Bed and Rome and Breakfast

martedì 18 settembre 2018

URBEM FECISTI - REFOUNDING THE EMPIRE

The articles of the series Urbem Fecisti are dedicated to the way Rome has shaped the modern world, to its modernity. It's a fact that Roman Empire is still living inside each of us in the western world and not only.


In a previous post we discussed about to founding myth of the Roman Empire. It was connecting the founders of Rme to the refugees from Troy and, even more important, it was connecting tehm, and their leader Aeneas, to the gens Julia, the one to which Octavianus August was belonging.
The Julia-Claudia dinastty ended with Nero. Nero was the last emperor belonging to the old Roman aristocracy- After him, the emperor had mostly Italic of from the provinces.
At the same time the Senate, still having a greta power in the I century AD (Nero, was deposed by the Senate and then committed suicide), progressively lost power and, at the time of Septimius Severus at the beginning of the III century AD, its power became only symbolic.
Constantine
When the son of Septimius Severus, Anoninus Severus better know as Caracalla, extended the Roman citizenship to all the people living in the empire, the switch of power was completed. It went in the hands of the army. For over 70 years military anarchy reigned over the empire. No emperor after Septimius Severus died naturally till the advent of Diocletian.
To reestablish the orde in the empire Diocletian started sharing the power instituting the tetrarchy.
Diocletian resigned in the year 305 AD to spend his last years in his magnificent palace in Split in the modern Croatia. After his resignetion the tetrarchy survived for a very short period.
The one the emerged after the civil war that followed, was Constantine. First, after the battle at the Milvian Bridge in the year 312 AD, he took the control of the western part of the empire. In 324 AD he succeeded to become the only emperor.
Constantine understood that the empire had to be refounded.

A New Myth

The new foundation needed a new myth and Constantine found that in the christian religion. That occurred also with the suggestion of his Mother, Helen, that was christian and that is now celebrated as Saint Helen. The chistina community was relatively small, more or less 10 % of all the inhabitants of the empire,  but it was cohesive and transversal to social classes.
According to the ancient tradition, before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, Constantine had a vision, In hoc signo vinces (In this sign you will conquer) that convinced him to paint the cross on the shields of his soldiers.
In Hoc Signo Vinces
In  the year 313 AD the christian religion, that was persecuted under Diocletian, was fully legalized with the Edict of Milan.
Constantine donated the area formerly known as Horti Laterani to the bishop of Rome, i.e. to the Pope. At that time the area was know as Domus Faustae, because it belonged to the wife of Constantine, Fausta.
The palace became the residence of the Pope and a church, the first in Rome, was erected. That church is St. John Lateran, Holy See, cathedral of Rome and mother of all the churches of the world.
Two of the other maiin basilicas of Rome were erected under Constantine, St. Paul and St. Peter.

St. John Lateran
It may sound strange that the main and first basilica of Rome is dedicated to St. John (by the way, which one? Baptist or Evangelist?). Actually speaking is dedicated to both of them but mainly to Christ, the Most Holy Savior, and its official name is something extremely long - Major Papal, Patriarchal and Roman Archbasilica Cathedral of the Most Holy Savior and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist in Lateran, Mother and Head of All Churches in Rome and in the World. Because of that, its name, over the centuries, has been semplified to St. John Lateram.
Rather obvioulsy the christian community strongly supported Constantine. Anyhow Constantine, after getting the full control of the empire, reaffirmed its imperial role with the organization of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, that was presided by him, and which purpose was to settle all theological issues in the church and to define a unique guideline.

