Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Attributed by tradition to Servius Tullius, sixth king of Rome, who probably built in the first half of the sixth century BC a ring of walls of which traces in cappellaccio stone still remain
Most of the wall still visible today, however, dates back to the first half of the fourth century BC. Livy writes that in 378 BC the censors of that year contracted the construction of a new wall to prevent further looting after the occupation of the Gauls in 390 BC. The wall was built of tufa stone from the quarries of Grotta Oscura accessible after the conquest of Veii of 396 BC
Restorations in the years 353, 212, and 87 BC
About 10 m (33 feet) high and over 4 meters (13 feet) thick in some spots
Total length was 11 km (6.8 miles), encompassing an area of 4.26 km² (1.6 square mile)
Although the area was not completely occupied, it was the largest town on the Italian peninsula
Piazza Albania, 42 m (138 feet)
Piazza Manfredo Fanti, 23 m (75 feet)
Porta Catularia
It was located near the bottom of the steps of Capitoline Hill
Porta Fontinalis
Visible traces surrounded by flower beds in front of the Museum of the Risorgimento. It was the main gate to the north
Porta Sanqualis
Visible traces of the north side of the door in the center of Largo Magnanapoli
Porta Salutaris
Via the Dataria where the Temple of Salus used to be
Porta Quirinalis
Via Quattro Fontane, where the Temple of Quirinus used to be
Porta Collina
It was located at the northeast corner of the former Palace of the Ministry of Finance, at the intersection of Via XX Settembre and Via Goito. The remains found during construction of the Palace of the Ministry of Finance were demolished after being cataloged
From here the AGGER began, a fortified stretch of the wall more than 1,300 m (4,265 feet) long and 36 m (118 feet) wide, with a moat of 17 m (55 feet), which began at the Porta Collina and ended at Porta Esquilina. It was necessary in a vulnerable section of the wall where it was not possible to exploit the hillsides
Porta Viminalis
At the center of the agger, which corresponds to the current Piazza dei Cinquecento
Porta Esquiline
Still existing and known as the ARCH OF GALLIENUS. From here the Labicana and Tiburtina Ways exited as a single road, only to separate immediately after
Porta Querquetulana
Corresponding to the church of Ss. Quattro Coronati, or, according to a recent research, to the church of Sts. Marcellinus and Peter
Porta Celimontana
Still existing and known as the ARCH OF DOLABELLA 
Porta Capena
Close to the short South East side of the Circus Maximus. From here the Appian Way and Latina Way exited as a single road, only to separate immediately after
Porta Naevia
Close to the church of S. Balbina on the small Aventine Hill
Porta Raudusculana
Viale Aventino near Piazza Albania
There is a section of the walls 42 m (138 feet) long with twelve layers of blocks of tufa and the arc of a room for artillery
A little further on another stretch 43 m (141 feet) long from which came the Vicus Piscinae Publicae corresponding to today's Viale Aventino
Porta Lavernalis
To the south of the Aventine Hill, at Via Marmorata
Porta Trigemina
Corresponding to S. Mary Cosmedin
Porta Flumentana
Corresponding to the Temple of Portunus
Porta Carmentalis
Corresponding to the sacred area of S. Omobono

