Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vespasian Achievements in New Exhibit in Rome

Rome is gearing up to celebrate 2000 years since the birth of the Emperor Vespasian, founder of the Flavian dynasty and father of the city's most famous landmark, the Colosseum.

Divus Vespasianus, which opened in Rome March 27, spotlights the life and achievements of Vespasian (9-79 AD) and his sons Titus and Domitian, who ruled for two and 15 years respectively after his death. Preceded by the high antics of Nero's reign and taking power after a year of political manouvering that resulted in four different emperors, Vespasian's tranquil stint at the helm is often overlooked.

Before becoming emperor he was a very successful military commander but little information survives of his time in power, and his reign is today best known for the institutional and economic change he introduced. As an individual, Vespasian is remembered for his relatively humble beginnings, his love of the simple life and his sense of humor.

Born in the provinces on November 17 in the year 9 AD of a father in the lower aristocratic equestrian order, Vespasian was something of a self-made man. He worked his way up the ranks slowly, performing particularly well in the army, and was 60 by the time he became emperor in 69 AD.

''He was a cultured and very able individual, who considered himself a man of the provinces,'' explained the exhibition's curator Filippo Coarelli. ''He brought moderation and sobriety to a city laid low by the corruption of the Julio-Claudian emperors, emphasizing the values of parsimony and attention to administration that would change the face of the entire empire''.

The Senate's approval of the Lex de Imperio Vespasiani when Vespasian came to power ''launched a process of constitutionalization within the Roman Empire,'' said Italian Culture Undersecretary Francesco Giro, who attended the exhibit's presentation. However, Vespasian's best-known legacy today is probably the Colosseum, one of several ambitious building projects he embarked upon.

Work on the structure, which was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, got under way between 70 and 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD, under Titus. Considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering, it was the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire. According to Coarelli, Vespasian also played a key role in reconstructing the city in the wake of the Great Fire of Rome, which took place five years previously. ''The reconstruction attributed to Nero was actually the work of the Flavians,'' he said. ''Vespasian found the city still in ruins after the fire''.

The exhibition aims to explain some of the extraordinary architectural innovations introduced under Vespasian. There are also a host of recent archaeological finds, architectural artifacts and busts of the Flavian emperors. Although centered in the Colosseum itself, the exhibition will extend to two other locations. The first of these is the Curia building where the Senate met, which has been reopened to the public for this occasion. The second is the Cryptoporticus of Nero on the Palatine Hill.

En route, visitors are guided to a series of Flavian monuments, including the Arch of Titus, the Flavian Palace, the Temple of Vespasian and the Temple of Peace. Divus Vespasianus. Il Bimillenari dei flavi runs until January 10, 2010.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

La Dolce Vita - F1A Grand Prix in Rome

 reports Rome is working with motorsport's ruling body FIA on the possibility of a Grand Prix through Rome's famous streets. Sports Councillor Alessandro Cochi says ''there are very frequent contacts and visits by FIA officials and the possibility of running a Grand Prix in Rome in 2012 is ever more feasible.''

The news significantly raises Rome's chances of setting up a one-off GP, experts said, after previous reports that FIA chief Max Mosley was cool about the project.

Last week Ferrari boss Luca Cordero de Montezemolo said he, too, was warming to the plan after early misgivings.

Montezemolo spoke about ways of inserting the GP into the F1 calendar, if only as a one-off event.

''If the Rome Grand Prix comes off then Ferrari will prepare in the best way possible, starting to get acquainted with the EUR (district) because it will want to come first,'' he said.

The Mussolini-era district in southern Rome, a backdrop to several films, is lined up as the venue of the GP, which a group of Roman financiers plans to set up by 2012.

As well as being Ferrari boss, Montezemolo is head of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) which was created last season to give constructors a single voice in negotiating the future of the sport with ruling body FIA and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Group (FOG), which controls the commercial rights.

Ecclestone has already given his backing to the Rome Grand Prix plan despite Mosley's reported frostiness.

At a FOTA meeting in Geneva last week, Montezemolo spoke to Ecclestone about the feasibility of the plan.

