Ancient vs Contemporary Rome..

Good evening and have a nice week everyone!

Last Sunday i had a short trip to Rome to visit Stephania! On my last day there i met my classmates and our history professor along with a friend of his who is a specialist in early modern architecture, specifically Italian and Roman, who guided us through some very important monuments.

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Our appointment was at The Fountain of Moses which is a monumental fountain located in the Quirinale District. It marked the terminus of the Acqua Felice aqueduct restored by Pope Sixtus V. It was designed by Domenico Fontana and built in 1585-88. Then we went at Santa Maria della Vittoria church which is famous for the masterpiece of Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the Cornaro Chapel, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. Next stop the amazing San Carlino alle Quattro Fontane church by the architect Francesco Borromini. A masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill. A few meters away is situated the Palazzo Barberini which houses the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica. Both Borromini and Bernini designed some parts of the palace, my favorite is the helicoidal staircase by Borromini.

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The Fountain of Moses

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Ecstasy of Saint Teresa

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San Carlino’s dome

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San Carlino’s cloister

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Staircase at San Carlino

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Borromini’s helicoidal staircase at Palazzo Barberini

A quick stop for lunch and then we headed towards the unique Pantheon, definitely one of the most famous and important ancient buildings of the world. The interior design of the Roman Pantheon is a striking synthesis of tradition and innovation. The dimensions of the interior height and the diameter of the dome are the same (145 Roman feet., which is 141 feet. 8 inches;43.2m). The only natural light enters through the Oculus at the center of the dome and through the bronze doors to the portico. As the sun moves, striking patterns of light illuminate the walls and floors of porphyry, granite and yellow marbles.

On our way to the MAXXI we passed by the Ara Pacis Museum designed by the architect Richard Meier, a work that has been criticized a lot. Finally we visited the contemporary MAXXI designed by the architect Zaha Hadid. The building is a composition of bending oblong tubes, overlapping, intersecting and piling over each other, resembling a piece of massive transport infrastructure. The most impressive part though is it’s interior and in particular the stairways that lead to the various exhibitions.

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Pantheon – Oculus

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Ara Pacis museum

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

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