Monday, April 21, 2014


847/853 for Pope S. Leo IV (847/855)
The pope wanted to protect Rome from new attacks of the Muslims who had already invaded and sacked Rome in 846
"If the ancient sources leave us with no doubts that the Walls of Leo IV were connected to Castel Sant'Angelo, the south part of the walls that closed the city at the river side is not even conceivable; it seems reasonable to assume that the area near the Tiber, through which the Saracens entered, would not be left without defense and that, probably, the new walls would join together with Castel Sant'Angelo so that the castle could constitute the key defending fortress for both Rome and the Vatican" (Daniela Fonti)
They surrounded the CIVITAS LEONINA (City of Leo) for 3 km (1,8 miles) and were provided with 46 fortified towers, turres castellatae
"The towers were forts difficult to attack: they have windows to the outside to see the enemy coming and 'traditrici' (traitors), cut-outs that look inward and allow the hit enemy who would have already penetrated into the city. (...) A very interesting type of defense is possible (...) indicating the type of struggles that took place frequently in this part of Rome" (Daniela Fonti)
The walls were restored for the popes Nicholas III Orsini (1277/81), Nicholas V Parentucelli (1447/55), Alexander VI Borgia (1492/1503), Clement VII Medici (1523/34)
Paul III Farnese (1534/49) had the walls restored in the area of the TURRIONIS (Porta Cavalleggeri) by Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) who also designed the unfinished PORTA S. SPIRITO
It was the part of the walls through which the Lansquenets had entered Rome in 1527 during the Sack of Rome and it was consequently the most damaged part
Finally Pius IV Medici (1559/65) in 1561 ordered to begin the enlargement of the walls to Captain Francesco Laparelli (1521/70) from Cortona, who was recommended to the pope by Michelangelo. They are those still visible around most of the Vatican City today and the work was completed for St. Pius V Ghislieri (1566/72) in 1568
A larger area of the Borgo neighborhood was included, but this expansion was demolished after 1870, with Porta Angelica which had been opened during the expansion in the area where Piazza Risorgimento is today
"Rome, as the inscriptions on the gates mentioned, had returned to be caput mundi, splendor and hope of the world, golden Rome. With the construction of the Leonine City and the victory over the Saracens, in the circle that determined papal policy a new image of Rome began to form, but it was short-lived and it didn't leave important traces other than the walls and the city of Leo IV. The period in which the height of the Carolingian revival is beautifully reflected in the architecture and decoration of the churches in Rome is rather the one from the time of Pope Leo III (795/816) until nearly the middle of the ninth century" (Richard Krautheimer)
TORRE DI S. GIOVANNI (St. John 's Tower)
In the highest area of the Vatican Hill behind the PORTA PERTUSA
The diameter is 16 m (52 ​​feet) and the wall thickness at the base is 4.5 m (15 feet)
John XXIII Roncalli (1958/63) had it restored and wanted to use it as his summer residence even though he never had a chance to actually use it, because he died too soon
It seems that he spent the enormity of 4 billion lira (equivalent to 2,065,000 million euros, an exorbitant sum for 1963) to equip the "residence" with four floors also provided with an elevator and air conditioning. It was perhaps the only quirk of the "Good Pope"
Not far from the church of S. Pellegrino used by the Swiss Guards. It was the main access from the north to enter the Vatican. It had various names: Aurea (golden), Cassia (leading to the Cassian Way), Sancti Petri (St. Peter's) or Viridaria (of the gardens) for its proximity to the Vatican gardens, the latter name being the one used for a long time since the end of the thirteenth century. From the fifteenth century the not very noble name of Porta Merdaria was used, apparently of working-class origin, given the proximity of an illegal garbage dump
Porta Saxonum
It later became PORTA S. SPIRITO and it was restored in 1543 by Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) but left it incomplete because of a quarrel with Michelangelo about the design of fortifications
Door near Castel Sant'Angelo
Maybe corresponding to the ancient Porta Cornelia of the Aurelian Walls. The exact location is not known for sure
Fourth gate of which the site is unknown
Maybe corresponding to PORTA PERTUSA in the west end side behind the TORRE DI S. GIOVANNI or PORTA FABBRICA to the south of the sacristy of the Basilica of St. Peter
Now Porta Fabbrica is walled and partially underground, with a crest on the side of Clement XI Albani (1700/21) above the symbol of the Reverenda Fabbrica di S. Pietro, one of the most powerful confraternities at the time when the basilica was built and still existing as a body responsible for the maintenance of the complex
PASSETTO DI CASTEL SANT'ANGELO (Passage of Castel Sant'Angelo)
Maybe about 1278 for Nicholas III Orsini (1277/80) the first pope who wanted to live in the Vatican. Opened in the northern section of the Leonine Wall
It was definitely used since the beginning of the fifteenth century as a mostly covered walkway for the popes to escape quickly from the Vatican Palace to Castel Sant'Angelo in case of danger
It was restored by Alexander VI Borgia (1492/1503) and used by Clement VII Medici (1523/34) during the sack of Rome in 1527