Aftermath

Indeed Constantine succeded in its purpose to refound the empire that, before him, looked close to collapse. In the western side the empire survived for other 150 years, in the eastern side for over 11 centuries till the Ottoman conquer of Constantinopole (Istanbul). 
Nevertheless his actions had, and still have, several consequences. 
Since the foundation of the empire, the emperor was considered a semi-divine figure. That was obvioulsy in contrast with the figure of the Pope, vicar of Chist God.
To avoid any contrast with the emerging power of the Church, Constantine moved the capital city of the empire to Constantinople, the New Rome
After the death of Constantine, the empire was divided again into Western and Eatern. Only Theodosius, at the end of the IV century, reigned over both parts and made the christian religion the official religion of the empire. After Theodosius the separation became definitive and, along with the barbarian invasions, the progressive influence of the ecclesiastical hierarchy weakened the position of the emperor till the final collapse in 476 AD.
The Church and the Pope increased their power over the centuries, The new empire, initially created by Charlemagne, took officially the name of Holy Roman Empire in 962 AD. 
Their influence is evident also nowadays, both beacause of the strong Roman imprint on the western civilization and because of the hidden power made up of financial power and intelligence.
A clear evidence of that is the fact that the Catholic Church is the world's largest non-governmental provider of education and healthcare services
Even because of that Rome is named the Eternal City. There is nothing eternal among the human things but for sure the legacy of Rome is what closer to eternal you might find in history.
Every person who wants to be well aware of what is happening in the world and wants to use the critical spirit, should know this piece of history.
Even the centuries-long disputes among Turks and Russians find their origin in the Roman legacy.
A recent book by Massimo Franco, Parallel Empires (Imperi Paralleli in
Italian) describes the often conflictual relationship among USA and the Vatican. It is worth reading it.

We, at San Lorenzo Gu,est House, Villa Borghese Guest House and St. John Villa, take care of this blog to help our guests to enjoy at the best their stay in Rome.

Vincenzo


lunedì 17 settembre 2018

QUARTIERE DELLE VALLI - SET CINEMATOGRAFICI ROMANI

Quartiere delle Valli



Nel nostro giro delle vie della Roma di tutti i giorni che sono stati usate come set cinematografico, questa volta sono andato a ritrovare le vie della mia infanzia. In effetti è più corretto dire che sono loro che hanno trovato me visto che stavo cercando altre.
Si tratta di un episodio, Il Vigile Ignoto, di uno dei tanti film di Totò, il principe della risata, e precisamente Le Motorizzate..
Il Vigile Ignoto rappresenta al meglio l'Italia dei primi anni '60 del XX secolo, un paese in pieno boom economico dove la motorizzazione di massa era il simbolo del benessere appena conquistato.
Nel film Totò interpretata un disoccupato per poca voglia di lavorare e che invece campa di espedienti. L'espediente che mette in atto è quello di fingersi vigile urbano in modo da ricevere sia i regali che a quel tempo gli automobilisti romani erano usi a fare ai vigili in occasione dell'Epifania, sia delle mance per chiudere un occhio di fronte ad alcune presunte infrazioni da lui contestate agli automobilisti, anzi soprattutto alle automobiliste.
Molte delle scene di questo film sono state girate nel Quartiere delle Valli, così denominato perché la maggior parte delle strade portano il nome di valli. La zona fa parte della più ampia Monte Sacro, ed è facilmente raggiungibile con la line B1 della metropolitana, fermata Conca d'Oro.
La salsamenteria ieri

La salsamenteria oggi
Quando fu girato il film ci eravamo trasferiti da un anno in Via Val di Lanzo. Ed è proprio all'angolo tra questa via e Via valle Vermigliio sono state girate molte scene. La salsamenteria (per i non romani si tratta di un negozio di alimentari) che viene spesso inquadrata è ancora oggi esistente con la stessa insegna. Lì mi sono recato tantissime volte, abitavamo nel palazzo a fianco, a prendere qualche cosa su indicazione di mia madre. E tante volte sono andato alla frutteria Fruttidoro, oggi non più esistente.

Altre scene sono state poi girate nella strada parallela a Via di Lanzo e cioè Viale Val Padana. I pini, allora appena piantati, sono oggi altissimi.

