Thursday, January 30, 2020


Via Claudia/Piazza Ss. Giovanni e Paolo

Begun in the year 54 AD for Agrippina, wife of Claudius (41/54) immediately after the death of the emperor

Partially demolished and turned into a monumental nymphaeum by the son of Agrippina, Nero (54/68), who included it in his Domus Aurea
Vespasian (69/79) had it rebuilt after the death of Nero

It stood on a great rectangular platform of 180 x 200 m (590 x 660 feet) supported by retaining walls, still partly visible

From the Forma Urbis we know that the temple was prostyle hexastyle with three columns on the sides
The rest of the area, maybe surrounded by a portico, was occupied by a garden


Via della Caffarella

Second century AD, mausoleum shaped as a temple considered to be the tomb of Annia Regilla wife of Herod Atticus (101/177)

Herodes Atticus was a wealthy Athenian chosen by Antoninus Pius (138/161) as tutor to his adopted children Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus and charged with the killing of his wife Annia Regilla who had brought him a dowry of properties on the Appian Way

After being acquitted he gave himself to blatant manifestations of mourning

The name of the building derives from the mistaken identification with the temple of the “Return” the divinity that would have forced Hannibal to go back


Viale delle Mura Aurelie 4

1848. Small temple by Gaetano Morichini with statue of “St. Andrew” by Carlo Aureli pupil of Antonio Canova for Pius IX Mastai Ferretti (1846/78)

It was built to commemorate the place where the relic of the head of St. Andrew was found. It had recently been stolen from St. Peter's Basilica

The relic of the head of St. Andrew was donated in 1966 by Pope Paul VI Montini (1963/78) to the Greek city of Patras as a gesture of detente toward the Orthodox Church. The relic of the rest of the body of St. Andrew is located in the Cathedral of Amalfi

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Piazza Costaguti

Built in 1759 as a small church with the name of S. MARIA DEL CARMELO used for Christian sermons forced on the Roman Jews who often would fill up their ears with wax so not to hear

1825 restoration for the rich Fratellini family, grocers who lived near the Ghetto

“It is inspired by the portico of S. Maria della Pace. It represents an evolution of the monumental shrines that besides being an object of devotion, ensured the night lighting because they were provided with lights that were kept always on. The image of the Virgin Mary is, in this case, placed in a chapel that would have the function of a church” (Alessandra Bartomioli)

It was a member of the Order of Carmelites, the Englishman St. Simon Stock, to create the feast of Our Lady, which was called del Carmine (of Mount Carmel), the most common form of the term Carmel, the mountain range of Palestine where monks following the example of the Prophet Eli used to live

Tradition has it that on the Carmel mountain range Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251

“For years, the agency Italia Nostra is fighting for its recovery, but every attempt of the Superintendent was blocked by the impossibility to access the building. The last occupant was a shoemaker, who was renting it from a mysterious owner. Before he died, in the seventies, he left the keys to a un unknown person. Now the temple has its rusty iron door tightly closed. There are two people who say they are renting it from a mysterious owner who had emigrated to Israel. But research conducted in Israel by the Superintendent to find him came to nothing. In the solution of the mystery, is now engaged the architect Arianna Cajano, who is about to begin a procedure called in legal jargon 'intervention in place', whereby the restoration of the monument will proceed and then the costs will be charged to the owner. If he will not turn up, the Temple will become public property” (Lauretta Colonnelli - Corriere della Sera - 16 January 2001)
The restoration was actually executed and the temple was entrusted to the Jewish community in Rome


Via del Teatro Valle 21

1726/27 Tommaso Morelli (active first half of the eighteenth century) for the Marquis Camillo Capranica and for Domenico Valle who, although he was called Valle, did not give the name to the theater, which was named for the place called “alla valle” (on the valley), the ancient STAGNUM AGRIPPAE on which it was built

The original building was made of wood

Restored 1820/22 by Giuseppe Valadier (1762/1839) with the neoclassical FAÇADE and Giuseppe Camporese (1763/1822) who was the project manager
A collapse in the stage, however, made Valadier drop out of favor and he was replaced by Gaspare Salvi (1786/1849)

