Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Housing blocks by Innocenzo Costantini (1854/1937), son of Costantino Costantini and Innocenzo Sabbatini (1891/1984). The two architects were cousins
It was built ​in two stages:
1919/22 southern part with both mediaeval forms and innovative solutions
1925/26 northern part with secessionist ideas and elements of Roman classical tradition
“The decoration is inspired by a significant movement of masses and lines, in search of a musical space with a few notes of shadow and color generated by the slopes of the roofs and chimneys, the boxes of flowers or the small iron motives, the pillars of stone and bricks, or the slight overhangs of eaves” (Alberto Calza Bini)
House for the governorship employees
1927/30 Luigi Ciarrocchi (1902/68) and Mario De Renzi (1897/1967)
The two architects were influenced by both Roman insulae recently discovered at Ostia, and the Futurist avant-garde movement in vogue at the time
“At the end of the Twenties, after some experience in the area of 'barocchetto'​(Small Baroque), Mario De Renzi built his expressive key set on the reduction of the decorative and chiaroscuro apparatus and on the 'stylization' of architectural elements of classical derivation. (...) The building on Via Andrea Doria offered him the opportunity to combine this issue with solutions of Futurist taste, visible in the way he emphasized the stairwells on the front of the building, in the use of terraces with large overhangs, in the volumetric ratio between ground floor and tripartite upper part” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
House for Children
1919/22 Innocenzo Sabbatini (1891/1984)
Preschool for children where it was tested the method of Maria Montessori. The first Montessori Children's House was founded in the neighborhood of S. Lorenzo in 1907 
Now it is home to OFFICES OF THE ISTITUTO CASE POPOLARI (Institute of Public Housing)
“The work of Innocenzo Sabbatini is broadly consistent with a linguistic research aimed at overcoming Eclecticism. Echoes of the Viennese Secession, also present in some works by Piacentini, are instantly recognizable even in this small building” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)


1926/28 Innocenzo Sabbatini (1891/1984) for the ICP, ISTITUTO CASE POPOLARI (Institute for Social Housing)
It is divided in two by Via Eleonora D'Arborea
The southern part includes apartments with two or three bedrooms, the northern part larger apartments
“The generating idea is based on the possibility of creating a meeting point between the building model with low density, typical of the English New Towns and the intensive one, typical of the Roman compact blocks” (Giorgio Muratore)
“One can sense the thoughtful study that the designers did with respect to indoor environmental quality for better and healthier buildings and the importance of including harmoniously the entire complex in the rest of the neighborhood. This intervention of semi intensive constructions highlights a specific research project on how to structure public housing to give continuity to the new buildings with the rest of the city so to get even a low population density. The cohesive element with the rest of the urban area, actually makes the outbuildings more attractive, the ones which in some way define the perimeter of the blocks and almost invite us to come and explore other areas of this city within a city” (Gaia Rinaldelli - www.gaiarinaldelli.it)
The CASA A GRADONI S. IPPOLITO (House with Big Steps St. Hyppolitus) in Via della Lega Lombarda 41/43, built in the years 1929/30 stands out for its originality
“To the expressionist phase of the work of Innocenzo Sabbatini can be traced back the project for the building, which is the spectacular solution for the head of the block between Via della Lega Lombarda and the staircase in continuation of Via Berengario. (...) A recent English guidebook (Modern Architecture in Europe. A guide to buildings since the industrial revolution) claims the direct derivation of this project to the one of Hans Poelzig for a 'House of Friendship' in Istanbul in 1919. This statement could be debatable, but well corresponds to the ability to tap into models that is characteristic of the work of Sabbatini” (Piero Ostilio Rossi

