Saturday, June 27, 2020

VIADUCT OF THE MAGLIANA DISTRICT

VIADOTTO DELLA MAGLIANA
Autostrada Roma - Aeroporto

1965 Riccardo Morandi (1902/89)
Built in the bend of the Tiber River, where the Magliana district is at beginning of the Rome-Fiumicino highway

“On June 28, 1965 a landslide, extended in width for about 200 meters, hit the Magliana bend of the River Tiber and the motorway bridge still under construction at the time. The designer Riccardo Morandi - commissioned by ANAS to remedy - identified two possible solutions: either rebuilding the ruined stretch, with a deck based on sets of poles inserted in the ground in great depth; or cross over the whole area of the landslide with a suspension bridge with a single arch. ANAS chose the second option, the most ambitious and never attempted in Rome until then” (Antonella Anappo - Il Ponte Morandi, Monografia)

“In a continuous research, which does not consider technology for its own sake and at the same time is devoid of formal preconceptions, Morandi designed works marked by a perfect balance between functionality, rigor of structural solutions and quality of the final image. (...) He studied the prestressed concrete, developing a system, for which in 1948 won the first of seven patents related to his name” (Enciclopedia Treccani)

TIBURTINA WAY

VIA TIBURTINA
Via Tiburtina

Extremely ancient road probably drawn on protohistorical routeslinked to transhumance

It was used by the pilgrims who visited the shrines of Tibur, Tivoli today
Later it became the road used by the Roman nobility to sojourn in summer villas in the surrounding countryside

The beginning of the road was Porta Esquilina (The Arch of Gallienus) of the Servian Wall and it used to pass the Aurelian Walls through the Porta Tiburtina (St. Lawrence Gate)

It was extended in 307 BC up to Corfinium (current Corifinio near L'Aquila) in the territories of the Equi and Marsi peoples, at the behest of the consul Marcus Valerius Maximus with the name of VIA TIBURTINA VALERIA, to facilitate political control of Rome in those provincial areas

In less than 200 km across the Apennines it used to connect Rome with the Adriatic Sea, reaching up to Ostia Aterni, today's Pescara
It still connects today Rome with Pescara with the name STRADA STATALE 5 VIA TIBURTINA

From the Tiburtina Valeria road came off two important roads:

VIA EMPOLITANA from Tivoli to Ciciliano (Empolum), Bellegra and Olevano

VIA SUBLACENSE commissioned by Nerone (54/68) for access to his villa in Subiaco

NATIONAL STREET

VIA NAZIONALE
Via Nazionale

Connection between Termini Station and Via del Corso layed out following the route of the ancient Roman road Vicus Longus, along the valley of S. Vitale, after the capital of the Kingdom of Italy was transfered to Rome in 1870

The Vicus Longus was in the valley in between The Quirinal and Viminal Hills 17 m (56 feet) below the level of Via Nazionale today
The area was very little inhabited at the time and the land had been purchased by the Belgian Monsignor Francesco De Merode purposefully in anticipation of this use

The first part of today's Via Nazionale, urbanized by De Merode, was called STRADA NUOVA PIA (New Pius Road)
The historical STRADA PIA was the road called today Via XX Settembre, rebuilt and enlarged by Pius IV Medici (1559/65) to create a scenic perspective between Porta Pia and the papal residence of the Palazzo del Quirinale

The idea was to open a fast and straight as possible link between the central station of the capital and the Tiber River, beyond which was expected, since 1873, the intensive urbanization of Prati di Castello
This intention was put into practice in 1886, with the resolution of a second wide route between Piazza Venezia and the river, which became the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Along Via Nazionale were built in the last three decades of the 1800s several important buildings:

Large hotels in the upper part including the Hotel Quirinale (1865)

Church of St. Paul's Within the Walls (1880), the first non-Catholic Christian church built in Rome after the unification of Italy

Exhibition Palace (1883)

Eliseo Theater (1901)

Palace of the Bank of Italy also called Palazzo Koch, headquarters of the Bank of Italy (1892)

Residential properties for the new middle class of the capital city

Works for the construction and urbanization of Via Nazionale demanded, among other things, the demolition of the Teatro Drammatico Nazionale (National Drama Theater), which allowed the discovery of exceptional bronze statues, the “Hellenistic Prince” and the “Boxer” now at Palazzo Massimo and the excavation of the northern part of the garden of Villa Aldobrandini, with the construction of the retaining wall
During these same works (1875) traces of Porta Sanqualis of the Servian Walls emerged currently visible in the middle of Largo Magnanapoli

