Dwight Peck's personal website

A return to Italy after too long away

November 2022

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We're not based in Europe anymore, and we've struggled through the covid-19 lockdowns like everyone else, so we haven't set foot in Italy since February 2019. Now we're making up for lost time with mad sightseeing, but missing the cats even more sorely as the days fly by.

Once again, Hadrian's Mausoleum and the Piazza Navona

Joe and Teny's last few days with us

We've just pranced through the Castel Sant'Angelo ourselves a few days ago, but as Teny and Joe must be traveling back to Switzerland tomorrow, we can't let them get away without a look at the grand thing for themselves (13 November 2022).

The classic view -- for some of us, the most photogenic view in Rome (even better than the Typewriter).

-- Hold the elevator, we're coming!

The obligatory walk round the base of the central drum
We tried, in our webpage a few days ago, to provide some semi-informative captions to the sights in here, and we will strive not to be annoyingly supererogatory now.

The cleverly complicated way into the fortifications

Joe and a friend, and a disused angel Michael, in the courtyard leading up to the papal apartments

Teny and Joe, experiencing Rome

Up the stairs onto Pope Paul III's loggia

The mighty Tiber, with what looks like an algae-ridden riverbed showing through

The Piazza Pia and the Via della Conciliazione leading straight to Saint Peter's Basilica

The southwestern bastion, and the Lungotevere Castello road along the river below it

St Peter's from the Caffetteria Ristorante Le Terrazze along the walkway, with eavesdropping gull

Another view from the loggia, with the northwest bastion and the raised Passetto di Borgo 'escape route' leading from the Vatican to the fortress

The northwestern bastion with a display of some period artillery

Presumably that's Hadrian his own good self, adorning Pope Paul's apartments

Paul III's apartments, added in the 1540s

Imaginative tastes for an ecclesiastical fellow

That's the old fellow himself, Pope Paul III Farnese, who came to the office following the devastation of the Sack of Rome, intiated the Council of Trent that gave the Catholic Counter-Reformation a rolling start, and abetted the religious wars that failed to stamp out the Protestant movement. He was known as a fabulously nepotistic family man, and as a patron of Michelangelo.

The Treasury Room

The view from the rooftop terrace

Teny and Joe

The huge white building is the Court of Cassation, Italy's Supreme Court (which likely does a better job than ours does, how could it not?).

The Archangel Michael putting his sword away, God's way of showing that He was going to cut back on the sin-punishing plague soon (according to Pope Gregory I, the Great, recounting his vision in 590).

A brief side trip along one of the wallwalks to a bastion; nice

A reminder of how the German Landsknechts and Spanish tercios must have felt having been ordered to winkle Pope Clement and his Cardinals out of there in May 1527.

(Benvenuto Cellini, the famous artist, craftsman, author, and rogue, claimed in his autobiography that, having fled to the Castel with the papal refugees during the Sack of Rome, he commandeered a cannon on the rooftop and started blasting away (‘In this way, I slaughtered a great number of the enemy…I continued firing, with an accompaniment of blessings and cheers from a number of cardinals and noblemen.’) [He also claimed to have shot the Duke of Bourbon, the imperial army's commander, with an arquebus.]

Time to leave . . . nearly lunchtime

Creative gardening planters

We've just had lunch at a sidewalk bistro in the Piazza dei Coronari, and are continuing along toward the head of the Piazza Navona.

And here it is, 250 meters of throngs of interesting people having fun. With remarkable sights, such as . . .

. . . the Fountain of Neptune, classical themes and presentation . . .

. . . Neptune fighting with an octopus for some reason, and some 'Nereids with Cupids and walruses', added to the existing fountain in 1878 and all very thought-provoking, and marred only by . . .

. . . the bird squatting on Neptune's head.

Street art at its finest

One wonders if those chaps are wearing their own hats or were talked into adopting the artist's props.

At the centre of the piazza, that's Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers (the Nile in Africa, the Danube in Europe, Ganges in Asia, and Rio de la Plata in the Americas), unveiled in 1651.

Once again, amazing allegorical and monumental art, marred only by . . .

. . . a bird.

At the southern end of the piazza is the Fountain of the Moor, begun in 1575 with the tritons and dragons, with the Moor added in 1653 from a design by Bernini. Marred only by . . .

. . . the birds.

(It's not impossible for well-meaning folks to find the whole thing rather off-putting anyway. To be honest.)

We're out for another ramble, 14 November, on Joe and Teny's last day here, admiring the city's innovative artwork along the side streets.

Architectural recycling

Here's the Palazzo della Sapienza, in the Corso del Rinascimento (one block east from the Piazza Navona), built in the 16th century to properly house the two century-old Sapienza university of Rome. It's now the Complesso di Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, presently housing the State Archives of Rome, but . . .

. . . since 1660 it has 'embraced' within its two wings Borromini's 'Church of St Ives at the Sapienza'.

That's an original column remaining from the Odeon or theatre (with seating for 11,000) begun by the Emperor Domitian, son of Emperor Vespasian and brother of Titus, himself Emperor from 81 to 96. It was completed in AD 106, but that column is all that remains of it now. It's in the tiny Piazza de Massimi, a block south of the Navona.

We're wandering about a bit. However did we miss the Piazza Navona. No one has ever missed the Piazza Navona.

Oh, there it is -- though we're at the northern end now. Anyway . . .

. . . it's time for gelati.

Teny's pleased, but Kristin's undecided, still studying the menu; Joe is just reflecting about something.

Worth waiting for

Neptune's still out there brutalizing the poor octopus, but missing his pet bird on his head.

A memento for Kristin's friend who was with her here years ago. The kind waiter is pleased to be invited to join in.

With just time for another shot sans waiter.

The Fountain of the Four Rivers, with no birds today.

Heartfelt emotions

The full length of the Piazza Navono, from the southern end

The Fountain of the Moor. No birds today. (That's the Palazzo Pamphilj in the background.)

A problem common to most countries, probably, that have widely unequal distributions of resources.

And inadequate safety nets, of course.

Teny and Joe are off at noon, back to Fiumicino airport for Geneva Cointrin. We're heading for the Janiculum.

Next up: The Janiculum Hill and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Commemorations of the Rome Expedition of 2022

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 13 January 2023.

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