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The Capuchin Crypt which displays the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin friars

Rome Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 10 › view all entries

Next we actually had set some goals for our walk around Rome, just to make sure that we didn’t miss one of the mayor sites in Rome; The Trevi Fountain. The fountain at the juncture of three roads (tre vie) marks the terminal point of the "modern" Acqua Vergine, the revivified Aqua Virgo, one of the ancient aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome.

We walked to the Metro after a late breakfast and decided to get off already at the second station towards the city centre; Piramide. The train station was leading directly towards Piramide di Caio Cestio or Piramide Cestia).

Piazza di Porta San Paolo
It is actually an ancient pyramid near the Porta San Paolo and the Protestant Cemetery. It stands in a fork between two ancient roads, the Via Ostiensis and another road that ran west to the Tiber along the appoximate line of the modern Via della Marmorata. Due to its incorporation into the city's fortifications, it is today one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome.

The pyramid was built about 18 BC-12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius Epulo, a magistrate and member of one of the four great religious corporations at Rome, the Septemviri Epulonum. It is of brick-faced concrete covered with slabs of white marble standing on a travertine foundation, measuring 100 Roman feet (22 m) square at the base and standing 125 Roman feet (27 m) high.

In the interior is the burial chamber, a simple barrel-vaulted rectangular cavity measuring 5.

Pyramid of Caio Cestio
95 metres long, 4.10 wide and 4.80 high. When it was (re)discovered in 1660, the chamber was found to be decorated with frescoes which were recorded by Pietro Santi Bartoli, but only the scantest traces of these now remain. There was no trace left of any other contents in the tomb, which had been plundered in antiquity. The tomb had been sealed when it was built, with no exterior entrance; it is not possible for visitors to access the interior.

We followed Viale del Campo Boario and enjoyed the trees along the pavement. The weather had changed, not dramatically but it was colder than the other days. We turned towards River Tiber at Via Nicola Zabaglia passing Monte Testaccio. In antiquity, much of the Tiber River trade took place here, and the remains of broken clay vessels (amphorae) were stacked creating the artificial Testaccio hill, which today is a source of much archeological evidence as to the history of ancient everyday Roman life.

The wall to the protestant Cemetery along the Via del Campo Boario

We turned again at Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice after passing Parrocchia salesiana di S.M.Liberatrice al Testaccio. We turned towards the Tiber again just below San Anselmo all'Aventino; a church and monastery that was designed by Hildebrand de Hemptinne and Fidelis von Stotzingen, and built in 1900. The International College of Sant' Anselmo is located here, as is the seat of the Abbot Primate of the Federation of 'Black Monks'. This includes all monks under the Rule of St Benedict except the Cistercians and the Trappists.

The traffic along the Lungotevere Avertino was rather calm and we were heading for Circus Maximus when we saw a small road; Clivio di Rocca Savella, amongst the trees leading up to Santa Sabina all'Aventino, which is another basilica.

The wall to the protestant Cemetery along the Via del Campo Boario
The small road was a little breathing hole in the city, and from her we actually had a good view towards many of the sites in the city. The little road turned in the end into an even smaller one called Passage on the Aventino.

The basilica is the centre of the Dominican order. Santa Sabina lies high on the Aventine Hill, riverside, close to the headquarters of the Knights of Malta. Santa Sabina is an early basilica (5th century), with a classical rectangular plan and columns. The decorations have been restored to their original modesty, mostly white. Together with the light pouring in from the windows, this makes the Santa Sabina an airy and roomy place. Because of its simplicity, the Santa Sabina represents the crossover from a roofed Roman forum to the churches of Christendom.

We walked down the Via Santa Sabina and passed Roseto Comunale where the roses were in full bloom displaying all imaginable colours.

Even small cars needs to park creative
The street leads down to Circo Massimo.