Come scriviamo spesso, Roma non è solo il Colosseo, San Pietro e Fontana di Trevi. E' una città che ha oltre 2500 anni di storia, tutto sommato portati bene checché se ne dica, e che presenta in ogni suo angolo degli spunti interessanti.
La frutteria

Intrappolandosi nel centro storico si perde l'opportunità della continua scoperta, o riscoperta.

Vincenzo

Cliccare qui per vedere il video.

Cliccare qui per vedere tutti i post con argomento il cinema


Viale Val Padana


















mercoledì 12 settembre 2018

12 PHOTOS OF ROME - SAN LORENZO

Cat in the window

The posts of this series are dedicated to the way I see my city, Rome, and to the way I live it, All the photos of this series have been taken by me or by people that were with me. Sometime the quality is not so good, I hope readers will excuse me for that.


SAN LORENZO, THE SOUL OF ROME


The direction of the brewery
Chimney
In each city there is a district where the soul of the city is located. The soul of rome is in San Lorenzo, the district of La Sapienza University.
It is the district whose bombing, on July 19, 1943, during World War II, started the end of the fascism. The building and the chimney located at the end of Via degli Apuli, are what nowadays remains of a brewery that was destroyed by the bombs. The building is now used by the University.

Casa dei bambini
Maria Montessori founded here her first Casa dei Bambini. The original building was also destroyed by the bombs.

The presence of the University may be seen also looking at the names of some cafe, like the one named 110 e lode, like the maximum points one can get at the degree.

The graffinti on the walls always remember that this is a district for students and artists.
110 e lode


Aviolibri
You will also find unusal shops, like the Aviolibri library, one of the only two in Rome that is specialized in books about aviation.


Houses in the Walls
Probably the stangest thing you may see in San Lorenzo are the Houses in the Walls. People are living inside the Auelian Walls; some of those apartments are also offered to tourists.

Not far from those houses, it is curious to observe, looking at the towers of the Aurelian Walls and those of the Termini railway station, the contrast among ancient and modern
Towers
Evening in San Lorenzo

Even if San Lorenzo has a vivid nightlife,  during the day it is a quiet area, very dufferent from other parts of Rome
By day
By day










Cat on the roof



And a cat can stand quiets on a roof!

Vincenzo

https://www.octorate.com/octobook/site/reservation/index.xhtml?codice=1181453

P.S. In Sanlorenzo you will also find a lot of excellent restaunts that will not dry your credit card








sabato 25 agosto 2018

STAYING ON VACATION


Vacatio (Latin) = Lack, absence


Few days ago one Roman host posted, in a group of a social network, the comment that one of her guests left about the stay in her apartment. The comment was very positive for the apartment, but the problems came. Here is, textually, what the guest wrote

We stayed 3 nights in Rome. I really wouldn't recommendo staying any longer unless you are a history buff. We were very underwhelmed by the experience of the Colosseum area and even the Vatican Museum. My favouriteplanned visit was to St. Peter' Basilica and the difficult walk to the top. 
Aside from that we just enjoyed walking around to the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. We couldn't wait to leave & head to Positano.

The guest was a 30 y.o. bride from New York having the honeymoon in Italy.
Most of the comments by other hosts were about the lack of culture of that person. Frankly speaking I believe that what was missing was something else.

Let's go back to the word vacation, derived form the Latin, the language that was spoken in ancient Rome, vacatio.

When on vacation, one should stay away from everything that is similar to daily life. It is not a case that no one considers to be a vacation stayng at home during the weekend, To be on vacation it is necessary a big change.
Going to seaside or to mountains for a skiing vacation is a big change. Visiting a big city is not itself a big change, simply because most of the people live in a big city. If they don't, that is if they come from a small town or a village, the impact with a big city can be difficult. Well, that's not the case of the bride. She was coming from New York, a city that is even bigger.
But what she saw is exactly what she is experiencing every day: chaos, noise, crowded sites and so on.
Is there any difference among those two pictures?  Not really, just the buildings on the back.
Crowd at Times Square
Crowd at the Colosseum
But, indeed, the situation is the same, a lot people.
So why leaving New York to stay in the same situation in Rome? Furthermore, why doing that during the honeymoon, a period of the life when one would like to be on a full vacation?