Sunday, April 20, 2014


1642/44 Marcantonio de Rossi (about 1607/61) military architect, father of the Bernini's assistant architect Mattia De Rossi, together with Domenico Castelli (1582/1657), Giovanni Bonazzini and Giulio Buratti for Urban VIII Barberini (1623/44) who entrusted the supervision of the works to Cardinal Vincenzo Maculano da Fiorenzuola
The walls are 3 km (1.9 miles) long, are fitted with twelve bulwarks and include JANICULUM HILL from Porta Cavalleggeri to Porta Portese, incorporating Villa Sciarra, Porta S. Pancrazio and the Promenade of the Janiculum
The bricks of the ancient Aurelian Walls of the Trastevere section were largely used. The ancient walls were destroyed to build the new
They were completed for Innocent X Pamphili (1644/55) with the construction of the current PORTA PORTESE built more to the north of the site of the original gate of the ancient Aurelian Walls
"In Trastevere the new areas of habitation had thickened and important roads had been laid out such as the wide road of St. Francis and the ascent of the Janiculum Hill (now Via Garibaldi), while the slopes of the Janiculum, occupied by an unbroken expanse of gardens extended from St. Peter's Basilica until the river and mansions along Via della Lungara, had become an area full of palaces and villas belonging to members of the papal court. (...) The Barberini walls therefore defined the new urban measure, with its poles, its emerging centralities and its network of connections no longer coinciding with the ancient one" (Daniela Fonti)

