Archive for August, 2013

August 26, 2013

Some street scenes from Roma!

I wandered all over the streets of Roma and believe something it was so beautiful ,had no time to see where it was, then took so many photos (really more than ever in one place) that now some of them are in the unknown category lol!

Rome, does that to you, it embraces the very essence of Europe, history, and origins, and as we come from people overrun by Romans we all have a bit of blood relation even a tiny bit counts ::)

There were streets but also buildings, some churches, passing by saw a nice facade ,architecturally appealing and voilà photo taken. Another in the unknown, no matter , now looking at them they all look beautiful ,and will one day allow me the opportunity to go back and retrace my trails to find what they are. Another excuse to visit Rome.

The tourist office gives you the starting point in visiting any place, http://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en and most of the time I go by car, but this time with the family in tow and miles to use ,got on the airplane with Air France and use the  public transport in Roma, a bit confusing at first ,but very nicely later on. http://www.atac.roma.it/index.asp?lingua=ENG

In my search, I found some sites that were useful in my wandering around (even if can’t tell the name!) so putting it here for references; http://www.welcometorome.net/en  and http://www.rome-roma.net/sitestouristiques_rome.html (in French but has to change to English but it did not work try it);  a cultural place at http://archeoroma.beniculturali.it/en

I know many will tell you the public transport, but we were out outside the center away where the closest metro was 13 minutes on foot; and we love. It was like coming back home every night ,and seeing the local routines, going to markets and riding the area buses with them, just superb, my idea of a far away land vacation.

Once you reach the central nerve of the city , the multi transport station Termini (second busiest in Europe behind gare du nord paris), you are within walking distances of everything. Of course, we are used to walking, some folks visiting from outside Europe are not used to long walks. Pity, they are missing a lot of the place they visit, you can’t go like back at home ,you need to adjust to the local life to soak in all the culture and manners and learn, as learning the human being is an everyday routine.

I leave you with several photos of Roma, unknown, perhaps some avid visitor to Roma can tell me, enjoy them and have a great week. As for me will be away now, as will have my new house signature closing tomorrow and then move , oh yes moving again , its part of my life , average a house every 7 years of my life, long. The truck is rented, and the cartons mostly done, now will see about the transporting, loading and unloading, setting up the new rooms, and the paperwork of the administrative parts, the post office has been notify. So perhaps will missed a few days of posts in my blog, bear with me I will be back with a bang and a new city in the Morbihan Breton. Cheers.

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August 25, 2013

The piazzas or squares of Rome

Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma Roma RomaComing to Rome ,one of the things I always heard is the wonderful squares there or piazzas in Italian. Therefore, i made it a point to visit as many as possible while there.

to remember them there are the piazza Cavour, Colonna, Spagna, Giavanni in laterano, Napoleone I, Navona, Popolo, Venezia, Santa Maria in Trasteverde, San Lorenzo in Lucina, and vittorio emanuele. Again the Rome tourist office is at  http://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en

The piazza Cavour was very nice along the palace of justice and behind the castel sant angelo, with an imposing statue of Mr Cavour. Piazza Colonna is the center of it with nice old palazzos and buildings with the great galleria alberto sordi and many shopping areas.

Piazza di Spagna is the famous one of the steps, with great shops and history, Bernini’s fountain and the celebrated Spanish Steps rising up towards the Church of Trinità dei Monti. Home to English poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the world-famous piazza, located at the foot of the Pincio Hill, has always been considered both a priceless cultural gem as well as popular tourist attraction.

Piazza San Giovanni in laterano is where the huge beautiful cathedral of Rome is located. Decorated in its center with an Egyptian obelisk in granite from the 14C BC that was at the place of the Grand Circus for a long time and now gives access to the Palace of Laterano.

Piazza Napoléone I, is right inside the Villa Borghese, at the mont of Pincus, offering a plunging view of the city towards the Piazza del Pololo to which it is link by stairs ,giving a wonderful panorama of the city. 

Piazza Navona, is a wonderful one that we like a lot.  It is the most elegant and cheerful of all Roman piazzas, and we agree. It was built on the site of Stadium of Domitian in the 1C  A.D.  This is where Roman children received their gifts from the wise men by Jan 5th, and you should not missed seeing the Fountain of The Four Rivers and Church of Saint’Agnese in Agone.