Circus Maximus, Latin for greatest circus, is an ancient hippodrome and mass entertainment venue located in Rome. Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills, the location was first utilized for public games and entertainment by the Etruscan kings of Rome. Certainly, the first games of the Ludi Romani (Roman Games) were staged at the location by Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth Etruscan ruler of Rome. Somewhat later, the Circus was the site of public games and festivals influenced by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. Meeting the demands of the Roman citizenry for mass public entertainment on a lavish scale, Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC, after which the track measured approximately 600 m in length, 80 m in breadth and could accommodate an estimated 250,000 spectators (many more, perhaps an equal number again, could view the games by standing, crowding and lining the adjoining hills).

Italian food!
In 81, the Senate built a triple arch honouring Titus by the closed East end (not to be confused with the Arch of Titus over the Via Sacra on the opposite side of the Palatinum).

Watching this place closing out the noise of today’s cars and imagining a crowd of 250.000 spectators watching the games cheering the best of their lungs can make the small hair on your back quiver. It must have been a fantastic sight.

We passed La Bocca della VeritĂ  or in English, "the Mouth of Truth", which is a renowned image of a man-like face and located in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, carved from Pavonazzetto marble. The sculpture is thought to be part of an ancient Roman fountain, or perhaps a manhole cover, portraying one of several possible pagan gods.

A wonderful house on Via del Monte Testaccio
The most famous characteristic of the Mouth, however, is its role as a lie detector. Starting from the Middle Ages, it was believed that if one told a lie with his hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. The piece was placed in the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin in the 17th century. Just to make it clear no one of us tested the story.

The most amazing part about walking in this city is that there are stories on every street corner. We passed Templo de HĂ©rcules and the Forum Boarium.  Forum Boarium was the cattle forum venalium of Ancient Rome and the oldest forum that Rome possessed. It was located at a flat place near the Tiber between the Capitoline, the Palatine and Aventine hills. Here, too, is where the first bridges were built.

Looking in to a backyard on Via Giovanni Branca
The Boarium was by the premier port of Rome (Port Tibernius), and experienced intense commercial activity. The Forum Boarium was the site of the first gladiatorial contest at Rome which took place in 264 BC as part of aristocratic funerary ritual—a munus or funeral gift for the dead. Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva put on a gladiatorial combat in honor of his deceased father with three pairs of slaves serving as gladiators.

One of the goal of this day had been to visit Isola Tiberina and the island was now in sight. We passed Ponte Palatino and enjoyed the leftovers of the former bridge; The Pons Aemilius today known as Ponte Rotto. The bridge is the oldest Roman stone bridge in the city and it is preceded by a wooden version. It has been stone since the 1st century BC.

Once spanning across the Tiber (connecting the Forum Boarium with Trastevere), a single arch in mid-river is all that remains today, lending the bridge the name Ponte rotto ('Broken bridge').

Looking towards Palazzi Cavalieri di Malta from Via Giovanni Branca
The oldest piers of the bridge were probably laid when the Via Aurelia was constructed in the mid-3rd century BC. Augustus completely rebuilt the bridge with a tufa; a rough, thick, rock-like calcium carbonate deposit that forms by precipitation from bodies of water with a high dissolved calcium content and concrete core. Initially constructed in 179 BC with stone pillars and a wooden superstructure, the bridge was fitted in 142 BC wholly with six stone arches. Damaged and repaired in 280, 120, and 1557, the bridge was defunct by 1598, when its eastern half was carried away. The remaining half was demolished in the 1880s, leaving behind only one arch.

I am amazed that all the old beauty has remained in a city like Rome undergoing so many changes over thousands of years. Being a tourist here makes you appreciate that not all old building are demolished and successes by new and modern buildings.

Looking towards Piazzi Cavalieri di Malta from Via Giovanni Branca

We passed Ponte Cestio "Cestius' Bridge which is a stone bridge from the island to the west bank of the Tiber. The bridge was originally built around the 4th century BC, after the pons Fabricius, which situates on the other side of island.

