Vittoriano - finally
Where: Complesso del Vittoriano, Via di San Pietro
in Carcere, (tel. 066780699).
What: The sight is exceptional. The high point of
a visit, which winds through the enormous and unimagined
spaces hidden inside the very belly of the building, are
the 40-metre high terraces beneath the colonnaded attic
portico, flanked by the curved arches of the two vestibules
that frame like metaphysical vistas marvellous views over
the capital: the long axis of the Corso, the ruins of the
Forum, the walls of the Colosseum and as far as EUR, the
Congress Palace, the Aventine, the peak of Monte Mario with
its Observatory and all the domes of the city.
All this at a glance, as if by magic. Now that the terraces
have been waterproofed, the floors cleaned, the marble sealed
with elastic sealants and repairs done to the pipes draining
water which used to leak in everywhere, one can finally
admire from up close the sculptures, friezes and architecture
designed by architect Giuseppe Sacconi.
bronze equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele and the symbols
of the history of Italy: the allegories of the 14 cities
in the peninsula that were once capitals or marine republics,
the frieze inspired by Virgil's Bucolics and Georgics representing
Labour and Love of the Fatherland and, in the centre, the
statue of the goddess Roma and the allegories of the civic
values of the Italian people, four statues in marble representing
Strength, Concord, Sacrifice and Law and, in bronze, Thought
In the very centre, the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier, added
in 1924 following an initiative promoted by first world
When: Every day untill 4 o'clock pm.
Three jewels on the Celium...
Where: Celium Oratories, Piazza di S. Gregorio (tel.
0339 6135329) Entry: L. 5.000 , reduced L. 2.500.
What: For many years they have been invisible to
the public due to complex and radical restoration work.
But the three oratories of Santa Silvia, Santa Barbera and
Sant'Andrea on the Celium hill are now not only as good
as new, but can also be visited, allowing Romans a chance
to once again view the art works inside by Guido Reni, Domenichino
and Lanfranco, as well as rediscover the delights of a solitary
and out of the way hill like the Celium.
Set apart since ancient times from the Rome of power and
business, and occupied by only a few wealthy villas, the
Celium has left us with the clearest picture of early Christian
Rome, of what happened when Imperial Rome dissolved and
the city emerged as a new point of reference in Europe.
All this was mostly thanks to Pope Gregory I, an extraordinary
master of doctrine as well as civil and church organisation,
so much so that he was first dubbed 'Great' and later sanctified.
The majestic church in the centre of the Celium is dedicated
to him. It was built as a reminder of how Gregory, a member
of the great Anici family and a rightful heir of the ancient
Romans, was the man responsible for feeding a people reduced
to rags, the politician who negotiated with the Lombards,
the missionary who sent monks to Ireland and the head of
an ecumenical Church capable of settling the disputes of
France and Spain. The Pope's family residence stood to the
left and alongside the church, and it was here in the sixth
century and on Roman remains that the three oratories were
built, decorated with splendid frescoes relating the life
of Saint Peter's successor.
The chapel of Santa Barbera stands to the left. In the centre
of the room one can still find the great table where Gregory
dined daily with 12 guests and where, the story goes, a
thirteenth arrived one day, a blessed angel sent by God.
beautiful marble statue of the Pope sculpted by Nicola Cordier
stands in the apse. Frescoes on the walls by Antonio Viviani
di Urbino tell the story of the conversion of the Dutch
by monks sent by Gregory. On the right is the chapel to
Saint Silvia, Gregory's mother, containing a niche with
her portrait, also by Nicola Cordier. The beautiful frescoes
in the apse, telling the story of "The Glory of the
angel musicians", are the work of Guido Reni. But the
chapel in the centre, dedicated to Saint Andrew, contains
the greatest masterpieces. Frescoes on the left by Guido
Reni show Saint Andrew on his way to martyrdom, as well
as the saints Peter and Paul.
On the right is the flagellation of Saint Andrew by Domenichino,
while the far wall contains portraits of Saint Gregory and
Saint Sivlia by Lanfranco. This is the most striking discovery
for a visitor to the oratories: that three great artists,
leaders of different schools of Roman baroque, should have
left three masterpieces in such a small chapel far from
the city centre.
When: 9.30-12. 30, 16.00-19.00, daily, including
The body beween being and well-being...
Where: Pigorini Museum, P.zzle G. Marconi 14 (tel.
06 549521). Entry: L. 8.000, (free for under 18s and over
What: While it's only one hundred years or so since
Western medicine discovered that physical and mental well-being
go hand in hand, Eastern medicine has always recognised
the link. Especially Tibetan medicine, which studies the
mind-body relationship in the context of a third fundamental
understand how this mechanism functions, and on what scientific
basis, visit the Pignorini Ethnographic Museum's current
exhibition, "The celestial treasure: The Tibetan art
of medicine". The exhibition has been organised by
ASIA (Association for international solidarity in Asia),
in collaboration with the Luigi Pignorini National Prehistoric
and Ethnographic Museum and the Shang international institute
of Tibetan studies. The discipline of Tibetan medicine is
illustrated through traditional art, its development enriched
by its long contact with the neighbouring cultures of India
and China. The approach to scientific knowledge will enthuse
scholars of "alternative" medicines and draw sceptics
- doctors included - towards a closer understanding of the
practices and methods of treatment in those far off countries.
The exhibition will be open for approximately two months
and will include a programme of workshops and seminars by
Western and Tibetan scholars.
scholars will include ASIA president, professor Namkkhai
Norbu Rimpoche, a lecturer at the Oriental University of
Naples, president of the Shang Shung Institute and author
of numerous works on Tibetan culture and history; and professor
Fernand Meyer, director of the 'Ecole Pratique del Hautes
Etudes' in Paris and head of the French National Research
Council's project researching Himalayan culture. The Pignorini
Museum exhibition includes 58 Tibetan cloth paintings (Thang-ka),
Tibetan medical instruments and traditional objects and
works of art. In addition, 30 videos in various languages
illustrate the main aspects of Tibetan medicine and the
events which in the past have brought it into contact with
traditional science and Western sanitary techniques. Themes
discussed at meetings will include the relationship between
mind and body in medicine and a comparison of the role of
the doctor in traditional medicine and modern medicine.
Birthing practices and the approach of traditional medicine
to drugs and incurable diseases are the topics for seminars
13-14 January, while talks 20-21 January will cover development
and health policy projects run by the Italian Foreign Ministry