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Travel Guide and Information about Rome

Rice cake

A rice cake may be any kind of food item made from rice that has been shaped, condensed, or otherwise combined into a single object. A wide variety of rice cakes exist in many different cultures in which rice is eaten, and are particularly prevalent in Asia. Common variations include cakes made with rice flour, those made from ground rice, and those made from whole grains of rice compressed together or combined with some other binding substance.

Types of rice cake include:

Cycling

There is the possibility to hire any kind of bike in Rome: from tandem, road bikes, children bikes to trekking bikes. Some shops are even specialized only on high quality ones while street stands will hire you cheaper and heavy ones. Bicycling alone can be stressful because of the traffic. The best way is to discover first how to move around and avoid traffic and stress with a guide thanks to one of the tours offered by almost all rental shops. There are different itineraries offered from the basic city center, panoramic Rome tour to the Ancient Parks . The experience is well worth it and you would reduce also your impact on the city environment and on the traffic.

Even moderately experienced cyclists, however, may find that cycling through Rome's streets offers an unparalleled way to learn the city intimately and get around very cheaply and efficiently. While the Roman traffic is certainly chaotic to someone from a country with more regimented and enforced rules of the road, Roman drivers are, generally speaking, used to seeing bicycles, as well as scooters and motorcycles, and one may move throughout the city relatively easily. If you are in a car's way, they will generally let you know with a quick beep of the horn and wait for you to move.

A particularly spectacular, and relaxing, cycle trip is to pedal out along la Via Appia Antica, the original Appian Way that linked much of Italy to Rome. Some of the original cobblestones, now worn by over 2 millennia of traffic, are still in place. With exceptionally light traffic in most sections, you can casually meander your bike over kilometres of incredible scenery and pass ancient relics and active archaeological sites throughout the journey. (Rome/South)

Some of the many rental shops:

  • Punto Informativo, Via Appia Antica 58/60, +39 06 5126314. From Monday to Saturday from 9.3AM to 1:30PM and from 2PM to 5:30PM (4.30 in wintertime) and on Sundays and holidays from 9:30AM to 5:30PM non stop (4.30 wintertime). Price: €3/hour and €10/day.
  • Comitato per la Caffarella (Largo Tacchi Venturi), +39 06 789279. Sundays from 10AM to 6PM. Price: €3/hour and €10/day.
  • Catacombe di San Sebastiano, +39 06 7850350. Every day except Sundays. Price: €3/hour and €10/day.
  • TopBike Rental & Tours, Via Labicana 49 (500 meter-far from the Colosseum, +39 06 4882893. Everyday from 9.30 to 19 non-stop. Bike tours in Rome and surrounding areas; quality bicycle rental in RomeRom radtouren und qualität fahrradverleih in Rom auf Deutsch mit erfahrenen GuidesFietsen in Rome: fietsen huren en Rome fietstocht met Nederlandse gidsenAlquiler de bicicletas en Roma; Rutas en bicicleta en Roma con guías en españolLocation de vélos à Rome: Visites à vélo à Rome en français
  • Bici & Baci, Via del Viminale, 5 (Termini Station, +39 06 4828443.
  • Roma Rent Bike, Via di San Paolo alla Regola 33 (Campo de Fiori, +39 06 88922365.
  • Collalti, Via del Pellegrino, 82 (Campo de’ Fiori, +39 06 68801084.
  • Romarent, Vicolo dei Bovari, 7/a (Campo de’ Fiori, +39 06 6896555.
  • Bikeaway, Via Monte del Gallo, 25 A (Stazione FS S. Pietro, +39 06 45495816.

Vatican

The Vatican City is the temporal seat of the Pope, head of the worldwide Catholic Church. Situated within the city of Rome the Vatican is the world's smallest state. You may also hear the term Holy See which is used to refer to the Diocese of Rome—that is, the ecclesiastical and administrative authority of the Pope, rather than the sovereign governmental entity that is the Vatican City State.