FLAMINIA WAY

VIA FLAMINIA
Via Flaminia

 220/219 BC for the censor Gaius Flaminius Nepos the Elder after the conquest of the territory of the Falisci and Capenati

It is the same route of the Cassian Way until the Milvian Bridge
It ended in Ancona but later it was extended through the Furlo Pass until Rimini, where even today the Arch of Augustus f 10 AD marks the end point

In Grottarossa was discovered in 1674 the TOMB OF THE NASONII of the second half of the second century AD, now almost totally destroyed, with frescoes and stucco, removed and taken to the British Museum, that inspired the friezes of Palazzo Albani Del Drago

At 12.7 km (8 miles) there is the MAUSOLEUM LA CELSA. It was part of a vast funerary complex that used to stretch from Saxa Rubra to the River Tiber
“The most difficult and the most picturesque stretch of the Via Flaminia is the Furlo Pass, where the path runs embedded in the mountain at a considerable height above the ravine, until, having no more room to continue outdoors, it enters a tunnel called Intercisa, or Petra Pertusa, or Forulum, which was restored by Vespasian, as the inscription on the Eastern mouth mentions. Shortly after the descent to the plain begins: to span the Metauro bridge the road passes over a large Roman bridge with three arches, known as Colmazzo Bridge; here the battle occurred between the Romans and the Carthaginians led by Hasdrubal” (Giuseppe Lugli – Enciclopedia Italiana Treccani)

CASSIAN WAY

VIA CASSIA
Via Cassia

The origins are uncertain as rather uncertain is the identification of the public figure (curator or consul) who gave it its name
The two most likely “Cassius Longinus” may be the Cassius Longinus censor on 154 BC or the Cassius Longinus consul on 127 BC, the first one being more plausible than the other
The road used to link and connect various pre-existing Etruscan paths
Leaving the Fontinalis Gate of the Servian Walls, the first part, the Via Lata, was common with the Via Flaminia. The two roads parted after the Milvian Bridge
The Via Cassia separated from the Via Clodia at the ninth mile, where currently La Storta area is

Towards the tenth kilometer, in an area which is within the city today, there is the so-called Tomb of Nero, which also gives its name to the area, despite the sarcophagus roadside actually contains the remains of Publius Vibius Marianus prefect of the third Gallic legion
At the end of the second century BC it was extended to Florentia (now Florence) and then up to Luni through Pistoia and Lucca

Trajan (98/117) had a new stretch of the road built between Orvieto and Chiusi, which was known as VIA TRAIANA NOVA
After the year 774, the year of the defeat of the Lombards by the Franks, most of the road was used by pilgrims traveling between France and Rome and that’s when it took the name of VIA FRANCIGENA, the most important European street in the Middle Ages

AURELIAN WAY

VIA AURELIA
Via Aurelia

 241 BC for the consul Gaius Aurelius Cotta on a former Etruscan route

The VIA AURELIA VETUS was 134 km (83 miles) long starting in Rome from the Sublicius Bridge, leaving Rome through Porta San Pancrazio, to end up in Cosa, today's Ansedonia, in Tuscany. It was later extended to Pisa
After Pisa it deflected east toward Lucca avoiding the northern coast of Versilia, from Migliarino Pisano until Luni, for the presence of the warlike Apuan people which made the area a dangerous one

It was Julius Caesar in 56 BC to instruct Marco Emilio Scaurus to build the shortcut directly from Pisa to Luni, the current Sarzanese Provincial Road 
It was eventually extended to Genoa and Augustus (27 BC / 14 AD) had it extended until Massalia (modern Marseille) as the Via Julia Augusta
Antoninus Pius (138/161) had it extended to Arles (Gaul Narborense) coming to the length of 936 km (581 miles) and taking the name of VIA AURELIA NOVA

On the site of MALAGROTTA (Mola rupta), 12 km (7.4 miles) from Porta S. Pancrazio, were found paved stretches of the ancient Via Aurelia and the tower tomb called Monumentum Magnum Rotundum

Also along Via di Malagrotta, near the largest landfill in Europe, was found a necropolis, not far from the necropolis of Via Castel Malnome-Piana del Sole, where over 300 burials have come to light
The name Malarupta, later Malarotta and finally Malagrotta, derives from a grinding wheel on the Galeria River remains of which are still visible

