Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The "dancing bell tower"

Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, designed by several architects, among whom there is Borromini who realised the wonderful bell tower, is a church close by Spanish steps. Inside this church there are two angels done by Bernini and initially destined to Ponte Sant'Angelo. They have been put here to protect them against the bad weather. The church is popular also for another reason: it has what is called by the romans the "dancing bell tower". Every time the bells ring, the bell tower swing visibly. For this reason the romans nicknamed it as "dancing bell tower"!

Monday, 12 April 2010

St. Mary of the Angels

One of the peculiarities of this church is that it was obtained from the Diocletian thermal baths, the biggest ones ever built by the romans. They were where today is Piazza della Repubblica (below the square in the metro station is still possible to see few ruins) and the church has been built using part  of the thermal baths. The facade itself seems to be a ruin. The project of utilising ancient ruins for a church is from Michelangelo. Vanvitelli in 1750 placed inside the church many paintings coming from St. Peter. They were eventually replaced by mosaics (you can notice walking inside St. Peter that there are no more paintings on the walls, but just mosaics). Worth to note is the meridian in the transept. From 1700 to 1846 it was used to scientifically demonstrate the correctness of the gregorian calendar and to determine the exact day of Easter according to the rotary motion of the sun and the moon.

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Tarpeian rock

The Tarpeian Rock is the southern side of the Capitolium hill. It takes its name from Tarpea, the daughter of the gatekeeper of the capitolium castle. According to the legend, Tarpea betrayed the city of Rome revealing to the Sabinians the secret passage to arrive to the Capitolium hill. After this revelation she was killed by the same Sabinians. To the memory of this event, according to the roman tradition all the traitors and killers were thrown away from this rock.