Friday, December 31, 2010

Rome NYE: Countdown to a Buon Capodanno

Happy New Year Italy - Buon Capodanno.

Holidays in Rome are always fun. New Years is no exception. First New Years Eve is celebrated with a dinner followed by a huge fireworks party at midnight. Ring in the New Year with friends and family while partaking in delicious Italian New Years food traditions.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Italy New Year's Eve Traditions

Italy New Year's Eve Traditions - NYE Rome, Florence and Venice and all the villages and towns are celebrating the coming New Year.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

NYE Rome Traditions and Festivals

New Year’s Eve is known as la Festa di San Silvestro (Feast of St. Sylvester) in Italy. New Year’s Day is called Capodanno. On both days you will find people celebrating by eating lentils symbolizing wealth or pork specialties such as cotechino or zampone symbolizing richness for the coming year. Fava beans are also widely eaten for good luck.

At midnight, there are fireworks displays throughout Italy with the largest and longest taking place in Piazza del Popolo in Rome. The fireworks last for an hour and also there is a concert that goes on for hours both before and after the fireworks.

Whatever your choice of rituals, if you are celebrating New Year’s in Italy, you will be well entertained until dawn - and beyond if you wish!

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baroque and Renaissance Rome: Bernini's Vatican City - The Architect of St. Peter's

Bernini was called "The architect of St. Peter's" by Urban VIII (1623-44). And Bernini would have considered this quite a complement, as Bernini was one of a handful of artists in his time who would be come to known as a Renaissance Man due to his accomplishments in a variety of fields, including architecture, painting, and sculpture.

Popes Paul V and Gregory XV of the two great Roman families Borghese (see Cardinal Scipione Borghese the Pope's nephew) and Ludovisi (see Sant'Ignazio and Jesuits) respectively. It is these two Popes in the first two decades of the 17th century that created what is known as Triumphant Rome.

Truimphant Rome gets its name from the art and particularly the sculpture of that time, which had a triumphal role because it occupied a rhetorical position in the philosophy of the century. By the end of the 16th century theorists of New Science rationalized that the center of every operation is the man. In De sensu rerum et magi (1620) Tommaso Campanella writes: "Man is the epilogue of the whole World. The World is statue and image. It is the living Temple of God, where he has depicted his acts and written his own ideas. He adorned it with living statues, simple in heaven, mixed and feeble on earth; but from them goes the way to God."

In short, God created the world by means of three great arts:
  • Sculpture, because it is statuary;
  • Painting, because it is image; and
  • Architecture, because it is a Temple.
Men are thus living statues, sculpture in motion.

Bernini's aim was to unite painting, sculpture, and architecture in his work, which he mastered beautifully by the time of the Ecstasy of St. Teresa and the Cornaro Family, both inside the Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria.

Urban VIII was the Barberini Pope after Gregory XV, who with Innocent X (1644-55), and the Chigi Pope Alexander VII (1655-67), all erected churches and palaces around Rome and it was these Roman families who were the stimulus for many works by Bernini.

Today when you travel to Rome walk down Via dei Seminario, just off the Piazza Pantheon, to Sant'Ignazio where inside on the ceiling is painted an allegory depicting the nine arts battling for the Jesuit's heart.

Bernini took advantage of the Jesuit's new call for propaganda or "spreading the faith", such as the allegory on the ceiling of Sant'Ignazio by designing and building art around Rome that conveyed a universal and rhetorical message that is persuasive.

The idea of persuasion through images impelled the intellectuals of the time to rediscover the power and resources of rhetoric. The whole act of artistic creation could be viewed in a particular way through the lenses of the "Aristotelian telescope" (the title of a treatise on rhetoric by Emanuele Tesauro); viewed, that is, in terms of such rhetorical devices as antithesis, anastrophe, metonymy, ellipsis, hyperbole, oxymoron, and above all metaphor.

Under Innocent X Bernini created his most complex fountain conceived as an allegorical monument, the Fountain of Four Rivers (1648-51) in Piazza Navona, to the figure group as a theatrical vision in St. Teresa (1647-52).

