Friday, April 22, 2011

Rome, day 2 - the Forum, the Capitoline museum and the Trajan market

After the Colosseum, we headed to the Forum. We saw the Arch of Titus, which is at the highest point of the Via Sacra in the Forum. This is the oldest surviving Roman arch and was built in AD 81 by Domitian to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem and also honour his brother Titus, the previous emperor.

We then walked along the Via Nova, where we had a great view of the Forum. (And no, I didn’t do the Antony speech.)

And the wisteria was glorious.

We visited the Temple of Romolus, which dates from AD 309 and was dedicated to the son of the Emperor Maximus. It had some gorgeous frescoes.

Then another wander deeper into the imperial forum, to see the remains of the Temple of Saturn, built in 42BC.

By this point, we were really hot and needed to sit down. So, instead of doing the rest of Palatine Hill (where I’d hoped to see the iron age pits, but never mind), we headed out past the Victor Emmanuel monument and found a caffè for lunch.

Then we walked up to the Capitoline museum. The square was designed by Michelangelo in 1537 and holds a replica of Marcus Aurelius on horseback; the original was corroding, so it was restored 1981-8 and in 1997 a bronze copy of the statue was finished for the square. The original was too fragile for the replica-makers to take a cast of it, plus they were worried that the gilding would come off, so it was all done by 'photogrammatical' plotting.

Our favourite bits from the museum included:

the Capitoline she-wolf, dating from the 5th century BC - Pope Sixtus IV gave it to Rome in 1471.

Medusa, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1630).

A variegated Egyptian marble dog.

Huge bits of statues - Constantine's head (his hand was also enormous).

The foundations of temple of Jove, which are actually part of the museum building.

The Fountain of Marforio, on the other side of museum; this was once a 'talking statue', i.e. it was hung with witty rhymes and notes commenting on politicians in the papal city.

I really liked the 3rd-century altar with a dedication to the imperial house for a safe voyage, with feet going back out then back in.

And I loved this statue with a stripy marble toga.

And of course a pose in the courtyard with the giant hand.

From the museum, we headed back across the road. This is the Column of Marcus Aurelius; this was made of 27 spiral drums of Carrera marble, and was built 180-190 AD to commemorate military victories. This area used to be the coffee-roasters' market.

Next door was the Trajan market.

The via Biberatica was named after wine shops that were once there.

And there were jars…

Out for dinner: saltimbocca, followed by zabaglione ice cream.

25393 steps today.


Nell Dixon said...

Gorgeous pics!

Caroline said...

Great photo's (again). Boy did you all do some serious walking! Caroline x

Lacey Devlin said...

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them Kate =)

Kate Hardy said...

Glad you're all enjoying the pics. There are loads more to come *g* - and yes, we did SERIOUS walking because it's the best way to get to know a city. We loved exploring!