Monday, January 29, 2018


1919/27 Gino Coppedè (1866/1927)
Known popularly as QUARTIERE COPPEDÈ (Coppedè Neighborhood) after its architect
Commissioned in 1913 by the tycoons Cerruti and Becchi of the Società Anonima Edilizia Moderna (Modern Construction Limited Company)
Architectural and visionary pastiche of 31,000 m² (7.7 acres) comprising 18 large buildings and 27 smaller ones built around the central Piazza Mincio
Coppedè directed the works until his death in 1927, with an interruption due to the First World War. The main part of the district, however, was completed in 1921
After Coppedè's death the job was completed and directed by his son Paolo Emilio André
The Florentine architect, in his eclecticism, mixed different styles: contemporary art deco and art nouveau as well as elements with variations of Baroque, Gothic, Moorish and Mannerism, combined with references ranging from the Middle Ages to Ancient Greece
A lot of travertine stone was used in tribute to the Roman tradition and for the interiors majolica was used for kitchens, wood flooring for living rooms and Pompeian mosaics for bathrooms
“The whole thing seems focused to a taste for the wondrous, the need for luxury required by the clients specifying an instance of the upper-class society for which this architecture, even in the mid-twenties, was the ultimate sophistication” (Mauro Cozzi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani)
Among the buildings:
PALAZZINA DEL RAGNO (Small Palace of the Spider)
PALAZZO IN PIAZZA MINCIO (Palace in Piazza Mincio)
VILLINO DELLE FATE (Cottage of the Fairies)
In Piazza Mincio there is the FONTANA DELLE RANE (Fountain of the Frogs) 1920/24
In Via Tagliamento 9, adjacent to the district, there is the PIPER CLUB, historic concert venue and nightclub opened in 1965
It was originally decorated with works of art, including two paintings by Andy Warhol (1928/87), some of Mario Schifano (1934/98) and works by Piero Manzoni (1933/63)
Real giants of the music of the second half of the twentieth century played here live, such as The Who, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Genesis, David Bowie, Sly and the Family Stone, Lucio Battisti, Duke Ellington, and more recently, Nirvana