Under Pope Alexander VII, Bernini busied himself with architecture: Sant'Andrea Quirinale, Colonnade in front of St. Peter's Basilica, sculpture Constantine inside St. Peter's, Daniel and Habakkuk in the Chigi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo, and the Chair of St. Peter in the apse of St. Peter's Basilica.

Bernini the architect designed St. Peter's Square and the colonnade, and inside St. Peter's Basilica Bernini the sculptor designed a number of works including the bronze and gold 95 foot tall Baldachine (1624-1633) over the High Alter of St. Peter's Basilica, which cost the papal-state 10% of its annual revenue. It was testament to Bernini that the Vatican's would spend that kind of money on Bernini. And it was a testament to triumphant Rome that the Pope and super-rich of the 16th and 17th centuries used their wealth and money, chariots, like today's Gulfstream V jets, for the artists to travel between Rome, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Istanbul, France and Spain for the artist's sole benefit. And 10% of the annual revenue of the papal state was enough to keep an artist living well for several lifetimes. Of course, rather than sit back and just play the game like today's NBA basketball players, the genius-artist of the 17th century went on working day by day despite millions and millions in today's money in the bank.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Books about Rome


Founding of Rome and Thereafter:



3-The Aeneid


Cicero-The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician by Anthony Everitt (2001)

Route 66 A.D.-On the Trail of Ancient Rome by Tony Perrottet (2002)

Playing Away-Roman Holidays by Michael Mewshaw (1988)

A Thousand Bells at Noon-A Roman's Guide to The Streets and Pleasures of His Native City by G. Franco Romagnoli (2002)

Roma-The Smart Travelers Guide to the Eternal City by Paul Hofmann (1993)

The Seasons of Rome-A Journal by Paul Hofmann (1997)

City of the Soul-A Walk in Rome by William Murray (2002)

As The Romans Do,The Delights, Drama, and Daily Diversions of Life in the Eternal City Alan Epstein (2000)

The Vatican's Women, Female Influence at the Holy See by Paul Hofmann (2000)

Rome Antics by David Maculay

Notes From A Roman Terrace by Joean Marble (2003)

Pasquale's Nose, Idle Days in an Italian Town by Michael Rips (2001)

The Smiles of Rome-Susan Cahill (2005)

Rome Guides:

Rome City Map by Dorling Kindersley Travel Guides

Top 10 Guide to Rome by Sharri Whiting

Trattorias of Rome, Florence and Venice by Maureen B Fant

Rome Insideout by The Map Group

Cafe Life Rome-Joe Wolff (2002)

Great Sleeps Italy, Florence, Rome, Venice by Sandra Gustafson (2002)

Access Rome by Richard Saul Wurman

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Italy Christmas Traditions

Italian Christmas traditions video from Naples via San Gregorio Armeno to Rome's Piazza Navona holiday market and festival, Italy at Christmas is wonderful time of year for your next Italy vacation.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Rome Christmas - St. Peter's Square Presepe

nativity scene next to obelisk and Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rome Christmas Eve: Things to do

Italy Right Now brings you to Rome Christmas Eve - wear comfortable shoes and be ready to walk for a Roman festival.

For more video of holidays in Italy click here.

For video of Rome click here.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to do Scavi Tour

Want to a Scavi tour of the Vatican in Rome. Try sending an email to :

In the email include names, date and time you would like to visit.

The Scavi tour is separate from any tours of St. Peter's Basilica or the Vatican Museums.

The tour itself takes about 1.5 hours. Less than 20 people enter with each tour.

If you want to take the Scavi Tour send an email when you know you will be in Rome.

Then pray for a reply ;-)

For more on travel to Italy click here for Web Vision Italy vacations.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Rome - Outdoor Markets

Markets in Rome are as old as time. Today in the United States fresh seasonal organic locally grown fruits and vegetables are a real luxury. In Italy and in Rome it is part of La Dolce Vita - access to locally grown fresh organic fruits and vegetables in neigborhood street markets is the way of life.

While in Rome, be sure to get up in the morning, have an espresso, and then wander to a Roman street market.