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

APPIAN WAY

VIA APPIA ANTICA
Via Appia Antica

312 BC for the censor Appius Claudius the Blind (350/271 BC)

The road ended in the city of Capua. Later, in the year 190 BC, it was extended to Brindisi
The original pavement is still visible in some places

Series of tombs and monuments after the Caffarella Valley. The stream which runs into the valley corresponds to the ancient Almone, the sacred river where on every March 27 was washed the sacred image of Cybele, the Magna Mater 
The most important of these tombs is the so-called TOMB OF GETA, a high mausoleum tower topped by a small old house which is a private home now

It is called the Tomb of Geta with no historical basis

Villa di Massenzio

Villa of Maxentius

Built for Maxentius (306/312) over the expropriated Pago Triopio of Herodes Atticus
It is wonderfully immersed in the Roman countryside

Palazzo Imperiale

Imperial Palace

Four main phases of construction:

1) First century BC

2) Julio-Claudian (27 BC/68 AD) period

3) Half of the second century AD, corresponding to the time of Herod Atticus

4) Period of Maxentius with construction work common in that period known as Opus Vittatum or Opus Listatum made by parallel horizontal courses of tuff blocks alternated with bricks

Two nymphea (fountains), major and minor
Cryptoporticus consisting of two parallel tunnels
Large basilica hall, the most important room 33,10 x 19,45 m (108 x 64 feet) originally heated
Long tank, about 63 m (206 feet)

To the east of the tank semicircular room, maybe a monumental entrance to the building during Maxentius’ period

Mausoleo di Romolo

Mausoleum of Romulus

Romulus was the son the emperor had when he was just 16 years old. He drowned when he was only fifteen in the Tiber River in the year 309

Circular building of about 33 m (108 feet) in diameter, preceded by a rectangular projection
Originally there were two floors with the upper floor, now disappeared, probably used for funeral rites and the lower for the graves of the family of Maxentius, constituting his dynastic tomb

At the center of the lower floor huge pillar of 7.5 m (24.6 feet) in diameter with eight niches for burials
Six other niches are inserted in the walls

To the east of the perimeter of the mausoleum, there is a tomb maybe dating back to the Augustan period known as the TOMB OF THE SEMPRONI FAMILY

Circo di Massenzio

Circus of Maxentius

About 500 x 78 m (1,640 x 255 feet) with central part of 296 m (971 feet), exactly 1000 Roman feet, able to seat up to 10,000 spectators on six rows of twelve steps each

In the center used to stand the agonal obelisk maybe originally placed in the Iseum Campensis or, some say, in the Villa of Domitian (81/96) in Albano. Filippo Coarelli and Jean-Claude Grenier deem it coming originally from the Templum Gentis Flaviae which was erected on Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando where now the Octagonal or Minerva Hall, former Planetarium is

The obelisk was moved here in the year 311 by Maxentius and now is in Piazza Navona
In 1959 took place in this circus the outdoors shots of the chariot race for the film Ben Hur

Tomba di Cecilia Metella

Tomb of Cecilia Metella

It dates back to the beginning of the Augustan period, about 25 BC
The diameter is 29.5 m (96.8 feet) or 100 Roman feet. The height is 11 m (36 feet)

The inscription attributes it to the daughter of Metellus, conqueror of Crete and wife of a Marcus Crassus, perhaps the general of Caesar in Gaul

In the eleventh century it became part of the fortification of the Counts of Tusculum and later, in 1299, of the Caetani Castle built for Boniface VIII Caetani (1294/1303) with merlons and sixteen towers
Subsequently it was owned by the families Savelli, Colonna and Orsini
The castle was demolished by Sixtus V Peretti (1585/90) to hinder the baronial power and prevent it from being used by bandits

Its shape connects it to the architectural type of the mausoleum of Hellenistic tradition, which at that time reached the maximum diffusion in Rome

Coating of travertine blocks in simple smooth ashlar in faux opus isodoma: not all travertine blocks have the same length and some joints are not real but only drawn on the surface to give the impression of regularity
Pentelic marble frieze with “Bucrania (ox skulls), festoons and trophy of weapons”

In the cella there is brick facing, one of the first examples of the use of this technique, which helps to date the monument to the Augustan period

Inside there is a small ANTIQUARIUM (museum)