1925/31 Dario Barbieri for the National Institute for the Houses of the State Employees on the area of the park of VILLA LANCELLOTTI 
The buildings on Via Chiana were designed by Quadrio Pirani (1878/1970) 
2,000 homes for about 10,000 people
“The architecture is very austere and does not offer a particular interest except in the buildings designed by Quadrio Pirani along Via Chiana, but the overall environmental quality testifies of how the city could have developed, even in its most densely built areas, if the indications of the 1909 plan of Edmondo Sanjust di Teulada had more often found similar forms of application” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Made by the ICP (Istituto Case Popolari - Institute of Social Housing) in the years 1920/32
First works 1920, now partly demolished, around Piazza Benedetto Brin by Gustavo Giovannoni (1873/1947) who, with Innocenzo Sabbatini (1891/1984), described as Barocchetto (Small Baroque) the architectural style of the new district
Buildings for 190 homes well separated, mainly on two floors, with various and well harmonized typological solutions
“The fundamental contribution of Giovannoni to Italian architecture in the twentieth century is to be found far more in his work as a scholar and theorist, than in his limited activities as a designer and planner. The field of his research is very extensive, but it can be limited to a specific field: the study of architectural monuments and of the ancient towns with reference, almost always, to the extraordinary series of examples offered by Rome, his hometown” (G. Zucconi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
Later they were joined by Costantino Costantini (1904/82), Massimo Piacentini, cousin of the more famous Marcello and Mario De Renzi (1897/1967)
“From a linguistic point of view the district testifies of a research for the picturesque, the vernacular, the rediscovery of those elements of the lesser Roman architecture between the '500s and '700s which Giovannoni (...) was advocating on those years and which constituted a form of progressive response to the Eclecticism from which already, in another ways, others, like Piacentini and Sabbatini, were trying to come out with their 'Viennese' solutions. This trend, which was given the name of 'barocchetto' (Small Baroque) to emphasize the nostalgic and resigned tone, characterized for a few years the work of many Roman architects. Among them Debbio, Limongelli, Sabbatini himself (who designed, inter alia, the tall houses of this first nucleus of the district) De Renzi and, at least in part, Aschieri” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
The population of the district is now approximately 46,500 inhabitants
The inspiration came from the urban English Garden Cities, far from the center but well connected by public transport and consisting of small residential units with gardens also cultivable as vegetable gardens
The district name probably derives from the nickname of the owner “graceful and beautiful” of the family-run restaurant Osteria da Maria, which was at the end of 1800s on the Via Ostiense near St. Paul's cliff
The following buildings were all designed by Innocenzo Sabbatini:
It should have been an experiment of accommodation with shared areas for families displaced from the center of Rome, but the shared areas were immediately divided into apartments
“After the 'Viennese' phase, Sabbatini approached the 'barocchetto' (Small Baroque) and imprinted a particular and recognizable character to the production of the Institute. (...) In this climate can be traced the project for the Hotels, where there is no shortage however, even of expressionistic accents related to how to compose the great mass of buildings. The Albergo Rosso was presented at the 1st Exhibition of Italian Rationalist Architecture and aroused mixed reactions for its atypical style compared to the projects of young rationalists” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
CASA ALBERGO (House Hotel)
CASA DEI BAMBINI (Children's House)
The homes were inspired by the House of Diana in Ancient Ostia
“With the rise of fascist authoritarianism, the urban development of Garbatella underwent a sudden change, characterized by an intense period of construction to the detriment of public parks in the area. This new phase, the result of changes in the national political scene, sees the Garbatella become a place of accommodation for all those people, not necessarily poor, who were without a home. During this period, in fact, a decision was taken to redesign the city center, through the destruction of many buildings and the consequent need to find new accommodations for evicted tenants. ICP put into effect a building development based on testing of the 'fast house' in the years between 1923 and 1927. This type could be visually associated with the Garden Homes, but, unlike the English model, it provided the use of low cost materials, was characterized by a high speed, the ornamental elements were marginal and green areas were no longer private gardens but public places” (Site of the Associazione Culturale e Sportiva Rione Garbatella - www.rionegarbatella. it)
1925/27 Via Antonio Rubino/Via Roberto De Nobili by G.B. Trotta (1898/1959)
Thirteen two-story houses designed for a competition among seven young talented architects selected by five construction companies on the occasion of the XII Congress of the International Federation for Housing and Town Planning, held in 1929 in Rome:
Mario De Renzi (1897/1967), Pietro Aschieri (1889/1952), Gino Cancellotti (1890/1987), Giuseppe Nicolosi (1901/81), Mario Marchi (1900/96), Plinio Marconi (1893/1974)              AND Luigi Vietti (1903/98)
“From the architectural point of view some projects, those of Aschieri and especially the two houses of De Renzi, highlight the progressive abandonment of those linguistic references to the minor architecture of Rome, which had partially characterized the research of the twenties. In fact, one can perceive in them the hints of works of formal settling, more sensitive to the echoes of contemporary European experiences” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
1926/27 Via Gerolamo Adorno/Via Giovanni Ansaldo by Plinio Marconi (1893/1974)
“Only by starting from the fundamental contribution of personalities such as Poletti and Calderini, first, to pass, then, through those of G.B. Milani, Giovannoni, Piacentini and, also, Fasolo, Minnucci and Marconi, it may be possible to define in its most authentic dimension and in its specific essence of the complexity of a situation in Rome which, through its aporias and falls, but also through its not insignificant moments of excellence, it is considered now to have had an important and decisive role, not only in Italy, but also internationally. (...) The case of Plinio Marconi, from this point of view is emblematic and exemplary: practically forgotten, neglected and shunned by critics and contemporary historiography like other personalities, however eminent, (see the case in some ways 'similar' of Giuseppe Vaccaro, only recently 'rediscovered'), gravitating in different ways in the vast and varied cultural orbit of Piacentini, and only for this destined to a specific damnatio memoriae (...). Plinio Marconi, in this context, is a good example (...) of the quality of these young architects, well informed about what was happening in the rest of the world (...) and also capable of catalyzing the theoretical arguments of a complex contemporary debate that, especially around the Thirties, created a moment of extraordinary and accelerated vitality. Especially in the relationship between the latest experiments and the assorted theoretical and methodological, technical and aesthetic ideas that were their basis, the reflection of Plinio Marconi suggests us the wealth of theoretical knowledge of the ones who, in ways more and less evolved and aware, were starting to cross a territory still unexplored, heading to the uncertain, yet fascinating, but still, in many ways, obscure objectives of Modernity” (Giorgio Muratore - www.archiwatch.it)