Depending on the season you'll find artichokes, zucchini flowers, peppers, tomatoes, etc etc. Taste delicious Roman spices like amatriciana and saffron. Enjoy Italy travel with the street fairs and markets.

Rome Street Markets: Monday-Friday

Campo de’Fiori - food and flowers - Mornings
Largo della Fontanella di Borghese - antique books and magazines - Mornings
Via Sannio - second hand clothes and accessories - Mornings
Piazza San Cosimato, Trastevere - high quality food - Mornings
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele - food - Mornings
Via Andrea Doria – food - Mornings
Via Magnagrecia - food - Mornings
Ponte Milvio - mornings

Saturday and Sunday you may find fairs here:

Via Tirso and Via Metauro - antiques and jewellery - Mornings
Lungotevere Capoprati - antique flea market - Afternoons
Porta Portese, Trastevere - flea market, clothing and antiques - Mornings
Centro Sportivo, Via Angelo Battelli - books, collectors’ items - All day
Via Tirso and Via Metauro - antiques and jewellery - All day from 10:00
Via Francesco Crispi - antiques and collectors’ items. (Closed during Summer) - All day
Piazza della Marina, Flaminio - Bric-a-brac, antiques and vintage clothing - All day

For more on markets in Italy visit the Spice Man in Campo de' Fiori.

Click here for escorted Italy tours with air packages.

Italian tourism also specializes in Italian cruises around Italy.  Click here to browse Italy cruises.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

What do in Rome after The Vatican and St Peter's Basilica

Vatican Tour on a Rome Holiday

After the Vatican tour take a leisurely walk to Piazza Navona indirectly by crossing the bridge to Vittorio Emanuele II. After crossing take second right on Via Paola to Via Giulia. Enjoy Via Giulia all the way to Via dei Farnese. Take a left.

Nice wine bar in the Piazza Farnese square or keep walking through to Campo De' Fiori. Check it out:

Then I'd head over to Piazza Navona To the west of Piazza Navona, behind Brazilian Embassy, is the Via Della Pace neighborhood. There go to Raphael Hotel roof for a drink. Even better if the sun has not set yet.

And you can go shopping in that neighborhood on Via dei Coronari.

And there is plenty of nice Rome holiday trattoria around too:

Our favorite thing to do in Rome is wander.

-Motorino Man

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Espesso: La Dolce Vita Caffes of Rome; Historical Caffes of Turin

Rome Caffes
Travel to Rome Italy must include like ritual morning coffee. I prefer macchiato, espresso stained with a little milk. Rome is the capital of espresso, and living la dolce vita includes starting the day in a caffe.

Italian Broadcasting Company and Web Vision Italy bring you these videos about morning coffee in Rome, and the classic battle between Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro.

Click here to view video about Rome travel, La Dolce Vita - The Caffes of Rome.

Click here to view video about Turin travel, Historical Caffes of Turin.

Via degli Orfani, 84 (Pantheon) - 00186 Roma

Sant Eustachio Il Caffe Srl
Piazza Di S. Eustachio
00186 Roma (RM), Italy


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spas an easy drive outside of Rome: Fiuggi and Terme di Vertralla

If you're feeling like you can't handle another night in the city of Rome, then the best way to relax and rejuvinate is get away for a night at a spa close by Rome.

South of Rome, off the A1 autostrada on the way to Naples, is the spa of Fiuggi, in the province of Frosinone. Fiuggi has been the watering hole of the rich and famous since the time of the Ancient Romans. Acqua di Fiuggi is thought to have curative powers. These days, Fiuggi is exceedingly popular, with many fashionable hotels and shops and places to eat. We suggest hotel reservations.

North of Rome, off the A1 autostrada on the way to Florence, is the spa of Terme di Vertralla in Viterbo, a 50-minute drive north of the city. The terme are naturally-occurring hot springs that have sprung up in the middle of a field. They have been used for about two millenia, first by the Etruscans. Everywhere around you you can see the remnants from ancient structures. They are free of charge and open to the public, just simply drive up, park the car and submerge yourself in the hot water.

Visit Fiuggi,

Visit Viterbo

For more on Italy, view

Salute Per Acqua [good health through water] = SPA