Friday, April 12, 2013

Pizza, The Pantheon, Piazza Minerva ... and a Foot

There is no end.
There is no beginning.
There is only the passion of life.
~Federico Fellini

After hanging around Piazza Navona and visiting the churches of San Luigi dei Francesi and Sant'Ivo, I headed to the Pantheon. It's actually about a 5 minute stroll to the east. As luck would have it, my old standby (can I call it this, since I have been on two previous trips?) Pizza Zaza, is right between Navona and the Pantheon! Hurray! My stomach was growling.

On the right, where you see the sunshades, is Zaza, and just across from it, on the left, is the worlds most amazing coffee. Seriously. I mean, I haven't had every cup of coffee in the world but I just can't imagine a cappuccino being more perfect. Heaven, really. It's called Sant'Eustachio, which happens to be a church on this little Piazzetta, and is the name of the Piazzetta as well. Makes it easy. :) Oh, and Zaza uses organic ingredients, which makes the pigging out virtually guilt free!

The white "cork screw" lantern at the top/left, is once again, Borromini's Church of Sant'Ivo.

In Rome, you find your standard, round, pizzas, but you will also find places with big sheets of pizza, and they will cut off however much you want. Then they weigh it, for pricing. I just use my hands to describe how big of a piece I want. If you are Italian is fluent, and know metric weight, I'm sure there is an easier way!

On the left, we have red peppers, mushrooms, cheese and arugula ... on the right (my mouth just started salivating!) cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and pesto, with some parmigiano. O.K., I kind of want to cry now.

Around the corner ... Piazza della Rotunda and the amazing, almost 2,000 year old Pantheon. It was originally commissioned by Marcus Agrippa, but was rebuilt in about 126 AD, by the Emperor Hadrian. Well, not with his own two hands ...

Because it's been in use, since it's construction, and consecrated by the Christian church in 609, it is in fantastic condition. When I went to the Roman Forum, I tried to imagine the ruins in their original form, in this condition, with all of the amazing stonework and beautiful detail!

Can you imagine how mind blowing it must have been for out-of-towners? (It still is, but imagine being a peasant from the countryside!)

Before leaving on my trip, I did a blog post, that featured the amazing, Italian, sculptor Federico Severino. I happened upon his work, in a gallery in Positano in 2010, and was told by the gallery people, that his work was currently on display in the church of San Vitale in Rome  (which we visited before leaving the country.) 

They also told us that Federico had been commissioned to create the Stations of the Cross for the Pantheon. Can you imagine getting that commission?? Well, they were now completed, and I couldn't wait to see his new work!

I was so excited to see his work again, in person, but when I walked in, not only were there his stations of the cross, but a pulpit like the one at the Chiesa di San Vitale. Not sure if they made another, or if they'd moved it to the pantheon?

The artist is the medium between
his fantasies and the rest of the world.
~Federico Fellini

Federico Severino's Stations of the Cross ... well, 4 of them.

Realism is a bad word. 
In a sense everything is realistic.
I see no line between the imaginary and the real.
~Federico Fellini

Saint Anne and the Blessed Virgin
by Il Lorenzone

I try to imagine everyone walking around around in Roman tunics, speaking latin!

A created thing is never invented 
and is never true;
it is always and ever itself.
~Federico Fellini

When you walk out the front of the Pantheon, make a right around the side, so you are going south along the side of it, and almost immediately, you will run into Piazza Minerva. That's where I stayed on my first trip to Rome, at the Hotel Minerva.

There, in the middle of Piazza Minerva, you will see Bernini's elephant. Behind it, the Church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the only Gothic church in Rome. It's gorgeous, (which you can't tell by looking at the outside) but it was closed, as most churches are, in midday.

Elephant with Egyptian Obelisk by Bernini

Alright, I'm cheating here, since it was closed ... but I really thought you should see it! These pictures were taken back on my first trip to Rome. It was the last day of a wonderful trip, in '08. My friend, that I'd met up with, had left for the airport and the church had opened back up, in the late afternoon.

As you can see, the light was spectacular!

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Built 1280-1370; some renovations, in the 1500s and 1900s
Sisto Fiorentino and Ristoro da Campi

Below is the tomb of Saint Catherine Sienna (1347-1380), a very important and popular saint in Italy, and who died nearby. She is one of the patron saints of Italy, along with Saint Francis of Assisi.

The great early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico is buried here, as well as, Medici Popes, Leo X and Clement VII. 

