Archive for May, 2022

May 17, 2022

The churches of Rome, part II

We thought about where to do our family vacation different,and the vote came to Rome , Italy. I was a very memorable family visit looking back it was even better. I have several posts on Rome in my blog, and had one with so many churches in it that decided to split into 3 posts with more text using the older pictures, Hope you enjoy my churches of Rome, part II

I found the most unique element the churches, after all whether we believe or not ,they mark the cultural essence of a country looking thru the churches. And Rome has plenty, about 900 of them!!! It seems more churches than bars lol ! I would like to tell you our favorites.

The Basilica Church of Saint Sabina (Piazza Pietro D’Illiria, 1, ) is probably the finest surviving early Christian church in Rome. It was erected by Peter of Illyria, priest of Dalmatia, from 422 to 432, near an ancient temple of Juno and the site of the legendary house of the Roman Sabina, who later became a saint. Dedicated to Saint Sabina of the Aventine, it is the seat of the Curia of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) since 1219. The building was restored several times, disfigured in the 16C by the closing of twenty of its windows. Restorations at the start of the 20C restored it to its former glory. As can be seen from some inscriptions found near the basilica there was the temple of Juno Regina, of which 24 columns were used for the construction of the church. In the 9C, the church was incorporated into the imperial bastions and interior changed dramatically during restorations in 1587, and 1643. Again, in the first half of the 20C, restored the original structure. The bell tower dates from the 10C. Saint Dominic would have planted an orange tree in the cloister, coming from Spain, his native country. It is said to be miraculous. It is visible through a hole in the wall of the church. The Lapis Diaboli, a round black stone placed on a spiral column to the left of the entrance, or “stone of the devil”, is said to have been thrown by the devil against Dominic as he prayed on the marble slab covering the bones of martyrs, breaking it into pieces. This slab, actually broken by the architect Domenico Fontana during the restoration of 1527, was reconstituted and is now visible in the center of the choir. In 1287, a conclave was held there to elect a successor to Honorius IV. But Rome was hit by a serious epidemic of malaria and six cardinals died during the conclave. All the others fled, except one, Girolamo Masci, who on his return from the conclave was elected Pope Nicholas IV on February 22, 1288. The church has no facade, this being integrated into the narthex, in one of the four arms of the old portico which is currently in the Dominican monastery. The smooth walls and especially the large windows , characterize the first Christian constructions, the art of making windows of this size having been lost in the centuries following the fall of the empire. The old tower was replaced by a Baroque bell tower.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica :

The Church Santa Maria in Montesanto located in Campo Marzio, in Piazza del Popolo, between Via del Corso and Via del Babuino, also known as the Church of the Artists. It is commonly known as the Twin Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, although it has significant differences especially in the layout. The name of the church comes from the fact that it replaced a small church that belonged to the Carmelite friars from the province of Monte Santo in Sicily. It was built in 1662, initiative Pope Alexander VII, by Cardinal Girolamo Gastaldi that he was later buried. The work was interrupted on the death of the pontiff in 1667; resumed in 1673 and completed in 1679. The church is planted in an elliptical shape, while its so-called “twin” Santa Maria of the Miracles is circular; six are the side chapels, against four of its “twin”.in July 1825 papa Leone XII raised it to the dignity of minor basilica. From 1953 the church became the seat of the “Artists’ Mass”, a unique initiative created in 1941 by Ennio Francia; after changing several places of worship, liturgical event was housed in Piazza del Popolo in the church where every Sunday for over fifty years is celebrated this Eucharistic celebration that take representatives part of the world of culture and the arts, It is also in this church that the funerals of people linked to the world of culture and television are often celebrated. For these reasons it is also known as the “Church of the Artists”. Beneath the twin churches are the remains of two pyramid tombs, very similar in size and shape to Pyramid of Caius Cestius and the Vatican pyramid ; these two tombs were traced and Augustan age were placed monumental entrance to campus Martius, precisely the function that the two churches today. In this church, on August 10, 1904, he was ordained priest Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope Giovanni XXIII , an event commemorated by a plaque affixed during his pontificate. And my oldest son shown below!

roma-church-santa-maria-montesanto-piazza-popolo-NF aug13

The Rome tourist office on the church

Located on the Aventine Hill near the Basilica of Saint Sabina, the Church of Saint Alexis (piazza Sant’Alessio, 23. ) was dedicated to Saint Boniface until 1217. It is believed to have been founded around the beginning of the 4C, rebuilt in 1216 by Pope Honorius III .Its very beautiful campanile is Romanesque. The entire interior dates mostly from a 1750 reconstruction by Tommaso de Marchis, although older elements such as cosmatesque paving remain. There are elements from all periods, such as the Romanesque bell tower, columns from the 13C church in the eastern apse, the medieval portico and a Romanesque crypt. The 16C façade was reworked by de Marchis, who also designed the high altar.

roma-basilica church-st-alessio-aug13

The Rome tourist office on the Basilica Church:

The 17C Church of San Rocco is located on the Campo Marzio, near the Tiber. It is next to the Mausoleum of Augustus, exactly at Largo S. Rocco, 1 , It was built in 1499 thanks to the initiative of the Confraternity of San Rocco and Pope Alexander VI  ,and dedicated to San Rocco of Montpellier. It was originally a chapel connected to the hospital near the ancient church of San Martino. The one was built to help the plague sufferers on the initiative of the Confraternity of hosts and boatmen, who lived near the Tiber. Nearby was the ancient river port of Ripetta. It was largely rebuilt in 1657 on a project by Giovanni Antonio de Rossi. Valadier’s neoclassical facade dates from the first half of the 19C. A new, Palladio influenced façade  was built in 1832. The surroundings were transformed in 1890 with the demolition of the port of Ripetta due to the canalization of the Tiber and the construction of the Ponte Cavour. Then the neighborhood was radically renovated between 1934 and 1938, including the demolition of the hospital.