Monday, January 22, 2018


1960/66 Luigi Moretti (1907/73) coordinated the project for the Istituto Nazionale per le Case degli Impiegati dello Stato (INICIS) (National Institute for the Houses of State Employees) 
It was built to meet the growing demand for housing on the part of civil servants who gravitated around the EUR district, still expanding at the time
Buildings by Vittorio Cafiero (1901/81), Ignazio Guidi (1904/78), Adalberto Libera (1903/63) and Luigi Moretti
Other architects who worked on the project: Agrelli, Di Tullio, La Valle, Quadarella, Reggiani, Rinaldi, Rulli, Sebasti, Valle e Veroi
808 apartments for a population of about 7,500 people
Reorganization of the central square in 1999 by Aldo Aymonino (1953)
“So it was partly put together again the team a few years before had given a good performance in the realization of the Olympic Village; and the new district evokes some of the main characters of the Olympic Village: the prevalence of row houses with 4-5 floors on stilts, greenery as connective tissue, unification of coating materials (brick facing) and architectural solutions. Only the plan of the buildings is driven by a separate will, to determine complex visual perspectives, enveloping spaces and constantly changing. Hence the use of sinuous lines and open polygonal schemes, typical of those years in the formal research of Luigi Moretti” (Saverio- www.urbanistica.unipr.it)


1972/82 Mario Fiorentino (1918/82) who coordinated a group of twenty-three designers including Federico Gorio, Piero Maria Lugli, Giulio Sterbini, Michele Valori
It consists of two buildings of nine floors that run closely parallel for 980 m (3,215 feet), plus a third separate building
It is known by the nickname SERPENTONE (the big snake)
Originally built for 6,000 residents in 1,200 apartments, but many others have been added on the fourth floor that was occupied by squatters in rooms originally intended for businesses
The total population is therefore currently of about 8,000 people
“Corviale was inspired by the great bravado phalansteries of the twentieth century such as the Karl Marx Hof in Vienna or the Unité d'abitation of Nantes and Marseille, indelible mark of Le Corbusier. An explicit reference was made to the Italians Daneri, Vaccaro and Aymonino (Genoa, Bologna, Gallaratese). The cultural reference was rationalism and with this social promotion, empowerment of citizens, ultimately, European modernity. (...) 'Sure, some architectural mistake has been made - admits Sandra Montenero, a university professor and director of the Municipal Public Works for many years - but they are marginal. The disaster is the inadequacy of those who thought to be able to create a very advanced project, almost a Roman Utopia, and have not being able to deal with it'“ (Giuseppe Pullara - Corriere della Sera on July 1, 2012)

Sunday, January 21, 2018


1920 Gustavo Giovannoni (1873/1947), Quadrio Pirani (1878/1970) and Edmondo Del Bufalo (1883/1968)
It is connected with Via Nomentana through the TAZIO BRIDGE 1927 by Gustavo Giovannoni over the Aniene River. It was restored and partially reconstructed in the years 1938/39
“Particular attention was devoted to the design of the roads layouts, rich in curvilinear patterns with a configuration adhering to the altitude of the terrain and capable of proposing an environmental quality with a suburban character” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)
1920/27 by Gustavo Giovannoni and Innocenzo Sabbatini (1891/1984)
CHIESA DEI Ss. ANGELI CUSTODI (Church of Saints Guardian Angels)
1922/24 by Gustavo Giovannoni
“At the center of a web of roads, inspired by models of the English garden suburb, Giovannoni designed in 1922 Church of the Guardian Angels in a traditional style. In plan and elevation, the building reproduced Baroque models with elongated plan. Again here it is shown the duality between the engineer, able to grapple with the most up to date techniques, and the student of Roman history tied to stylistic references of local inspiration” (G. Zucconi - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)
1921/25 by Innocenzo Sabbatini
CASA DELLA GIOVENTÚ A MONTE SACRO (House of Youth on the Sacred Mountain)
1934/43 by Gaetano Minnucci (1896/1980)


