Festivals Celebrations & Protests, Rome
The monuments of Rome are often used by protesters to support their views - in some cases the result is pretty amazing - as were the ancient "talking statues" in the days when citizens left notes of protest on those monuments. (see our Off the Beaten Path Tips pages 1 & 2 for all the ancient talking statues). Here, The Albanian Leader Scanderberg is turned into a peace supporter while Emperor Trajan is worried by the rise in oil prices.
Giorgio Castriota Skanderberg (Skanderberg - bey Alexander) was the son of an Albanian Prince, sent by his father to the court of Sultan Murad II. He became a military commander of the Ottoman Army until in 1443 he led a rebellion of the Albanians against the Sultan's rule and for twenty years by using guerilla tactics he managed to circumvent the Sultan's attempts to regain control of that country. He is remembered for some particularly cruel massacres.
In 1939 the King of Albania was dethroned by the Italians and the title was assumed by the King of Italy: to celebrate the friendship between Italy and Albania a monument to the Albanian hero was erected in 1940 in the large alley leading from Circo Massimo to Porta S. Paolo. It is highly unlikely Skanderberg would have objected to the war in Iraq.
Photos and reference text by permission of Roberto Piperno for non-commercial purposes only.
You will not believe this - all the azalia plants that lined the Spanish Steps were stolen (Wednesday, June 7, 2006) sometime between 3 and 5 a.m. - I was shocked -- my nephew who is Italian said it was a wonder they did not steal the steps!!
So then - NO, this is not a "local customs" tip because the plants were stolen - its because it is SPRING FESTIVAL!!
The Piazza was was under construction for awhile and now back in beautiful shape. They didn't get the Spanish steps decorated in time for Easter but here it is in full bloom in May and for Festa della Primavera (Spring Festival). We attended Mass there at Trinita dei Monti on Easter - hardly anyone there at Mass the throngs of people crowded St Peter's - the church facade is still undergoing rennovation. But, as of April 21 new azaelia plants covered the center and both right and left sides. Rome is showing her colors - lots of light rain and warm sunshine helped the season's greenery - so, spring has spung. Will keep this tip updated as we're there often.
Photos and reference text by permission of Roberto Piperno for non-commercial purposes only.
Via Appia Antica, built in 312 BCE was the most famous of the roads leading to Rome. It stretched from Rome to Brindisi, through which trade with the colonies in Greece and the East was funneled. It was apparently along the Appian Way that an escaping Peter encountered the vision of Christ, causing him to go back into the city to face his subsequent martyrdom. The road's initial stretch in Rome is lined with monuments and tombs of (old) patrician Roman families.
The Appia Antica is closed to cars on Sundays allowing locals and tourists to use the route as a picnic spot and it’s very popular!! The day I close to wander around here it was a bit damp so not too many Romans relaxing & eating food!
You can take bus 218 from the San Giovanni Metro stop. It follows the Appia Antica for a bit. An alternative is to ride the Metro to the Colli Albani stop and catch bus 660, which goes up the Appia Antica from the south, veering off it at the San Sebastiano catacombs.
These tents actually provided some of the best nibbles and the vendors were all open to bartering - some really nice hand made goods. All last month we had the Portal floating stage and music from Tosca to Big Mama blues - this month we have the Festival along the same space! We were here at night through the weekend (August 5/6) and the food was just great - along with a few good shopping ops. I can't believe any country celebrates pomp and pagentry quite the way Italy does - and, at moment's notice.
The second night's celebration of Italy's victory culminated with over 1 million people in Circus Maximus tonight - a sea of waving flags greeted Italy's soccer team as the entered in an open bus winding through the streets of Rome, hours late due to huge crowds along the way. Many other piazzas were filled with people celebrating.
Once they reached the Circus Maximus, the players appeared on stage, dancing and waving, as the crowd stretched out before them waving Italian flags. Alessandro Del Piero, who scored a goal in the semi-final win over Germany, took off his shirt and threw it into the crowd, posing bare-chested in front of the masses.
TV coverage has been constant and the party continues on into the night.
Waves in the form of music splash about the "Beach of Roma" (aka the banks of the Tevere). The Tevere's floating stage presents a constant flow of entertainment throughout the summer 2006.
Puccini's TOSCA - presented on the floating Tevere stage - all this and with the lights of Castel Sant Angelo in the background. An exhilarating sight to behold!
More photos to come as we attend events.
Tickets range from 5 Euro to 25 Euro depending on the performance.
On June 1st, we had just left the house and turned the corner onto Via Veneto and I stopped in my tracks - this group of Caribinieri in full formal dress, all mounted on white horses was passing by us heading South on Via Veneto. I was told they were celebrating an anniversary of some particular event - I'm still trying to find out the significance of June 1st in the Carabinieri Corps.