Dear New York's bride, you are not guilty of lack of culture or something elese. You reacted as anyone, including myselg, would have reacted if left alone.

Your fault, if any, was to believe to those claiming that staying in an apartment is the best way to live as a local. No, staying in an apartment is the best way not to be on vacation, to stay like in your home, or even worse.

You would have deserved a Good Morning by the host or the by the staff every day and someone delivering to you a cup of coffee, just to start in the best way.  You would have deserved someone, the host or other guests, talking with you every morning to understand your mood, to suggest you which sites to visit away from the big crowd, to give you their feedbacks.
You would not have deserved to stay alone in an apartment, without any of those things.

Rome is a city that may be seen in several ways, not only the historical one. There are art, religion, politics, architecture, engineering, curious places, romantic spots, all of them away from the crowd.
One of my best moments in New York was looking at the families playing baseball (or is it softball?) at Central Park. You may look at the archeological site of Largo di Torre Argentina from an historical point of view. There is the historical one, it is the location of the Curia of the Theatre of  Pompey, the place where Julius Cesar was killed on March 15, 44 BC. But I would have recommended to you to look at it also as a Cat Sanctuary, a shelter for homeless cats.
You should have been told that most of the best restaurants of Rome are out of the center.
Therefore you were not on vacation, you were staying at home far away from your own home.

We run this blog to give to our guests our recommendations, to be close to them at any moment.
And we do not forget to tell to them - Good Morning- evey day

Vincenzo




martedì 7 agosto 2018

PICK OF THE DAY - GRATTACHECCA


What does it mean to live like a local? Having to go to buy bread, milk and meat at the supermarket or discovering the pleasures of the place one is visiting?
In my opinion only the second. The first is a boring duty that one has to do every day.

One of the local pleasure in Rome during the summer time is the grattachecca. What's that?
It is crushed ice with a syrup, lemon, cherry, mint, almond or whatever the fantasy might suggest.


Grattachecca is something completely different from granita, a typical specialty from Sicily, and sorbet.

These last two specialties are prepared starting from water in which the sugar has been melted making it boil. The syrup is then added to the water, also a liqueur or prosecco for the sorbet and everything is then put in the freezer stirring every 15-20 minutes. The final result is something that is at the same time granular and creamy. In some recipe, also some drops of milk to get it more creamy.

The preparation of grattachecca is much quicker as it is made from blocks of ice that are crushed at the moment, the adding the syrup. Therefore at the same time one will drink and chew the ice. 
Because of the low sugar content, it will result strongly refreshing and thrist quenching.

Grattachecca is typically sold in small kiosks that normally open in the late afternoon or even only in the evening. Those kiosks usually become also meeting point for the people.

One of the best grattachecca in Rome is sold in a kiosk that is located just steps away fro the St. John Villa, along Via Magna Grecia, close to the subway stop. The name of the place is Er Chioschetto.



Vincenzo

domenica 5 agosto 2018

JOAN BAEZ AT THE BATHS OF CARACALLA - HER FAREWELL TOUR



On August 6, 2018, the great American singer Joan Baez will hold a concert during her Farewell Tour in the amazing scenery of the Baths of Caracalla, Rome.

The Baths of Caracalla are the location of a great summer season of concert and operas.