Sightseeing

Italians are very fond of their landmarks; in order to make them accessible to everyone one week a year there is no charge for admittance to all publicly owned landmarks and historical sites. This week, known as "La settimana dei beni culturali", typically occurs in mid-May and for those 7 to 10 days every landmark, archaeological site and museum belonging to government agencies is accessible and free of charge. For more information and for specific dates see or . Also, government-owned museums and historical sites have free admission on the first Sunday of every month.

Public parks and nature reserves cover a large area in Rome, and the city has one of the largest areas of green space among European capitals. The most notable part of this green space is represented by the large number of villas and landscaped gardens created by the Italian aristocracy. While most of the parks surrounding the villas were destroyed during the building boom of the late 19th century, some of them remain. The most notable of these are Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, and Villa Doria Pamphili. Villa Doria Pamphili is west of the Gianicolo hill comprising some 1.8km2. Also on the Gianicolo hill there is Villa Sciarra, with playgrounds for children and shaded walking areas. In the nearby area of Trastevere the Orto Botanico (Botanical Garden) is a cool and shady green space. The old Roman hippodrome (Circus Maximus) is another large green space: it has few trees, but is overlooked by the Palatine and the Rose Garden ('roseto comunale'). Nearby is the lush Villa Celimontana, close to the gardens surrounding the Baths of Caracalla. The Villa Borghese garden is the best known large green space in Rome, with famous art galleries among its shaded walks. Overlooking Piazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps are the gardens of Pincio and Villa Medici. Noteworthy is also the Pine wood of Castelfusano, near Ostia. Rome also has a number of regional parks of much more recent origin including the Pineto Regional Park and the Appian Way Regional Park. There are also nature reserves at Marcigliana and at Tenuta di Castelporziano.

Rome is an important centre for music, and it has an intense musical scene, including several prestigious music conservatories and theatres. It hosts the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia for which new concert halls have been built in the new Parco della Musica, one of the largest musical venues in the world. Rome also has an opera house, the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, as well as several minor musical institutions. The city also played host to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1991 and the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2004.

Rome has also had a major impact in music history. The Roman School was a group of composers of predominantly church music, which were active in the city during the 16th and 17th centuries, therefore spanning the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. The term also refers to the music they produced. Many of the composers had a direct connection to the Vatican and the papal chapel, though they worked at several churches; stylistically they are often contrasted with the Venetian School of composers, a concurrent movement which was much more progressive. By far the most famous composer of the Roman School is Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whose name has been associated for four hundred years with smooth, clear, polyphonic perfection. However, there were other composers working in Rome, and in a variety of styles and forms.

The School of Athens

The School of Athens is one of the most famous frescoes by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Stanza della Segnatura was the first of the rooms to be decorated, and The School of Athens, representing Philosophy, was probably the third painting to be finished there, after La Disputa (Theology) on the opposite wall, and the Parnassus (Literature). The picture has long been seen as "Raphael's masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance".

The School of Athens is one of a group of four main frescoes on the walls of the Stanza that depict distinct branches of knowledge. Each theme is identified above by a separate tondo containing a majestic female figure seated in the clouds, with putti bearing the phrases: "Seek Knowledge of Causes," "Divine Inspiration," "Knowledge of Things Divine" (Disputa), "To Each What Is Due." Accordingly, the figures on the walls below exemplify Philosophy, Poetry (including Music), Theology, and Law. The traditional title is not Raphael's. The subject of the "School" is actually "Philosophy," or at least ancient Greek philosophy, and its overhead tondo-label, "Causarum Cognitio", tells us what kind, as it appears to echo Aristotle's emphasis on wisdom as knowing why, hence knowing the causes, in Metaphysics Book I and Physics Book II. Indeed, Plato and Aristotle appear to be the central figures in the scene. However, all the philosophers depicted sought knowledge of first causes. Many lived before Plato and Aristotle, and hardly a third were Athenians. The architecture contains Roman elements, but the general semi-circular setting having Plato and Aristotle at its centre might be alluding to Pythagoras' circumpunct.