Opposite the castle there is the CASTRUM CAETANI with ruins of the church of St. NICHOLAS OF BARI was built by the family Caetani, a rare example of Gothic style in Rome

ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA OF CAPO BOVE

Named for the ox skulls adorning the frieze of the tomb of Cecilia Metella

Thermal baths of the mid-second century AD used at least until the fourth century, maybe also part of the Pago Triopio of Herodes Atticus

Remarkable remains of mosaic floors are still visible

On the sides of the road

SERIES OF TOMBS

Including the so called “Tomb of Seneca” and the “Tomb of the Rabirii” with copies of three portraits in relief including Usia with attributes of the cult of Isis (the original is in the Roman Archaeological Museum of Palazzo Massimo)

Villa dei Quintili

Quintilis’ Villa

It dates back to the peiood of Hadrian (117/138)

It later became the property of two Quintili brothers as evidenced by the fistule acquarie (water pipes) found here: Sixtus Condianus Maximus Quintilius and Sixtus Valerianus Maximus Quintilius were consuls together in the year 151 and the son of one of them was consul in 172
Falsely accused of a conspiracy, were executed in 182 by Commodus (180/192) who confiscated the villa
It remained imperial property for a long time later and restorations were carried up to the sixth century

The area in 1797 passed to Giovanni Torlonia who promoted excavations in the years 1827/29 taken care of by Antonio Nibby
It was purchased by the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome in 1985

It was the largest among the villas of the Roman suburbs so that in the eighteenth century its ruins were called Roma Vecchia, Old Rome

It was supplied with water from the aqueduct Anio Novus

Two phases of construction:

1) In bricks in about 135

2) In Opus Vittatum or Opus Listatum made by parallel horizontal courses of tuff blocks alternated with bricks dating back to the time of Commodus or to the late third century

Five areas:

1) Group of buildings to the west

2) Large peristyle-garden with nymphaeum (fountain) built as hemicycle on the Appian Way transformed, maybe in the third century, in thermal baths known as Small Baths

3) Main housing estate with two halls 14 m (46 feet) high, a large circular room of 36 m (118 feet) in diameter that was probably not covered with any roof and the Great Baths with frigidarium (for cold baths) and caldarium (for hot baths)

4) Garden-Racecourse 300 x 90 m (985 x 300 feet) with some buildings connected

5) Small buildings to the north

ANTIQUARIUM
“Statue of Zeus sitting on a rock” of the first half of the second century AD
Displays with statuettes from the area of a sanctuary dedicated to oriental gods and to Zeus Bronton (thunder)
Statues of “Hercules”, “Niobe” and portraits, herms, reliefs, coins, fragments of wall paintings and architectural decorations

Other monuments on the Appian Way


On the sixth mile CASAL ROTONDO (Round Country House)

Circular tomb rebuilt in part by the archaeologist Luigi Canina (1795/1856)

Further on the left TORRE SELCE (Silt Tower)

Tower of the twelfth century built with ancient materials on a mound originally similar to that of Cecilia Metella

Halfway through the eighth mile on the left BERRETTA DI PRETE (Priest’s Hat)

So called for the particular shape. Circular building with dome of the fourth century AD

Shortly before the ninth mile there is the so called TOMB OF GALLIENUS (253/268)

Round brick mausoleum originally covered with a dome and surrounded by a colonnade of marble to which maybe belonged also the large villa behind the mausoleum itself

On the tenth mile there is the MAUSOLEUM OF FRATTOCCHIE

Concrete core of a tomb with square tower built over it in 1855 by the astronomer Angelo Secchi as a cornerstone of the trigonometric measurements experimented at the time along the Appian Way

EIGHT ANCIENT BRIDGES part of the Appian Way were destroyed during the Second World War:
Seven by the retreating Germans in 1943 (Ariccia Bridge, High Bridge before Terracina, Bridge over the Garigliano River, Bridge over the Volturno River at the entrance of Capua, Tufara Bridge, Apollosa Bridge, Corvo Bridge before Benevento) and one by Allied Forces bombing (St. Valentine Bridge after Benevento)

LUISS UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITÀ LUISS
Via Parenzo 5/13

 1930/31 Pietro Aschieri (1889/1952) 
It was originally built to be the House of work for the war blind