Here were held premieres of operas by Gioachino Rossini Demetrio e Polibio and Cenerentola (Cinderella), as well as the premieres of four operas by Gaetano Donizetti and various drama works by Gabriele D'Annunzio as well as Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello
It is the oldest of the Roman theaters still active


Lungotevere Tordinona - distrutto

1670 Carlo Fontana (1634/1714) for Queen Christina of Sweden

It was better known as TEATRO APOLLO (Apollo Theater)
It was demolished in 1888 to build the embankments of the Tiber River

It was the first ever theater in Rome where women acted in 1798
Here were held the world premiere of Giuseppe Verdi's operas Trovatore and Un ballo in maschera
A commemorative plaque of 1925 by Cesare Bazzani (1873/1939) recalls these events

Monday, January 27, 2020


Via Sistina 128/131

1948/49 Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960) on the area of the destroyed church of S. Francesca Romana (St. Frances of Rome)

The capacity is about 1,600 seats

The first show was a musical comedy with the Italian comedia Totò
Among the international artists who performed in this theater: Louis Armstrong, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, Dionne Warwick and Woody Allen

Since 2003, the Teatro Sistina has been recognized by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture as Teatro Stabile (permanent Theater) for Italian Musical Comedy

“The popularity of the Teatro Sistina arises mainly due to the never-ending activities of Garinei and Giovannini who, in 46 years of management, have given to the theater (not only Italian) masterpieces as Aggiungi un Posto a Tavola (Add a Place at the Table), Rugantino, Il Giorno della Tartaruga (The Day of the Turtle), shows performed in over 45 countries worldwide and translated into 16 languages” (Official website of the Teatro Sistina -


Via della Mercede 50

It opened in 1882 in the ground floor of an existing building at the behest of the architect Andrea Busiri Vici (1818/1911) who commissioned the decoration of the interior to Alessandro Bazzani

Expansion in 1890 by Giulio Podesti (1857/1909). At the time there were 650 seats

It was used for operettas, plays or concerts
The use as a theater for drama or music and as a theater for movies has alternated over the years: in 1913 it was transformed into a cinema by Attilio Spaccarelli (1890/1975)

In 1928 it became a theater for drama again and took the name of SALA UMBERTO in honor of King Umberto I (king of Italy 1878/1900)

From 1930 onwards it was again used as cinema until 1981 when the representations of drama came back again after the restoration
In 1991 it became a cinema again and, since 2002, it has been a theater for auteur comedy with a capacity of 485 seats


Via S. Chiara 14

1874 Virginio Vespignani (1808/82)

Here were represented mainly shows in Roman dialect
It was closed in 1886 and reopened in 1950 by the will of Checco Durante, poet and actor who used to express himself in Roman dialect, and who directed the theater

Since 1990 the direction passed to Alfiero Alfieri, another talented actor specialized in Roman dialect
The theater originally had 600 seats, now reduced to 200 and it was renamed TEATRO ROSSINI - RENATO RASCEL in 2005

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Via delle Vergini 7

Originally built in 1871 almost entirely in wood

Designed by Giulio De Angelis (1850/1906) for Prince Maffeo Sciarra
It was the first theater to be built in Rome after it became capital of Italy

1882/95 masonry structure also designed by Giulio De Angelis (1850/1906)

“Giulio De Angelis acquired a position of absolute, unquestionable originality in the architecture of the first decades of Rome, the new capital of Italy. He proved himself to have an independent and peculiar temperament – and to have mastery of the most advanced construction techniques, linked to the industrial production of his time” (Giuseppe Miano - Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

1889 rebuilding and expansion in Neo-Renaissance style by the architect Belloli and the engineer Moraldi

1915 renovation and expansion by Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960)

Restored in 1954 also by Marcello Piacentini and again in 1980 by Enrico Nespega
Here were represented some world premieres of works by Luigi Pirandello, winner of the Nobel prize for literature in 1934, and here the Italian comedian Ettore Petrolini gave his farewell to the stage


Via del Teatro Marcello

Begun by Julius Caesar and finished by Augustus (27 BC/14)

