Palatine Hill Rome

The Palatino (“Palatine Hill”) is one of the famous seven hills of Rome. It was the first one that was inhabited. According to legend Romulus founded Rome on its slopes, in the year 753 BC. Some years ago the Lupercale, the cave where Remus and Romulus are thought to have been fed by the she-wolf, was discovered.

Continue reading “Palatine Hill Rome”

Marforio Rome

Marforio, together with Pasquino, Madama Lucrezia, the Abbot Luigi, the Porter (il Facchino) and the Baboon (il Babuino), is one of the famous “talking statues of Rome”, a number of statues that were used from the 16th century onwards to vent criticism of the contemporary popes and politicians. The statue is now on display in the Capitoline Museums.

Continue reading “Marforio Rome”

Domus Aurea Rome (Nero’s Golden House)

The Domus Aurea (or the Emperor Nero‘s “Golden House”) is located in the Colle Oppio Park in Rome. Fears that the building might collapse kept the monument closed for a very long time, but since 2015 it can be visited again, albeit only during the weekend.

Continue reading “Domus Aurea Rome (Nero’s Golden House)”

Pyramid of Cestius Rome

Whoever happens to get off at the line B metro stop Piramide in Rome might be surprised to find an actual pyramid across the road from the main exit of the underground station. Though the only one still standing it was not even the only pyramid in the city during the golden days of the Empire.

Continue reading “Pyramid of Cestius Rome”

Talking Statues Rome

The Talking Statues of Rome are otherwise known as the Congregation of Wits and from the 16th century onwards formed a way for Romans to anonymously criticize and make fun of the popes and politicians of the period.

Talking Statues Rome

Abbot Luigi (talking statues Rome)
Abbot Luigi

The first one of the talking statues was Pasquino, a statue that was found by chance during excavations near the present Piazza Navona. It was placed on a small square and soon small snide poems and epigrams satirizing the rulers of the city started appearing on it.

There are various theories as to the origin of the custom, but the most commonly accepted one is that the original Pasquino was a tailor working at the Vatican and that the statue was named after him when he died.

Other people took over after his death and, when guards were posted to prevent people from venting their criticisms, other statues (Madama Lucrezia, Abbot Luigi, Il Babuino, Il Facchino and Marforio) came to be used for the same reason.

For a while Pasquino and Marforio even ran a dialogue amongst themselves, Pasquino posting some witticism one day and Marforio answering the day after.

The English word pasquinade (“a satire or lampoon, especially one that ridicules a specific person, traditionally written and posted in a public place”) was coined thanks to the talking statues of Rome.