1990/95 restored by the Studio Passarelli

Faculty of Law, one of the six locations of LUISS University in Rome, including the historic building on Via Pola 12 and the new headquarters on Viale Romania 32
Prestigious private university with faculties of economics, law and political science, admitting 1,295 students a year

“The geometric and compositional repertoire comes to terms with the tradition of the Roman Baroque style, which Aschieri rereads according to the international scene of the Modern Movement. The intervention of the Studio Passarelli recovers the clarity of the original plan through the demolition of the additions and adapt the structure to the functional new demands” (Giorgio Muratore)

“It is the most complex work built by Aschieri in those years. (...) The area chosen, vaguely rectangular in shape but limited to the south by a bend in the road, had a steep slope. It was these morphological features to suggest a site plan rich in visual perspectives, differentiated because defined by the succession of two distinct elements and set at different heights from the road” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

Monday, June 1, 2020

THE KNOWLEDGE UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITÀ LA SAPIENZA
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5

Plan of the campus 1932/35 Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960) almost completely changed by subsequent interventions

“The idea that guides Piacentini and other architects is to achieve a unit of language, starting from the use of common materials, such as travertine and brick, of windows of predetermined size, of recurring details. It is in the end a compromise between more modern rationalist instances and monumental language purged of any decorative connotation. In this complex we find a style which will be diminished with the various terms lictorial, fascist, mussolinian” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)

“Demonstrating those consumed capacity of mediator that earned him in those years a position of absolute primacy in the professional world and, more generally, in the vicissitudes of Italian architecture, Piacentini called to collaborate on the project a number of young architects carefully chosen partly among rationalists (Giuseppe Pagano, Giuseppe Capponi, Giovanni Michelucci), partly among academics (Gaetano Rapisardi, Arnaldo Foschini) and partly between those taking intermediate and more nuanced positions (Pietro Aschieri, Gio Ponti). (...) The results, however contradictory, were in some cases very significant. The buildings of Gio Ponti, Capponi and Pagano still remain works of great architectural interest” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

With about 145,000 students it is the largest university in Europe and the third in the world, after the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City and the University of Cairo

It includes as many as TWENTY-ONE MUSEUMS:

Herbarium and Museum of Botany - Laboratory of Contemporary Art - Museum of Art and Mining Deposits - Museum of the Near East - Museum of Classical Art - Museum of Etruscan and Italic Antiquities - Museum of the Origins - Museum of Comparative Anatomy - Museum of Pathological Anatomy - Museum of Anthropology - Museum of Chemistry - Museum of Physics - Museum of Geology - Museum of Hydraulics - Museum of Mathematics - Museum of Marketable Goods - Museum of Mineralogy - Museum of Paleontology - Museum of the History of Medicine - Museum of Zoology - Botanical Garden

Bronze statue “Athena warrior” 1935 by Arturo Martini (1889/1947)

MONUMENTAL ENTRANCE

Arnaldo Foschini (1884/1968)

On the left after the entrance

INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS

1932/35 Giuseppe Pagano (1896/1945)

He also designed the EUR district and the Bocconi University in Milan

“Always stressing the prevailing importance of urban aspects over architectural ones, he argued the necessity of 'surrendering' each maddeningly individual search in favor of the construction of an overall quality of the environment that would be the result of collective adherence to the canons of a rigorous formal simplicity. In this view should be read the Institute of Physics that is perhaps the least flashy and, in a sense, the more 'unassuming' buildings of the campus” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

On the right after the entrance

INSTITUTE OF CHEMISTRY

1932/35 Pietro Aschieri (1889/1952)

In the years 1938/39 it was modified and in the years 1955/60 elevations were built that radically changed Aschieri’s original project

It was also damaged by the bombing of St. Lawrence in July 1943

“The back façade which projects outside the curved shape of the large hall for 500 people is perhaps the only part of the building where it is possible to detect somehow the 'manner' of Aschieri. (...) Pietro Aschieri was prominent in a generation of architects still closely linked to the academic method. (...) In his projects took shape, albeit in different ways, a language internally consistent in which the elements of tradition are combined with expressionist echoes and with that particular attention to the Baroque geometries that characterized in those same years the work of Giuseppe Capponi and other Roman architects” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

RECTORATE

1932/35 by Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960)

The fresco in the main hall was painted in 1935 by Mario Sironi (1885/1961)

To the left and to the right of the Rectorate

FACULTY OF LIBERAL ARTS AND JURISPRUDENCE

1933/35 Gaetano Rapisardi (1893/1988)