Probably completed in 17 BC when it was used for the so called secular games, but the dedication took place only in 13 or in 11 BC, when it was named after Marcellus (42/23 BC), nephew and son-in-law of Augustus who died at age 19
Marcellus was the son of Augustus' sister, Octavia, and the husband of the daughter of Augustus, Giulia

The theater was built on the site where the provisional theater used to be erected in the Republican period

In order to build the theater two temples were destroyed, maybe the TEMPLE OF PIETAS and the TEMPLE OF DIANA later reconstructed at the center of a large exedra behind the stage

In 23 BC Vespasian (69/79) restored the stage

Capacity of about 15,000/20,000 spectators
Originally the height was about 32.60 m (107 feet), the current height is about 20 m (65 feet)

Palazzo Orsini Savelli

Orsini Savelli Palace

Structure built above the Theater of Marcellus since the Middle Ages for the Pierleoni family, Jews converted to Christianity, one of whom became antipope with the name of Anacleto II (1131/38) in opposition to Innocent II Papareschi (1130/1143)

This happened during the period of the turf war between the Pierleoni and the Frangipane families, the most powerful ones in Rome at the time

The presence here of the Pierleonis was perhaps the reason why many Jews were forced to move from the Trastevere neighborhood to this area, which later became the Jewish Ghetto

Current building 1523/27 by Baldassare Peruzzi (1481/1536) for the Savelli family. The line of the family ended in the eighteenth century
The palace was sold to the Orsini family in 1716 and it was finally divided into luxury apartments


Via Nazionale 183 a

1901 as outdoor arena with the name of Apollo
Rebuilt 1906/10 masonry

“They were very advanced technical solutions adopted and the coverage of the room is probably the first built in Rome with reinforced concrete structures” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

Interior completely renovated with rationalism in the years 1936/38 by Luigi Piccinato (1899/1984)
The stage was installed a rotating sector of 11 m (36 feet) in diameter, the first of its kind in Italy

Modernization in 1982 by Giancarlo Capolei with reduction to 956 seats
Between the Teatro Eliseo and the Teatro Piccolo Eliseo there are EX-STORES ROVATTI 1901 with cast iron and reinforced concrete structures

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


Largo di Torre Argentina/Campo de' Fiori/Via del Sudario/Via di S. Anna

61/55 BC for the consul Pompey

Restored in the year 32 BC for Augustus (27 BC/14) who had the curia sealed and walled in and moved the statue of Pompey behind the scene

Restored again for Domitian (81/96), Diocletian (285/305) and Maximian (286/305) associated with Diocletian

It was the first theater in masonry in Rome
Diameter of the auditorium 160 m (525 feet)
The capacity was up to 17,580 spectators

The scene had large statues of the Muses with Apollo, five of which still existing in the Louvre, the National Museum of Naples and in the courtyard of Palazzo Borghese
At the center there were two groves of sycomore trees bordered by lines of fountains

On top of the auditorium there was the TEMPLE OF VENUS VICTRIX opened in 52 BC and corresponding to the modern Palazzo Pio Righetti
Behind the scene there was the huge PORCH of about 180 x 135 m (590 x 443 feet)

On the side of the porch opposite to the theater there was a great big rectangular exedra known as CURIA OF POMPEY that was used as a Curia for Senate meetings. There was a statue of Pompey

In the Curia of Pompey Julius Caesar was killed on March 15, 44 BC
Traces of the Curia are visible in the sacred area of Largo Argentina

In the Passetto del Biscione, so named for the remains of paintings with columns, swags and putti
Known from 1291. Deconsecrated


Via delle Botteghe Oscure/Via Paganica/Via dei Funari

13 BC for Lucius Cornelius Balbus the Younger

The theater was built with the proceeds of his triumph over the Garamantes (Africans) of the year 19 BC
Lucius Cornelius Balbus the Younger was the last one not of imperial family to celebrate a triumph

The theater was damaged by the fire of the year 80 AD

It is the third and smallest theater in the Campus Martius
According to the Regional Catalogues it contained 11,510 spectators

The diameter is 90 m (295 feet)

In the middle there was a temple, maybe the TEMPLE OF VOLCANO IN THE CAMPUS MARTIUS
The space behind the stage was occupied by Balbi’s Crypt