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Begun in 271 by Aurelian (270/275) and almost finished when he died, but completed in about 279 at the time of Probus (276/282)
18.8 km (11.7 miles - 13 Roman miles) long, using preexisting buildings for about 1/10 of the lenght. The walls included an area of about 15 km² (5.8 square miles)
About 6 m (20 feet) high and 3.5 m (11.5 feet) thick with a square tower with upper chamber for ballistae each 29.6 m (97 feet - 100 Roman feet), for a total of about 600 towers
Restored by Maxentius (306/312) who raised the walls in the years 309/312, but most of all by Honorius (395/423) and Arcadius (395/408) in the 401/403 inspired by the magister militum Stilicho, the modern equivalent of commander in chief of the army. Arcadius was the first emperor of the eastern part of the empire after the division of 395
With Honorius and Arcadius the height of the walls was more than doubled (about 15 m - 50 feet), Hadrian's Mausoleum was also included as a sort of rampart on the right bank of the River Tiber, the two arches of some gates became one and the towers were raised and reinforced. The walls were restored again in the sixth century by Belisarius
Despite the walls, Rome was sacked by the Visigoths under Alaric in 410 who entered the Porta Salaria, although Alaric put the Pope Innocent I (401/417) under his wing and gave orders not to kill and to respect the holy sites
More looting occurred in the 455 with the Vandals of Genseric who, although they sacked more than the Visigoths, respected Rome and its inhabitants, with Ricimer in 472 during the Civil War and with the Goths of Totila in 550. Procopius described the defenders holed up in Hadrian's Mausoleum throwing statues to the assailants during the Gothic War (535/553)
Porta Cornelia
It doesn't exist anymore. It used to stand by Ponte Elio, the current Sant'Angelo Bridge
Porta Flaminia
Current Porta del Popolo
Porta Pinciana
Still visible on top of Via Veneto
Porta Salaria
Demolished in 1921 for the creation of Piazza Fiume. Virginio Vespignani had rebuilt it in 1873 after its destruction in 1870 during the attack that caused the breach of Porta Pia. It kept the original name in the Middle Ages
Porta Nomentana
75 m (246 feet) away from the current Porta Pia
Porta Chiusa
So called because the original name is unknown. It was located at the Castra Praetoria
Porta Tiburtina
Before the construction of the walls it was just an arch made on 5 BC for the passage of the aqueducts Aqua Marcia, Tepula and Iulia on Via Tiburtina
Porta Praenestina
Present Porta Maggiore name derived in 919 from the not so far Basilica of St. Mary Major: Before the construction of the Walls there were two monumental arches for the passage of the aqueducts Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus over the roads Labicana and Prenestina. The inscriptions are the original ones of Claudius (41/54) at the top and Vespasian (69/79) and Titus (79/81) at the bottom mentioning the restorations of 71 and 81
The Anio Vetus aqueduct ended up here with an underground conduit and the Aqua Marcia, Aqua Tepula and Aqua Iulia as well with arches nearby in three overlapping conduits. The present layout of the area dates back to 1933
The area was known as AD SPEM VETEREM for its proximity to a TEMPLE OF HOPE dedicated in 477 BC. The exact location of the temple is unknown and it was so named to distinguish it from the newer Temple of Hope dating back to 260 BC in the Forum Holitorium
Porta Asinaria
Secondary gate, from which the Via Asinaria exited to join the Via Tuscolana. It was closed and buried in 1409 and reopened only in 1955. Next door to the current porta S. Giovanni built in 1574 by Jacopo Del Duca (about 1520/1604)
Honorius (395/423) added the second door and the two towers. In AD 550 the barbarian soldiers of the Roman army betrayed and opened the door to the Goths of Totila who sacked the city
Porta Metrovia
Known as Porta Metronia today. It was a small posterula, an unimportant small door
Porta Latina
Among the most impressive and best preserved. The travertine façade dates back to the time of Honorius (395/423). As it was typical for the most important gates, the outside was a rolling shutter, while the interior consisted of two doors. The Via Latina exited through it leading to Capua
It was closed in 1408, in 1576 and from 1656 to 1669, in the latter two cases due to outbreaks of plague. It remained closed for most of the nineteenth century and it even stopped the Italian army that tried to get through here in 1870 and then went to Porta Pia. It was finally reopened for good in 1911
Porta Appia
Current porta s. sebastiano, the best preserved gate where it is possible to see the double doors and the grooves for the rolling shutter. Here and in the adjacent walls and towers there is the small MUSEO DELLE MURA (Museum of the Walls) an educational museum with seven small rooms equipped with models and panels. It includes a walking path on the wall for a distance of about 350 m (1,150 feet)
Porta Ardeatina
It was just a small posterula, an unimportant small door still visible near Via Cristoforo Colombo. A whole section of the walls next to the door fell in 2001 for the infiltration of water and it was later rebuilt
The gate is adjacent to the Bastione del Sangallo (Sangallo's Bastion) of 1536 by Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) who built it for Paul III Farnese (1534/49) fearful of a new sack of Rome. The bastion is about 300 m (984 feet) long. Sangallo expanded the thickness of the wall to make it resistant to the weapons of his time and he therefore completely destroyed the Roman wall. The project was not completed due to lack of funds
Porta Ostiense
Current Porta S. Paolo
On September 10, 1943 in the square around the door the battle of Porta S. Paolo took place: furious fighting between the Italian army without clear orders and helped by civilians against the Nazi army. Two days before the armistice with the Allied Forces had been announced in which it was written that the Italian armed forces should "return fire wherever it came from". 241 Italians died even though other sources report 414 deaths among the military and 156 among civilians including 43 women
Porta Aurelia
Current porta S. Pancrazio. The ancient gate was destroyed in 1644 by Marcantonio de Rossi (about 1607/61) who built a new one as part of the Mura Gianicolensi (Gianicolensi Walls). It was destroyed again by the French bombardment of 1849 and rebuilt in the years 1854/57 by Virginio Vespignani
Porta Portuensis
The Via Portuense exited through it, leading to the ports of Claudius and Trajan. It was destroyed in 1643 and replaced by the PORTA PORTESE which is much more to the north of the site of the original gate
Gate whose name is unknown
Corresponding to the current Porta Settimana which was built in its present form in 1498 for Alexander VI (1492/1503) and restored in 1798 for Pius VI Braschi (1775/99)