The Rome tourist office on the church:

The Church Saint Andrew of the Quirinal (Via del Quirinale, 30) is a Jesuit church. It is considered one of the masterpieces of Italian Baroque, often referred to as the most beautiful of the churches designed by Bernini. Its construction, from 1658 to 1670, was led by his pupil, De Rossi. It was Pope Alexander VII who commissioned it to replace an old 16C. The facade is preceded by two concave wings that frame the entrance to which a small semicircular staircase leads. This contour, concave-convex-concave, is characteristic of Bernini’s creations. The entrance portal bears the arms of Camillo Pamphili, who contributed financially to the construction of the building. The nave is elliptical, the shortest axis being that between the entrance and the high altar, the chapels are placed oblique in such a way that they recall the cross of Saint Andrew.


The Rome tourist office on the church:

The Church of Saint Bosco or Giavanni Bosco; a minor basilica located at Viale dei Salesiani, 9; the main entrance is on the Piazza San Giovanni Bosco. The basilica is on a monumental axis overlooking a large square (piazza San Giovanni Bosco) which is continued by the wide Viale San Giovanni Bosco to another large square, piazza dei Consoli. The Church was under the care of the Salesians of which St John Bosco was the founder. The Basilica was built in the early 1950s on behalf of the Salesians. On 12 September 1952 the first stone of the new building was laid by the cardinal vicar Clemente Micara, but the actual work began about a year later; the church was inaugurated on 2 May 1959 with solemn consecration by Cardinal Benedetto Aloisi Masella, protector of the Salesian Congregation; most of the interior, however, was still to be built, and it was only in 1964 that the building was completed according to the original plans. The day after the consecration, May 3, Pope John XXIII visited the new church to pray in front of the tomb of the Turin saint to whom the sacred building was named and whose urn, for the occasion, had been transferred from Turin. in Rome. The church was entrusted to the Salesian Fathers, who are the owners of the church. Pope Paul VI, elevated it to cardinal deaconry, with the name of San Giovanni Bosco in via Tuscolana and, follows promoting it to the dignity of minor basilica.


The Rome tourist office on the church:

The Basilica di Santa Croce en Gerusalemme or Holy Cross in Jerusalem ( Piazza di S. Croce in Gerusalemme ) is one of the “seven churches of Rome”, the stopovers of pilgrims during holy years. The church is said to have been founded in the 4C, referred to as the Basilica Sessoriana, within a large building from the beginning of the 3C, dedicated to Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine. According to tradition, a relic of the True Cross, brought from Jerusalem by Saint Helena, is kept there. At the time, the Basilica’s floor was covered with soil from Jerusalem, thus acquiring the title in Hierusalem; it is not dedicated to the Holy Cross which is in Jerusalem, but the Basilica itself is “in Jerusalem” in the sense that a piece  of Jerusalem was moved to Rome for its foundation. The facade, original with its oval vestibule, dates from a reconstruction of 1744.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica:

The Church of San Franseco d’Assisi a Ripa was built around 1231 in place of a building dependent on a neighboring Benedictine monastery, which would have housed Saint Francis of Assisi in 1219. You can see the cell where he slept and the rock he used as a pillow in 1219 as well as his crucifix. The current 17C building is renowned for retaining an ecstasy sculpted by Bernini. Some mentions already evoke a church in the 11C, where a building was built near Ripa Grande, the “great shore”, which depended on a nearby hospital. It was restored and entrusted to the Franciscans in 1229. It is still the seat of a Franciscan parish. After works at the beginning of the 16C, it was substantially rebuilt from 1680, with a simple Latin cross interior divided into three naves and three chapels on each side, decorated with numerous Baroque sculptures. In the square opposite the church, an Ionic column surmounted by an iron cross was erected in 1847 by Pius IX. The 18C façade, designed by Mattia de Rossi, is wider than the interior of the church.


The Rome tourist office on the church:

There you go folks,, and this is just my favorites and able to see; there are soo many. Anyway this is Rome, the cradle of the Catholic Church so should  be no surprises. The history ,architecture and just beauty are enough to bring you in regardless of your beliefs. They are an integral part of any visit to Rome! Hope you have enjoy the posts as I. And see my many other posts on Rome in my blog.

This Rome Art Lover site tells them all churches, too numerous for me to post

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

Tags: ,
May 17, 2022

The churches of Rome, part I

We thought about where to do our family vacation different,and the vote came to Rome , Italy, I was a very memorable family visit looking back it was even better. I have several posts on Rome in my blog, and had one with so many churches in it that decided to split into 3 posts with more text using the older pictures, Hope you enjoy my churches of Rome !

I found the most unique element the churches, after all whether we believe or not ,they mark the cultural essence of a country looking thru the churches. And Rome has plenty, about 900 of them!!! It seems more churches than bars lol ! I would like to tell you our favorites.