Piazza Beniamino Gigli 7

1878/80 Achille Sfondrini for Domenico Costanzi who was owner of the land was the impresario until his death

Restored radically in the years 1926/28 by Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960)

Further restoration in the years 1957/60 with FAÇADE also by Marcello Piacentini
Bronze relief on the façade “Five Muse” by Luigi Scirocchi

Among the world premiere of operas held in this theater: Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and Tosca by Giacomo Puccini

FRESCO IN THE DOME by Annibale Brugnoli (1843/1915)

The LAMP is considered the largest in the world with a diameter of 6 m (20 feet), height of 3.5 m (11.5 feet), volume of 36 cubic meters and weighing more than 3,000 pounds (473 stones)
It was made in Murano and it is a masterpiece of glass art
It is thoroughly cleaned every five years


Via Merulana 244

1913/16 Carlo Sacconi

The original name was Teatro Morgana Morgana Theater
It has a capacity of 1,400 seats

It was later used as a cinema, as variety hall and for concerts
Among the artists who performed there, there were Louis Armstrong, Paul Anka and the Italian comedian Totò

In 1968 here performed The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and in 1971 Jethro Tull
It was again used as a theater since 1978

From 2001 to 2007 the art direction was entrusted to the actor Gigi Proietti with great success
In 2011 here were performed the musicals Beauty and the Beast and Mamma Mia but for lack of spectators the theater had to close

Monday, January 20, 2020


Largo di Torre Argentina 52

Opened in 1732 and designed by the Marquis Girolamo Theodoli (1677/1766) for Duke Giuseppe Sforza Cesarini

In 1826 were added LOBBY, FOYER and FAÇADE (hitherto missing) by Pietro Holl (1780 / 1855-56)

In 1843 it was bought by Prince Alessandro Torlonia

Renewal in the years 1859/61 by Nicola Canevari

In 1869 it passed to the City of Rome for 100,000 scudi

Total reconstruction 1887/88 by Gioacchino Ersoch (1815/1902)

The restoration of 1926 by Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960) and the restoration of the years 1967/71 have almost completely cleared Ersoch’s reconstruction
The restoration of 2011/12 have given back the original soft color to the façade

In 1816 here was performed the world premiere of the opera The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini which ended in a fiasco
Already for the second performance the success was huge and the public went to Rossini’s house Rossini to celebrate after the show. The composer disappointed by the premiere had not gone to the theater and, hearing the uproar, at first he was afraid that people were coming there to beat him up

The Teatro Argentina was also the venue of the world premieres of the works by Giuseppe Verdi I Due Foscari in 1844 and La Battaglia di Legnano in 1849, the latter during the revolutionary period of the Roman Republic at the presence of the national heroes Giuseppe Garibaldi and Goffredo Mameli
From the first half of the twentieth century prose was staged in this theater

Sunday, January 19, 2020


Piazza Cavour 22

1898 Luigi Rolland (about 1898/1914), Belgian architect, father of Luigi Moretti

He used reinforced concrete, a new technique at the time
The theater was mainly used for opera

From 1936 to 1950 were held here the concerts of the Academy of St. Cecilia and later it was transformed into a double movie theater

In 1965 here played the Beatles
In 1999 it was transformed into a MULTIPLEX CINEMA


Corso Vittorio Emanuele II/ Largo Ottavio Tassoni

Temple on the Campus Martius near the present Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II (Victor Emmanuel II Bridge) dedicated to Dis and Proserpina revered underground on an altar that was dug up for each ceremony

Here also took place the Ludi Saeculares (Secular Games) about every century (110 years)

Near, perhaps along Via Giulia, was the TRIGARIUM land reserved for horse racing in trighe until 500 BC and for the rites of the Equus October that consisted of a run, with the sacrifice of one of the winning horses and of a competition between Sacravienses and Suburani, the inhabitants of two ancient neighborhoods of Rome

