Roma Aeterna–Final Chapter, More Herculaneum Scavi

In some ways, Herculaneum is a more impressive site, not in terms of size, but for its location and what is there. This site was discovered when someone was drilling a well in the early 19th century, and came across ruins. This led to the excavation of a huge section of land near the sea. Herculaneum was period in 40 plus feet of molten mud. It has taken a long time to excavate this site--- over 150 years, as with Pompeii. I some ways Herculaneum is more unspoilt, less tourists, and less … [Read more...]

Second Thanksgiving???

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for all the wonderful cartoonists who make life so much fun... like these artists. … [Read more...]

Roma Aeterna Part Nine— More Pompeii Scavi

There is so much more to see and take in at Pompeii than a few blog posts can relate. While the city seems likes a ghost town if you are there without the crush of tourists, it is still very much alive during the tourist season. Even in late Fall, Naples and environs can be warm. It was over 80F when Yuliya and I were there Oct. 23rd. I was wishing I had brought my shorts. And things were still growing. Here for example is a Pomegranate tree near the Villa of MysteriesAnd of course … [Read more...]

Bella Italia– Part Nine— St.Maria Maggiore

It was a beautiful crisp morning, Wednesday, and Yuliya and I were heading to Pompeii and Herculaneum by the fast train, but there was a famous church she wanted to see, which conveniently was right next to the train station--- Santa Maria Maggiore is the name of this multi-domed cathedral. Even the flowers were still blooming in late October...Here is a brief summary about the cathedral, which is yet another papal basilica (a church built by popes), taken from the church's … [Read more...]

Bella Italia– Part Eight (the Pantheon)

If you can read Latin, then you will know that the inscription at the top of the Pantheon says that one Marcus Agrippa made it (in the second century A.D.). Today the temple with the hole in the roof is a church, and one of the most visited churches in all of Rome. There are periodic announcements to those milling around in the inside that they should be silent and respect the holiness of the place. Marcus Agrippa would have agreed, except he built this as a temple to 'all gods' (hence pan- … [Read more...]

Bella Italia— Part Seven (Falling Arches)

Emperors liked to put their stamp on things by building things. And win they won some kind of victory, any kind of victory, they liked to put up arches on major roads so they could march through them in their victory parades. There are two prominent famous arches near the Forum and Colosseum (actually three in toto). We will consider the arch of Constantine and the arch of Titus. Now the arch of Constantine which is several centuries younger than the arch of Titus, is under heavy repair and … [Read more...]

Bella Italia– Part Six: The Pope’s Basilica

Directly behind Lateran University is the so-called Basilica of the Popes. What is even more confusing is that this is also where St. John Lateran is. This basilica is one of many many such churches in Rome. There are probably more churches per capita in Rome than in any comparably sized city in the world. Here's the impressive ceiling inside this basilica..The two largest statues in this basilica are not of Popes.... not even close. They are of Constantine and Moses! What a … [Read more...]

Roma Aeterna– Part Eight (the Forums)

There are in fact several forums in the heart of Rome, the Imperial Forum, the Julian Forum, I could go on. We will treat them all in this one post. We will start with the famous column of Trajan in the Imperial forum (113 A.D. is when it was finished), which tells the story of his victories and triumphs, round and round and round to the top.There is a lot to see in the ancient forum along the Via Sacra, or sacred way. For example there is the impressive Temple of Antonius and … [Read more...]