Sunday, 29 August 2010

St. Peter from the keyhole

On the Aventine hill, at the end of via di Santa Sabina, there is the Villa del Priorato di Malta, home to the Grand Priory of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. This is a catholic secular order and his birth can be traced back from the ancient Order of Hospitallers, born in 1050 in Palestine. It became a military order when the necessity of defending their own hospitals from various attacks suggested to their followers to start using the violence. Eventually it became an armed order and obtained territories, slowly constituting itself as a real state. It controlled the island of Malta for several centuries until Napoleon's time. Today it is based in this villa on the Aventine and looking at the keyhole of the main entrance you would notice in a perfect perspective the dome of St. Peter, at the end of a very elegant garden. A real and nice surprise which is always delightful.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The supplì

The supplì is a tipical roman (and more generally from Lazio) speciality. They are rice balls, with pieces of melted mozzarella inside, wrapped up with a delicate and golden fried layer. In Rome they are also known as "supplì on the phone": dividing the supplì in two parts, these two halves remain jointed together by a piece of melted mozzarella like two people can stay connected by the wires of a telephone. Basically nearly all the pizzerias in Rome make supplì and it is difficult to eat bad ones. But if you want to taste excellent ones visit Franchi, via Cola di Rienzo 200-204, Metro A, station Lepanto o Ottaviano San Pietro. This place started his activity as a salami and meat seller in 1925 and today, among great other specialities, they sell the supplì which definitely worths a stop.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Caravaggio in Rome

Caravaggio was one of the greatest painters of all times. Despite his short life (he was 39 when he died) revolutionized the way of painting during his time for the peculiar way of using the light (theatrical and spiritual) and for the realism of his works. Many painters imitated his style creating the artistic movement of "caravaggism". In Rome there are 23 paintings of Caravaggio, more than in any other city of the world. Six of these can be admired for free in the following four churches: Church of St. Louis of the French (3 paintings, the sublime triptic about the life of St. Matthew), St. Augustine (la Madonna dei Pellegrini) and Santa Maria del Popolo (Crucifixion of St. Peter and Conversion on the way to Damascus). The rest of the paintings is shared among variuos museums, of which the Borghese Gallery has six of them. Caravaggio lived and worked in Rome between 1595 and 1606. Then he had to leave the city because he was condemned to death after killing a man. He escaped in the south of Italy, arrived till Malta, he came back in Italy close to Naples where he misteriously died in 1610.

                           The Crucifixion of St.Peter,
                           church of Santa Maria del Popolo

Vocation of St. Matthew,
church of San Luigi dei Francesi