The Oratory of the Holy Sacrament al Tritone ( Via del Tritone), located in Piazza Poli, is also known as the “Oratory of the Guardian Angel” , but in essence it is the oratory of the church of Santa Maria in Via , built for the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament between 1576 and 1596. In 1681 it was restructured in a fully Baroque style; in the 18C the building was completely rebuilt. In the second half of the 19C or about 1875 the interior was decorated. Particularly elegant and lively is the façade ,the lower order has a beautiful portal framed by two pilasters and surmounted by two heads of winged angels; on the sides two pairs of semi-columns, with precious Ionic capitals, support a high broken tympanum, above which there are two marble statues,depicting “Faith” and “Hope”. 

roma-church oratory-angel-in-custody-aug13

The Rome tourist office on the oratory :

The Basilica of Santi Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso (via del Corso ,437) is a minor basilica, and traditionally the church of the Lombards of Rome, including Milanese. Its construction began in 1612, on a 10C building. The title of cardinal of this church traditionally belongs to the Archbishop of Milan. On August 29, 1471, Pope Sixtus IV approved the founding of the Brotherhood of Lombards, who were numerous in Rome, and ceded to them the Church of Saint Nicholas of Toffo on the Champ de Mars. It was renamed Saint Ambrose, then also dedicated to Saint Charles, after the canonization of Charles Borromeo in 1610. The church was rebuilt by the brotherhood. It was originally designed in 1612 , then built the dome and the apse. The third largest dome in Rome. The vast interior is divided into three naves with a barrel vault and three chapels on each side. It is very bright, decorated with stucco, faux marble and frescoes. It is one of the best examples of late Roman Baroque theatrical pageantry. The church includes a large ambulatory behind the altar, the only one in Rome, which was inspired by Milan Cathedral. In a niche behind the altar is the precious relic of the heart of Saint Charles.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica:

The Basilica of the Holy Apostles ( Piazza Santi Apostoli, 51 ) was founded in the Byzantine era, in the 6C by Pope Pelagius I. It houses the relics of the apostles Philip and James. It is the only basilica in Rome that was not built over pre-existing Roman buildings. The architectural model of the early church was that of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles of Constantinople. This large church decorated with mosaics was destroyed in 1348 by an earthquake. It was not restored until the 15C by Martin V of the Colonna family. The porch in front of the facade was erected and the apse of the basilica decorated with a magnificent fresco of the Ascension, and whose perspectives are remarkable. After reconstruction in the 18C, the fragments of this fresco were distributed between the Vatican and the Quirinal Palace. Adjacent to Palazzo Colonna, in front of the unadorned neoclassical façade by Valadier (1827), the late 15C porch spans nine arches on two different orders. The first with its octagonal pillars bears the coat of arms of the Della Rovere family on the capitals. The second with its Ionic columns framing the openings formed a loggia. It was closed by Carlo Rainaldi in 1681, with baroque windows and the balustrade bearing the statues of Christ and the twelve apostles.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica 

The official name of the Basilica is Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs or Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, ( Piazza della Repubblica ) It was Pope Pio IV who decided to install this church in the imposing Tepidarium and in the central hall of the Baths of Diocletian in 1561. It was Michelangelo who was in charge of designing this conversion. Modifications were made in the 17C by Vanvitelli, including the rich interior decoration. The facade corresponds to the former exedra of the Calidarium. The grand and harmonious interior is in the shape of a Greek cross, the arms corresponding to the central body of the ancient baths. The entrance vestibule is on the site of the Tepidarium. The transept approaches 100 meters in length, 27 meters in width and 28 meters in height. Eight imposing red granite columns are original, they are 14 meters high and have a diameter of 1.5 meters. Others, in bricks, have been added.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

On the Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere,  the current Basilica Church of Saint Mary of Trastevere was built in the 12C under Innocent II. Its foundations rest on the ruins of a 3C Christian building, one of the oldest domestic churches in Rome, known as the Titus Callisti. Legend has it that an oil spring would have sprung up here in 38 BC. J.-C., announcing the coming of the messiah for the Jews of the district. Another story indicates that Pope Callistus I installed a Christian community in a tavern, which took the name of Titulus Callisti. In 340, Pope Julius I built a larger building, then designated as Titulus Iulii, one of the first twenty-five parishes in Rome. It would have been the second church dedicated to the Virgin, after Sainte-Marie Majeure, during the 5C. In the 8C and 9C, it was enlarged with side naves, then Gregory IV remodeled the choir, added the chancel, the ciborium, and a crypt which housed the relics of Calixte I. The church was rebuilt from 1140 to 1143 by Pope Innocent II, adding a transept, the mosaics of the apse, and architectural elements which were recovered from the baths of the Caracalla and in the temple of Isis on the Gianicolo hill. The facade features a 13C mosaic of the nursing Virgin, surrounded by ten women carrying lamps. At the top of the charming 12C Romanesque bell tower, a niche houses a mosaic of the Virgin and Child. The portico was rebuilt at the beginning of the 18C during the restoration of the facade. On its parapet, stand the sculptures of the popes Calixte I, Corneille, Jules I, and the martyr Calépode.  The interior of the portico preserves Christian frescoes and fragments of sarcophagi from the 3C.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

The Basilica of Santi Cosma e Damiano ( Via dei Fori Imperiali, 1 ) is dedicated to the two Greek brothers, doctors and martyrs. It is located in the ancient Forum of Vespasian, on the site of the Temple of Peace. The temple with the library of Peace were given to Pope Felix IV by the Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great in 527. These two buildings were then transformed into a basilica. It was accessed from the Roman Forum, through an entrance hall with a circular plan (known as the Temple of Romulus). In 1632, Pope Urban VIII redesigned the building, in particular by raising the ground level by 7 meters and by fitting out seven chapels. The old floor of the old basilica is still visible on the lower level. In 1947, the old entrance by the Temple of Romulus was closed and replaced by a new entrance built on Via dei Fori Imperiali. Near the new entrance, on the walls of two rooms of the Peace Forum were the 150 marble slabs that make up the Forma Urbis Romae. (Antique map of Rome, engraved under Septimius Severus).


