Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Rome 3 million people

Rome remains a very noisy city, our room giving unto the piazza below is quiet unless we open the window then the world comes in. But this is part of the charm of Rome, the traffic, the noise, the smells, it is an old city.
Renaissance façade of the Church of San Gregorio built by Cardinal Scipio Borghese. The facade hides the much older 5th century monastery behind.

Palatine Hill across the street from the Church, with remnants of the aqueduct of Nero which supplied water to the imperial palaces.

Today we went to visit the Church of San Gregorio, pope in the 6th century, early Christian period fraught with difficulty and violence. St-Gregory I is a doctor of the Christian Faith along with St-Jerome and St-Ambrose. He is often depicted as Pope with the Holy Spirit, represented as a white dove whispering in his ear God's Will. Gregorio came from an old Aristocratic family of Rome, his father Gordien was a Senator and they lived on the Celio Hill facing the Palatine Hill on Via Triumphalis which is the entrance to Ancient Rome since time immemorial.
 Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Docteur of Canonical Law of the R.C. Church

Gregorio was a Prefect of Rome meaning that he administered the City at a time when the Emperor's had long gone to the new Capital Constantinople. Rome had become nothing more than a Provincial Town. Gregorio came in contact with the teachings of St-Benedict and after many years became a Christian, he was elected Pope simply on the fact that all other candidates were too old or had died of the Plague. He also had lots of good political contacts in Constantinople. His mother St-Sylvia had nurtured his career, a bit like St-Helena had nurtured the career of her son Emperor Constantine.

He was the Pope who consolidated the power of the Papacy elevating it in 593 AD from a simple Bishop of Rome position to that of a Sovereign over Italy, establishing the Catholic Faith supremacy over all other Christian Faiths. He gave his blessing to the looting of old Roman Temples to help build Christian ones, this created a lot of violence in Rome against Pagans but also violence between Christian of various Christian beliefs over the Divinity of Christ and his teachings. Christianity in Europe will take many more centuries to be accepted as a new Faith. Gregory sent St-Augustine to England to Christianise the Saxons. By various, very often violent means by 930 AD most of Europe will have become Christian, though an important schism with Orthodox Christians will have developed and endures to this day.

 The tufa stone remnants of the huge platform that supported the Temple of Emperor Claudius, the god. The Temple was larger than a football field.
The temple sat on top of this enormous platform. The temple was demolished and replaced with a monastery in the fifth century.

We also visited other buildings and churches in the immediate area, one such monastery is built on top of what remains of the great platform built for the Temple of Claudius the god.  One remembers Claudius as the nephew of Augustus, the uncle of Caligula and the adopted father of Nero.

I always wondered if there was anything left of the massive buildings, well we went through a door and there it was the foundation platform or part of it some 300 feet long. The excavation also show the depth about 100 feet down where in ancient time shops were located. The Temple main entrance
was on the square facing the Arch of Titus and on the right the site of what will be the Colosseum.

Most people would not know of this site. It is not advertised and we only found it by being with friends who knew of it. This is what is magical about Rome, finding sites behind doors or down passageways.

 Will and Sidd with the celebrated Statue of Emperor Augustus of Prima Porta, this is a bronze copy of the original marble one in the Vatican Museum

Forum of Emperor Trajan and his column


  1. Love the pictures and blog posts. Keep them coming.

  2. The history of the papacy alone is worth going to Rome, I suppose. Thanks to you I get to see these marvelous sites!