The Tiburtina railroad station, the one near Piazza Bologna, was torn down about two years ago, and another took its place on November 28. The old station was on Itinerary 7 in Rome the Second Time. Not because it was of any architectural merit, but because it was the place where in October, 1943 over one thousand of Rome's Jews were put on sealed trains for shipment to Nazi concentration camps. Seventeen returned. Plaques on the station platform reminded travelers of that event of the massacre of more Jews, and other innocent people, by the Nazis at the Fosse Ardeatine. The plaques are gone--at best consigned to some remote storage facility--and unlikely to reappear.
[A reminder from Dianne - when itineraries need to change (e.g., because the station with its plaques is torn down), Updates are provided in an online document, and thru the ebook versions of Rome the Second Time. Updates can be accessed with a click on the link on the blog at right, or right here.]
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
|Ponti's La Pavoni espresso machine, 1948|
|Pirelli Tower, 1956|
Ponti's relationship with Fascism and the Mussolini regime are less than clear, but worth brief treatment. Postponing his architectural studies, he served in the Italian military on the Austrian front, emerging with the rank of Captain and as an admirer of Mussolini.
|A Richard-Ginori dessert plate, ca. 1925|
|Rotunda, Italia Pavilion, 1932|
|Mathematics Department Building, University of Rome, 1934|
Completed in 1934, the Scuola di Matematica (Mathematics Department) building on the campus of the University of Rome is more in the rationalist mode than any of his previous structures. Today, the approach to the building is lined with dense banks of trees, square-trimmed in harmony with Ponti's modernist facade, which features thin marble facing and the standard high Fascist-like entryway, though the actual doors are modest and plain. A side view (above right) reveals the building's dynamic interior structure.
|Courtyard, Mathematics Building|
A sign warns that the courtyard is not to be entered; another that loud talking in that space will disturb the learning process. Hundreds of cigarette butts between its stones reveal one of the courtyard's current functions. Two curving stairways in the courtyard seem to be there should a fire break out; we wonder if they're original.
Writing in Amate L'Architettura (1957), Ponti wrote: "Love architecture, be it ancient or modern. Love it for its fantastic, adventurous and solemn creations, for its inventions; for the abstract, allusive and figureative forms that enchant our spirit and enrapture our thoughts. Love architecture, the stage and support of our lives." Ponti's Mathematics Building--a graceful, functional stage.
Friday, November 18, 2011
It's over, but we couldn't resist showing it. And perhaps if you've read this far, our "warning, explicit material" is too late.
The pix we show are from one part of a 3-artist show earlier this Fall in Rome - Three Amigos, New York artists whose work occupied (oops, there goes that word again) very different venues. Dan Colen, here, was in Palazzo Rospigliosi, on the Quirinale hill. Colen's work, Trash, also was in the very tony - but accessible - Rome Gagosian gallery.
See this description of the palazzo and its art work.
In any event, we think Dan's artistry worked. Let the images speak for themselves, for they surely do speak.
Monday, November 14, 2011
What makes it especially troubling is that the Piazza, located in an upper-middle-class area in Rome's northeast, is often an active square on Saturday nights, a place where one finds the "movida" (the getting together of large numbers of young people).
OK, so the piazza is a mess on Sundays, and the budget won't support overtime. As everyone knows, Italy is a financial mess, and the city's no exception. As the papers often say, things are "in tilt."
In a situation such as this, would it be too much to ask the local folks who enjoy Piazza Bologna on Sundays to lend a hand and pick up the trash? With 2 or 3 people--even old people--it might take 20 minutes to make the whole piazza look respectable, 3 minutes to pick up the junk around the benches and on the paths.
Yes, it is too much to ask--in Rome, anyway. Romans have little sense of working voluntarily for the public good. If the "state" doesn't do it, it won't get done. They pay their taxes, so the thinking goes, and that's enough.
Well, it isn't enough. What stinks in Piazza Bologna isn't the trash, it's the attitude that most Romans have toward their public spaces, and toward lending a hand--voluntarily--to solve a public problem.
Bill [from Dianne- okay, Italians are not Canadians, but neither are we. You're being a bit hard on them, aren't you, Bill?]
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The mix of Russian Social Realism posters with “occupiers” on the steps of Palazzo delle Esposizioni – the State’s large art gallery on via Nazionale – caught our eye (along with the protestors) recently in Rome. The posters are ads for a blockbuster show of Russian art of the school of Social Realism (not much else was permitted) from the 1920s to 1970s.
|"Excuse us for the disruption; |
Global revolution in process"
"We want it open"
Going in with our preconceptions about “bad” Russian Social Realism, we were amazed at the variety and quality of the painting. The panels – in both Italian and English (yay!) – provide good explanations of the evolution of the art form.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
|Cousins Massimo and Emiliano at the bar|
RST loves a good party, as most of you know - and, as they say, you can too! Last month we hightailed ourselves to an event sponsored by Katie Parla (of http://www.KatieParla.com/ - and a frequent contributor to the NY Times Travel Section). We were inspired in part because the event was at one of our favorite winebars, Il Bacocco, in an off-the-tourist-track part of Trastevere. We sang Il Bacocco’s praises and showed off their creative “finger food” in an earlier blog.
Katie arranged a Lazio (the province of Rome) wine tasting, complete with several Lazio cheeses and meats as well as explanations by sommelier Hande Leimer of vinoroma. E15 a person, with part of the proceeds going to a new food charity. Katie gives the details on her blog.
A crowd of more than 30 happily bumped shoulders with each other (Il Bacocco is small), most of us primary English speakers, almost everyone full-time residents of Rome.
|A good time being had by all|
Even if you’re temporarily in Rome, if you have a chance, hook up with one of Katie’s events (she held one in NYC recently also). Or if you’re just a foodie (we’re not, but she almost makes us want to be), her blog is for you. She alternatively waxes eloquent and is brutal in critiquing Rome's restaurants. Click on the Events tab to see what’s coming up.
And Hande does personal wine tastings and food tours in Rome (e.g. her "My Italians" session is Euro 50 per person and sells out regularly).
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The delivery guys wore long burgundy coats (all the better to hide the bloodstains) with hoods, the latter to shield them from the cold and clammy meats that inevitably press against their heads.