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano , Constantine built the first basilica in 320. It is the oldest church, the mother of all churches, which inspired and still inspires Christian buildings. San Giovanni in Laterano is the cathedral of Rome, the seat of the bishop of Rome, who is the Pope himself (San Pietro is the church of the Vatican). The church was then rebuilt several times over the course of history, due to earthquakes, looting and fires. From its original version, it has only kept its proportions and a large part of the Baptistery. Rebuilt by Nicholas IV at the end of the 13C, it was burned shortly afterwards in 1308. Rebuilt and decorated by Giotto, the fire hit it again in 1360. In the mid-17C, reconstruction with the addition embellishement of the interior with twelve niches that house the large statues of the apostles. The facade dates back to 1734, the apse and the mosaics were renovated in the late 19C. The interior is 130 meters long. Various relics relating to Christ are preserved there. A small portion of a fresco by Giotto remains, depicting Boniface VIII in the Jubilee of 1300. There is the beautiful cloister, and the Lateran Baptistery near the basilica, which preserves some beautiful early Christian remains. On the piazza del Laterano square stands the high Egyptian obelisk of the 15C BC, coming from Karnak, which at 36 meters, it is the tallest Egyptian obelisk.


The Rome tourist office on the Basilica

The Scala Santa or Holy Stairs are a set of 28 white marble steps that are Roma Catholic Relics located in an edifice on extraterritorial property of the Holy See in Rome near the Archbasilica of St John in Laterano (St Giovanni).   Officially, the edifice is titled the Pontifical Sanctuary of the Holy Stairs (Pontificio Santuario della Scala Santa). The Holy Stairs, which long ago were encased in a protective framework of wooden steps, are in an edifice that incorporates part of the old, Papal Lateran Palace. The Holy Stairs lead to the Church of St Lawrence in  simply the  Sancta Sanctorum or Holy of Holies, which was the personal chapel of the early Popes. Thousands of pilgrims climb the 28 steps of La Scala Santa, each year, while praying and meditating on the passion of Christ. These steps would indeed have been trodden by Jesus while he was going to the Praetorium of Jerusalem to be judged there by Pontius Pilate. Only small portholes allow to see the red spots that tradition attributes to the blood of Christ. According to tradition , the Scala Santa, or Sacla Pilati is said to have been transported from Jerusalem to Rome at the beginning of the 4C by Saint Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine. It is now installed near the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran, in a sanctuary desired by Pope Sixtus V.


The Rome tourist office on the Sanctuary

There you go folks,, and this is just my favorites and able to see; there are soo many. Anyway this is Rome, the cradle of the Catholic Church so should  be no surprises. The history ,architecture and just beauty are enough to bring you in regardless of your beliefs. They are an integral part of any visit to Rome! Hope you have enjoy the posts as I. And see my many other posts on Rome in my blog.

This Rome Art Lover site tells them all churches, too numerous for me to post:

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

Tags: ,
May 17, 2022

The Arches of Titus and Constantine of Rome!

Ok folks, I am staying in Rome. Going around on public transports mostly the bus and lots of walks, love it. I like to tell you about two arches , briefly that I saw while walking our way around Rome! I am updating text and links using older pictures; hope you enjoy it as I. Therefore, here are the Arches of Titus and Constantine, my version!

The arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome, located between the Colosseum and the Palatine. Nowadays it is in the area of the Celio, the ancient road of triumphs. It was built by the Roman Senate to commemorate the victory of Constantine at the Milvian Bridge against Maxence in 312, and his 10 years of power. It was placed near the Colosseum and the Meta Sudans, Constantine wanting to associate his reign with that of the Flavian dynasty which had erected these monuments. Inaugurated in 315, it is the last of the series of triumphal archs in Rome, in which it is distinguished by its systematic of re-use of previous monuments.  The arch of Constantine measures 21.10 meters high, 25.7 meters wide and 7.4 meters deep. It has three bays: the central bay is the largest, with 11.5 meters high for 6.5 meters wide, while the side passages measure 7.4 meters high for 4.4 meters wide. The lower part of the monument is constructed of marble blocks, while the upper part, the attic, is made of brick masonry coated with a marble veneer. A staircase is laid out in the thickness of the arch; it is accessed by a door located up on the side of the Palatine.  The decor of the arch of Constantine reuse massively fragments of older monuments. On this commemorative monument of Constantine’s victory, the new historical frieze representing its Italian campaign is the most important reason: it celebrates the emperor, both in its military and civil functions. Sideway is Constantino and afar is Titus on 1 pic below! 2 pic shows Constantino in repairs.



The arch of Titus is an arch of Roman triumph at a balcony erected in Rome by Emperor Domitian in year 81 to celebrate the victories of his brother Titus during the Judean war between 66 and 73 . The arch was built after Titus ‘ death. The arch borders the Clivus, near its intersection with the Sacred Way, at the top of the Velia in Summa Sacra Via in the present old Rome. It is possible that it was slightly moved to the south and turned during the construction of the Temple of Venus.  The arch of Titus was erected to commemorate the capture of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The statues that decorate the arch, including two bronze elephants, are found on the Via Sacra (sacred way)  between 535 and 536. The arch of Titus  is integrated into a fortress of frangipani during the Middle Ages. A room is built in the upper part of the vaulted passage. The room was liberated from the buildings around 1822 and was rebuilt . It reconstitutes a large part of the upper part and the outer half of the two pillars with travertine. The frieze and inscription are therefore preserved only on the side facing the Colosseum.