Friday, April 18, 2014


1984/92 Paolo Portoghesi (1931) and Vittorio Gigliotti (1921) in collaboration with Sami Moussawi. Inaugurated in 1995
It is the largest mosque in Europe. Area of 34,000 m² (8.4 acres) which includes the Islamic Cultural Centre
The vast prayer hall has a capacity of about 3,000 people
The minaret is the only one in the world without loudspeakers
The land was offered by the Italian Government in 1975. The project was primarily funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its King Faisal, but there were contributions from 23 Arab and Islamic countries. The Moroccan government sent skilled workers for the ceramic decorations
"The great expansion of Islam has produced architectural cultures that have marked differences between them, mixing the Islamic culture with the local traditions. (...) For this reason the Roman Mosque is the synthesis of various architectural models and clear intertwined traditions: from the Persian type, where there is a strong mediation between interior and exterior spaces, also used in Etruscan architecture, to the Ottoman mosques (Hagia Sophia) with the presence of the large central dome and the value of spatial unity. To resume Roman tradition highly symbolical materials have been used, such as tuff and white marble, but also the peristyle of the mosque recalls the arches of the imperial Fora of ancient Rome. (...) The small domes are inspired by Borromini but also Guarini and Vittone have strongly influenced the Mosque" (Paolo Portoghesi)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


2003 by the Polish Igor Mitoraj (1944)
Travertine block of 1,200 tonnes (1,322 tons)
Fragmented face of the Goddess Rome imagined as a source of water
"Perhaps the fracture alludes to the mystery of the ancient world that shows itself to us in fragments, allusions, evocations such as reflections of a disappeared Atlantis" (Antonio Paolucci)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


1895 architecture by Carlo Aureli with "Statue of Victory" by Giuseppe Guastalla (1867/1952)
The "Column" is ancient and it was found in 1875 in the Salita dei Crescenzi near the Pantheon in the area where the Baths of Nero used to be
The MARBLE WALL was added in 1920 by Adolfo Apolloni (1855/1923)
During the five hours of the battle of September 20, 1870 49 Italian Bersaglieri and 19 Papal Zuavi soldiers died
Rome was then occupied by the Italian army and became the capital of Italy
Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78), who had already several times excommunicated the king and the Italian Government, on May 16, 1871 with the encyclical Ubi Nos renewed the excommunication and imposed on Catholics not to participate in the Italian elections

Monday, April 14, 2014


2009, TWO ANCIENT ROMAN COLUMNS coming from the area of Montecitorio and left for years in storage
It was dedicated in the presence of the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America Nancy Pelosi
In a plaque there is an aphorism of the American writer George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

Sunday, April 13, 2014


1931/32 bronze statue and reliefs by the Roman Publio Morbiducci (1889/1963)
Architecture by Italo Mancini (1897/1971
 The project was personally selected by Benito Mussolini
On the sides of the foundation bas-reliefs in stone of Trani with characters and battles fought by the Bersaglieri Corps:
On the left "Bridge Goito, Luciano Manara and Porta Pia"

Saturday, April 12, 2014


1872/78 Ercole Rosa (1846/94)
The monument was dedicated in 1883. The sculptor Ercole Rosa from the Marche region began this work when he was only 21 years old. He was later also the sculptor of the statue of Victor Emmanuel II in Piazza Duomo in Milan
The patriots brothers Enrico and Giovanni Cairoli fought in the campaign for the liberation of Rome in 1667 with other 76 volunteers
The campaign resulted in the defeat at Villa Glori when the 25-year-old Enrico Cairoli died fighting against the Swiss and German police of the pope. Giovanni Cairoli, who was two years younger than his brother, died in 1669 for the serious injuries suffered in the fight
"The modernity of some solutions embraced by Rosa, as the presence of the gun and the precise description of clothing, humble and true, the absence of any idealization in favor of a dramatic tone, show the sculptor's effort to portray the horror of the battle" (Institute of History of the Risorgimento in Rome)


1932 Mario Rutelli (1859/1943)
In the base there is the tomb of Anita Garibaldi (1821/49) wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi
She was Brazilian and her real name was Ana Maria de Jesus Ribeiro. She died at age 28 while pregnant during the escape with her husband after the defeat of the Roman Republic in 1849