Twin buildings on either side of the Rectorate connected to it with skyways

“The colossal outside stairs are a solution extraordinarily figurative, able to hold its own against the porch of Piacentini. Inside the rational articulation of the distribution has in the generously dimensioned stairwells its expressive apex” (Giorgio Muratore)

To the right of the Rectorate, opposite to the Institute of Mineralogy and Geology

INSTITUTE OF MATHEMATICS

1934/35 Gio Ponti (1891/1979)

Various modifications have altered the original appearance

“Contrast between the main front, openly twentieth century and metaphysical, and the rear façade, characterized by plastic and dynamic forms” (Giorgio Muratore)

“Gio Ponti was very close to the themes of 'Twentieth Century', an art movement which proposed a line of moderate renewal on the basis of an abstract purism with a taste of Classicism. And it is this type of research that you can read in the solution of the front body that overlooks the Piazzale della Minerva” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

To the left of the Rectorate opposite to the Institute of Mathematics

INSTITUTES OF MINERALOGY AND GEOLOGY including museums

1933/35 Giovanni Michelucci (1891/1990)

He also designed the train station of S. Maria Novella in Florence

“Set on a plan and with a volume rather traditional, defined by a main façade with classical proportions, (...) it is a building in which one could only barely recognize the hand of Giovanni Michelucci. Probably the theme ended up being ambiguous for the planimetric position of the building (...) delimiting the great Piazzale della Minerva and for which it is logical to assume that it was necessary to provide architectural solutions in a more dignified and representative way” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

Behind the Rectorate

INSTITUTES OF GENERAL PHYSIOLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY

1933/35 Giovanni Michelucci

Behind the Rectorate on the right

INSTITUTE OF BOTANY AND PHARMACOLOGY

1933/35 Giuseppe Capponi (1893/1936)

“It represents the most avant-garde experiment of this University City, distinguishing itself from the rest for a declared adherence to European expressionist Rationalism” (Giorgio Muratore)

“An architecture of 'industrial' taste which is certainly an element of novelty in the Roman architectural scene” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

NEW INSTITUTE OF PHARMACOLOGY

1955/61 Claudio Dall'Olio (1920) and Alfredo Lambertucci (1928/96)

RECREATIONAL FACILITY OF THE UNIVERSITY

1932/35 Gaetano Minnucci (1896/1980)

It was later transformed into the UNIVERSITY THEATRE

Outside the perimeter of the campus

STUDENTS’ HOUSE
1932/35 Giorgio Calza Bini (1908/99), Francesco Fariello (1910) and Saverio Muratori (1910/73)

TOR VERGATA UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITÀ DI TOR VERGATA
Via di Tor Vergata 1

1986/90 Alfredo Lambertucci (1928/96) and Tommaso Valle (1934) coordinated many architects including: Gaetano Rebecchini, Fernando De Sando, Giancarlo Rosa and Gilberto Valle

It was built on an area of 136 hectares (336 acres), inspired by the shape of the ancient Circus of Maxentius
“The plan, which included the territorial scale and the architectural plan of the faculties and of the other planned buildings, underwent several updates that caused internal discussions about the project, resulting in the gradual removal of Lambertucci from the control of the executive phase” (Filippo Spaini - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

POST OFFICE ON VIA TARANTO

UFFICIO POSTALE DI VIA TARANTO
Via Taranto 19

1935 Giuseppe Samonà (1898/1983)

The project with which Samonà won the competition in 1933 was modified especially in the back of the building that was compacted, but also in the main façade on Via Taranto

“Giuseppe Samonà was faced with a block to build on quite restricted and irregular, between Via La Spezia, Via Taranto and Via Pozzuoli, and resolved the issue with formal characteristics that respected the original shape of the block itself. In fact, with the façades on Via La Spezia, Via Taranto and Via Pozzuoli the relationship with the surroundings is resolved, breaking only on the corner that opens onto Via Taranto and designing an internal road with a courtyard typical of the old fashioned palaces” (Ghisi Grütter)

“Samonà developed the project with a method of typical functionalist flavor tending to highlight, even in a very compact building, the different internal uses of the building. So the space for the public is characterized by large glass surfaces, the area of the offices by small serial windows, while the body of the stairway is projected out by a frame predominantly vertical” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

