit inside Borromini's Sant'Ivo Church 

  • Piazza S. Ignatius : plan, balconies and windows; shells and other detail

  • Steeple of Borromini's Sant' Ivo alla Sapienza; arcade perspectives

 **** Recommendations***** 

                                                  Books, Readings, Films:

Daisy Millershort novella by Henry James, part of which is set in early 20th century Rome

Roman Holiday, 1950s film with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck; we will visit the Palazzo Colonna, where the great final scene of the movie unfolds! 

Promenades of Romeby the French author Stendhal; full of still pertinent descriptions of historical/archaeological and religious sites which the author visited in the early 1800s
Federico Fellini's various films set in Rome: La Dolce Vita; or his fun and loving documentary ROMA; and also his mythological/luscious SATYRICON, set in the decadent days of Emperor Nero's Rome. 

Director William Wyler's BEN-HUR, starring Charlton Heston, filmed in the late 1950s

Rome: the television series created by John Milius, which ran for two seasons (22 chapters) for TV.

William Shakespeare's two plays : Julius Caesar, directed in 1953 by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by John Houseman, starring Marlon Brandon;  or Antony and Cleopatra,directed in 19633 by Joseph L. Mankiewicz 

Read about the various groups of ROMANTIC British Poets who came to Italy at the time of the so-called "GRAND TOUR" -- at the turn of the century from the 1700s to the 1800s: for example, JOHN KEATS (the sonnets "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to the Nightengale"); Percy Shelley: Lord Byron; Mary Shelley -- this group lived in the neighborhood of the Spanish Steps, and they vacationed in CINQUE TERRE and wrote important works in prose and poetry during that sojourn, when in fact Percy Shelley lost his life. 

Giacomo Puccini's 19th-century opera TOSCA, which this composer considered "the most Roman" of his operas, and that he set in three locations in Rome which you may easily visit: the Church of Sant'Andrea della Valle, the Palazzo Farnese, and Castel Sant'Angelo.

Important Venues: Other Recommendations while in ROME

Your time in Rome will be short, especially since during your visit we will literally compress schedules so as to visit three or four "must-see" galleries and collections of masterpieces and decorated spaces, and of course also allowing some time for you to wander around on your own, or to visit one or two venues.  Below find a list of some of those other places which we will not see as a group, some of which do require an entry ticket or reservation, others not.

  • St. Peter's Basilica and Piazza, the latter designed by Gianlorenzo Bernini (lines may exist, but no ticket is necessary)

    ​Trastevere Neighborhood (restaurants: Da Augusto in Piazza de'Renzi; Da Enzo's at via dei Vascellari 29; Miraggio's at Via della Lungara 16; Osteria Der Belli, near church of Santa Maria in Trastevere)

  • CARAVAGGIO (Michealangelo Merisi da Caravaggio): double-checking Opening Hours and relative location with respect to your Hotel della Minerva, you may wish to visit any one of the following Roman churches which still show this intensely innovative painter's master works: 1) Sant'Agostino; 2) San Luigi dei Francesi; 3) Santa Maria del Popolo. Other sites include: 1) Galleria Borghese (which we will visit together); 2) Galleria Doria Pamphilj; 3) Capitoline Museums: PINACOTECA (Painting Gallery); and 4) Palazzo BARBERINI Painting Gallery.  

  • Trastevere Churches: Santa Maria in Trastevere (13th century mosaics and wonderful colored wood-carved ceiling); Santa Cecilia; San Chrysogono

  •  GNAM: Galleria Nazionale Arte Moderno (works by Cy Twombly, DeChirico, Giacomo Balla,  Umberto Boccioni, and many other Futurists)

  • Church of Santa Maria Maddalena (18th-century Roccoco)--one block awayd from the Pantheon

  • The Jesuit Church of GESU (near your Hotel della Minerva); incredible "blown-away ceiling" painting by Bacciccia; look at the side chapel where St. Ignatius is buried, designed by Andrea del Pozzo, who painted the ceiling extravaganza of S. Ignazio Church, which we will visit briefly together)

  • The area of the BOCCA DELLA VERITA, located in the relatively small church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, next to the two Repubican age temples of HERCULES (179 B.C.) and Portunus (79 B.C.)

  • The TIBER ISLAND area on the Tiber River, along the street where the Great Jewish Synagogue is located. Look for the so-called BROKEN BRIDGE near there. Great to sketch, along with the old Roman bridges on either side of the Tiber Island: Ponte Fabrizio and Ponte Celsio). Romans built their first hospital on Tiber Island, and the "modern" Bene Fratelli Hospital there is built on the foundations of one from 400 B.C.