Piazza del Popolo, is a huge square with three roads coming into it , the Via del Corso was our entry point into it always. Once there you will the writing by Bernini  over the northern gate, Porta del Popolo, (the former Porta Flaminio) “Felice faustoque ingressini MDCLV” “For a happy and blessed entrance”; a message left for Queen Christina on her arrival in Rome following her conversion to Roman Catholicism. In the piazza there are the twin Churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto, with the  obelisk at center  (known as the Oblisco Flaminio) which is the oldest and second tallest in Rome and the two Valadier fountains, also, see the wonderful Church of Santa Maria del Popolo ,built on the burial site of Emperor Nero.

Piazza Venezia, is very popular with filmgoers, and it has the impressive   The square is of course dominated by the overpowering “Altare della Patria” (Altar of the Fatherland) a monument to honour Victor Emanuel II, unified Italy’s first king.  You will see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Incorporated in the massive pure white marble structure, which was built between 1885 and 1905, it serves to honour and remember every soldier who lost his life during the First World War and who remains unidentified. From here Mussolini used to make his speeches. After much work to preserve the character of this square , Palazzo Venezia,and  Palazzo Bonaparte where Napoleon’s mother, Letizia Ramolino once lived until her death in 1818.

Piazza Santa Maria in Trasteverde, located in the popular district and on the spot of the beautiful church basilica of Santa Maria in Trasteverde; its sparkling fifteenth century fountain, said to be the work of Bramante, 17C Palazzo San Callisto, and glittering gold mosaics of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trasteverde, while in the evening it is transformed into a lively meeting place for night-lifers, with the restaurants and bars’ tables overrunning the paving and all and sundry soaking up the atmosphere on the steps of the fountain.

Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, a very nice fashionable area today. As it said churches started from private homes that allowed worshiped on them this is what is thought of the one here ,church of San Lorenzo in Lucina (b. 4-5C  A.D.). It was dedicated to St. Lawrence the Martyr as late as in the 12C, when some relics (including the alleged grid-iron of the saint’s martyrdom) were placed here. The tourist office will ask you ,who is Lucina? Tradition has it she was a rich pious Roman matron, owner of the original home on which the church is built. However given Lucina was an epithet for Juno, the Roman Goddess of heaven and also protector of Roman women, it is feasible that the church may at one time have been a temple, a shrine dedicated to her. Nice story , I buy it lol!

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, this is a huge square, also known as Piazza Vittorio,in the Esquilino Rione. Surrounded by palazzi with large porticoes of nineteenth-century style, the square was created by Gaetano Koch shortly after the transfer of the capital of Italy from Florence to Rome (1871). With nearly 10,000 square feet in addition to St. Peter’s square, the largest square in Rome (316 x 174 m). In the middle of the square umbertino style emerged spontaneously since the late 1800s, with large blocks of flats that the recingevano, a large open-air market, especially of food but not only. The food stalls were placed daily, from sunrise to two long sides of the large garden. The market remained in business until the 1990s, much frequented by the Romans for the convenience of prices, and also by tourists hunting for folklore. The Nuovo Mercato Esquilino reflects the multi-ethnic characteristics undertaken in recent decades by the square, and  a strong foreign pressure, both in personal goods. In the middle of the square there is a garden that shows the remains of the nymphaeum of Alexander, and the so-called magic door, the entrance to Villa Palombara, residence of the Alchemist Massimiliano Palombara.

 These were my favorites and now share some photos;enjoy Roma, the eternal city. Cheers.
 
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August 24, 2013

The castle at Rome, Sant Angelo

Well going to Rome I thought of Roman ruins and narrow streets, great pasta etc. but never figure there was a castle ,even if old as well.

In my trips there on business, I went around the colosseum area, but never into the Vatican areas. This time been a family vacation wandered all over, and caught this wonderful castle near the Vatican. I am talking about the Castel Sant’Angelo or the castle of saint Angel. The official site is here http://www.castelsantangelo.com/

The castle grounds were done in 135AD and completed in 139AD, the ashes of emperors Hadrian and Augustus are in its stones, and it was done as a mausoleum to house the ones from Hadrian (emperor born in what is today Spain).  The appearances of an angel had a lot to do with the name of the castle.

It passes by the Aurelian walls right into the Vatican area, with a great moat area now with benches and shade trees, up above by the Walls there is a semi circular pathway of beautiful shaded trees and benches with colorful stands selling gelato ,and even hot dogs with souvenirs stand with great prices always negotiated down. We purchase t-shirts, scarfs, belts, and caps all starting much higher but always reduce from 3 to 5 euros.