''I've spoken to Bernie and if, as it appears, the costs can be totally borne by private investors, I think it would be interesting to make an in-depth assessment of its feasibility,'' Montezemolo said.

''We will have to see how to include it in the F1 calendar, because there are many emerging countries that would like to host a world championship race''.

Montezemolo reiterated that a Grand Prix in Rome should not clash or compete with the Italian GP at Monza.

The Ferrari boss's newfound enthusiasm came three days after Renault boss Flavio Briatore said a Rome GP would be ''a fantastic idea''.

Briatore said racing around the historic EUR area would be ''spectacular, like all city circuits''.

Enthusiasts point out that overtaking would be possible there unlike other new street circuits like Valencia and Singapore.


The city is ''serious'' about the project, Mayor Gianni Alemanno said recently.

But Alemanno acknowledged that it would not be easy to set up the event given the technical difficulties and opposition in many quarters.

''The negotiations are complicated, almost as complicated as organising an Olympic Games,'' he told journalists, without going into details.

The group of Italian investors and racing enthusiasts, FG Group, was formally set up on January 29.

FG has already met with Hermann Tilke, considered the world's greatest designer of new-generation race tracks.

According to the Italian media, the group plans to outdo the historic Monaco Grand Prix.

FG chief Maurizio Flammini, a Rome businessman who already organises the world Superbike championship, is insistent that the event should not be a one-off but should run ''for at least four years''.

He stressed that the race would have ''a format different from all the other events'' and would create thousands of jobs for Rome.

The group has assured Monza executives its plan would not threaten the Italian GP, one of the oldest events on the motor racing calendar, first run in 1921.

The idea of staging a Grand Prix in Rome was first aired in the mid-1980s by the great Enzo Ferrari.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Italian design gems on show - Initiative showcases legendary industrial creativity

(ANSA) - Rome, March 19 - A selection of Italy's 20th-century design gems has gone on show at the foreign ministry in Rome, as part of a new initiative to promote the country's stellar reputation in this field. The Italian design industry, which blossomed at the start of the 1900s, has gone from strength to strength over recent decades and three of the country's ministries have now joined forces to preserve some of its greatest achievements. ''Design is the pinnacle of Italian creativity, a blend of artistic ingenuity, artisan skills and business capacity,'' commented Culture Minister Sandro Bondi.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini explained: ''The ministries involved are pooling their resources and energy, and we are also seeking assistance from leading industry and business figures''. Car design legend Sergio Pininfarina is heading up a technical committee coordinating efforts between the industry, culture and foreign ministries. Unveiling details of the collection in Rome, the ministers showcased some of automotive industry's design stars. Pride of place went to a brilliant red Ferrari F430 Spider from 2004, along with a state-of-the-art Ducati motorbike. Recalling an earlier period in Italian design history was a mythical 1953 Isetta, which helped launched the concept of microcars in the post-war years. Also from this period were two classic scooter models: a Vespa 150 and a Lambretta Innocenti, complete with sidecar. Although the focus was on vehicles during the presentation, the initiative has identified 15 separate areas in which Italian design has left its distinctive mark, including fashion, furniture, lighting, interior decor and graphic design, as well as the booming web sector.

In addition to the Rome collection, the three ministries plan to promote conferences, initiatives and exhibits around the world through Italy's culture institutes and embassies. The Italian design industry emerged in the early 1900s, with a focus chiefly on automobiles and machinery. However, during the post-war boom, its reputation spread to numerous other fields. Home appliances, furniture, lamps, radio sets and TV sets all made their mark in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the focus switched to specific individuals, with industrial designers such as Gae Aulenti, or architects like Marco Bellini becoming established ''brand names'' in their own right.

Alternative, post-modern design took center stage in the 1970s with provocative and kitsch pieces, while Italy's strongest design sector today is furniture, followed by the automotive and lighting industries.

For more video about Rome and Italian design visit's Italy Trade channel.

photo: a Ferrari F430.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rome Restaurants: Rome's Centro Storico Authentic Roman Trattoria Restaurant

Roman restaurants Centro Storico Rome best ristorante and trattoria in Rome, with maps to make it easy. Updates happening all the time so bookmark this page and check back often for new restaurants, caffes, shopping, and things to do in Rome.

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