Sunday, 17 March 2013

Rome


A four day trip to Rome is enough time to exhaust yourself but woefully inadequate to see much of the Eternal City. However, we managed to fit in at least two churches and two museums each day as well as a splendid exhibition of Titian's paintings, a hike across the Borghese Park and a stroll round the Trastevere district with its quaint little alleys and squares. Of course, anyone walking around Rome comes across piazza after piazza, fountain after fountain - and all decorated with enormous baroque statues. Then there are the mighty columns and the obelisks. I gave up counting those - but it seems an obelisk was the must-have souvenir for any Roman general of the classical period. Add to this the antique ruins and the palaces of many styles and ages and you have a mix that is special to Rome. 

And the streets are mostly cobbled....

Perhaps that is why my favourite discovery was the splendid Garden frescoes from the Villa of Livia. They are on display in the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. In about 30 BC, Livia, wife of Augustus, decorated her dining room with these garden frescoes to give the impression of being outdoors. In the fierce summer heat, they created a feeling of coolness. They are wonderfully fresh and soothing, even today.