About 1590 Domenico Fontana (1543/1607) for Sixtus V Peretti (1585/90) who wanted to adorn the top of Via Felice with four statues of saints placed in each corner of the crossroad
The statues of saints were preferred four fountains that give the name of the street, each surmounted by a recumbent statue:
The Arno River, with a lion, heraldic emblem of Florence
The Tiber River with the wolf and in the act of supporting a cornucopia full of fruit
Fortitude or Juno, buxom woman represented with regal symbols: the lion and the crown
Loyalty or Diana, who is flanked by a dog and leaning on a symbolic hill with three peaks, similar to the coat of arms of Sixtus V
The sculptors of the statues are not known, but maybe the drawings were by Pietro Berrettini aka Pietro da Cortona (1597/1669)
The “Background reliefs representing countrysides” were added in 1668, probably on a design by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680)
The fountains were built using travertine blocks from the destroyed ancient Roman monument known as Septizodium

Friday, January 19, 2018


1963/65 Luigi Moretti (1907/73), Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo (1890/1966), Giovanni Quadarella (1927) e Morpurgo's nephew and pupil Giorgio Santoro
Five floors above ground level and three below
“The design, due to the language of the International Style, is characterized by the gradual lightening of the architectural score from top to bottom, which, according to a Michelangelesque scheme, reverses the traditional compositional hierarchy” (Giorgio Muratore)
“Le Corbusier proposes the horizontal blinds as a rhythmic element that gives the façade a homogeneous configuration by removing the window from the vocabulary of the city. Quite often then the blinds will be free from their original appearance as a box of heavy elements to become a vertical blade with the use of metal. As such it makes an appearance in the late sixties of the last century, in a masterpiece among the least celebrated of modern Italian architecture: the Propylaea of EUR, built by Luigi Moretti. 'The thought of doing a big building - wrote to his friend, the architect Agnoldomenico Pica - that would be violent and present at certain times and even unsubstantial in others, in an endless repetition as a Chinese manuscript, as Greek columns, or as the stochastic arrangement of a façade such as Porta Pia, etc. etc. has led me to concoct that endless rows of vertical elements that at some point you either get tired of seeing, or you have sufficiently understood not to waste more time looking at them” (Paolo Portoghesi)


1950 Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960) with Attilio Spaccarelli (1890/1975) while working on the completion of Via della Conciliazione
“In 1943 he was arrested because he hadn't joined the Social Republic the reformed Fascist Party, but, thanks to the intervention of Cardinal G.B. Montini he was released. (...) In 1945, invited to settle in Latin America to draw up plans and zoning of large cities, he chose to remain in Rome, where he reopened his studio of Tor di Nona with Giorgio Calza Bini and the design office on Via della Conciliazione with Attilio Spaccarelli. In 1949 he was a member of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Fine Arts of the Ministry of Public Education. In 1950, with Virgilio Testa, he took part in initiatives to boost the EUR. When preparing the infrastructures for the Olympics in Rome, he died, almost on the eve of the historic event, on May 18, 1960. Revealing himself stylistically as a very early mediator and blender of different styles and remaining, in his essential development, linked to an eclectic and monumental style, despite the update of his works in the years 1915/20 on the stylistic themes of the Viennese Secession, he was frantically busy throughout Italy” (Alberto Perconte Licata - www. albertoperconte.it)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


1703/05 lost masterpiece by Alessandro Specchi (1668/1729) built for Clement XI Albani (1700/21)
It was obviously inspirational for Francesco De Sanctis when he conceived the Spanish Steps built in the years 1723/26
During the construction there was an earthquake in Rome which brought down two arches of the second tier of the Colosseum and the fallen blocks were used by Alessandro Specchi as building material for the port
It was unfortunately destroyed at the end of the nineteenth century to build the embankments of the River Tiber
The only remnants are the Fontana dei Navigatori (Fountain of the Navigators) and the two columns that used to adorn the staircase
“In the relatively stagnant climate at the opening of the century Specchi offers a proposal polemic, on one hand, against the official classicism - to which he opposes a revival of Borromini modules - and emblematic, on the other, of the new age for its character of friendly insert in the urban landscape. He solves brilliantly the problem of the connection between the beach and an architectural background not at all uniform: he identifies the major axis in line with the modest façade of the church of St. Jerome, and he engages on it a cylindrical wall which join two flights of descending stairs. Along these there are two extensive sets of stairs, two concave ramps to accommodate those coming from the river. The waving movement of Borromini façades is here transposed on an urban scale to get a perfect interpenetration between architecture and nature, between city and river” (Carlo Bertelli, Giuliano Briganti, Antonio Giuliano)
“Specchi has crucial importance as the first symptom of the revival of dramatic creative ambitions that characterizes the second and third decades of the century. In his dynamic and open composition there is a bold critique of the eclectic caution of his master Carlo Fontana and a protest against the waste of potential for development implicit in Borromini's inheritance, which in other parts of Europe had otherwise found fertile ground. The composition is related to the one, perhaps suggested by Bernini himself, for the Spanish Steps (...), but in its rigorous research for a plastic or linear continuity reveals a penetrating reading of the last experiences of Borromini, especially the façade of San Carlino. (...) The density of rhythm of Alessandro Specchi was unknown to the more relaxed phrasing of the previous century” (Paolo Portoghesi)


