A couple of Phoenicians living temporarily in Roma

Archive for the tag “Colosseo”

Case Romane del Celio

cristo_bOne of the amazing things about Rome is that it would take a lifetime or more to see all of her treasures. We had the opportunity a few Friday’s ago to join a tour and appertivo through Internations of the Case Romane del Celio, an amazingly preserved archeological site. Come on along, and I’ll show you what we saw. Although we were not allowed to take photos inside the Case, I have downloaded the pictures available from their website.

Case Romane del Celio is located a short walk from the Colosseo and Circo Massimo, and lies under the Basilica of Saints Giovanni and Paulo (John and Paul). Giovanni and Paulo were both officers at the court of the Emperor Constantine (312-37). They were martyred by execution during the reign of  Julian the Apostate (361-363), and then buried inside the site of their own house.

Basilica di Ss Giovanni e Paulo

Basilica di Ss Giovanni e Paulo

In 1887, a priest of the church was excavating below and discovered a site that comprised 20 rooms, some of which were still decorated with paintings on the walls dating from the 3rd to the 12th centuries. Wrapped around the foundations of the church, the site was once an an insula or apartment building housing artisans with their storefronts, and later in the 3rd century was combined into one large home or domus by a single owner.

We were toured through the remains by a very knowledgeable tour guide who explained the history of the site and the paintings. She shared this fascinating fact: One of the reasons so many sites are so well preserved in Rome is due to the practice that was used of filling a site with gravel when wanting to build on top of it, instead of destroying the site. In modern times one needs mostly to remove the gravel to see what lies around it.

In places the mosaic flooring was still in tact, as were the remains of ancient Roman roads. There was an “Antiquarium” which showcased some of the antiquities that had been recovered from the site. After the tour we were offered a selection of appetizers, using ancient Roman recipes that had been adapted to modern cooking; including a chicken dish sweetened with prunes, a very garlicy cheese spread, a garbanzo bean dish, and honey sweetened wine.

Rosh Hashanah – Giorno Uno

Santa Maria Maggiore

It’s the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. I have to confess, that I haven’t been very religious in my adult life. I consider myself to be more spiritual, than religious. It’s been awhile since I attended a temple or synagogue for the High Holiday services. I have enjoyed it when I’ve gone, but it’s just not something I’ve found myself seeking out, of my own accord.

My spirit though, knows it’s a time for reflection, because I’ve found myself wanting to go visit several churches on the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah.

Yesterday, on the first day of the New Year, I went to see Santa Maria Maggiore. It’s considered to be Rome’s finest Early Christian basilica, dating back to 430 AD. The campanile (bell tower) is the tallest in Rome, having been added in 1377.  Major renovations occurred to the basilica in the 13th and 18th centuries. The coffered ceiling was reputedly gilded with the first gold to arrive from the New World, a gift from Spain to Pope Alexander VI.

Pio IX Pontifici Maximo

I found myself in awe at the grandeur and size of the basilica. But probably what caught my eye the most, was a small chapel located just in front of and below the main chapel. Accessible by a set of stairs, it contained a statue of Pio IX Pontifici Maximo kneeling in prayer.  I have to confess, I googled him and can’t quite figure out who he was, but the statue of him was magnificent.

In this small lower chapel, which seemed to be encased in gold, there was also a small podium off to the side. It contained envelopes so you could request a mass to be said either solely for your intentions or to have your intentions included as part of a group mass. The cost for your own mass was 10 euro and any donation could get your intention stated as part of a group mass.

The Lower Chapel

I didn’t really understand what this all meant…being a Jewish woman on the high holidays in a Catholic church, but I felt compelled to ask for a prayer and intention, and so I did. I trust that my request was made, and I am grateful for all the help I can get in this life.

Stay tuned for day two.

Doors to the Basilica


The gilded ceiling



Inside the Basilica

One Step Back…

Isis snuggling Michael’s leg

It’s been a busy past few weeks.  Michael was offered a chance to stay on in Italy for another year, through September 2013. We though long and hard, discussed the pros and cons, and decided to accept the offer. Living in Rome has been quite the adventure…why stop now?

I headed back to the States a few days before Michael for a whirlwind tour at the end of August, to prepare our Phoenix home for sale and make room in the Sedona house for all of our belongings. Even though both of us have moved, unlike some people who stay in the same house for most of their lives, we had so much stuff!

The Phoenix garage was full of boxes that hadn’t been opened since Michael moved from Denver. Sedona was full of old files and long forgotten “treasures”. Goodwill, the dump, neighbors and friends became the new owners of most of our things.

We once again ate at our favorite restaurants, had quick visits with a few friends, and said short goodbyes. I sadly resigned from my job, with hopes to return one day. Isis, our cat, went to live with our beloved neighbors. We stuffed what provisions we could fit for the coming year in our suitcases and prepared to return to Roma.

Being back home in Phoenix, and knowing that while it’s “home” we will not have a literal home to return to, felt melancholy and a little scary. I’m a firm believer though, that letting go creates room for something new in one’s life. We have lots of room in ours now.

Inside the Colosseo

Upon returning to Rome, we again felt out of place, not being able to speak the language or understand what’s going on around us. Walking the streets of our neighborhood we looked at each other and said, “Did we really say yes to living here for another year?!” It’s loud and crowded and polluted; yet ancient and exciting and vibrant.

We move to a new apartment next month at the other end of the neighborhood. It’s bigger, nicer and we’ll have 2 bathrooms again! We start language tutoring next week to help us learn Italian. I’ve joined the Association of American Women in Rome, which will provide volunteer opportunities and hopefully new friendships.  We went to an party this week for Internations, a great group of Italian and English speaking folks who have lived all over the world, and made new friends.

One step back. Two steps forward.  I hope you will continue to follow along with us on our adventure this coming year.

Michael Gets a Car

View of the Colosseo from Pizza Forum

We got a car this week and I captured Michael while having dinner at Pizza Forum (good Neopolitan style pizza with views of the Colosseo), talking about our latest adventure. Enjoy!

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