Friday, April 11, 2014


2005 Maria Dompè (1959)
It was commissioned by the City of Rome on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of the Italian political leader
The phrases engraved on the monument remind of his dream of European unification
The cars constantly parked in a no parking zone around the work hide it and prevent unfortunately the appreciation it deserves
Alcide De Gasperi (1881/1954) was one of the founding fathers of the Italian Republic and of the European Union
He was antifascist and believed in the secular state. In 1952 he rejected the Vatican's suggestion to form a government in alliance with the neo-fascists to prevent the success of the communists. Pius XII Pacelli (1939/58), in turn, refused to receive him at the Vatican on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of his wedding
He was born in the Trentino region and in Rome he lived simply in what is now Via Alcide De Gasperi, a few steps from the monument
He was an honest politician, armed with solid values, a rare flower sadly never bloomed again in the corrupt and treacherous swamp of Italian politics
"The memory function does not work on the past but on the future, as a stimulus to implement and enhance the moral legacy of the great statesman. Therefore, the monument embodied his thought, rather than portray him in an official capacity. Without rhetoric, it expresses his profound ideals, eternal and incorruptible as the memory. Bronze plates welcome a verdant meadow, 'essence' of the valleys of Trentino where he was De Gasperi born. The triangle indicates movement, energy, reachingthe new. The manifestos of the early avant-garde movements were full similar of signs, praising progress and confidence in its infinite potential. (...) From above, the structure resembles a kite, or a paper airplane: simple forms with which children have always shaped their dreams of freedom. The same dreams of De Gasperi, cast by Maria Dompè with the 'gravity of lightness', which connotes, always, her work" (Maria Egizia Fiaschetti - Web Site of Maria Dompè -

Thursday, April 10, 2014


1954 Lorenzo Ferri (1902/1975)
Trilussa was the pseudonym of Carlo Alberto Salustri (1871/1950) great Roman dialect poet
The monument was not liked very much and it was nicknamed "Lo sderenato de Trastevere" (Humpback of Trastevere). Guglielmo Guasta editor of the weekly satirical "Il Travaso" and friend of Trilussa published in 1958 a sonnet that ended like this: 
All bent down/ just like a sheep / he should thank God you don't see yourself / crouching down by the big fountain / if you would see yourself, my Trilussa, you wouldn't have taken it / and even if he had made you with no feet / you would have kicked his ass anyway!


1893 Mauro Benini (1850/after 1907)
Terenzio Mamiani Della Rovere (1799/1885) was a philosopher, politician and writer as well as a leading figure of the Italian Risorgimento
He was minister of Education and Senator of the Kingdom of Italy. He was a cousin of the poet Giacomo Leopardi

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


1934 Pietro Canonica (1869/1959)
The Venezuelan Simòn Bolìvar (1783/1830) a military officer and political activist in 1805 in Rome swore on the Monte Sacro hill to free his homeland from the Spanish
He was awarded the honorary title of Libertador (Liberator) for his decisive contribution to the independence of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Perù and Venezuela. He was also President of the Republic of Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Perù


1935 Maxime Real de Sarte (1888/1954) French artist who was already dead when the monument was dedicated in 1954
The marble statue is a bit hidden but it has a unique and excitingly romantic flair with the long, spectacular hair
St. Joan of Arc (1412/31) reunified France during the Hundred Years War. She was burned alive as a heretic by the British and was canonized in 1920

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


1927 Giuseppe Tonnini (1875/1954) who had carved the winged lions on the steps of the Victorian
The five figures to the right of St. Francis (about 1181/1226) are the followers who accompanied him to the Lateran in Rome to meet Pope Innocent III of the Counts of Segni (1198/1216) for the recognition of the Rule, and, more generally, represent all of his spiritual disciples
On the front of the monument there is the inscription with the dedication. On the other sides there are the verses of the eleventh canto of the Paradiso of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, which describes the figure of St. Francis