Again, the Roma tourist office is here http://www.turismoroma.it/cosa-fare/notti-d%e2%80%99estate-a-castel-sant%e2%80%99angelo-2013?lang=en

A bit on the history of the Castle to follow:

Started construction under orders of emperor Hadrian in 135AD  to be his mausoleum, the building is the counterpart of the tomb of Augustus. It was  completed by Antoninus Pius in 139AD. The Castle, a massive Rotunda covered with travertine marble,  surmounted by a Quadriga bronze figure of the emperor Hadrian . Hadrian’s ashes are deposited in 139AD. Caracalla was the last emperor to be buried. Very quickly, the building is diverted from its funeral purposes to become military. It is integrated into the Aurelian wall in 403, as the advanced bastion. 
The Castle takes its present name from a legend appeared in the 9th century, about the great plague of 590AD. The Pope then Grégoire Ier, had an apparition of the Archangel Michael at the top of the Castle, handing his sword to the scabbard, thus signifying the end of the epidemic. To commemorate the event, a statue of Angel Hair piece. In 846, the Saracens made a sudden incursion in the town, looted St. Peter’s Basilica and devastate the Borgo. To protect it, Léon IV connects it by a wall to the Castle. The delineated forms the “leonine city. The castle is then transformed into prison, where four of the popes of the 9th century were killed.  During the long struggle between the Pope and the Emperor, the castle became a refuge for Popes. Gregory VII is entrenched in 1083 to resist to Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and in 1227, Nicolas III built a corridor suspended connecting the castle to the Vatican, thus providing a possibility of quick escapes.
When urban V from Avignon return to Rome, he is giving back not the keys to the city but those of the Castle, which reprises his role of fortress protecting the Vatican. The many renovations allow Alexandre VI  to take refuge when Rome was occupied by the King of France Charles VIII in 1494 (first war of Italy) and Clement VII to resist six months at headquarters of the lansquenets of Charles Quint during the terrible sacking of Rome in 1527. He manages to escape in disguise, by the door back garden Saint-Pierre to reach Orvieto. The castle did not lose its status of a prison. According to tradition, Benvenuto Cellini there is thus enclosed. Until the 19th century, the Castle serves as  the papacy political prison with such guests as Marco Antonio de Dominis (1624), and Niccolò Cosciaen (1733). On July 21, 1871, the pontifical flag is brought down for the last time by the Papal troops, under the eyes of the Italian army, which took possession of the place.
 
Restored at the beginning of the 20th century, the Castel Sant’Angelo is a museum since 1925, where it houses a collection of paintings and armor. Amongst which are :
Apollo room, decorated with frescoes by Perin del Vaga (1547);
the room of Clement VII (paintings from the 15th and 16th centuries);
the Loggia of Paul III, painted by Antonio da Sangallo the younger.
the Loggia of Julius II from 1504;
Paul III Farnèse apartments, decorated between 1542 and 1549  with  frescoes
Salle Pauline decorated of the life of Alexander the great of Marco Pino;
the room of the Adrianeum which houses the Bacchanalia of Dosso Dossi;
the room of garlands, Saint Jerome of Lorenzo Lotto.

Finally, Giacomo Puccini played on the ramparts of the castle the last scenes of Tosca: Cavaradossi, having dreamed happiness past  was shot on the terrace by the firing squad and Floria Tosca of despair, flows of the parapet into the Tiber.

 
A must see while in Rome, I give some glimpses of it in the following pictures. Ciao Roma.
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August 23, 2013

The Roma antique, classical and ruins

Having traveled to many countries, and been to Italy many times, even Rome , but always on business trips. This time for our summer vacation we decided to attack as a family the eternal city. Much have been said of this wonderful city and its historical meaning, I will tell you what is today.

Even in Italian news programs there was talk of making the via fiori imperiali pedestrian, they try tested this summer and they like it locals and visitors alike. So maybe something to do for the future on a permanent basis that will help the city.

The parking is chaotic, and the road clogged; the metro or subway is very limited even thus the B1 is in expansion construction and the new line C is ,also, under construction; badly needed. The bus system is great but for the uninitiated can be complicated because they only post the end line and not the stops, so you need to go to the stop and read the places the bus goes, the online system ATAC is not user friendly either if compare to France or even Spain that I know very well too.

Last we went to the Antiquity of Roma, the Colosseum, foro romano, and the palatino, all classical places and known to many. 

