Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May: The month of Mary

In Catholic tradition the month of May has included special devotions to Mary, the BVM, Blessed Mother, etc. The picture above is of me praying the Hail Mary at the end of Mass when I was 11 years old.

As May comes to an end, I want to share pictures of some of the many street shrines for Mary that are around Rome. 

Street shrines are not something unique to Christianity. These shrines are from ancient Pompeii and honor various Roman gods.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More about... Pruining the Pines

What happens to all of the branches
trimmed from the "Pines of Rome?"
This week I discovered that the cuttings from the trees are brought to a vacant field near our apartment and processed into biomass that is converted into electricity for the city of Rome.

The foreman on the site was excited to show me the manual for his Biotrituratore Mobile, a €375,000 (just over a half-million dollars) machine, that takes branches and grinds them to bits!

Biomass is a renewable energy source. It is living and recently dead biological material that can be used as fuel. The Pines of Rome clippings are biomass that is used as biofuel to generate electricity.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Night at the Museum

Advertisements are appearing to promote the summer release of the second "Night at the Museum" movie with Ben Stiller. Last Saturday the city of Rome had its own night at the museums with free admission from 8pm to 2am. We took advantage of this cultural event and visited the Museum at Palazzo Massimo, which houses a collection of ancient sculptures, mosaics and paintings from various baths around the city.

In addition to many images of beauty,
here are some of the ugly faces we encountered.

Was this ancient Roman a relative of Eleanor Roosevelt?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Race for the Cure

On Sunday Vincenzo and I participated in the Race for the Cure. Vincenzo ran in the race and I took it as an opportunity for a Sunday morning walking tour in Rome! I hope you enjoy these sights of Rome from the route of the race.

Participants assembled in the stadium in front of
the Baths of Caracalla, built in 216 AD.

Vincenzo is here with the pack of runners at the start of the race.
(He is the first runner from the left wearing black shorts.)

The journey took us along the foot of the Palatine Hill
with the ruins of the Imperial Palace built by Claudius and Nero.
Nuns on the run.

Running through the Circus Maximus.

Walking past the round Temple of Hercules,
a Bernini inspired fountain from the 18th century,
and on the right, the Temple of Portunus, 2nd century BC.

This is the Arch of Janus, not dedicated to the god Janus, but rather carrying the name of the word for a four-way covered passage, built by Constantine in the 4th century. You can see the 12th century bell tower of the Basilica of San Giorgio behind the arch.

The Theater of Marcello, which reminds one of the Colosseum,
was Rome's first stone theater and was begun by Julius Caesar. 

 An ancient Roman artifact is a good place to sit for a rest.

Two Egyptian lions from a sanctuary of Isis
oversee the racers and walkers.

These steps lead to the Campidoglio designed by Michaelangelo.

The is the Altar of the Fatherland,
built by Mussolini to commemorate the unification of Italy.
It is also known as the monument to King Victor Emmanuel II.

Going past the Roman Forum.

Circling around the Colossium.

Passing the Arch of Constantine, 315 AD

The final kilometer is along a roadway
shaded by some of the "Pines of Rome."

Passing an entrance to the Farnese Gardens,
built in the 16th century on the Palentine Hill.

Getting ready to go under an arch of an ancient Roman aqueduct.

And after a 5 kilometer walk in Rome,
here I am at the finish line.

This posting is in honor of my friend Karen!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pruning the Pines

On Sunday I went out to catch a bus to go to church and found traffic snarled on the Via Cristoforo Colombo. The reason: workers were pruning the pine trees that are in the median divider of the road. Fortunately, it only affected traffic going the opposite way from where I wanted to go.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

La festa della mamma

Today is la festa della mamma (Mother's Day) in Italy and other parts of the world. In honor of Dorothy, my mother, and Joany, the mother of Emily and Peter, I share this image of Santa Maria Mother of Mercy in the Roman church of Dio Padre Misericordioso, the Jubilee Church.

The stone sculpture of the Madonna and Child dates from 1310-1330 and was carved in Como, in the Po Valley. The standing virgin, with her veiled and crowned head, holds an older Christ child in her left arm and a rose in her right hand.

The Jubilee Church was designed by Richard Meier and dedicated in 2003. It is located in a neighborhood of low/middle income apartment buildings built in the 1970's. It is in an area called Tor Tre Teste (named for a relief of three heads carved into a medieval guard tower dating from the 4th century) about 6 miles east of the center of Rome.