It stood on the right side going north of the ancient Via Lata (now Via del Corso) immediately south of the arches of the Aqua Virgo, in the area where the Galleria Sciarra is today
It was designed by Agrippa, begun by his sister Vipsania Polla, after whom it was named and finished by Augustus (27 BC/14 AD)
Agrippa had a great map of the empire (orbis pictus) exhibited in the building
It was adjacent to the CATABULUM (in the area where now is the church of S. Marcello) headquarters of the organization of public transport
It was maybe the CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE CURSUS PUBLICUS or the Imperial Post, which was used to cover in emergency up to 250 km (155 miles) per day (the normal average was 40 km - 25 miles - per day) using the stations for the exchange horses placed along the Roman roads
It is estimated that the Roman road network covered, in its entirety, about 80,000 km (50,000 miles), equivalent to about twice the circumference of the Earth

Monday, January 15, 2018


Arcaded square of 150 x 115 m (492 x 377 feet) probably built under Domitian (81/96) for the free distribution of grain to the people of Rome in an area previously occupied by the Villa Publica
“It was not till the year 123 BC, that the first legal provision was made for supplying the poor at Rome with corn at a price much below its market value. In that year C. Sempronius Gracchus brought forward the first Lex Frumentaria, by which each citizen was entitled to receive every month a certain quantity of wheat (triticum) at the price of 6 ⅓ asses for the modius, which was equal to 1 gallon and nearly 8 pints English (8.2 liters). (...) This was only a trifle more than half the market price (...). It must not be supposed that each person was allowed to receive as much as he pleased every month; the quantity must of course have been fixed, and was probably five modii monthly, as in later times. This quantity was only given to fathers of families; but it was not confined to the poor, as Plutarch would imply, for every citizen had a right to it, whether he were rich or poor (...); and even Piso, who had been consul, applied for his share at the distribution. It appears, however, from the anecdote which Cicero relates about Piso, that each citizen had to apply in person, a regulation which would of itself deter most of the rich” (William Smith)
The square included a preexisting TEMPLE OF THE REPUBLICAN PERIOD discovered in 1938, probably the Temple of the Nymphs, of which there are two columns of stuccoed lava stone and the brick wall of the cella that belongs to a restoration of the time of Domitian (81/96) after the fire of the year 80 AD