Both the ponti Cestius and Fabricius were long-living bridges; however, whereas the Fabricius remains wholly intact, the Cestius was largely destroyed in the 19th century with only some of the ancient structure preserved. The pons Cestius is the first bridge that reached the right bank of Tiber. While the island was long connected with the left bank of the Tiber, even before the pons Fabricius, the right bank (Transtiber) remained unconnected until the Cestius.

Palazzi Cavalieri di Malta from Lungotevere Aventino

The island is very small and a calm breathing place in the city. On the island you have a small hospital and the Basilica San Bartolomeo all'Isola. The basilica was founded at the end of the tenth century by Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor. It contains the relics of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, and is located on the site of the former temple of Aesculapius, which had cleansed the island of its ill-repute and established its reputation as a hospital, continued today. Emperor Otto built this church, which was initially dedicated to Adalbert of Prague, friend of Otto. It was renovated by Pope Paschal II in 1113 and again in 1180, after its rededication upon the arrival of the relics of the apostle Bartholomew. The relics were sent to Rome from Benevento, where they had arrived from Armenia in 809. The relics are located within an ancient Roman porphyry bath with lions' heads, under the main altar.

Lungotevere Aventino
The marble wellhead (puteale) bears the figures of the Savior, Adalbert and Bartholomew and Otto III. The church was badly damaged by a flood in 1557 and was reconstructed, with its present Baroque façade, in 1624, to designs of Orazio Torriani. Further restorations were undertaken in 1852.

We followed the trail of people with an ice cream in their hand and found ourselves in a queue for gelati. We got some great large ice creams and enjoyed it at the Ponti Fabricius viewing the activities on the river or just followed the water with our eyes. After crossing the bridge we entered the Jewish quarter passing the sinagoga al tramonto. The Jewish area is nice and calm and I enjoy the difference to some of the other areas. We passed the ruins at via del Foro Piscario where they were making some kind of movie.

Via Clivo Roccasavella

We walked along Via dei Giubbonari until we reached the always colourful Campo dell Fiori. I had wondered who the dark guy was who was sculptured in the middle of the square; it turned out to be the philosopher Giordano Bruno. Capital punishments used to be held publicly in Campo dei Fiori. Here, on 17 February 1600, the philosopher Giordano Bruno was burnt alive by the Roman Inquisition because his ideas were deemed dangerous. In 1887 Ettore Ferrari dedicated a monument to him on the exact spot of his death: he stands defiantly facing the Vatican, reinterpreted in the first days of a reunited Italy as a martyr to freedom of speech.

We followed the small streets and ended in Via della Pace and in front of Santa Maria dell'Anima; a Catholic church in central Rome, which for centuries has serviced the German community.

Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasavella
The square in front of the church was extremely nice and full of the different shade of Rome orange that I really enjoy. We found a very nice café here and had a cup of coffee. There was a group of students from an art school doing sketches together with their teacher and we followed the lesson on distance.

From here our next target was the Trevi Fountain, we crossed the inner city and arrived at a totally crowded fountain. The noise was amazing, it was like all school children in Italy had decided to go and visit that day. I think it was more crowded than the Vatican. We stayed only a short while shooting the obligatory pictures. The weather was slowly changing and we knew that we had to check out early from the hotel and having a whole day in rain before taking our plane home next evening made us decide to rent a car for the following day.

Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasavella
I went in to an internet shop to check out if we could get a car from Termini and it was possible. We would end our walk there this day.

Our next goal was Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, or Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins. The church was originally commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, whose brother, Antonio Barberini, was a Capuchin friar. It is located at Via Veneto, close to Piazza Barberini but the church is most famous as an ossuary, known as the Capuchin Crypt, in which is displayed the bones of over 4,000 Capuchin friars, collected between the years of 1528 and 1870. The bones are fashioned into decorative displays in the Baroque and Rococo style. The popularity of the crypt as a tourist attraction once rivalled the Catacombs.