POST OFFICE ON VIA MARMORATA

UFFICIO POSTALE DI VIA MARMORATA
Via Marmorata 4

1935 Adalberto Libera (1903/63) and Mario De Renzi (1897/1967)

1997/2001 restoration by Sergio Poretti assisted by a team from the Rome University of Tor Vergata

It is a remarkable testimony of Rationalist architecture unfortunately very modified in the interior by works that occurred over time

“Adalberto Libera was one of the young architects who, refusing Decorativism, Eclecticism, or a position of revaluation of the 'Roman' tradition, proposed, around the year 1927, through the geometric rigor and typological-functional clarity, the statement of Rationalism, the only kind of architecture responsive to social and functional needs of contemporary civilization, overcoming revivals and provincialism” (Luigi Secondo Gioggi)

“Plans for the Appio, Aventino and Nomentano Post Offices respectively by Samonà, Libera and De Renzi and Ridolfi are still one of the most important examples of modern architecture in Rome” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

Originally, for the sides of the stairway, were designed two suggestive large ornamental pools that were eliminated shortly after installation to prevent accidents

Behind the post office is the PARCO DELLA RESISTENZA DELL'8 SETTEMBRE 1939 (Park of the Resistance on September 8, 1939) arranged in 1939 by Raffaele De Vico (1881/1969)
In 1931 De Vico had also arranged the Monte Testaccio as a public park

POST OFFICE ON PIAZZA BOLOGNA

UFFICIO POSTALE DI PIAZZA BOLOGNA
Piazza Bologna 39

1934/35 Mario Ridolfi (1904/84) in collaboration with Wolfgang Frankl (1907/94) from a 1931 project of Ridolfi himself and Mario Fagiolo who, immediately after, gave up the profession of architect

“Over the years, several changes have altered the original figurative coherence of this intervention, influenced by Central European experiences. It does constitute a pinnacle of the Italian architectural production between the wars” (Giorgio Muratore)
“Ridolfi planned a project that some liked to call 'Expressionist Rationalism'. This post office can not only solve the square but also identify with it; in fact, when one thinks about Piazza Bologna one immediately thinks of the post office as a very strong formal element, characterizing the urban environment that surrounds it. (...) The whole system of the neighborhood in a radial pattern ends up having as a core this element, very strong architecturally. Looking from the side façade it is visible the curve that echoes the 'Roman Baroque style'“ (Ghisi Grütter)

Sunday, May 24, 2020

JUDICIAL OFFICES

UFFICI GIUDIZIARI
Piazzale Clodio

1958/69 N. Monteduro, G. Perugini, F. Bruno, V. De Feo, U. De Plaisant, E. Giangreco, F. Girardi, M. Nicoletti and P. Reggiani

This team of architects was inspired by the works of the Swiss Le Corbusier

“The location turned out to be very unfortunate from the urban point of view because it inserted a tertiary function of great importance in a sector of the city traditionally intended for residence and therefore without adequate support structures. At the same time it was an obvious contradiction to the proposed development of new Urban Plan that was concentrating directional activities in the opposite quadrant of the city. It also contributed to further increase the weight of the urban road Via Olimpica (...) favoring consequently a distorted development of all the north-western sector of the city of Rome” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

In the years 1988/90 at the beginning of Via Antonio Varisco was built, in derogation of the Urban Plan, the NEW HEADQUARTERS OF THE COURT OF APPEAL on five floors with six halls for trials, offices and headquarters of the presidency of the Court

TRICLINIUM OF POPE LEO

TRICLINIO LEONIANO
Piazza di S. Giovanni in Laterano

1743 Ferdinando Fuga (1699/1782) for Benedict XIV Lambertini (1740/58)
Partial reconstruction of the ancient triclinium erected by St. Leo III (795/816) as the dining room of the Patriarchìo (Patriarchate palace)

MOSAIC
“Jesus and eleven apostles” with on the left “Jesus gives the keys to St. Peter and the banner to Constantine” and on the right “St. Peter offers the bishops’ pallium to Leo III and the banner to Charlemagne” 1743 by Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674/1755)

Ghezzi used very few original elements but executed it as a copy of the original, prudently documented by Pier Paolo Cristofari before being destroyed. He had tried to move it of 180 degrees without success
It was originally executed at the time of the institution of the Holy Roman Empire by Charlemagne on the year 800