Commentators have suggested that nearly every great ancient Greek philosopher can be found in the painting, but determining which are depicted is difficult, since Raphael made no designations outside possible likenesses, and no contemporary documents explain the painting. Compounding the problem, Raphael had to invent a system of iconography to allude to various figures for whom there were no traditional visual types. For example, while the Socrates figure is immediately recognizable from Classical busts, the alleged Epicurus is far removed from his standard type. Aside from the identities of the figures depicted, many aspects of the fresco have been variously interpreted, but few such interpretations are unanimously accepted among scholars.

The popular idea that the rhetorical gestures of Plato and Aristotle are kinds of pointing (to the heavens, and down to earth) is very likely. But Plato's Timaeus – which is the book Raphael places in his hand – was a sophisticated treatment of space, time, and change, including the Earth, which guided mathematical sciences for over a millennium. Aristotle, with his four-elements theory, held that all change on Earth was owing to motions of the heavens. In the painting Aristotle carries his Ethics, which he denied could be reduced to a mathematical science. It is not certain how much the young Raphael knew of ancient philosophy, what guidance he might have had from people such as Bramante, or whether a detailed program was dictated by his sponsor, Pope Julius II.

Nevertheless, the fresco has even recently been interpreted as an exhortation to philosophy and, in a deeper way, as a visual representation of the role of Love in elevating people toward upper knowledge, largely in consonance with contemporary theories of Marsilio Ficino and other neo-Platonic thinkers linked to Raphael.

Finally, according to Vasari, the scene includes Raphael himself, the Duke of Mantua, Zoroaster and some Evangelists.

However, as Heinrich Wölfflin observed, "it is quite wrong to attempt interpretations of the School of Athens as an esoteric treatise ... The all-important thing was the artistic motive which expressed a physical or spiritual state, and the name of the person was a matter of indifference" in Raphael's time. What is evident is Raphael's artistry in orchestrating a beautiful space, continuous with that of viewers in the Stanza, in which a great variety of human figures, each one expressing "mental states by physical actions," interact, in a "polyphony" unlike anything in earlier art, in the ongoing dialogue of Philosophy.

An interpretation of the fresco relating to hidden symmetries of the figures and the star constructed by Bramante was given by Guerino Mazzola and collaborators. The main basis are two mirrored triangles on the drawing from Bramante (Euclid), which correspond to the feet positions of certain figures.

A number of drawings made by Raphael as studies for the School of Athens are extant. A study for the Diogenes is in the Städel in Frankfurt while a study for the group around Pythagoras, in the lower left of the painting, is preserved in the Albertina Museum in Vienna. Several drawings, showing the two men talking while walking up the steps on the right and the Medusa on Athena's shield, the statue of Athena and three other statues, a study for the combat-scene in the relief below Apollo and "Euclid" teaching his pupils are in the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at Oxford University.

The cartoon for the painting is in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan.

The Victoria and Albert Museum has a rectangular version over 4 metres by 8 metres in size, painted on canvas, dated 1755 by Anton Raphael Mengs on display in the eastern Cast Court.

Modern reproductions of the fresco abound. For example, a full-size one can be seen in the auditorium of Old Cabell Hall at the University of Virginia. Produced in 1902 by George W. Breck to replace an older reproduction that was destroyed in a fire in 1895, it is four inches off scale from the original, because the Vatican would not allow identical reproductions of its art works.

Other reproductions include: by Neide, in Königsberg Cathedral, Kaliningrad, in the University of North Carolina at Asheville's Highsmith University Student Union, and a recent one in the seminar room at Baylor University's Brooks College. A copy of Raphael's School of Athens was painted on the wall of the ceremonial stairwell that leads to the famous, main-floor reading room of the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève in Paris.

The two figures at the left of Plotinus were used as part of the cover art of both Use Your Illusion I and II albums of Guns N' Roses.