We, Romans, are honoured to host this great artist and great woman has chosen our city for one of her last concerts and we wish her all the best thanking her for the emotions she has given to us with her songs



lunedì 16 luglio 2018

ROMAN WALKS - 4 - VIA NOMENTANA

Monument to the Bersagliere

We wrote here that Rome is not only the historical center..
Walking along the streets leaving from the gates of the Aurelian Wall gives to the visitor a different view of the city, of its modern development, of its real life.
Nevertheless, along the walk, one will find also sites that are testimonies of the past.
Via Nomentana is not one of the main roads leaving the center of Rome, it has not the status of national road, but it is one of the busiest and one that has had an important part in the history of the ancient and modern city.
And I have a special relation with this street because I was born along it and my school was there too.

Porta Pia: Art and History

Porta Pia
Via Nomentana starts from Porta Pia, one of the gates of the Aurelian Wall. Porta Pia has been designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti and that's alread a good reason to give a look to it.
Its importance is, however, essentially historic. It was here, opening a break in the Aurelian Wall, that the Italian army entered to Rome on September 20, 1870 ending the temporal power of the Pope.  Well, there would be a lot to say about that, but it is too long for this post.
The break was opened just steps away from Porta Pia and its position is indicated by a column. Inside Porta Pia there is the Historical Museum of the Bersaglieri, the infantry corp that first entered to Rome. A monument to the Bersagliere soldier is located just in front of Porta Pia. Entering inside the center, the street continues straight with Via XX Settembre, celebrating the entry to Rome of the italian army and then with Via del Quirinale leading directly to the square in front of the presidential palace, Quirinale Palace, formerly residence of the kings of Italy and earlier of the Pope.

Parks

Villa Tornonia
Along the first 2.5 km, Via Nomentana is flanked by typically bourgeois buildings and some villas of the Roman aristocracy.. The most important and known of them is Villa Torlonia. Initally the land belonged to the Pamphilj family, later it was bought by the Colonna family, both of them using it for farming. It was finally it was bought by the Torlonia princes that started the construction works calling the famous architect  Valadier. 
Casina delle Civette at Villa Torlonia
During the fascist period it was used as residence by Benito Mussolini that rented it at the symbolic price of 1 Italian Lira per year. A bunker was also built for protection during bombing.
After the war it was abandoned till 1978 when it was acquired by the municipality of Rome and transformed to museum and public garden.

The other villas along Via Nomentana are Villa Paganini, Villa Blanc and Villa Leopardi.  However there are also several other private green spaces belonging to private residences, and insitutional building, including several embassies and consular offices

Embassies

Via Nomentana is characterized by several embassies and consular offices located along it or in the streets just on its sides. Russia, Lybia, Afghanistan, Malaysia, are some of the countries havin their embassy or consular office located here

Sant'Agnese and Santa Costanza

Basilica of Sant'Agnese
The complex of SantìAgnese and Santa Costanza is worth a visit for artistic, religious and historical reasons. It includes the Basilica of Sant'Agnese, erected in the VII century BC, the ruins of the old basilica dated IV century AD and the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza, also dated IV century AD. 
Mausoleum of Santa Costanza
and ruins of ancient Sant'Agnese
According to the tradition the mausoleum was erected by Costantina, also know as Costanza, daughter of the Emperor Constantine as her own birial place. According to another hypothesis, it was erected by the Emperor Julian I as burial place for his wife Helena that was sister of Costanza. In any case Costanza was buried there. Her Sarcophagues was later moved to the Vatican Museums.

Ancient Rome

Mausoleum of Tor di Quinto
In front of Villa Blanc ine can see another mausoleum, more correctly a piece of a mausoleum. It is know as Mausoleum of Tor di Quinti, because it was originally located in the area of Tor di Quinto, alonjg the Via Flaminia. It was moved to Via Nomentana on the XIX century to mark the entrance of Villa Blanc.
Ponte Nomentano
Approximately 1.5 km after the mausoleum one will reach Ponte Nomentano. Along with the Milvian Bridge, it was one of the most important entraces to the urban area of Rome. Originally built during the republican period, it was reconstructed in the VI century AD and later fortified and partially reconstructed during the XIX century.
It has remained open to the car traffic until aproximately20 years ago. Today, along to the surrounding park, it is restricted to pedestrians. 