The arch of Titus, covered with marble of the Pentelic, is composed only of one arch against three for the arch of Constantine for example. It is 13.50 meters wide, 15.40 meters high and 4.75 meters deep. The vault reaches 8.30 meters high and 5.36 meters from wide. Each façade is adorned with two pairs of columns engaged in the two pillars of the arch. The columns stand on square pedestals and frame small rectangular niches dug into the pillars. The upper part, the attic, is 4.40 meters high. It is on the attic that the inscription is engraved which is preserved only on the eastern side. The Arch summit was adorned with a bronze statuary group comprising an elephant-drawn quadriga in which the Emperor was shown as a god.

The Rome tourist office on the Arch of Constantine

The Archeological park of the Colosseum on the Arch of Titus

There you walking you can see more and find amazing buildings even if again old stones which I know very well.These are wonderful buildings of another era amazing still standing, love to see the arches of Constantine and Titus of Rome. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 16, 2022

The Piazza Colonna of Rome!!

Well here you go me hanging around my Rome pics and always pulling nice ones out of the vaults that was not included in my blog. Well well, this cannot be, this is the one and only Piazza Colonna, the area of our shopping of course. Therefore, here is my take on the Piazza Colonna of Rome!!

The Piazza Colonna square dates from the end of the 16C, built on the initiative of Pope Sixtus V, is located on the central axis Via del Corso, near Montecitorio and the Pantheon, not far from Piazza Venezia. The piazza is rectangular in plan with the Column of Marcus Aurelius at its center, and is surrounded by important historic Roman palaces.

Near the column is a fountain made in 1577 by order of Pope Gregory XIII fed by the Aqua Virgo aqueduct. The restoration of the Acqua Vergine aqueduct in the 16C with a set of diversions for supplying water. It consists of a large basin of Chio marble decorated with sixteen vertical bands of Carrara marble. Two groups of sculpted dolphins and a small basin in the center were added during the first half of the 19C.

The Colonna or column in the center of the square,has been present here since antiquity. It was erected in honor of Marcus Aurelius in 180 CE on the model of that of Trajan, to commemorate the military campaigns of the emperor, Erected on the Champs de Mars after the death of the emperor; this 30-meter high engraved column celebrates the military victories.

Opposite the column is the entrance to Palazzo Chigi, which was once the embassy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and is now the seat of the Council of Ministers. The Palazzo Chigi, built in the 16-17C. First owned by the Aldobrandini family, it was sold to Pope Alexander VII Chigi. The Chigi family sold the palace to the Italian state in 1916, which then used it to house Government and the Council of Ministers. Also, Palazzo Montecitorio, seat of the Chamber of Deputies.


Also on display is the Palazzo Wedekind, the historic home of the daily newspaper Il Tempo, whose portico is supported by Ionic columns from the ancient city of Veii. Other important palaces occupy the square, and opposite, on Via del Corso, is the Galleria Alberto Sordi (see post).

The Rome tourist office on the Piazza Colonna

There you go folks, another dandy in eternal Rome! We love our visit and will come back eventually, hopefully. For now enjoy the wonderful Piazza Colonna of Rome! And again hope you enjoy the post as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 16, 2022

The Galleria Alberto Sordi of Rome !!

So here I am back at Rome, ok this is a big city we criss cross it with buses, metro, and lots of walks, long distances to soak in and see up close as much as possible. I have been here several times on business trips, but lately came with the family on personal vacation and rented apartments in the city, our favorite was in Nomentano district.

You come here for the big monuments and historical pieces even thus Italy and Rome are loaded of them, and coming from regions that have plenty and the most visited places on Earth, when it was time for Rome ,we settle for the off the beaten paths, the vast spaces of its squares, the food and of course the shopping.

Oh yes shopping is big here too, and plenty of it. However, we did not see all the big names and visit every fashion store or hardly any. We went for the architecturally stunning, chic luxury, and grand coffee and reading music games places. These we found in Piazza Colonna and the Galleria Alberto Sordi of Rome!


The history of the gallery dates back to 1872 and is linked to the project of enlargement of the Piazza Colonna during the installation of the Camera dei Deputati (congress of deputies) in the near Palazzo di Montecitorio. Its final project was approved only in 1911, and after a long work site, it was inaugurated in 1922 as Galleria Colonna.  Closed and abandoned in the 1980-1990’s, its work to restore the original decoration of the gallery-according to documents kept from the city archives from the mosaic of the floor, to the canopy and to all the decorations and stuccoes of the walls and luminaires.

The Galleria Alberto Sordi was inaugurated in 2003 and now bears the name of the famous Roman actor who died in the same year. Today, open every day from 10 to 22 hours without interruption, the gallery houses many fashion boutiques, caffè, and the famous Feltrinelli bookstore.  We came here looking for the bookstore and found the Massimo Dutti clothing store as well one of our favorites.  The Feltrinelli Libri e Musica is awesome and worth a detour me think.


Four floors dedicated to music, books, films, magazines and videogames for every taste, budget and occasion. A café where to have a coffee or an aperitivo before you plunge back into the new items on offer. An event space where every day there are meetings, presentations of books, films, records, current affairs debates and photographic exhibitions.  The coffee shop in the first floor (2nd US) is just worth the detour alone, and while gazing at a fine book, or gleaming of your new purchase CD’s DvD’s or games will bring a pleasant ambiance to have it sip it slowly and enjoy the wonderful architecture in grand style! 