A similar theme is known as Plato's Academy mosaic, and perhaps emerged in form of statues at the Serapeum of Alexandria and Memphis Saqqara. Mimaut mentioned in the 19th century, nine statues at Serapeum of Alexandria holding rolls. Eleven statues were found at Saqqara. A review of Les Statues Ptolémaïques du Sarapieion de Memphis noted they were probably build in the 3rd Century with limestone and stucco, some standing others sitting. Rowe and Rees 1956 suggested that both scenes in Serapeum of Alexandria and Saqqara, share a similar theme, such as with Plato's Academy mosaic, with Saqqara figures attributed to, Pindar (seated, identified per a graffiti), a inscription at the back of his chair reads Dionysi, Demetrios de Phalere, Orphic, aux oiseaux, Hesiode, Homer seated in the center (head was recovered), Protagoras, Thales, Heraclite, Platon (per inscription), and Aristote. However, there have been other suggestions, see for instance Mattusch 2008, a common identification seems to be Plato as a central figure and Thales.

Campitelli

Campitelli is the X rione of Rome, located in Municipio I. In the logo there is the black head of a dragon on a white background. This symbol comes from the legend that Pope Silvester I threw out a dragon staying in the Forum Romanum.

The Last Judgment

The Last Judgment is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance painter Michelangelo covering the whole altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. It is a depiction of the Second Coming of Christ and the final and eternal judgment by God of all humanity. The souls of humans rise and descend to their fates, as judged by Christ who is surrounded by prominent saints. Altogether there are over 300 figures, with nearly all the males and angels originally shown as nudes; many were later partly covered up by painted draperies, of which some remain after recent cleaning and restoration.

The work took over four years to complete between 1536 and 1541 (preparation of the altar wall began in 1535). Michelangelo began working on it twenty-five years after having finished the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and was nearly 67 at its completion. Michelangelo originally accepted the commission from Pope Clement VII, but it was completed under Pope Paul III, whose stronger reforming views probably affected the final treatment.

In the lower part of the fresco, Michelangelo followed tradition in showing the saved ascending at the left and the damned descending at the right. In the upper part, the inhabitants of Heaven are joined by the newly saved. The fresco is more monochromatic than the ceiling frescoes and is dominated by the tones of flesh and sky. The cleaning and restoration of the fresco, however, revealed a greater chromatic range than previously apparent. Orange, green, yellow, and blue are scattered throughout, animating and unifying the complex scene.

The reception of the painting was mixed from the start, with much praise but also criticism on both religious and artistic grounds. Both the amount of nudity and the muscular style of the bodies has been one area of contention, and the overall composition another.

Where traditional compositions generally contrast an ordered, harmonious heavenly world above with the tumultuous events taking place in the earthly zone below, in Michelangelo's conception the arrangement and posing of the figures across the entire painting give an impression of agitation and excitement, and even in the upper parts there is "a profound disturbance, tension and commotion" in the figures. Sidney J. Freedberg interprets their "complex responses" as "those of giant powers here made powerless, bound by racking spiritual anxiety", as their role of intercessors with the deity had come to an end, and perhaps they regret some of the verdicts. There is an impression that all the groups of figures are circling the central figure of Christ in a huge rotary movement.

At the centre of the work is Christ, shown as the individual verdicts of the Last Judgement are pronounced; he looks down towards the damned. He is beardless, and "compounded from antique conceptions of Hercules, Apollo, and Jupiter Fulminator", probably, in particular, the Belvedere Apollo, brought to the Vatican by Pope Julius II. However, there are parallels for his pose in earlier Last Judgments, especially one in the Camposanto of Pisa, which Michelangelo would have known; here the raised hand is part of a gesture of ostentatio vulnerum where the resurrected Christ reveals the wounds of his Crucifixion, which can be seen on Michelangelo's figure.

