Strolling among the surviving gems of Rome’s ancient markets

Just a short walk away from Rome’s bustling Piazza Venezia lies one of the most interesting parts of the city: the Forum Boarium. In this area, the site of ancient Rome’s cattle market, you can admire two stunning temples dating from the first and second century BC, and uncover gems in several churches nearby. I … More Strolling among the surviving gems of Rome’s ancient markets

Tales of Trastevere’s poets: Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

I first came across the Roman poet Giuseppe Gioachino Belli during nights out in Trastevere, when I used to pass his statue in the piazza dedicated to him on my way home. I was curious to discover the work of this man, so beloved in Rome, so I set out to study his dialect poetry. Belli (1791-1863) is … More Tales of Trastevere’s poets: Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

Watching the bejeweled bambino bless Rome

I first read about the Holy Bambino statue in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli when I was researching nativity scenes in Rome. Before Christmas I went to the Capitoline hill to see the little jewel-encrusted wooden statue of the baby Jesus in its chapel and discovered the miraculous events associated with it. The original … More Watching the bejeweled bambino bless Rome

A glimpse of Christmas nativity gems in Rome, Naples and Salerno

I first developed a fondness for the “presepe”, or nativity scene, when I was living in Padua aged about 10. The father of one of my best friends used to construct an elaborate mechanical crib landscape in his lobby every year around Christmas time. I remember when I first saw it, with its twinkling lights, … More A glimpse of Christmas nativity gems in Rome, Naples and Salerno

Stumbling on the fairy cottages in Rome’s Quartiere Coppedè

Last week I took a new route to see a student in northern Rome. I was wandering around the streets close to Viale Regina Margherita when suddenly I was faced with a huge building that made me feel like I had crossed into an enchanted world. Turrets and towers soared into the air, angels and … More Stumbling on the fairy cottages in Rome’s Quartiere Coppedè