On today's Via del Banco di Santo Spirito near the church of Sts. Celsus and Julian was the ARCH OF GRATIAN (367/383), VALENTINIAN II (375/392) and THEODOSIUS (379/395) dating to about 379/383
Corresponding with the PONS NERONIANUS (Bridge of Nero) was the ARCH OF ARCADIUS (395/408), HONORIUS (395/423) and THEODOSIUS about 406, built after the victory of Stilicho at Pollentia on the year 405


Via Flaminia 122

1801/1810 Giuseppe Valadier (1762/1839) for Stanislaw Poniatowski grandson of the last king of Poland, Stanisław II August, born Stanisław Poniatowski (1732/98)

The building was the stable of the nearby Villa Poniatowski
It was originally made of a single plan but was raised with an additional plan and converted into a studio by the Spanish painter and engraver Mariano Fortuny Marsal (1838/74) who shared it with his pupil Attilio Simonetti

Saturday, January 18, 2020


Piazzale della Stazione Tiburtina

1939 Angiolo Mazzoni Del Grande (1894/1979)

Grand and modern restructuring largely completed in 2012 by ABDR Associates Architects directed by Paolo Desideri
The new bold and remarkable structure is not yet fully used
It is the second railway station in Rome and it is dedicated to Count Camillo Benso di Cavour

SOME FIGURES that give an idea of the magnitude of this station:

50,000 m² (12.3 acres) of surface
4,000 m² (1 acre) of land for the primary services of the station
36,000 m² (8.9 acres) of areas of secondary services, technical and connective
7,000 m² (1.7 acres) of exterior glazing
10,000 m² (2.5 acres) of commercial areas
140,000 visitors a day
1,100 parking spaces of which 430 covered
20 tracks
29 lifts and hoists
52 escalators

“The gallery, free minimum width of 10 meters, is characterized by the presence of suspended volumes (volumi sospesi, VOS) and is dotted with pillars supporting the roof. The environmental comfort of the large space of the gallery is guaranteed by the use of bioclimatic devices that, in addition to reducing energy consumption and, therefore, operating costs, limit the use of a system of forced ventilation and air conditioning. Microclimate thus obtained will be characterized, consistent with its nature of space for passage, by an attenuation of feeling hot or cold compared to the outside (...). The ‘volumes’ (VOS) suspended within the large gallery, characterize the space, building with their reach toward the central area, those suggestions that are typical of a public space, especially when this is both a railway station, a commercial space, and a kind of urban street, able to connect two parts of the city” (Official website of the Italian Railway


Piazza dei Cinquecento

1862/63 with the name Stazione Centrale delle Ferrovie Romane (Central Station of the Roman Railways)

In the sixteenth century in this area had been built the Villa Montalto-Peretti owned by Cardinal Felice Peretti, later Pope Sixtus V (1585/90)
The villa was later acquired by the Massimo family, who gave it to the Papal State just when the construction of the train station was being planned, and, as a result, the villa was demolished

The station was built in conjunction with the opening of the rail link from Rome first to Ceprano and later to Napoli

1868/74 by Salvatore Bianchi (1821/84) for a city of just 200,000 inhabitants

After switching to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, the works suffered several interruptions and slowdowns

The decision was made to build a central station for Roma in this area, despite it would have had more sense to build a station for each line, such as Paris or London
The first two railway lines of the Papal States had in fact the last stops in the Porta Maggiore (the Rome-Frascati, 1856) and in Porta Portese (the Rome-Civitavecchia, 1859, later extended to Pisa). There were also existing projects for the Rome-Ceprano and Rome-Ancona

However, it was decisive the influence of the powerful Belgian Monsignor Francesco De Merode who had interests in the Termini area and in the current Via Nazionale, the street that him himself planned

The Master Plan of 1931 included two main stations in Rome: one in the north, on Campo Parioli where later the Olympic Village was built, and one in the south in the area of Casilino Mandrione. The two stations would have connected by a tunnel and Termini would have been a transit underground station
It was an idea that, with hindsight, was not so bad and would have avoided the huge wound of the railroad tracks that cuts the center of Rome
But then in 1936 it was decided to organize the Universal Exhibition and, with the new idea of developing Roma towards the sea, it was decided to have Termini as the only main station

Begun in 1938 with the sides longer than 2 km (1.2 miles) by Angiolo Mazzoni Del Grande (1894/1979)