To the left of Christ is his mother, Virgin Mary, who turns her head to look down towards the Saved, though her pose also suggests resignation. It appears that the moment has passed for her to exercise her traditional role of pleading on behalf of souls; with John the Baptist this Deesis is a regular motif in earlier compositions. Preparatory drawings show her standing and facing Christ with arms outstretched, in a more traditional intercessory posture.

Surrounding Christ are large numbers of figures, the saints and other saved souls. On a similar scale to Christ are John the Baptist on the left, and on the right Saint Peter, holding the keys of Heaven and perhaps offering them back to Christ, as they will no longer be needed. Several of the main saints appear to be showing Christ their attributes, the evidence of the martyrdom. This used to be interpreted as the saints calling for the damnation of those who had not served the cause of Christ, but other interpretations have become more common, including that the saints are themselves not certain of their own verdicts, and try at the last moment to remind Christ of their sufferings.

Other prominent saints include Saint Bartholomew below Peter, holding the attribute of his martyrdom, his own skin. The face on this is usually recognized as being a self-portrait of Michelangelo. Many others, even of the larger saints, are difficult to identify. Ascanio Condivi, Michelangelo's tame authorized biographer, says that all of the Twelve Apostles are shown around Christ, "but he does not attempt to name them and would probably have had a difficult time doing so". The movements of the souls reflect the traditional pattern. They arise from their graves at bottom left, and some continue upwards, helped in several cases by angels in the air (mostly without wings) or others on clouds, pulling them up. Others, the damned, apparently pass over to the right, though none are quite shown doing so; there is a zone in the lower middle that is empty of souls. A boat rowed by an aggressive Charon, who ferried souls to the Underworld in classical mythology (and Dante), brings souls to land beside the entrance to Hell; his threatening them with his oar is a direct borrowing from Dante. Satan, the traditional Christian devil is not shown, but another classical figure, Minos, supervises the admission of the Damned into Hell; this was his role in Dante's Inferno. He is generally agreed to have been given the features of Biagio da Cesena, a critic of Michelangelo in the Papal court.

In the centre above Charon is a group of angels on clouds, seven blowing trumpets (as in the Book of Revelation), other holding books that record the names of the Saved and Damned. To their right is a larger figure of a soul who has just realized that he is damned, and appears paralyzed with horror. Two devils are pulling him downwards. To the right of this devils pull down other souls; some are being pushed down by angels above them.

The Last Judgment was a traditional subject for large church frescos, but it was unusual to place it at the east end, over the altar. The traditional position was on the west wall, over the main doors at the back of a church, so that the congregation took this reminder of their options away with them on leaving. It might be either painted on the interior, as for example by Giotto at the Arena Chapel, or in a sculpted tympanum on the exterior. However, a number of late medieval panel paintings, mostly altarpieces, were based on the subject with similar compositions, although adapted to a horizontal picture space. These include the Beaune Altarpiece by Rogier van der Weyden, and ones by artists such as Fra Angelico, Hans Memling and Hieronymus Bosch. Many aspects of Michelangelo's composition reflect the well-established traditional Western depiction, but with a fresh and original approach.

Most traditional versions had a figure of Christ in Majesty in about the same position as Michelangelo's, and even larger than his, with a greater disproportion in scale to the other figures. As here, compositions contained large numbers of figures, divided between angels and saints around Christ at the top, and the souls being judged below. Typically there is a strong contrast between the ordered ranks of figures in the top part, and chaotic and frenzied activity below, especially on the right side that leads to Hell. The flow of souls usually began at the bottom (viewer's) left, as here, as resurrected souls rise from their graves and move towards judgement. Some pass judgement and continue upwards or to the left, to join the company in heaven, while others pass over to the right and then downwards towards Hell in the bottom right corner (compositions had difficulty incorporating Purgatory visually). The damned souls may be shown naked, as a mark of their humiliation as devils carry them off, and sometimes the newly-resurrected souls too, but angels and those in Heaven are fully dressed, their clothing a main clue to the identity of groups and individuals.