HUMBERT I TUNNEL

TRAFORO UMBERTO I
Via Milano/Via del Traforo

1902/03 Alessandro Viviani (1825/1905)
End of the tunnel on Via Milano 1905 by Pio Piacentini (1846/1928) and Giulio Podesti (1857/1909)
End of the tunnel on Via Due Macelli by Angelo Tommasi

It is 347.70 meters long (1145 feet) and 17 m (56 feet) wide

In 1902, during the work, was found, about 160 m (525 feet) from the beginning of Via Rasella, a room lined with white marble friezes, bas-reliefs, architectural fragments, all with traces of fire
From the inscriptions on the pipes of lead archaeologists have been able to figure out the name of the owner of the room: Fulvius Plautianus praetorian prefect, father of Plautilla, wife of Caracalla (211/217)
Some of the many statues found here are now in a section of the museum in the Centrale Montemartini

Monday, May 18, 2020

TROPHIES OF MARIUS

TROFEI DI MARIO
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

Ruins of an immense FOUNTAIN on three floors dating from the time of Alexander Severus (222/235), maybe the year 226 AD

The dating is determined by a coin of 226 that represents it

It was originally faced with marble with function of reservoir for water supply fed by the Aqua Iulia aqueduct, perhaps in connection also with the Aqua Alexandriana aqueduct
The fountain was known as Nymphaeum Alexandri

These ruins took their current name from two reliefs from the period of Domitian (81/96) mistakenly called “Trophies of Marius”, moved in 1590 from here to the balustrade of the Capitoline Hill. They didn’t however belong to the original monument

On the left MAGIC DOOR or ALCHEMICAL DOOR 1680
It is a recomposition of the door with hermetic symbols from the villa of the Marquis Massimiliano Di Palombara destroyed in 1873 to build the new quarters of Rome as capital of the Kingdom of Italy

The hermetic symbols etched into the marble would be the magic formula for making gold that the Marquis had found in an ancient book. Having failed to decipher it, he has made it available to all, and maybe, one day, some passer-by on Piazza Vittorio will discover how to make gold
On either side of the door “Two statues of the god Bes” found on Quirinal Hill in 1888

TOWERS OF FINANCE

TORRI DELLE FINANZE
Viale Europa - Demolite

1957/62 Cesare Ligini (1913/88), who designed as well the also demolished Velodrome of EUR, with the collaboration of Vittorio Cafiero (1901/81), Robert Venturi and Guido Marinucci for the Ministry of Finance

Also known as TORRI LIGINI. Three 60-storey towers and two low-rise buildings
They were demolished in 2010 to make way for the project by Renzo Piano that will provides housing and services for 1,600 people

TOWERS OF THE CAPOCCI AND GRAZIANI FAMILIES

TORRI DEI CAPOCCI E DEI GRAZIANI
Via Giovanni Lanza/Piazza di S. Martino ai Monti

Two ancient towers of the twelfth century
They were arranged according to the orientation of the ancient Roman road which now matches Via in Selci and Via di S. Martino ai Monti

THE HIGHEST (36.10 m - 118.5 feet) originally belonged to the Arcioni family and later to the Capoccis
It is divided into seven floors plus the ground floor and terrace

THE LOWER belonged at first to the Cerroni family and later to the Grazianis

They are considered the Roman equivalent of the famous Towers Asinelli and Garisenda in Bologna

TOWER OF THE MILITIA

TORRE DELLE MILIZIE
Largo Magnanapoli

It was built at the beginning of the thirteenth century by Marchionne Aretino for Innocent III of the Conti from Segni (1198/1216)

It was originally in the area of the oratory of ORATORIO DEI Ss. CIRO E GIOVANNI (Sts. Cyrus and John) later known as S. ABBACIRO erected before the year 680

It was bought by Boniface VIII Caetani (1294/1303) who fortified it against the Colonna family
It was ruined by the earthquake of 1348 which caused the slope and the loss of the upper floor
In the sixteenth century it belonged again to the Conti family

From 1619 it belonged to the nuns of S. Caterina a Magnanapoli
Restoration in 1914 by Antonio Muñoz (1884/1960)
It was freed from the surrounding buildings only in 1924

It is 51.10 meters (167.6 feet) high and it is one of the most important civic buildings in medieval Rome

Since 1927 it is part of the complex of the Markets of Trajan

The origin of its name is a mystery
It maybe corresponds to the AUGURACULUM, the area for taking the auspices in relation to meetings that were held in the underlying Saepta Iulia