“Angiolo Mazzoni Del Grande always tried new ways of expression, up to level of the heterogeneous language that defiled the rationalist lexicon with a rich materiality that Marinetti called futurist, but that demonstrates the need to meet the demands of the administration of which he was a dependent, in some circumstances, the result of mediation in situations of discord among its stakeholders, particularly complex and evident in the events related to the history of the important railway junctions of Florence, Rome and Venice” (Alessandra Capanna – Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani Treccani)

Front building
1947/50 designed by two groups of architects joint winners of the competition: the one of Leo Calini (1903/85) and Eugenio Montuori (1907/82) and that of Massimo Castellazzi (1901/77), Vasco Fadigati (1902/?), Achille Pintonello (1902/?) and Annibale Vitellozzi (1902/90)

The building is 53 m long (174 feet) and the huge CANTILEVER ROOF extends for 19 m (63 feet) to the outside with a bold technical solution. It is nicknamed the dinosaur
Bas-relief 1951 by the Hungarian artist Amerigo Tot (1909/84)

“The front building remains one of the most interesting works in the Italian post-war and it is a concrete testimony of the renewal effort that architectural culture had undertaken in those years” (Piero Ostilio Rossi)

Termini Station was renovated in 2000 and a huge shopping mall was opened in the basement

It is the first train station in Italy and the second in Europe after the Gare du Nord in Paris for number of passengers
It has been figured out that every day about 480.000 people enter this train station, as mentioned on the official Stazione Termini web site

The building is located on the former site of a popular quarter of the second century AD

The frescoes found during construction are now exposed on the top floor of the nearby archaeological museum of Palazzo Massimo
At the side of the front building and inside the station itself are visible sections of the ancient Servian Walls


Piazzale dei Partigiani

1938/39 Roberto Narducci for Hitler's visit to Rome in 1938
The station was finally completed in 1940

High relief on the façade of the right propylaeum “Bellerophon with the winged horse Pegasus” 1940 by Francesco Nagni (1897/1977)

The FLOOR includes mosaics in black and white with images linked to the history of Rome
Roberto Narducci specialized in projects for post offices throughout Italy, but especially in railway stations. He was also in charge of the reconstruction of many railway stations after the destructions of World War II

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Piazzale Ostiense

1920/23 Marcello Piacentini (1881/1960)

He abandoned the secessionist influence of his previous works and he designed here a kind of rural architecture

“Piacentini was inspired by two main ideas: the sea and classical antiquity. Besides, at that time the area was still almost in the country: there were only some monuments such as the Pyramid and, beyond it, Aventine and Testaccio hills. From the outside the station looks like an archaic temple, with its four pillars to support the pediment. And then the false fragments of sarcophagi and bas-reliefs with heads of the Gorgons, embedded in the outer walls. But the new railway was leading to the sea and he had to quote, that starting from the palm trees, planted at the beginning of the tracks. And then the decorations: on the ceiling crabs and flowers with petals of shells. And at the entrance three panels as graffiti on lime imitate the ancient mosaics of Ostia and those of the Villa of Pliny in Castel Fusano and have as subject marine mythological scenes: in one of them, two men have just caught a mermaid weeping. And yet nymphs and seahorses, in addition to Neptune and Poseidon. A sister station in Ostia was destroyed by bombing of World War Two” (Esther Palma - Corriere della Sera of 25 October 2004)


Piazzale della Stazione del Vaticano - Città del Vaticano

1929/33 Giuseppe Momo (1875/1940), architect of the Reverenda Fabbrica di S. Pietro, the Reverend Factory of St. Peter

“Giuseppe Momo was a professional expert also in technical and structural issues, destined to become the architect of the dramatic transformation of Vatican City. (...) His approach to formal problems, after a brief period when he followed the Liberty style, was marked by a strong eclecticism. It's pretty amazing his ability to move competently in architectural repertoire inherited from past eras, choosing from time to time with ease and without privileging any period, the building type best suited to solving problems effectively present for the function and history of the sites, for the technical innovations and, not least, for the symbolic importance of these buildings” (Daniela Fonti)