Sunday, January 14, 2018


It was a reconstruction of the preexisting Portico of Metellus inaugurated maybe in 131 BC, which Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonian had begun to build in 146 BC after returning from the victories against Andrisco that had won Rome the subjugation of Macedonia
It included on the left the TEMPLE OF JUNO REGINA (prostyle hexastyle), dedicated in 179 BC by the censor Lepidus
On the right there was TEMPLE OF JUPITER STATOR (peripteral hexastyle without postico, i.e. without columns on the back) the first of Rome to be built entirely in marble, work of the Greek Hermodoros of Salamis
The statues of the two gods were made by the Greek sculptors Polycles and Dionysios
After the reconstruction in the years 33/23 BC at the behest of Augustus (27 BC/14) the portico was dedicated by him to his sister Octavia and that's when it took the name of PORTICO OF OCTAVIA
It was restored in 203 AD by Septimius Severus (193/211) and by his son Caracalla (211/217), phase to which date back most of the current remains
It must have been a grand building (about 119 m - 390 feet - wide by about 132 m - 433 feet - deep) facing the Circus Flaminius and perhaps constituting a single unit with the adjacent Portico of Philip
It had a DOUBLE PORTICO on the sides and a simple FRONT PORCH with a protruding propylaeum which emphasized the entrance
Inside, in addition to the two temples, there were TWO LIBRARIES, one Greek and one Latin, and the large hall with apse CURIAE OCTAVIAE located at the back to the temples
Among the statues that adorned it:
Bronze equestrian group of thirty-four statues of Lysippus representatives of Alexander the Great and his officers who died in the battle of the Granicus River (it was located in front of the temples, between them and the Propylaea)
Bronze statue of Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi brothers, the first statue of a woman to be exhibited in public in Rome (about 100 BC), whose base is in the Capitoline Museums
Nearby (scholars do not know where exactly) was the PORTICO OF OCTAVIUS (in Latin Porticus Octavia) not to be confused with the Portico of Octavia, built in 168 BC by the orders of the consul Gnaeus Octavius
In the ruins of the portico eventually the church of S. ANGELO IN PESCHERIA was built

Friday, January 12, 2018


Gate of the Leonine Walls built at the half of the ninth century, known as SAXONUM GATE for the settlement of the Saxons, the English of Wessex, the South West of England, in this area since the beginning of the eighth century
The current gate was begun in 1543 by Antonio Cordini aka Antonio da Sangallo the Younger (1483/1546) for Paul III (1534/49), discontinued the following year due to a quarrel with Michelangelo Buonarroti on the design of fortifications and left unfinished
The CONCAVE FAÇADE is an interesting incunabulum of Baroque curves that would appear almost a century later


1644 Marcantonio de Rossi (about 1607/61) military architect, father of the architect, Bernini's assistant, Mattia De Rossi, on the site of the ancient Porta Aurelia inserted in the circle of the Aurelian Walls
It is part of the Gianicolensi Walls built in the years 1642/44 for Urban VIII Barberini (1623/44) and Innocent X (1644/55)
It was destroyed by the French bombardment of 1849 and rebuilt in 1854/57 by Virginio Vespignani (1808/82) for Pius IX-Mastai Ferretti (1646/78)
It encloses a water tank in the upper part
Inside there is the small 
Museum of the Roman Republic and of Garibaldi's Legacy
It is an educational museum concerning the events of 1849 when it was proclaimed the Roman Republic that overthrew Pope Pius IX and was ruled by a triumvirate with Giuseppe Mazzini, Carlo Armellini and Aurelio Saffi
The Roman Republic fell following the siege of Rome by the French troops of General Oudinot, which began on June 3 and ended on July 2. Here was its main front culminated in the bloody battle of June 30
The museum was renovated in 2011 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy with busts, paintings, engravings, models, memorabilia of Garibaldi and educational material divided into six sections distributed over four floors of the building:
1) Riots in 1948. The years 1848/49
2) The reform policy of Pius IX
3) Rome; Republic; come! The birth of the Republic
4) Twenty-year old heroes. The young defenders of the Republic
5) The days of the siege
6) The Constitution of the Roman Republic