Italy has both a local police force (Polizia) and the National Carabinieri.
The new Corps, created to perform both military and civil functions, was called the Carabinieri not only to avoid any comparison with the former napoleonic "Gendarmerie" but mainly because, like all elite units of those years, it was equipped with carbines.
The Carabinieri Corps was created on July 13, 1814, by resolution of Vittorio Emanuele I which established a Corps, known as Carabinieri Reali, of mounted or foot soldiers rigorously selected "... for their distinguished good conduct and judiciouness" whose task was "to contribute to the necessary happiness of the State, which cannot be separated from protection and defense of all good subjects."
These particularly sensitive functions, specified in the Regie Patenti (Royal Licenses), the official document comprising the aforementioned resolution, underlined the importance attributed to the personal skills required of the selected soldiers, as well as their dual military and civil task. From the very beginning, the Carabinieri demonstrated a heartfelt sense of duty, honor and top level conduct, and quickly gained people's respect and devotion.
With the Easter Sunday and Pasquetta now behind us, we can reflect on the customs that repeat in Spring each Easter. On Pasquetta, which is the day after Easter (Easter Monday) and a national holiday, it is traditional to have a picnic. Most people go to the Villa Doria Pamphili. And they eat three things: pecorino cheese, red wine, and raw fava beans.
The villa became the largest public park in the city in 1971. It has become a favourite place for jogging and dog owners. The oldest part at 183 of the Aurelia Antica is Villa Vecchia, which already existed when Panfilo Pamphili bought in 1630. The new villa was built between 1644and 1652 by Algardi and Grimaldi when Innocent X Pamphili was Pope. The richly frescoed halls of the villa having access from 111 Via Aurelia were embellished by a collection of statues, which today are in the Capitolini Museums. Changes, extension and new constructions to the villa continued in the 19th century
I was in Rome for the New Years celebration and you must be prepared during that evening and the days leading up to it for people around any corner to be exploding loud firecrackers.
Some members of my group and I joined the thousands of Romans and others who were in the Piazza de Republica for a celebration of 50 years of Rock n Roll. Live tribute bands and cheap bottles of wine defined this experience. It was an awesome experience and I highly recommend it to anyone who is in Rome at the start of a new year.
I'm not sure if the location of the celebration changes each year...but I do believe the theme changes.
We were on our way to see the Colosseo, but found that it was closed and the via dei Fori Imperiali was entirely blocked off. We found out that there was going to be a huge military parade in honor of the Festa Nazionale della Repubblica, something like our 4th of July. Soon thousands of people lined the street, everyone was clapping and waving, very excited. Helicopters and planes were flying over head. Some of them blew out green, red and white stripes, the colors of the Italian flag, which drew cheers from the crowd. We watched all the soldiers and tanks go by for at least an hour. Do not plan on sightseeing in that area on June 2, and also since everyone is off work, the whole city will be very crowded with pedestrians.
Italians love to talk politics and they love to demonstrate in support of their beliefs. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, even a million people show up almost weekly for these demonstrations in Rome. It really was quite thrilling to be in the middle of a million people parading for peace in the middle of ancient Rome, next to the Forum and Colliseum!
Demonstrations usually take place on Saturday. Certain streets and even churches or other buildings might be closed, if they are near the gathering points. For example, the field in front of San Giovanni in Laterano is often used, and when it is, the Church is usually closed.
The demonstrations are usually colorful, music filled, and completely peaceful. This photo is of the communists and pensioners who were demonstrating against changes in government pensions in December 2003.
On March 8, there is the the international (?) women's day - and the habit is, that men give yellow mimosas to the most important woman of their life............
All over Rome you can see both stands to sell the flowers as well as women carrying the mimosas!
This me and some friends, some REAL ROMANS, standing on top of a wall in Piazza del popolo, celebrating the great victory.
The happiness has been undescribable. I don't envy supporters of bigger teams because they always win, and their happiness is not the same... (I'm serious...)
Believe me. There are some people dressed like ancient centurions (the ancient Rome warriors) walking in the street.
Traffic was completely blocked. Somewhere supporters built a stage for an improvised concert, in the middle of a road.
Roma has won the 2000-2001 Italian Championship, after 18 years of waiting.
On June 17th, an estimated million people filled roads and squares in Rome celebrating the victory, parading with flags, motorbikes, scooters, carrying flags and sometimes dressed as ancient centurions.
The party lasted all the night and for the upcoming 7 days and nights. The city traffic has been partly paralyzed. I'm also proud to say that nobody has remained injured or got jailed during the party.
Some days later a big concert took place in Circo Massimo (an ancient Roman arena in Rome) with 1,2 million people attending.
Here are some shots of that day, courtesy of Carlo (for more please contact my friend Carlo).
This is Piazza del Popolo on june 17th