As I’ve continued my trek through the photo archives (bless the down time), I’ve posted some more pictures from Rome. If you want to see them all, check out my Italy Photo Prints.
Before I went to Rome, it seemed like I had seen a dozen documentaries on ancient Rome that included information on the Pantheon, the ancient temple to all the Roman gods (pictured above). This is actually the second Pantheon, built in AD 126. It’s amazing to stand before a building built nearly 2 millennia ago, a building which is still in use today no less! It was given to the Pope in AD 609 and has since then remained a Roman Catholic church, Santa Maria dei Martiri. It’s the fact it was converted into a church for the new religion that enabled it’s survival. Most of the other buildings of antiquity were abandoned and fell into ruin. The interior retains it’s original mammoth concrete dome roof and the niches for the pagan gods (minus the original statues). In addition it has become an honored burial place for noted Italians such as the painter, Raphael. I hope this textured photo-art captures (as I think it does) this imposing edifice! As you can tell, when I was there, it was stormy weather. There’s a hint of the sun in the colors, but look at all the umbrellas.
The photo here is a view of the piazza directly in front of the Pantehon (as viewed from the base of a fountain in the middle of the piazza). Rome is a collection of these piazza’s – lovely outdoor plazas where the Italians and the tourists vacationing there eat, drink, shop, and socialize. This particular piazza is arguably the most central one in the historic district This is where ancient Rome lay and although the buildings today are not 2,000 years old like the Pantheon, this photo shows they clearly exude that old European feel complete with Mediterranean colors. The recent rains also highlight the sampietrini, the traditional basalt cobbles that have been used in Rome since the 16th century. The sampietrini mimic the ancient cobbles of Rome but are smaller than their predecessors. For me, this is the single picture I feel most represents Italy itself. Although I only saw a little of Italy outside of Rome, this is the image of Italy that remains in my mind since returning.
The last in this small series of moody Rome photos is a street level view of the center of the Roman Catholic church, the Holy See, Saint Peter’s Basilica. Although often called a cathedral, this is technically incorrect since Cathedrals are the seat of a Bishop, as the church of the Pope, this is a papal basilica. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century AD, but the present day church was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. At the time of my visit, it was between Christmas and the Epiphany, a festive period in Italy. If you look closely you’ll note in the photo that the piazza is decorated for the season. I truly love the incredible textures to the clouds in this photo. The weather may not have been agreeable on many levels, but I think this picture shows that sometimes stormy weather makes great photos. Check out the textures of the clouds and the great reflections in the wet streets.