The colosseum is the great roman amphitheater  built during the Roman Empire (it was inaugurated in 80 AD) and was then used for performances of great popular appeal, such as hunts and gladiator combats. The first phase of construction of the Colosseum was financed with the proceeds of the plunder of the temple in Jerusalem by Vespasian in 72 AD. His son and successor Titus, in 80 AD, added the third and fourth row of seats .

The Roman Forum or Foro Romano, is indeed a grand event for walking this area alone. The Roman Forum was the old centre of ancient Rome where, from the Vth century BC to Vth century AC, the most important monuments were built. The entire area of the Roman Forum is one of the biggest archeological sites in the world containing temples, buildings and monuments from the Republican era until today. Inside the Roman Forum you can admire the Arch of Settimio Severo, the Temple of Saturno, the Vestali’s house, the Mamertine Prison, the Temple of Antonino and Faustina and the Arch of Tito.

The palatine or Palatino area, great for walking along ancient monuments, This is a large archeological area located between Roman Forum and Circus Maximus. It contains the old Emperor residences, arches, temples and thermae. The legend says that Rome had its origins on this hill and, indeed, recent excavations have shown that people were living in the Palatine since 1000 BC. According to Roman tradition, the Palatine was the place where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that nursed them keeping them alive in the “Cave of the Lupercale”, probably found in recent excavations: for this reason on this hill was celebrated every year the festival of Lupercalia.

You can be sure a trip here will make your money’s worth alone. We came back several times during our two weeks stay as it is good day and night. http://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en cheers

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August 22, 2013

Eternal Roma, Rome in Italy of course!

I have been here several times on business and finally the family decided to come over for our summer vacation. We spent two weeks in eternal Rome, walking, busing, metroing, car, tram, and walking, all over the city and beyond its borders.

We stayed in an apartment in the Nomentano district and had buses 62, 310, 445, and 542 or metro bologna or st agnese annibalaino to handle all the trips. We did a different take upon recomm from a friend and book the apartment by booking.com, it was a delight. The owner give you the keys and tells you about the surrounding area, plus tips on transport etc. Then, it had two bedrooms, two baths, full kitchen, dishwasher and laundry machine, wifi internet connection, premium TV channels, AC, first floor and breakfast included brought to us every 3 days by staff, linens changes every wednesday weekly. All that for 105€ per day. The direct site of the apartment is at http://www.thatsamoreholiday.com/

The transport site for Rome is http://www.atac.roma.it/  the metro and buses tells you end of line stops but once you read the panels on the stops and use them once, you will be cruising like a native ,very easy. The main train bus station of Termini is a great hub and you can have internet cafes along via marsala or via milazzo 3, where you can print your boarding passes in advance and browse your latests emails from home.

We flew on Air France all the way with class as usual for us; took off from Nantes thru Orly and then Fiumicino and on the way back we came by CDG to Nantes. All perfect flights no delays typical with me flying the big blue, AF. The airports of Rome are here http://www.adr.it/web/aeroporti-di-roma-en-/pax-fco-fiumicino

Other than using old colleagues local Italians for advise, we use the tourist office and the travel forum VT for information on our trip as business and pleasure are two different things lol! http://www.turismoroma.it/?lang=en

After thinking of taken the bus from airport fiumicino to termini and then metro bologna to our apartment with BIT or terravision, by the time we got to the bus terminal all were gone and since we had no pre paid seats ,saw tambus ready to go and took it, 5€ per person on site, very nice ride and into central Rome by the colosseo, site here http://www.tambus.it/

However ,even if the ride was good and so use to the car, on the way back we book a shuttle for 55€ for all five of us plus luggage from Nomentano to FIucimino , great ride, great driver and very on time, by the time we came down he was already there!  we did thru the apartment folks.

This is all the logistics, the trip just using a city map plus old rememberance of streets and names and it was a breeze by all. The main events were a bit disappointed as history yes once but once you see ruins it gets kind of down, the colosseo, foro romano,and palatino was all that, now the city is testing pedestrians only access on the via del fori imperiali around these monuments which is a great idea.