The project was a long time in gestation. It was probably first proposed in 1533, but was not then attractive to Michelangelo. A number of letters and other sources describe the original subject as a "Resurrection", but it seems most likely that this was always meant in the sense of the General Resurrection of the Dead, followed in Christian eschatology by the Last Judgment, rather than the Resurrection of Jesus. Other scholars believe there was indeed a substitution of the more sombre final subject, reflecting the emerging mood of the Counter-Reformation, and an increase in the area of the wall to be covered. A number of Michelangelo's drawings from the early 1530s develop a Resurrection of Jesus.

Vasari, alone among contemporary sources, says that originally Michelangelo was intended to paint the other end wall with a Fall of the Rebel Angels to match. By April 1535 the preparation of the wall was begun, but it was over a year before painting began. Michelangelo stipulated the filling-in of two narrow windows, the removal of three cornices, and building the surface increasingly forward as it rises, to give a single uninterrupted wall surface slightly leaning out, by about 11 inches over the height of the fresco.

The preparation of the wall led to the end of more than twenty years of friendship between Michelangelo and Sebastiano del Piombo, who tried to persuade the Pope and Michelangelo to do the painting in his preferred technique of oil on plaster, and managed to get the smooth plaster finish needed for this applied. It is possible that around this stage the idea was floated that Sebastiano would do the actual painting, to Michelangelo's designs, as they had collaborated nearly 20 years earlier. After, according to Vasari, some months of passivity, Michelangelo furiously insisted that it should be in fresco, and had the wall re-plastered in the rough arriccio needed as a base for fresco. It was on this occasion that he famously said that oil painting was "an art for women and for leisurely and idle people like Fra Sebastiano".

The new fresco required, unlike his Sistine Chapel ceiling, considerable destruction of existing art. There was an altarpiece of the Assumption of Mary by Pietro Perugino above the altar, for which a drawing survives in the Albertina, flanked by tapestries to designs by Raphael; these, of course, could just be used elsewhere. Above this zone, there were two paintings from the 15th-century cycles of Moses and Christ which still occupy the middle zone of the side walls. These were probably Perugino's Finding of Moses and the Adoration of the Kings, beginning both cycles. Above them were the first of the series of standing popes in niches, including Saint Peter himself, probably as well as a Saint Paul and a central figure of Christ. Finally, the project required the destruction of two lunettes with the first two Ancestors of Christ from Michelangelo's own ceiling scheme. However, some of these works may have already been damaged by an accident in April 1525, when the altar curtains went on fire; the damage done to the wall is unclear.

The structure of the chapel, built in a great hurry in the 1470s, had given trouble from the start, with frequent cracks appearing. At Christmas in 1525 a Swiss Guard was killed when entering the chapel with the pope when the stone lintel to the doorway split and fell on him. The site is on sandy soil, draining a large area, and the preceding "Great Chapel" had had similar problems.

The new scheme for the altar wall and other changes necessitated by structural problems led to a loss of symmetry and "continuity of window-rhythms and cornices", as well as some of the most important parts of the previous iconographical schemes. As shown by drawings, the initial conception for the Last Judgement was to leave the existing altarpiece and work round it, stopping the composition below the frescos of Moses and Christ.

The Sistine Chapel was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, which had been the subject of Perugino's altarpiece. Once it was decided to remove this, it appears that a tapestry of the Coronation of the Virgin, a subject often linked to the Assumption, was commissioned, which was hung above the altar for important liturgical occasions in the 18th century, and perhaps from the 1540s until then. The tapestry has a vertical format and is still in the Vatican Museums. A print of 1582 shows the chapel in use, with a large cloth of roughly this shape hanging behind the altar, and a canopy over it. The cloth is shown as plain, but the artist also omits the paintings below the ceiling, and may well not have been present himself, but working from prints and descriptions.

