This is the view from my living room window in Rome. From what I can tell, it seems to be the remains of a 17th century church with sculptures on the facade of a couple of mischievous putti (“A representation of a small child, often naked and having wings, used especially in the art of the European Renaissance,” American Heritage Dictionary) pulling back curtains. Today, the building is used as a restaurant and most diners probably don’t bother to look up to see the putti or the Latin inscription announcing this is the church of Santa-Maria-in-something-or-other built in 1675.
This is what I love about Rome; it’s a city in which the ancient, relatively old, and somewhat modern have, over time, co-mingled. Everywhere in the city you run into buildings that are from the 15th, 16th or later centuries that have a supporting arch or wall from the ancient or medieval period.
I am living in the neighborhood in Rome called Trastevere, south of the Vatican. People have been living in this area of Rome since the Roman Empire and the neighborhood is a mix of narrow, winding medieval streets, and 16th and 17th century grand palazzos. Around the corner from my apartment is the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, a 12th century church with mosaics dating to that time on the façade.
There is a picturesque piazza in front of the church which during the day is busy with the comings and goings of Romans and tourists but at night it has become the gathering place of American college students celebrating the fact that there is no drinking age in Italy by hanging around and imbibing liberally of the local vino and birra and making lots of noise. (To be fair, there are also a fair amount of Italian college students hanging out around there as well). It has gotten so out of control that many Italians who lived in neighborhood have had to move because they couldn’t sleep. Others who remained organized a protest and hung white sheets out their windows calling on the mayor to do something to solve this problem. More on this here:
According to my friends who live here, the mayor responded by sending out the police in full-force which didn’t make the residents happy either because they then posted signs proclaiming that they didn’t want to live in a fascist state. Ahh, Italy.
As many of you know, I am here in Rome for four months to do research for my dissertation.
While I am here, I decided to keep a blog to keep in touch with people, share some of my photos and observations on Rome; and of course it could also serve as a great way to procrastinate from my work. Please feel free to comment on my entries or offer tips on how to take better photos or whatever.