Pedaling through the cycle paths of Rome – Cristina Galardini’s Vlog.
As always, if you haven’t seen the previous episode, here’s the link.
Where we were? We leave the elegant Piazza di Spagna to discover the most visited monument in Rome. Almost 9 million visitors from around the world, Pantheon the temple wanted by Augusto and restored by Adriano attracts crowds of fans. Before it played “the throne of swords” of the Capitoline culture with the Colosseo, but now it outclassed “the house of gladiators”.
The Pantheon consecrated to the Worship of all the Gods, was built by the Emperor Adriano from 118 to 125 A.D. changing an older temple built by General Agrippa in honor of Augusto from 27 to 25 B.C. but kept the original dedicatory inscription. The traditional facade, with columns surmounted by a pediment, hides a large cylindrical body covered by an extraordinary dome (the largest ever made of brike).
The exceptional diameter of more than 43 meters corresponds exactly to the height from the ground of the summit. Ideally proposing a perfect sphere with a clearly symbolic reference to the celestial sphere.
The peculiarity of this dome, larger of 43.30 meters in diameter than the Basilica di San Pietro, is that it was built in concrete; More it climbs, more its material rosettes become smaller and light until the end with a striking hole. The top of the Pantheon’s dome was left open for two reasons: a technique, and a religious one. The hole served to lighten the weight of the enormous structure but also represented the eye which the Gods could watch over human beings.
Even if the Pantheon has a dome eye, when it rains, the water doesn’t enter, is it true? A few steps doing a zigzag among the people, we arrive in another famous monumental square of Rome.
Piazza Navona is a symbol of Baroque Roma, with architectural and sculptural elements by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi which represents in the center of the square, the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio della Plata, the four corners of the Earth), Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi (the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, in front of Bernini’s fountain) and Pietro da Cortona (author of the frescoes in the gallery of Palazzo Pamphilj).
The legend about the rivalry between Bernini and Borromini suggests that: two of the four statues of Fontana dei fiumi by Bernini wanted to grant special protection against the work of the opponent: the Nile has a bandage on the head to escape the unhappy vision and Rio della Plata hand stretched out to shelter from the impending collapse of the church.
But the belief is unfounded because the fountain was built before the church, while the Nile has head blindfolded because at the time the springs of the river had not yet been discovered.
The statue of Santa Agnese on the facade of the church has a posture that opens to several interpretations, one of which is the hand on the chest, with the expression of the face, is a sign of bewilderment.
Piazza Navona was built in monumental style by the Pamphili family with the typical shape of an ancient stadium, at the behest of Pope Innocenzo X (Giovanni Battista Pamphili). It was 265 meters long, 106 meters wide and could accommodate 30,000 spectators.
We leave the square to go to one of the oldest Roman markets, Campo de’ fiori. Perhaps the oldest ever in the city since already in 1869 Campo de’ Fiori was at the center of the trade of “vignarole”, ladies who came every day from the countryside with their herbs and vegetables and often “capavano” (i.e. cleaned) directly in the square.
The market of Campo de’ Fiori at the beginning of its history was a place of almost exclusive for fruits and vegetables, then over the time had been added the stalls of meat, flowers and fish.
On this square there were many extraordinary characters inspired by Mario Bonnard, Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli and Aldo Fabrizi.
At war still in progress, Tullio Pinelli and Aldo Fabrizi wrote the love story from Peppino (Fabrizi) and Elide (Anna Magnani), who between commercial competition and fierce jokes end up falling in love.
Not far from Campo de’ Fiori we will reveal the secret of the Roman slang: “Cercà Maria pe’ Roma.” We are at Passetto del Biscione a small passage that has over 2000 centuries of history.
In this place in Roman times there was the theater of Pompey and in medieval times the churches of Santa Barbara dei Librai and San Salvatore in Arco. In this last church, right now knowing as Santa Maria in Grottapinta, there was an icon depicting the Madonna of Divine Providence.
The expression “Cercà Maria pe’ Roma” refers precisely to the difficulty of finding in Roma that icon of Maria.