Early appreciations of the fresco had especially mentioned the colours, especially in small details, but over the centuries the build-up of dirt on the surface had largely hidden these. The built-out wall led to extra deposition of soot from candles on the altar. In 1953 Bernard Berenson put in his diary: "The ceiling looks dark, gloomy. The Last Judgment even more so... how difficult to make up our minds that these Sistine frescoes are nowadays scarcely enjoyable in the original and much more so in photographs".

The fresco was restored along with the Sistine vault between 1980 and 1994 under the supervision of Fabrizio Mancinelli, the curator of post-classical collections of the Vatican Museums and Gianluigi Colalucci, head restorer at the Vatican laboratory. During the course of the restoration, about half of the censorship of the "Fig-Leaf Campaign" was removed. Numerous pieces of buried details, caught under the smoke and grime of scores of years were revealed after the restoration. It was discovered that the fresco of Biagio de Cesena as Minos with donkey ears was being bitten in the genitalia by a coiled snake.

Most writers agree that Michelangelo depicted his own face in the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew . Edgar Wind saw this as "a prayer for redemption, that through the ugliness of the outward man might be thrown off, and the inward man resurrected pure", in a Neoplatonist mood, one that Aretino detected and objected to. One of Michelangelo's poems had used the metaphor of a snake shedding its old skin for his hope for a new life after his death.

The bearded figure of St. Bartholomew holding the skin was sometimes thought to have the features of Aretino, but open conflict between Michelangelo and Aretino did not occur until 1545, several years after the fresco's completion.

Monti

Monti is the name of one of the twenty-two Rioni of Rome, rione I, located in Municipio I. The name literally means mountains in Italian and comes from the fact that the Esquiline and the Viminal Hills, and parts of the Quirinal and the Caelian Hills belonged to this rione. Its logo consists of three green mountains with three tops on a silver background. Today the Esquilino, Castro Pretorio and Celio districts do not belong to it anymore, but it has kept its name. In ancient times the rione was densely populated: in Monti there were the Forum Romanum and the so-called Suburra: this was the place poor people lived, full of disreputable locals and brothels. In the Middle Ages the situation was completely different: the Roman aqueducts were damaged, and it was very difficult to bring water to Monti since it was on the hills. Hence many inhabitants moved to Campus Martius, a lower level part, where they could drink the water from the river Tiber. From the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 19th century, the rione remained an area full of vineyards and market gardens. Monti was not densely populated because of the lack of water and because it was quite far from the Vatican, the center of Christian culture. The area did not become abandoned thanks to the church of San Giovanni in Laterano and the constant high number of pilgrims. Still in the Middle Ages the inhabitants of Monti, called monticiani, developed a strong identity: their Roman dialect was different from that spoken in the other rioni. Their main enemies were the people from the other rione with a strong identity, Trastevere, and they often used to fight with one another. Then, with growing urbanization at the end of the 19th century after Rome had become the capital of a united Italy, the great changes of the Fascist period completely changed the appearance of the rione. In particular, between 1924 and 1936, a large part of the rione, consisting of small streets and popular houses, was destroyed to make way for the Via dei Fori Imperiali and the archaeological buildings of the Forum Romanum were excavated. Thanks to its position, Monti is full of archaeological sites such as:

  • Colosseum
  • Ludus Magnus
  • Nero's Domus Aurea
  • the baths of Trajan
  • the baths of Titus
  • part of the Forum Romanum
  • markets of Trajan

Activities

  • Take in a show. There are lots of theatres, but you will need to know Italian to enjoy them. The main concert venue is the Auditorium in Viale Pietro de Coubertin to the north of Rome. The Auditorium at Parco della Musica is a large complex composed of three separate halls whose shapes are inspired by musical instruments. These are positioned around an open air amphitheatre, that is used nearly every night in the summer for concerts. The Parco della Musica hosts a constant stream of classical, popular, and jazz music, featuring national as well as international musicians and groups. Really big names perform outdoors in the summer; usually in either the Olympic Stadium or in Stadio Flaminio, which is next door to the Parco della Musica. In winter the Palalotto in EUR is an important pop concert venue.