Garden City and Night Life

Città Giardino
Soon after Ponte Nomentano there is a square with a market that is dedicated to Menenius Agrippa, the Roman politician that persuaded the plebs to end the secession at the beginning of the V century BC. He gave his speech to the plebs in this area (Mons Sacer). After the secession ended, the office of Tribune of the Plebs was created. On the side of  Piazza Menenio Agrippa, there is another square, Piazza Sempione. In the early XX century this area was still out of the city. Here it was erected a bourgeois district called Città Giardino (Garden City), made of small villas with a private garden. The square, with its church, was the heart of the district. Nowadays it has became a spot with a vivid nightlife, so accounating the area of Ponte Nomentano with the one of the Milvian Bridge.

Piazza Sempione

the Roman politician that persuaded the plebs to end the secession at the beginning of the V century BC. He gave his speech to the plebs in this area (
From Piazza Sempione it is to go back to Porta Pia with one of the several bus lines passing here

Vincenzo
Reserve your room at Villa Borghese Guest House and also at San Lorenzo Guest House and St. John Villa

venerdì 6 luglio 2018

6 GOOD REASONS TO STAY AT SAN LORENZO GUEST HOUSE IN ROME

 

  6 GOOD REASONS TO STAY AT SAN LORENZO GUEST HOUSE


1) PRICE PER VALUE 

Our rooms have all the comforts: private en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, satellite TV, mini fridge, safe-box, water kettle to prepare complimentary tea and coffee.We do not oversell, what you see in the pictures is real. You will not see a small room looking like a big one, you will not see a room looking full of light when it is actually dark. 


2) SENSE OF HOSPITALITY

 
Hospitality starts at the check-in; we will receive you at any time, no strict limits as in other b&b or apartments.We are available 24/24 to assist you and to provide all the information to make your visit to Rome an unforgettable moment. 
And you will find useful information, suggestions for tour, reastaurants and events in this blog.

3) PEACE AND PRIVACY

San Lorenzo Guest House is in the heart of a district with a vivid night-life but is located in a very quit street. And no other people, apart from the guests, is resident in the building.
  
4) SERVICES
Even if we are a guest house, we provide presence and assistance to our guests 24 hours per day. In the morning we will serve you the breakfast directly in your room or in the living room that will remain open to the guest all day around. Even if we are not present at the reception desk, we will always answer to your phone calls, just ask what you need.

 

5) ENJOY ROME 

We are located in the heart of San Lorenzo neighborhood, one of the most characteristic districts of Rome, full of places where you can eat, drink and have live music without spending a fortune. The Ex Dogana, a space of industrial railway archaeology, is becoming one of the  most popular places for concerts, exhibitions and events in Rome You will stay in a building that is a small piece of history of modern Rome, an entire manor house of the late nineteenth century. 


6) MYSELF

I am not humble if that's not necessary. I put my face in what I do.
I started the hopsitality business on October 2013. My background is totally different and, till that date, I was a guest, a very frequent guest indeed, spending apprximately 100 nights per year away from home, for leisure and mostly for business pusposes. 
Therefore I based my business on what I likedm and did not like, during my trips.  
  • I am always available for guests, any time. My phone number is written everywhere
  • I like meeting guests to give recommendations about the sites to visit, reastaurants, and Roman life
  • Even though I have a technical background, history has always been my passion. Rome is a city that, first of all, must be understood for its history
  • I believe that being able to communicate is essential in this business. Even writing the posts of this blog I try to maintain a high fluency in the English language, the one that I used in 30 years of professional life. That is because I think guests appreciate the possibility to talk abot several subjects so my skills must not be limited only to "good morning, good evening, on the left, on the right, coffe, tea" and so on. Actually speaking I am limited to those word when we come to French, Spanish, Russian. So my staff includes French, Spanish and Russina speaking people.