Marble reliefs and sculptures “Thought” and “Action” by Edoardo Rubino (1871/1954)
The sumptuous marble decoration of the interior was designed for the meetings that the pope should have had welcoming his guests, but that actually never happened

Inside “Four huge black monolithic columns “ from the Apuan Alps

It was used for passenger traffic only on very few occasions and much more for freight traffic although now even that is reduced to zero

The first pope to use the station Vatican was John XXIII (1958/63), on October 4, 1962, for his pilgrimage to Loreto and Assisi, on the eve of the Ecumenical Council

John Paul II (1978/2005) despite having traveled by train many times around the world, used the Vatican station only once, on January 24, 2002 to reach Assisi in a special pilgrimage together with representatives of the various religions of the world for the Day of Prayer for world peace

It has been several years that the building has been divided into three floors and transformed in the DEPARTMENT STORE OF THE VATICAN where are sold apparel products and leather high fashion, expensive watches, perfumes, computers and even alcohol and cigarettes, all with prices at least 20% lower than in Italy, since there are no taxes to be paid in the Vatican
Only employees of the Vatican and members of the clergy can shop in this store and, a short distance, they can also get gas at the GAS PUMP OF THE VATICAN where they save about 25% compared to Italy



Also known as Congresso degli Arguti (Congress of the Smart People)

Common people used to hung on these statues messages known as pasquinate (lampoons), from Pasquino, the statue that started the tradition, a sort of today's “blog” that gave voice to the opposition to the regime

Abate Luigi

Abbot Luigi
Piazza Vidoni

“Man wearing a Toga” of the late Imperial period moved to Piazza Vidoni after the demolitions for the opening of Corso Vittorio Emanuele II


Via del Babuino 51

“Silenus” (or maybe the Sabine god Fidio Sanco) placed in 1576 on Via del Babuino (which took its name from the statue) at No. 51 for Pope Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85)

Set in a rustic setting in 1738 for the Boncompagni Ludovisi family
In 1878 it was removed but it was reinstated in 1957
It was so famous that the “lampoons” hung here were called “babuinate”


Via del Corso 307

“Water carrier with barrel” on the left side of Palazzo De Carolis
It dates from the time of Gregory XIII Boncompagni (1572/85), although it is erroneously attributed to Michelangelo by popular tradition

Madama Lucrezia

Madame Lucretia
Piazza S. Marco

The name may come from Lucrezia d'Alagno, friend of Alfonso of Aragon and Paul II Barbo (1464/71) who commissioned the nearby Palazzo Venezia
It's actually a giant statue of “Goddess Isis” found in the Isei Campensis, the ancient temple dedicated to Isis and placed in Piazza Venezia in about 1500 by the Cardinal Lorenzo Cybo


Piazza del Campidoglio

Colossal reclining statue of “Ocean” of the first century AD found in the Forum and now in the courtyard of the Palazzo Nuovo of the Capitoline Museums


Piazza di Paquino

Maybe “Menelaus with the body of Patroclus” or “Ajax with the body of Achilles” Roman copy from the original of about 200 BC found on Via del Parione in 1501
It was perhaps part of the decoration of the Stadium of Domitian, and it was placed in Piazza Pasquino by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa

It took its name from that of a judgmental and talker tailor who lived nearby and who had recently died
It is the only one of the talking statues that continues to speak today

Among the many lampoons, whose authors were authoritative intellectuals, there was the one on the occasion of the excommunication by Pope Innocent X Pamphili (1644/55) for anyone who had smoked tobacco, a novelty recently imported from the New World, in the Basilica of St. Peter

“On the neck of the famous statue was hung a sign with Latin verses saying: 'You exercise your power against a leaf blown away by the wind and you pursue a dry straw’. The pope wanted to know the author, and Pasquino 'said': 'Job, 13, 24'; it was indeed verses from the Holy Scriptures. Even the pope promised a prize to the author, but since some time before the person responsable for a reckless lampoon against the sister of Pope Sixtus V had a bad end, this time the author was careful not to be discovered and made Pasquino answer : 'Free of charge. Don’t worry about it…’'“ (Italo De Tuddo)