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


1561/65 by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475/1564) for Pius IV Medici (1559/65), after the ancient NOMENTANA GATE of the Aurelian Walls at 75 m (246 feet) away, under which passed the ancient VIA NOMENTANA, had been walled up
Completed after Michelangelo's death by his followers Matteo Bartolani da Città di Castello (about 1527/about 1598) and Jacopo Del Duca (about 1520/1604)
“Coat of arms of Pius IV Medici” by Jacopo Del Duca with “Angels” by Nardo De Rossi, restored by Virginio Vespignani (1808/82)
The tools for barbers stylized in the decoration probably recall the profession of the Milanese family of Pius IV, namesake of the Florentine bankers
The marble was taken from the revetment of the Torre dei Conti, which in turn was taken from the Imperial Fora 
“Compared to the shrine of the Medici Chapel dating back some 40 years earlier, Michelangelo's forms have become even more complex, such as, for example, inserting a curved broken pediment in a triangular uninterrupted pediment. At the same time he shows great interest for the contrasts of texture in the composition, expressed in the smooth wall surfaces of the central part and the rough masonry of the side spans. The inventiveness he shows with the blind windows would be taken up and further developed by the seventeenth-century architects, such as Bernini and Borromini, who will owe a lot to the Roman works of Michelangelo” (Peter Murray)
1853/69 Virginio Vespignani (1808/82) who apparently was inspired by an engraving of 1568 that had to be close enough to the original plan by Michelangelo
In the niches “Statues of Sts. Agnes and Alexander” by Francesco Amadori (active in Rome 1836/67), placed by Vespignani at the will of Pius IX Mastai-Ferretti (1846/78) who wanted to remember the danger caused by the collapse of the roof's courtroom in the complex of St. Agnes, when he had visited it in 1855
The statues were damaged by shelling in 1870 and relocated here in 1929
During the skirmish on September 20, 1870 49 Italian Bersaglieri and 19 Papal soldiers were killed
In the rooms formerly used as Customs House there is the small
Historical Museum of the Bersaglieri
The Bersaglieri are a specialty corps of the Italian Army Infantry, famous for the plumed hat and to be the only military force in the world that in parades performs running and playing the trumpet
The corps was established in 1836 by Carlo Alberto of Savoy on the proposal of captain Alessandro La Marmora
The museum is currently closed for restoration
Busts of the most distinguished representatives of the Bersaglieri Corps including the “Bust of Enrico Toti (1882/1916)”, a young Roman invalid (he had a leg amputated at the pelvis) who, despite his disability, volunteered for the First World War and was killed after he hurled his crutch against the enemy
“Bust of Alessandro La Marmora” founder of the Bersaglieri Corps and two rifles that he himself had invented
Various relics including the “Original Proposition” written by La Marmora himself to get from King Carlo Alberto the establishment of the corps
Dedicated to the more than 100,000 dead of the Bersaglieri
Saber of Alessandro La Marmora and his portrait
Memorabilia, documents and memories of the campaigns of the Risorgimento from 1848 to 1866
Memorabilia relating to the colonial campaigns
Memorabilia relating to the First World War, including the gun that killed at 16 hours on November 4, 1918 at Quadrivio di Paradiso (Crossroads of Heaven), the nineteen year old lieutenant Alberto Riva di Villasanta and his riflemen, the last men to die in the war
Memorabilia relating to World War II
The museum also houses a HISTORICAL archive and a LIBRARY with material regarding, of course, the Bersaglieri Corps


The original name of this gate of the Aurelian Walls was Porta Flaminia
In the tenth century it was known as Porta di S. Valentino as the Via Flaminia passing under it leads in about 1.5 km (0.9 miles) to the Catacomb of S. Valentino venerated for centuries by pilgrims
It was called Porta del Popolo probably for the nearby church of S. Maria del Popolo built in 1099 by Pasquale II Raniero Blera (1099/1118) with a more or less voluntary subscription of the Roman people
The gate is now about 1.5 m (5 feet) above the ancient level of Rome
It was rebuilt in 1561/62 by Giovanni Lippi aka Nanni di Baccio Bigio (about 1513/68) to whom the work was subcontracted by Michelangelo Buonarroti, who had been assigned the job by Pius IV Medici (1559/65)
Four of the six columns were taken from the ancient Basilica of St. Peter
The original towers with circular bases were replaced by two massive square watchtowers and the whole building was equipped with battlements
In 1658 between the two pairs of columns were inserted by the will of Alexander VII Chigi (1655/67) the statues of “St. Peter” and “St. Paul” about 1639/52 by Francesco Mochi (1580/1654)
They had been originally made for the Basilica of St. Paul but they were refused. Since 1980 there are copies and the originals are in the Museum of Rome at Palazzo Braschi
1655 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598/1680) for Alexander VII on the occasion of the arrival in Rome of Queen Christina of Sweden celebrated in the inscription
The side arches were opened only in 1887
Near the door was found a “Measuring Stone for Customs” dating back to 175 AD, a type of measurement also found by other gates