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A long walk in the inner city

Rome Travel Blog

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Inside San Paulo fuiri le Mura during Sunday Mass

The third day in Rome we decided that we would check out Basilica di San Paolo fuori le Mura which we had passed every day several times on the way from the hotel to the Metro. From outside it didn’t look like much. All the way round the basilica there was a very high wall and the main tower was under re-construction. The basilica known in English as the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls or St Paul-without-the-Walls, and it is one of four churches considered to be the great ancient basilicas of Rome.

When we entered, we were both taken by how big it actually was inside.

Domus Aurea
The ceiling was very beautiful with bright colours and an enormous amount of gold. Being Sunday we entered while there was mass in the church and it was a day where some youngsters had their confirmation, so people were happy and proud. We left the church after walking around for a while visiting their monetary and the garden.

We took the Metro to Colosseo and decided to walk through The Domus Aurea (Latin for "Golden House") which is situated behind the Colosseo. The Domus Aurea was a large landscaped portico villa, designed to take advantage of artificially created landscapes built in the heart of Ancient Rome by the Roman emperor Nero after Great fire of Rome, which devastated Rome in 64 AD, had cleared away the aristocratic dwellings on the slopes of the Esquiline Hill. The park was full of people enjoying the sun, having picnics, playing ball and so forth.

Our very sweet and smiling waiter at the café Santa Maria at Piazza Esquilino
The park was also a resting place for many of the African street salesmen, making their living from selling fake bags, watches and other doubtful goods.

We walked through the park and a long Viale del Monte Oppio and Via Merulana until we came to Piazza dell Esquilino where the The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is situated. At this time we felt for a lunch and therefore searched for a nice relaxing place where we could sit outside and enjoy the sun as well. We decided for the café opposite the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

The café was full of locals having been to mass in the church and some fellow tourists. The waiter was a very funny old guy that took his time with all the customers and forgot some orders sometimes.

Outside the church Santa Maria Maggiore
We had both of us some good salads and enjoyed the atmosphere for long time. The square was not trafficked that much with car but there were a lot of arrivals of tourist busses with cascades of visitors to the church.

After finishing the lunch we decided to follow the crowd and check out the what was so interesting about it. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore was an ancient Catholic basilica of Rome. It was another of the four major basilicas the second of the day. It is also one of the five Patriarchal basilicas associated with the Pentarchy: St. John Lateran, St. Lawrence outside the Walls, St. Peter and St. Paul outside the Walls, and Santa Maria Maggiore. The Liberian Basilica (another title for the church) is one of the tituli, presided over by a patron—in this case Pope Liberius—that housed the major congregations of early Christians in Rome.

Just a pretty thing; Fontana Sallustiana

Santa Maria Maggiore is the only Roman basilica that retained the core of its original structure, left intact despite several additional construction projects and damage from the earthquake of 1348. The name of the church reflects two ideas of greatness, both that of a major basilica as opposed to a minor basilica and also that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the true Mother of God. The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest and most important place of prayer dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Rome. Yes we did the tour following one of the tourist groups some part of the way.

From here we walked down to the Piazza della Repubblica and Fontana delle Naiadi, which was commissioned by Pope Pius IX as a display of the waters from the Aqua Marcia aqueduct.

Piazzale Brasile
We didn’t really have a plan or a goal this day we just decided to see where our feet took us. The city was calm being the Sunday before the Whit Monday. We walked further up the Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando and passed the little church of Santa Maria della Vittoria before following the Via Leonida Bisolati where I fell for the little Fontana Sallustiana, a small fountain with two children sitting under a shell. The fountain was covered with moss and seemed to live its anonymous own life in the shades of some tress.

We followed the exclusive Via Veneto with all its five star hotels and expensive cafés up to Porta Pinciana.  Porta Pinciana is a gate of the Aurelian Walls, the name derives from the gens Pincia, who owned the epponymous hill (Pincian Hill).