  • Stroll in and around the neighborhood of the Parliament of Rome (Montecitorio), visiting the San Lorenzo in Lucina piazza; and the Column of Marcus Aurelius.

  • Great pizzas at IL GROTTINO in Rome's Testaccio Neighborhood. Locals savour the best thin-crust pizza pies there, and also fresh "baccalá" or cod-fish filets!)

  • Trattoria Perilli is a terrific "Old Rome" trattoria, locaed on Via Marmorata #29, near the same area as IL GROTTINO.   You will enjoy the best "carbonara" pasta and spinach or tiramisú there, plus the old painted murals of street scenes and countryside, along with the elegant yet casual style of the waiters will make you feel at home.

  • VOODOO BAR, on Via delle Terme di Traiano 4A; mostly a locals' scene too; for drinks and also dinner. Go early. This bar restaurant is located near the Colosseum.

  • Terrace for aperitivos and amazing views at HOTEL FORUM, on the border of the Forum of Augustus, in Rione Monti.

  • Best GELATTO these days :  FATAMORGANA (several locations). 

  • The COLOSSEUM (single, simple ticket includes entrance to the Roman Forum) www.

  • The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel (single, simple ticket is best, since you may rent an Audioguide headset; or you may choose to visit accompanied by an in-house guide of the museums)

  • One of Michelangelo's most powerful sculptures is his MOSES, located in the side chapel where lies buried Pope Julius II della Rovere, the same pontiff who commissioned from him the painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This lovely, early Christian basilica is called San Pietro in Vincoli, and is located in the neighborhood of Monti, quite near the Roman Forum.

  • The history of Rome is also that of the Christian Catacombs: I recommend you visit that of St. Agnes, located on Via Nomentana, but best to check opening hours, etc. The fabulous round Mausoleum of Santa Costanza is there, with amazing mosaic ceiling decoration from the 4th century A.D.

  • Another unique area of the Eternal City is the "Keyhole" of the Priorate of the Knights of MALTA on Aventine Hill, near the Bocca della Verita site inside the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Take a look through the keyhole and you will see an iconic Roman building situated clear across town, inside the keyhole.

  • The Baths of Caracalla, built around 200 A.D., provided areas for exercising and wellness to Romans of all classes, as part of a tradition whose basic idealogy we still refer to, unknowingly, when we use the word SPA--the meaning of this acronym is Salute Per Aqua ( Water for Health ). The grand architecture and even more large-scale hydraulic engineer built to make this particular center provide gallons and gallons of water, at various temperatures, are tied up to the vast network of ACQUEDUCTS built by Roman engineers throughout the Empire, and which you may also wish to visit or learn more about by riding LINE A of Rome's Metro to Subaugusta Station, and then walking to Acqueduct Park.

Time Lines : In the course of my studies and teaching in Rome, I have found helpful  the reference to chronology. Below are sereval of these historical layouts/ 

Ancient Rome simple Timeline.jpg
Vatican Popes Timeline.jpg
Romans have built a city that is made up as much of narrative as of cement, wood and marble. My timeline, therefore, begins with the Greek hero HERCULES passing by here some time before the famous Trojan War (1,200 b.C.E.), and it continues with what followed the defeat of Troy, when the goddess of love and beauty, Venus, guided the DNA of the noble Trojans to Italy on a ship, so they could build here an even more grand civilization . Romulus and Remus, twins born to a girl named Rhea Sylvia and the war god, Mars. Romulus was the first of 7 Kings.
Popes of the Roman Catholic Church The second timeline shows some of the more well-known pontiffs or popes, starting with Peter, who is considered the very first one, chosen to lead the early church by Jesus himself. There have been 266 Popes.  A very important Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, put a stop to the persecution of Christians and was according to tradition, baptized in 329 A.D, an event which he commemorated by sponsoring the building of the first major "basilica" churches of Rome. In 1929, Pope Pius XI and Benito Mussolini signed a treaty to make the Vatican building complex, where St Peter's Basilica is located, an independent State, within the State of Italy: a city within a city. The Vatican Museums hold arguably one of the three major collections of art masterpieces in the world, including the frescos by Raphael and by Michelangelo.
Catholic Popes and Renaissance Timeline_edited-2.jpg
Rennaissance pontiffs like Pope Julius II della Rovere, Leo X Medici, and Paul III Farnese were major players not only in the creation and financing of the masterpieces of Italy, during the sentences in the above timeline, but in many of the most dramatic events of world history. When King Henry VIII of England in 1538 decreed the "dissolution" of the monasteries in Great Britain, he destroyed many precious manuscripts and objects which included scientific and historical items of importance to mankind.  This might be a date you could write in to my timeline, since you live and work in London!

