Rome 2016

(click on any image for a larger version)

This being my second visit to Rome in three years, I had the opportunity to catch up on some sights I had missed the first time around. Herewith, as usual, some random observations:

(Above and below) sculpture groups at the Altare della Patria.

You of course know the story of the magically animated wooden puppet carved by Gepetto. It turns out this was only Phase I of his plan. In Phase II, the puppets are put to work in sweatshops carving more puppets to form an exponentially increasing army of frolicking puppets. I have some concern as to how Phase III will turn out:

Playfulness in architecture. I like the variety of structures employed on the corner of this building.

And more playfulness...

Humdrum view of the Roman forum:

The Palazzo dei Conservatori, housing part of the Capitoline Museum, is decorated with frescoes, many showing the Battle of... well I don't know what battle it was, but I expect the Romans won. The artist was particularly fond of depicting decapitations, etc., and in this little detail, the best classical painting I have seen showing a head squashed by the hoof of a horse:

More stuff in the Capitoline Museum:

I have never been interested in spectator sports. I simply lack the fandom spark. But I think I might make an exception for baby-fish wrestling:

Panorama of St. Peter's basilica:

Uncharacteristically Italian neatness in parking:

Pantheon, illuminated by the oculus in the center of the dome:

And now a side trip to Tivoli. The gardens at the Villa d'Este with their fountains are not to be missed. We all agreed they are far more beautiful (though less extensive) than the gardens at Versailles. I wish I knew whose inspiration it was to use the sloping site to power a thousand fountains by gravity. 

One of the thousand: 

Detail from another fountain. I don't know whether these snake people come from mythology or are merely a fancy of the artist.

And the villa building:

Inside the villa, a piece of trompe-l'oeil. In other words, the door you see is not real but painted on the wall, Road-Runner style. Such touches abound in the villa.

Also in Tivoli are the ruins of the villa belonging to Emperor Hadrian. The weather had turned moody and atmospheric by the time we reached the villa:

I hadn't realized it until pointed out by a tour guide, but this scrap of ruined floor indicates the scope of the Roman empire. The various colors of marble—rose, white, green—all come from different lands at different points of the compass.

Meanwhile, back in Rome, birds are resting in the Forum:

(Literal) high fashion on the Via dei Condotti:

View from the roof of our hotel:

Also on the roof:

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Rome!