Piazza Capranica
In ancient times it was also called Porta Turata ("Plugged Gate", for it was partially closed) and Porta Salaria vetus, as the oldest Via Salaria passed under it (the Via Salaria nova passed under the Porta Salaria). The gate was built under the emperor Honorius in the early 5th century, by adapting a previous smaller service entrance. The two side passages are a modern addition. The gate remained closed until the early 20th century. We decided that we didn’t want to go further into Villa Borghese but instead we walked down Via di Porta Pinciana toward Spagna passing the Spanish Stairs and Columna de la Inmaculada Plaza Mignanelli.

We followed Via Frattino down to the nice square Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina where we decided to have a rest and a cup of coffee. We just sat and enjoyed the people walking by having found a table in the middle of the square.

Largo di Torre Argentina
We were sitting next to a girl and her mother from Sweden discussing where to go. The daughter insisted to stay in this quarter because the shops were open here. I just smiled; coming to this beautiful city with all its beauty and and history and worry about being able to shop!

We walked pass Pantheon and ended up at Largo di Torre Argentina, which is a square that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the remains of Pompey's Theater. It is located in the ancient Campus Martius. The name of the square comes from the Torre Argentina, which takes its name from the city of Strasbourg, whose original name was Argentoratum. In 1503, in fact, the Papal Master of Ceremonies Johannes Burckardt from Strasbourg built in via del Sudario a palace (now at number 44), called Casa del Burcardo, to which the tower is annexed.

Palazzio Venezia
The other tower in the square is not the one giving the name to the place, but the Medieval Torre del Papitto ("Little Pope's Tower"), attributed by tradition to Antipope Anacletus II Pierleoni, allegedly not a tall person. After Italian unification, it was decided to reconstruct part of Rome (1909), demolishing the zone of Torre Argentina. During the works (1927), however, the colossal head and arms of a marble statue were discovered. The archeological investigation brought to light the presence of a holy area, dating to the Republican era, with four temples and part of Pompey's Theater.

From here we walked by the Piazza Venezia and The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II before ending up at a small restaurant close to Pontifical Gregorian University, where we had a nice dinner before walking back to Colosseo and there after taking the Metro back to where we started 10 hours earlier.

tvillingmarit says:
Great blog
Posted on: Jun 25, 2008
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Inside San Paulo fuiri le Mura dur…
Inside San Paulo fuiri le Mura du…
Domus Aurea
Domus Aurea
Our very sweet and smiling waiter …
Our very sweet and smiling waiter…
Outside the church Santa Maria Mag…
Outside the church Santa Maria Ma…
Just a pretty thing; Fontana Sallu…
Just a pretty thing; Fontana Sall…
Piazzale Brasile
Piazzale Brasile
Piazza Capranica
Piazza Capranica
Largo di Torre Argentina
Largo di Torre Argentina
Palazzio Venezia
Palazzio Venezia
The fabulous ceiling in San Paulo …
The fabulous ceiling in San Paulo…
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Outside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Inside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Inside San Paulo fuiri le Mura
Kaija admiring the inside of San P…
Kaija admiring the inside of San …
Colosseo
Colosseo
The foot of Colosseo
The foot of Colosseo
Colosseo
Colosseo
Via Cello Vibenna
Via Cello Vibenna
The church Santa Maria Maggiore se…
The church Santa Maria Maggiore s…
Inside the church Santa Maria Magg…
Inside the church Santa Maria Mag…
Inside the church Santa Maria Magg…
Inside the church Santa Maria Mag…
The backside of the church Santa M…
The backside of the church Santa …
The backside of the church Santa M…
The backside of the church Santa …
Piazza della Repubblica and Fontan…
Piazza della Repubblica and Fonta…
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Santa Maria della Vittoria
Piazzale Brasile
Piazzale Brasile
Via di Porta Pinciana
Via di Porta Pinciana
Piazza Colonna
Piazza Colonna
A cage for a guard at Piazza di Mo…
A cage for a guard at Piazza di M…
Via Olani
Via Olani
A wonderful decoration on a street…
A wonderful decoration on a stree…
The front side of Pantheon seen fr…
The front side of Pantheon seen f…
Via della Rotunda
Via della Rotunda
The backside of Pantheon seen from…
The backside of Pantheon seen fro…
Frangipane
Frangipane
Via Madonna del Monti
Via Madonna del Monti
Via degli Annibaldi
Via degli Annibaldi
Colosseo
Colosseo
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photo by: vulindlela