ROME and the Story of Hospitality

"There are many Romes!" I have often heard university professors, especially, tell their students -- both to  set their minds at ease about how impossible it is to embrace them all during a short stay here, and to encourage them to waste no time walking or making their way into this vast and deep city, by way of reading, taking notes, listening to good lectures, or simply letting oneself connect impressions gained from being in Rome, and seeing greater themes and commonalities. Sometimes visits to Rome only begin to make sense to us after the trip, in sort of "AHA! Moments" that come up in our daydreams, often unexpectedly. But of course one may encourage this happening inside the mind by continue to travel here by way of reading, taking notes, listening to good lectures, etc., going back full circle to where we began.

One very important Rome for your group, specifically, is the Rome of merchants and invaders of the time before Jesus, and this is followed by the ROME OF PILGRIMS   -- people of all beliefs (or lack thereof), walks of life, and wallets who made sometimes very long and dangerous journeys to come here to see the Colosseum, or to enjoy sensual pleasures in the nymphaeums and bath houses, as well as to experience the religious sites where martyrs were killed or where pieces of their anatomy (!) and clothing were exhibited as relics. Many, many of Rome's modern alleys or major avenues were first laid out as thoroughfares by and for these pilgrims going places !!!! --  or even by the owners of the inns, money exchange banks, hospitals and theaters set up by locals to welcome and accommodate the -- at times -- huge influx of such tourists. This pilgrim hospitality industry flourished around when St. Peter preached and was crucified in Rome---and it continues today.

Another Rome closely related to the art of hospitality is that of British poets, painters, and bon vivants, but not to forget politicians too, who began to hear stories about the archaeological discovery of POMPEII, Herculaneum, and PAESTUM, in the 1700s, or about the great wine and seafood or landscapes which could be seen all over the pensinsula and some of the islands: and thus the so-called GRAND TOUR period began which, itself, required the design of facilities for sleeping, eating, or moving about from one exotic "ROMantic" (get it!? Rome +antic) venue to another. Names of "Grand Tour figures" who are also important to Great Britain-based visitors like yourselves are : Napoleon Bonaparte, Lord Byron, and John Keats. Think of how styles of hotels or beds changed from the days of Medieval pilgrimages on horseback to the age of the great sailing ships or, eventually trains that brought visitors to Rome in the 1800s!

  • As you enjoy your stay and your study of Rome this long weekend, I might suggest some of the forms you may note and, especially, want to sketch...which in some way spell out a sort of secret code of what ROME means or is made up of, in its great spirit.

  • arches

  • bridges

  • acqueducts

  • fountains

  • statues

  • inscriptions

  • domes

  • belfries

  • gardens

  • stairs or grand stairways

  • pine trees (umbrella pines)

  • Egyptian obelisks

  • Papal Crests (heraldry)

  • theaters/amphitheaters such as the Colosseum

  • ironwork gates and posts surrounding palaces or parks

  • piazzas

  • street lamps

  • window shutters

  • colors of the builtings

  • doorways

  • courtyards

  • balconies

  • window moldings and frames

  • graffiti

  • door knobs and knockers

  • columns and/or arcades

  • historical columns (Trajan's Column, Marcus Aurelius Column) 

San Pietro in alto.jpg
Roman Secrets  One of the more celebrated ICONIC forms of Rome is St.Peter's Basilica, which in fact sets the limiting mark for the height of every other building or monument in the Eternal City. Since you will soon tire of seeing postcards, coffee mugs, and t-shirts of the DOME, I thought to include the photo on the left for you on this page, so you can see what a seagull or an angel ... flying over the area would see, including the church and the famous St. Peter's Piazza in front of it.  The shape has been compared to a giant KEY  with a Keyhole (St. Peter's symbol are the keys), but other metaphors also abound.
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Borromini 's St. Ivo  One of the more mystifying and rich sites to explore in Rome for artists and lovers of forms like yourselves, located two or three blocks from your Hotel is this singular "university chapel" designed by Francesco Borromini in the mid 1600s, with a variety of design solutions based solely on the circle, the oval, the spiral, the square, and the triangle -- in combination. I look forward  to showing you this site or space while you are here, so you can draw inspiration from this "lesson" in design.
Borromini Sant Ivo geometria.jpg
Above, photo of the inside of the "dome, together with a simple diagram of how the form was derived from circles and triangles!
Sant Ivo vista interna della lanterna.jpg
This is a photo of the inside of the church but viewed from the ceiling downwards; the camera was placed inside the the SPIRAL steeple.
Catholic Popes and Renaissance Timeline_edited-2.jpg
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