Two of the masterpieces at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, are Filippino Lippi's fresco of The Assumption and Michelangelo's Christ Bearing the Cross.

On this trip however, the church was closed, and I was off to find a foot!

Looking at the facade of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, if you go along the little street, on the right side of it, a block or two ... looking to your right, you will see ..

Pie di Marmo

They found it a few hundred years ago, but never found a body. It's supposed to be Isis but I don't know they would know that.The style of sandal? Actually, this neighborhood had a temple honoring her, in Roman times. Imagine how huge the ancient statue would be, if the rest of it were there? I think it's funny they left the foot there, on the side of the road, parked like Fiat. 

It sits on a marble pedestal, which makes it about as tall as the mini cooper behind it.

Oh! On another note, I have a movie rental for you ... if you like old, Italian movies. 

I just rented I Vitelloni. It's an early Fellini film and is largely autobiographical. Because it's one of his early films, it doesn't have as much of the strange surrealism of his later work. Maybe a tiny touch of things to come.

I really enjoyed it. It's about a group of friends, and not wanting to grow up, and move on. There are some funny moments and, being a Fellini film, it's beautifully shot. There is something so fabulously stylish about a great Fellini scene, shot in black and white. Plus, there is a wonderful party scene, which makes me want to throw a theme party. 

To see more of sculptor Federico Severino's amazing work click here.

To see the Stations of the Cross up close (and the ones not shown here) click here and here.

For more pictures and history of the Pantheon, click here for the Sacred Destinations site.

For the official website of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, click here and for more info about the church in English, click here for the Sacred Destinations link.

All art is autobiographical.
The pearl is the oyster's autobiography.
~Federico Fellini

Even if I set out to make a film about fillet of sole,
it would be about me.
~Federico Fellini

Have an amazing weekend!
Blessings and light!


Japy said...

Great post. I love the potos of the doom. Greetings.

Nancy Kay said...

Oh my, your photographs are wonderful! The angles are interesting, and the composition beautiful. Thanks for the tour! I visited the Pantheon many years ago, and to see your pictures, I felt my memories being updated! Makes me want to make the trip again! The light and colors that these sculptors and artists used to their artistic advantage...simply awe-inspiring! Yes, can you imagine what a peasant must have thought when he/she saw these structures for the first time? I agree that it must have been unbelievable!

Jo said...

Magnificent photos, Lucinda!
I sometimes think you should live in Italy because it seems to be a second home to you!
The Italian food is delicious and I remember the wonderful pastries and coffee that is out of this world. Totally naughty, but nice! :-))
Thank you for sharing your trip and beautiful images. It is good to be back blogging again and catching up with you!

Gert Jan Hermus said...

Wow! Great series Lucinda! Isn't Italy just fantastic? ;-)

Special greetings from the Netherlands, Europe,

Rebecca Jerdee said...

When in Rome...such beautiful sights...and the pizza looks divine!

Candy said...

More lovely photos, Lucinda!

donna baker said...

Oh Lucinda, I do hope you have lots more to show and tell about your trip. Your knowledge and research are amazing; I try to find out as much as I can beforehand, but forget when I get there. I never saw "Minerva" and it looks so beautiful.

Victoria said...

Hi Lucinda..wowness..firstly..the opening quote..beautiful..says it all really doesn't it! Your photos are beyond beautiful..truly works of art..and your writing is brilliant..such a joy to read! yes that pizza looks to die for ha ha! Thanks for the fantastic links..and beautiful sharings..I always know it is going to be a visual journey and feast for the eyes and heart when I visit here!

jgy said...

Wow, pizzas and piazzas like that, how perfect and with amazing cappucino to top it off!!
I love the Fellini quote too about the filet of sole, and makes me feel how posts, too, are autobiography!
Thanks for sharing your journey!

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Two words Lucinda...YUM and WOW!!
My favorite is the giant foot for sure!!

Cobalt Violet said...

Thanks for all the comments
Donna, yes there will be more Italy, for sure! I still have the Palatine Hill, the Baths of Caracalla, the Vatican, more pizza ... the Protestant cemetery where Keats is buried ... and that is before I get to Assisi! :)

Cobalt Violet said...

Thanks for all the comments
Donna, yes there will be more Italy, for sure! I still have the Palatine Hill, the Baths of Caracalla, the Vatican, more pizza ... the Protestant cemetery where Keats is buried ... and that is before I get to Assisi! :)

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