The official Galleria Alberto Sordi

The Rome tourist office on the Galleria Alberto Sordi:

There you go folks, a grand coffee stop, plenty of beautiful books to read, and a gorgeous shopping center, that is Galleria Alberto Sordi of Rome! A wise shopping stop for all the glory of Rome! Hope you enjoy it as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 16, 2022

A special post on Paris ,Versailles, and Fontainebleau !!!

A few years back, I was in a huge popular travel forum and decide to invite the folks over to see the big 3 of my belle France. As the site was on its way down and eventually closed out to another major travel forum, the participation was small. However, I have great memories of sharing travel tips with folks all over the world , and some have become close friends still after many years. I like to update this post with new personal pictures to give credit to them and me. Hope you enjoy the pictoral and theme as I.

Oh yes the big 3 well, they are Paris, Versailles, and Fontainebleau. Here I go folks, my treat.

I did wrote quite a bit of travel tips and advice on a couple of big travel forums besides my blog, and tried to do doing something special in June 2015. For those reading my blog and passing by Paris in June 24,25,26, 2015 next I am hosting a tour of several places in Paris (where I worked), Versailles (Where I lived), and Fontainebleau (my first place visited in France and my wife’s region). The visit was to be as everyone pays its own and visit as much as they wish to visit on each day ,two days or all three days. I will have a place to meet on each day and we will go from there as a group. The basic visits were explained as such:

June 24th 2015, Fontainebleau

We met at the castle main horseshoe entrance by 9AM as I will be driving  by car;  you can come a bit late if delays on public transport it will be fine. We will be able to see for the first time the apartment of the Pope.  The Musée Napoléon 1er , prince apartments, portraits of pageantry, sumptuous weapons, luxury works of art but also a reconstituted tent evoking the life of the Emperor in the countryside.  Also,  small apartments, the Chinese Museum, the jeu de paume, the Gallery of furniture… and is a very precious decorative arts museum. I did got a couple into the Salle de la Belle Cheminée which off to the public but I have done conferences there. This is Belle-Cheminée du Primatice  building by the cour de la Fontaine. And of course, the 3 gardens styles.

Fontainebleau cour de la fontaine behind PF nov08

June 25th 2015 ,Paris

We met by the statue of Gustave Eiffel on the Nord Pylon . Going to the underground of the Tour Eiffel, (price will be around 20 euros per person) and to get it I need 10 persons min.) We did not have enough people so each paid its own, and did visit the Chapelle Expiatoire where the remains of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were first place and now a restful place and private of the Bourbon family. Go into some of the historical monuments in the Parisian deluxe Hotels done by Charles Garnier (opéra etc fame). We have the Chapelle Expiatoire open ok for Thursday June 25th so depending on when the tour Eiffel can fit us we will do this first or second.  We will do this as time permitting.

Paris palais de chaillot park eiffel tower back PF Apr09

June 26th , Versailles

We met in front at the Place d’Armes outside castle. We saw the whole of the castle (private apartments of the kings),the Royal Chapel ,and Opéra theater, then out into the Trianons, and Hameau of M-A, with a passport pass 18€, this includes in addition, the Great water shows,musical gardens that will be playing in June and temporary exhibitions. I  walked them to my jogging trails and family picnics beyond the Grand Canal, into the farm at St Cyr l’école that fed the palace in its heydays and still operated by descendants since 1741.  I had some surprises but needed min of 10 persons which was not to be instead we walked past many of the off the beaten path monuments of Versailles.

Versailles castle from gardens to back of castle jun09

The idea was to get a minimum of 10 persons which I thought was doable, but the morale was low in the forum and got only 5. Anyway it stayed as a memorable tour and personal presentation. I will put my pictures here.  And we did finally met in person! Hopefully,one day this can be done with the folks visiting from the blog….You let me know.

The official Fontainebleau tourist office

The official Paris tourist office

The official Versailles tourist office

There you go folks, a memorable day and a great contact in travel forums, hopefully imitated from my blog one day; it’s up to you. If we do, you pay for the monuments my tour is free. The big 3 is awesome , the best of my belle France! Many nice times spent in Fontainebleau, Paris, and Versailles! Hope you enjoy the post and something to think about

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

May 15, 2022

One more time visiting Meaux !!!

As nostalgia sets in on this month of May, I like to update this older post bringing back many memories of my life in my belle France, We were arriving at the end of 2018 , I am glad is over, not a good year for me, as you know, still vivid memories of my dear late wife Martine. I drove this week to her mom’s house,(since passed away too), the grandmother Yvette of my boys and the rest of aunts and cousins in Seine et Marne dept 77. It was a memorable trip of many nice good memories of family visits that will be with me forever.

This one of course is my driving  love the roads and my car is my second home. So therefore, this was my round trip of December 2018, a personal one! On the way there I took the old fashion road , the one from Paris took first to meet my wife; now coming from the Morbihan dept 56 it was the N165 to the N166 to past Rennes and then the A84 to the exit at Fougéres to get on the N12 all the way to Versailles by the N186 , did a brief tour of my beloved city in my old neighborhood , had a walk with my dog Rex, and then kept going on the D985 by Villa d’Avray all the way thru my old job hunt at Suresnes crossing the Pont de Suresnes into the allée de longchamp in the Bois de Boulogne, to the boulevard Périphérique BP into the Porte Maillot and follow the BP all the way to the Porte de Pantin to take the old reliable and slow N3. The road taken to visit my then girlfriend and first time taken it since then !! Just for my boys to see it !



