A few days ago, the NYT published a very critical article about Rome and her many problems, starting with the dirt. I will not deny something that is obvious. When I cross the city in bike, two words come out from my mouth quite often: “che schifo” (what a filfth). Rome is more a cynical step-mother than a caring one; she is a little bit mignotta, or like Anna Magnani in “Mamma Roma”, insulting you while laughing and singing.
This is a city of contrasts, where the “che schifo” can be followed with the blink of an eye by a “oh che bello!”. A couple of days ago, at 7.30 in the morning, all the backstage doors of the “Teatro dell’Opera” were open because they were moving the set to Caracalla’s for the summer season and we had to stop the bike while some pieces of the stage were loaded in a truck. I turned my head and I saw this:
While the workers and technicians were moving and fixing the stage, the whole theatre was lit. I opened my mouth and gasped like a red fish out of water. I felt absolutely happy during those two minutes. Coming back home that afternoon I thought to write about my favourite spots of the city.
I advice friends who want to visit Rome to come if they can between end January and early February. It is not the best time of the year if you’re looking for warm weather or clear blue skies, but it’s the only low season period in a town invaded by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The ideal months to visit the city in the best weather conditions are May or October, but get ready to feel a little bit like a sheep on a flock. Or maybe don’t; my favourite spots are usually the less crowded ones. My intention is to write several posts about them but most probably this will be the first and only post on the matter.
Rome is the city where you can see some of the best known Caravaggio paintings for free. Three of them are in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi, France’s National Church in Rome. Fortunately the Spanish consulate is at only five minutes walk, therefore everytime I have to make some bureaucratic paperwork I carry with me a few coins (for the lighting), and I can watch this:
“Michelangelo Caravaggio 040” by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
“Michelangelo Caravaggio 047” by Caravaggio – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Another two are in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo (St. Peter’s Crucifixion and the stunning St. Paul’s conversion):
And in the church of Sant Agostino, the “Madonna dei Pellegrini”, or Pilgrim’s Madonna. In the same church where is buried the famous courtesan Fiammetta Michaelis, lover of Cesare Borgia. Roma mignotta, saints and sinners, virgins and whores
“Michelangelo Caravaggio 001” by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.