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Piazza di Porta San Paolo
Piazza di Porta San Paolo
Pyramid of Caio Cestio
Pyramid of Caio Cestio
The wall to the protestant Cemeter…
The wall to the protestant Cemete…
The wall to the protestant Cemeter…
The wall to the protestant Cemete…
Even small cars needs to park crea…
Even small cars needs to park cre…
Italian food!
Italian food!
A wonderful house on Via del Monte…
A wonderful house on Via del Mont…
Looking in to a backyard on Via Gi…
Looking in to a backyard on Via G…
Looking towards Palazzi Cavalieri …
Looking towards Palazzi Cavalieri…
Looking towards Piazzi Cavalieri d…
Looking towards Piazzi Cavalieri …
Palazzi Cavalieri di Malta from Lu…
Palazzi Cavalieri di Malta from L…
Lungotevere Aventino
Lungotevere Aventino
Via Clivo Roccasavella
Via Clivo Roccasavella
Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasave…
Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasav…
Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasave…
Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasav…
Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasave…
Rome seen from Via Clivo Roccasav…
Flowers in Rome
Flowers in Rome
Flowers in Rome
Flowers in Rome
Savella
Savella
Clivio del Publicil
Clivio del Publicil
Roses of Rome
Roses of Rome
Roses of Rome
Roses of Rome
Clivio del Publicil towars Santa M…
Clivio del Publicil towars Santa …
Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo
Circo Massimo
Santa Maria in Cosmedin at Piazza …
Santa Maria in Cosmedin at Piazza…
Piazza dela Bocca della Verita
Piazza dela Bocca della Verita
Fiume Tevere and Isola Tiberina
Fiume Tevere and Isola Tiberina
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Palatino
Ponte Cestio seen from Ponte Palat…
Ponte Cestio seen from Ponte Pala…
Ponta Palatino
Ponta Palatino
Fiume Tevere and Isola Tiberina
Fiume Tevere and Isola Tiberina
A beautiful house on Lungotevere A…
A beautiful house on Lungotevere …
Isola Tiberina
Isola Tiberina
A beautiful house on Lungotevere A…
A beautiful house on Lungotevere …
Fiume Tevere seen from Ponte Fabri…
Fiume Tevere seen from Ponte Fabr…
The main square at Isola Tiberina
The main square at Isola Tiberina
Fiume Tevere and Isola Tiberina se…
Fiume Tevere and Isola Tiberina s…
San Barbara ai Librari
San Barbara ai Librari
Campo de Fiori
Campo de' Fiori
Campo de Fiori
Campo de' Fiori
Campo de Fiori
Campo de' Fiori
Campo di Fiori
Campo di Fiori
Santa Maria dellAnima is a Cathol…
Santa Maria dell'Anima is a Catho…
Santa Maria dellAnima is a Cathol…
Santa Maria dell'Anima is a Catho…
In front Santa Maria dellAnima wi…
In front Santa Maria dell'Anima w…
Artist class in fromt Santa Maria …
Artist class in fromt Santa Maria…
Build for small repair
Build for small repair
Next to Santa Maria dellAnima
Next to Santa Maria dell'Anima
Inside Santa Maria dellAnima
Inside Santa Maria dell'Anima
Inside Santa Maria dellAnima
Inside Santa Maria dell'Anima
Shop til U drop
Shop til U drop
On the way again
On the way again
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Via della Stamperia
Via della Stamperia
Piazza Barberini
Piazza Barberini
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
Capuchin crypt and ossuary
The Quirinal Hill (Latin, Collis Q…
The Quirinal Hill (Latin, Collis …
The Quirinal Hill (Latin, Collis Q…
The Quirinal Hill (Latin, Collis …
The Quirinal Hill (Latin, Collis Q…
The Quirinal Hill (Latin, Collis …
Way down there a guard was sitting…
Way down there a guard was sittin…
I just love this house
I just love this house
Via Gioberti
Via Gioberti
The view from the hotel room
The view from the hotel room
The view from the hotel room
The view from the hotel room
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photo by: vulindlela