The N3 or nationale 3 is going thru every town next to Paris and every red light you can imagine but it is the old road I took to meet my later wife in 1990! We used to come by the Porte de Pantin, parked by the Church St Germain in Pantin, free parking and take there the metro into Paris at the Eglise de Pantin line 5! taking us to Gare de l’Est train station and sometimes taking the train back to Meaux in Seine et Marne her native town.  This was the old days, now I would not recommend novice or tourists to take this road or traject.



This N3 takes you right into Meaux and and then the town sightseeing to rearch my inlaws in the tiny village of Chambry right by the Battle of the Marne WWI area and the wonderful Museum of the Great War next to the territory of the USA in the Monument Américain.  I reach the town by the country side on a great wheat field !!! (see posts).



The trip with the stops for my father who is on diabetes medication at 83 (still at 87) and my dog Rex (now 4 yrs old) pit stops plus our eating and sightseeing a trip that normaly took 6 hrs this time we did 10 hrs of car driving all by yours truly and I love it!!! Glad always to see the family !

The way back was easier the modern way. I left Chambry thru Meaux on the A140 to connect with the A4 past Disneyland Paris (which is in Seine et Marne dept  77). I went straight into the BP=boulevard périphérique of Paris , easy (dont read all those scary cats transport books) , I continue into the A86 towards Versailles and this will bring you right into the N12 back to Fougéres, and then the A84 to Rennes and then N166 to Vannes and the N165 to our new home easy 6h30 hrs even stopping for lunch and walks of Rex!


The autoroutes de France or highways with toll price info

The ecology gov of France site on the 20 autoroutes each on pdf file (see SANEF)

My best trafic info site infotrafic

The Sytadin for trafic around Paris and region Ïle de France

The Meaux country tourist office on things to see

There you go folks, some road pictures for my memory bank , for the memories to linger ,and already looking forward to do again to Meaux and surroundings, this time by more normal roads like the return trip above, Again ,thanks for reading me over the years since November 26 ,2010 !!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

May 15, 2022

In rememberance of Villetta, Malta!

Looking at my vault of pictures, found one special. The title is in rememberance of Villetta, Malta. My dear late wife Martine visited (see pic) and we talked about it with so many choices I could never visited but have her picture as memorial of the visit and her. As I have said, my blog is my lifé’s history and that of my family , I will post this now. Hope you enjoy the post and do get to visit and if have tell me about it in comments. Thanks

Valletta is the tiny capital of Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. The walled city was erected in the 1500s on a peninsula by the Knights of St. John, a Roman Catholic order. The city is known for its museums, palaces and imposing churches.

The Grand Master of the Order of Malta Jean de La Valette gave his name to the Maltese capital, If Laparelli is the author of the plan of the city, Cassar is in fact the main architect. The first building constructed by him was the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire where the remains of Jean de Valette lay pending the construction of the conventual church of the Order. The peninsula is surrounded by two natural harbors with several bays: Marsamxett Harbor to the north, and Grand Harbor to the south. The point of the peninsula, to the east, is occupied by Fort Saint-Elmo and Valletta opens to the west by the City Gate on the Place des Tritons at Il-Furjana.

Some of the things to see there and discussed are :

The St. John’s Co-Cathedral.,baroque landmark, whose opulent interior houses Caravaggio’s masterpiece, the Decollation of St John the Baptist, The Palace of the Grand Masters, Upper Barrakka Gardens & Lower Barrakka Gardens, Republic Street and Merchant Street, Casa Rocca Piccola, Manoel Theater, the National Archaeological Museum, and the National Museum of Fine Arts. Unesco has listed 320 monuments in Valletta over an area of ​​55 hectares, an exceptional concentration in the world.

Malta Martine visiting Malta

Valletta is served by Malta International Airport, which is located eight km from the city, The official Malta airport :

The city of Valletta on its heritage/history :

The official Malta tourist office

There you go folks, in rememberance of Villetta, Malta. Perhaps my first post on places not been, but worth it. This is Sunday May 15, International Families Day; the bond that never goes away. Hope you enjoy the post as I writing it. Hopefully, one day I will walk the same paths in Villetta, Malta.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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May 15, 2022

The Villa Sainte Hortense of Rochefort en Terre!!

And voilà, a wonderful find in my vault of many pictures many unclassified over the years! We have been to this town many many occasions especially on Christmas time where the best market in Brittany is held in my opinion. Several posts on my blog but left this picturesque house at the entrance to the town which needs to be told more in details. Ahh Rochefort en Terre is in my beautiful Morbihan, of my lovely Bretagne, and in my belle France.

Let me then, tell you a whole lot more of the Villa Sainte Hortense of Rochefort en Terre!!

The Villa Sainte-Hortense, is a nice property from the “Belle Epoque”, inserted in a green setting of more than one hectare fully enclosed, just two hundred meters from the historic heart of the small town of Rochefort en Terre. This property originally belonged to Louise Mougeat. A wealthy heiress from a family in Finistère (dept29) , she had discovered the exceptional site of Rochefort through her friend and distant relative, Marie Maitrot de Varennes, who lived there. This is what decided her, in 1898, to acquire land in the town, to build this house there. The residence, was completed in 1902, as well as the stables and the park which surrounds it. Louise Mougeat, an orphan at a very young age, had been raised by her uncle and aunt, Léon and Hortense Bouchant, hence the name of the house.