I had pizzas galore but let me tell you my pizzas at New York city were better, it reminds of a friend from NYC that now lives for 20 years in San Remo claiming the NY were better,and I argue he was wrong, well as a panel of five big eaters take it, he was right after all. The highlights came on the gelato, or italian ice cream, that is really great and we ate a whole bunch of it all over from big name to just off the street mom and pop like in our area Il gelato dei proscopio along via xxi aprile  near metro bologna.  Our best meal was had at a german oriented place in Weiner Haus at the shopping center Porta di Roma (which was great) the rest was so so; we end up buying better items at the supermarket and gourmet grocery stores and cooking it at the apartment with great Italian wines from Toscana and beers moratti and peroni lol!!! while watching the world track and field championship and the Italian super cup in football/soccer Lazio vs Juventus won the later 4×0!!! here is the porta di roma, http://www.galleriaportadiroma.it/

We check out cinecitta too at the metro line by the same name but it was just a small shopping althought nice AC in hot Rome and good gelato there ,here is the site http://www.cinecittadue.com/

Later on I will use some of the 536 photos I took to come up with posts that can help future travelers there and reminiscense some nostalgia of those that already visit. Rome is a nice stop but once you have found France, it is difficult to judge ::)

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August 1, 2013

Some news from France CXIIII

Its a scorching day today with high of 33C and the heat is just beginning. I will be leaving next week for Italy for two weeks vacations ,then come back for my house closing here. A very busy period, so bear with me ok.

We have the festival of impressionistes ,all over Normandy and at Giverny , where we are reminder of the close collaboration with Japanese painter Hiramatsu Reiji , presenting for the first time in France. http://www.museedesimpressionnismesgiverny.com/   The presentation will have a collection on display of japanese scenes from  Claude Monet, and works of the prestigious collection at the museum of  Musée Marmottan Monet ,and the high school or lycée Claude Monet of Paris. Call  « Hiramatsu, the fountain of nympheas, honoring Monet »,until October 31.

 At Cherbourg, Claire Tenu worked for the last two years in the city invited by the Le Point du Jour (Centre d’art Editeur)  . On this imaginary space you will see the city photograph and its opening to the sea in reference to its local Napoleonic heritage and the local  Jean-François Millet. Until September 29. http://www.lepointdujour.eu/fr/accueil

At Caen and its nearby beltway we have the Le Musée Eclaté de la presque’île de Caen (MéPIC) from the school of superior arts : 15 artists with  15 containers in  15 towns on the open skies. Until October 27th http://www.mepic.fr/

At Granville, « Impressions Dior » witness the links uniting the house of Dior with the impressionistes movement. THe museum Christian Dior starts a dialogue between a selection of paintings by Monet, Degas, Renoir , and others and more than  70 dresses from the first creation of Mr Dior. until September 22. http://www.musee-dior-granville.com/c/287/p/2ff5df55a87776c54617f0697c30ac31/musee-Christian-Dior-jardin-exposition-temporaire-Granville-Normandie.html

Now get some healthy meaty food in Paris with corn, dry tomatoes, and steaks or  hambugers, pizzas, and  hot-dogs, see and taste at MOB Docks en Seine, 34 quai d’Austerlitz -75013 Paris – tél : +33  (0) 142775105 from Brooklyn NYC USA to Paris http://www.mob-usa.com/fr/locations

at Grasse, you have the Musée International de la Parfumerie; exposition of Paul Poiret. fashion modist that was the first one to create its own perfum house in 1911 : Les Parfums de Rosine. Until September 29. http://www.museedegrasse.com/

What are the 10 things you must do when in Paris the latest from le Figaro; you have to have purchase an ice cream at Berthillon http://www.berthillon.fr/

To have fed the canards in the jardin d’Acclimmatation ,taken a breakfast at the Café Marly (louvre), to have done pique nique or picnic at the ponts des Arts, to have cross the place de la concorde in a bicycle, to have taken the elevator or lift at Beaubourg; to have read a book/novel at the jardin du Luxembourg, to have dance in a péniche/boat; to purchase a puppy dog at the quai des mégisserie; and to spent the month of August in Paris!

For this summer in Paris try one great one near where I used to work in the eternal city, Da Rosa rive droite, 19bis rue du Mont-Thabor, 1éme Tel +33 (0) 1 77 37 37 87, everyday from 11h to 23h30. A nice club sandwich with iberian bellota ham for 20€ 

and of course some of favorite Latino bars restos in Paris are La Perla , 26 rue François Miron
metro Saint Paul. http://www.cafepacifico-laperla.com/lppf.html , and Hacienda del  Sol, 157 boulevard du Montparnasse, metro Raspail,
http://www.r-m-g.fr/fr/restaurant-traditionnel-mexicain-hacienda-del-sol-boulevard-montparnasse-paris-6.php wonderful and both real latin chefs.

Enjoy it until next time ,and have a great weekend y’all ::)

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