Monday, April 7, 2014


1961 statue of Francesco Messina (1900/95)
The structure of the monument was designed by Mario Loreti
Four marble bas-reliefs on the front with "Stories of St. Catherine" and the four more in the back with coats of arms of Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action), the Civic Committee, some municipalities in Italy and Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the bank of Siena), with their inscriptions
The dedication of Pius XII around the monument reads: Catharina senensis patriae decus religionisque tutamen, Catherine of Siena dignity of the homeland and defense of Religion
St. Catherine of Siena (1347/80) was canonized in 1461 and is the patron saint of Italy and Europe. She is buried in Rome in the church of S. Maria sopra Minerva, but the left thumb and head are preserved in the Basilica of St. Dominic in Siena and the left foot in the Church of Sts. John and Paul in Venice


1967 Antonio Berti (1904/90)
Funded by a subscription of the readers of the Roman newspaper Il Tempo to commemorate the visit of Pius XII Pacelli (1939/58) in the district of S. Lorenzo the day after the bombing of July 19, 1943
662 U.S. bombers and 268 fighters dropped about 4,000 bombs loaded with 1,060 tonnes (1,170 tons) of explosive caused the death of about 2,000 people, of which 1,674 have been identified for sure, in the district of S. Lorenzo
Many more Romans died under the Allied Forces bombs during the rest of the war

Friday, April 4, 2014


1886 by the Florentine Emilio Gallori (1846/1924)
Originally in Piazza S. Silvestro and moved here in 1910 not far from the Metastasio's birthplace in via dei Cappellari 30, and opposite the Oratory of the Philippines, the place of invention of the musical form known as oratorio, or opera with a sacred story with no action on stage
Pietro Metastasio (1698/1782) was a poet, librettist, playwright and priest. He is considered to be the reformer of opera. He wrote many librettos for oratori including The Passion of Jesus Christ which was so successful as to be set to music by no less than 35 composers between 1730 and 1790


1898 Mario Rutelli (1859/1943)
The monument was placed in front of S. Andrea Della Valle only in 1903 and then moved here in 1957 to make room for the fountain by Carlo Maderno
Nicola Spedalieri (1740/95) was a priest, philosopher and writer, author of "About Human Rights" of 1791. He rejected the deistic and atheistic character of the French Revolution, but he defended the rights of man proclaimed by it and he reckoned those rights as fundamentally Christian, considering the popular sovereignty as the foundation of government power

Thursday, April 3, 2014


1895 architecture by Giacomo Misuraca and sculptures by the Sicilian Lio Gangeri (1845/1913)
In the basement marble group "Politics and People"
Marco Minghetti (1818/86) was twice Prime Minister and Minister several times. In 1876 his government managed to balance the budget


2010 by the Bulgarian sculptor Minekov Velichko (1928)
Ivan Vazov (1850/1921) was a writer and is still considered the "patriarch" of the Bulgarian literature. He strove valiantly for the national cause of Bulgaria
The statue was inaugurated in the presence of both Italian and Bulgarian Presidents of the Council of Ministers

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


1931 Attilio Selva (1888/1970) from Trieste
Guido Baccelli (1830/1916) was Minister of Education and Minister of Agriculture several times from 1879 to 1903
He promoted the archaeological walk at Porta Capena, established the National Gallery of Modern Art and promoted the excavations of Pompeii and the Baths of Caracalla

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


1929 last work by Ettore Ferrari (1845/1929) who was Grand Master of the Grand Orient of Italy, the Italian Freemasonry
Placed here only in 1949 for the centenary of the Roman Republic, after some allegorical high reliefs irreverent towards the Holy See were removed from the base, like a prancing horse trampling over emblems of the church
In the BASE there are high reliefs representing the ideas of Mazzini: the desire for freedom that is realized in the Giovane Italia (Young Italy Association), the sacrifice for the redemption of the oppressed from tyranny, the fight against tyranny, the triumph of the revolution, the burial of the remains of the martyrs


1913 by the Sicilian Michele Tripisciano (1860/1913) on the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Giuseppe Gioachino Belli (1791/1863) the greatest Roman dialect poet
The stick in Belli's left hand was made of iron, fixed with cement and painted black, because the original wooden stick was regularly stolen