Combining classicism and modernity, this imposing but elegant residence is typical of the architecture of these large villas built at the end of the 19C, and the beginning of the 20C by a well-to-do bourgeois in many holiday resorts. Rising over four levels, the main body of the building is flanked by a hexagonal turret housing a vast wooden staircase. The first level, in the semi-basement, houses the service rooms. The second level the reception rooms. The third and fourth levels are the bedrooms, seven in total of varying sizes, including one on the top floor, embellished with a granite terrace overlooking the park. From its origins, the Villa Sainte-Hortense was equipped with a running water system and central hot air heating: it was, at that time, the only house in Rochefort to have such modernism. A few years later, an elevator was even installed in the center of the stairwell! But this equipment, unfortunately not very aesthetic and which was no longer in working order, was dismantled by the current owners who preferred to restore the beautiful and vast stairwell to its original appearance. This house is now inhabited year-round by the owners.


A dependency of the Villa Sainte-Hortense, the stables date from the same period. This beautiful stone construction with a carved granite facade strangely evokes, thanks to its overhanging roof and its earthenware frieze, Asian architecture. With a floor area of ​​75 square meters, the building has two levels: the first, closed by two large wooden gates, housed the horse boxes on one side, and the garage for the carts on the other. The second was a large attic which was accessed by a narrow internal staircase. It was in 2004 that the owners undertook the rehabilitation of these places. On the first level, in the stable boxes, is a bookstore/Library run by the owners. On the other side, the second level has direct and level access to the park: this is where the Sainte-Hortense gite is located.(not visited).

Rochefort et librairie sainte hortense dec19

The park that surrounds the property forms an elongated triangle of 1.2 hectares. The enclosure wall, made of local slate stone, runs along the street for 300 metres. At each of the two ends, large wrought iron gates allow direct access on one side to the center of the village, on the other to the surrounding countryside. Inside, the many beeches, oaks, chestnuts and hazelnut trees rub shoulders with species less common in our regions, such as the cedars of Lebanon or the Himalayas, hemp palms or ginkyo biloba, two species originating from China.


The official Villa Sainte Hortense gîte with history

The official Bookstore/Librarie Sainte Hortense

There you go folks, a dandy spot in my beautiful Rochefort en Terre, a must to visit while in the area. The Villa Sainte Hortense is another architectural jewel and nice history to boot. Hope you have enjoy the post as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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May 14, 2022

The Castle of Rochefort en Terre!!

I am taking you to a popular town but for Christmas season, However, the rest of the year it can call an off the beaten path site, and we love on both times, Let me update for you and me the Castle of Rochefort en Terre !!. The town is in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of my lovely region of Bretagne. I have been here many many times over the years but only one post specifically on the castle and worth the detour me think.


A first castle was built on the initiative of the lords of Rochefort on the rocky spur overlooking the Gueuzon stream in the 12C. It passed, by marriage, in 1374 to the powerful family of Rieux. It ends up partially leveled by order of the king of France Charles VIII in 1488 during the war of succession of Brittany. Again, the castle was looted during the Wars of the League in 1594 by the troops of the Duke of Merceur, Partially rebuilt by the Larlan family at the beginning of the 17C, it was looted again in July 1793 after the battle in March, during the French revolution, leaving it almost entirely destroyed. The only surviving building, the stable, from the 17C was transformed into a dwelling. The site is acquired by the Juhel family in 1843 and will remain the property until its sale in 1907 to the American painter Alfred Klots.


The castle of Rochefort en Terre was built on an elongated pentagonal layout which has survived throughout the history of the site. In 1867 only five towers and a few sections of ramparts remained from the medieval castle. The current mansion, in neo-Gothic style, is built on the outbuildings of the 17C, a body of building at right angles. A first tower, joining the two wings was built before 1914. The skylights, Gothic and Renaissance styles were taken from the castle of Keralio (in Noyal-Muzillac) ; just like the chapel, reassembled in the park of the castle in 1917. The second tower, at the end of the south wing, was completed in January 1927.


From 1907, Alfred Klots, owner of the Castle, invites painters in the city and sets up tourist activities. He had the idea in 1911 to launch a competition throughout the city: that of the “flowered windows”, which became over time that of the “flower villages” or Village Fleuri de France today! YES! This American adopted by the local Rochefortais died in 1939. Alfred Klots was born in Saint Germain en Laye (Yvelines 78) in 1875, from an American family of Baltimore, MD ,that practiced the silk trade. Very early reveals his artistic talent, this young painter will follow most of his training in New York before coming to live in Paris in 1901. It was then that he fell in love with Brittany. He buys the Castle or rather what’s left of it as it was in ruins and only the stables had been converted into a dwelling in the 19C. In successive stages, he will revive it and it will become his castle in Brittany. In 1918-1919 he opened his home to the American Red Cross , which makes it a convalescent center for soldiers , which would be worth to him to receive the Legion of Honor after the war.


His son Trafford Klots born in 1913, also devoted himself to painting. In 1940 when the war broke out he created the American Fund for relief to the Bretons, before engaging as an officer in the U S Army. In 1944, back in Rochefort en Terre, he finds intact the Castle and its collections saved thanks to the dedication of the gatekeeper. Trafford Klots will be made a Knight of the Legion of Honor by France. He died in 1976. Today, the Castle is a property of the town of Rochefort en Terre that makes it live another way for our greatest a cultural center. At the slate time of the Sundial, their present, allied to the past has become an invaluable gift. that of a love story between Brittany and America! Nice story indeed!!!


The Klots family rests in the cemetery of Rochefort en Terre with the  watchman and his maids. What recognition!

The city of Rochefort en Terre on the castle

The Rochefort en Terre tourist office on the castle and its history

The Rochefort en Terre tourist office oin its heritage

There you go folks, a wonderful town of Rochefort en Terre and its nice castle . A  pretty medieval and super during the Christmas holidays to New Year’s town. The castle is tops and see my other post as it has an adjoining museum good for the whole family or a romantic getaway!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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