To get full details of what is on, buy a copy of the La Repubblica newspaper on Thursdays, when it has an insert called TrovaRoma. There are a couple of pages in English but even with no Italian you should be able to decipher the main listings. This is not published in late July and August, when half of Rome heads to the beach. Both La Repubblica and Il Messaggero have daily listings.

  • Walk and feel the energy of Rome; sights are everywhere waiting to be discovered.

  • Walk or cycle along the banks of the Tiber. There are steps down to the river from close to most of the bridges. A few have special runners for cycle wheels. This gets you away from the traffic fumes and gives a different perspective of Rome. Not usually possible in winter when water levels can be very high.

  • Explore the Trastevere neighbourhood for some great cafes and trattorie, and a glimpse at a hip Roman neighbourhood.

  • Take in a game of soccer at the Olympic Stadium. Rome has two teams, A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio and they both play at this stadium.

Rome has excellent shopping opportunities of all kinds - from clothing and jewellery to art and antiques. You also get some big department stores, outlets and shopping centres, notably in the suburbs and outskirts.

Main shopping areas include Via del Corso, Via Condotti, and the surrounding streets. The finest designer stores are around Via Condotti, whilst Via del Corso has more affordable clothing, and Via Cola di Rienzo, and the surroundings of Via del Tritone, Campo de'Fiori, and Pantheon are the places to go for cheaper items. Upim is a good shop for cheap clothing of workable quality. Some brands are excellent, some are not as good - be sure to feel garments and try them on. There are also great quality shoes and leather bags at prices that compare well with the UK and US. But when shopping for clothes note that bigger sizes than a UK size 16/US 12 aren't always easy to find. Children's clothing can be expensive with basic vests (tank tops) costing as much as €21 in non-designer shops. If you really need to buy clothiers for kids try the Oviesse chain. Summer sales in many stores begin around July 15 and Rome also has New Year sales.

As mentioned above, Via Condotti is Rome's top haute couture fashion street (equivalent of Fifth Avenue in New York City, Via Montenapoleone in Milan, or Bond Street in London). Here, you can find big brand names such as Gucci, Armani, Dior, Valentino and Hermès, and several other high-class shops. However, the streets around the Via Condotti, such as Via Frattina, Via del Babuino, Via Borgognona and the Piazza di Spagna also offer some excellent high fashion boutiques, including Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Prada and Givenchy (and several others). So once in the city, the big boutique names aren't absent. In these luxurious streets, however, you needn't only do clothing shopping - there are some really good and funky jewellery (e.g. Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany's & Co.), pen and accessory (i.e. Mont Blanc) and artsy stores peppered here and there in these streets.

If you want to spend a day in a large shopping mall, there's the Euroma2 with about 230 shops (mainly clothes and accessories) and restaurants, to be found near the EUR district. Take Metro B line from Termini to EUR Palasport station, cross the road and take the frequent free bus (ride takes 5–15 minutes) to the mall. In addition to many shops and food, the conditioned air and free toilets may be a welcome relief if you are in Rome during mid-summer.

There are lots of fake plastic 'Louis Vuitton' bags being sold at the side of the road. Be aware, that buying of fake products is illegal in Italy. Fines up to €1000 have been reported. If you are happy to take the risk, make sure you haggle; unsuspecting tourists pay up to €60 for them.

If you want to buy souvenirs or gifts, a museum would be the worst choice since there are many stalls along the streets of touristic areas that offer reasonable prices. It is likely that the same item in the gift shop of any museum will cost much more.

There is the possibility to hire any kind of bike in Rome: from tandem, road bikes, children bikes to trekking bikes. Some shops are even specialized only on high quality ones while street stands will hire you cheaper and heavy ones. Bicycling alone can be stressful because of the traffic. The best way is to discover first how to move around and avoid traffic and stress with a guide thanks to one of the tours offered by almost all rental shops. There are different itineraries offered from the basic city center, panoramic Rome tour to the Ancient Parks . The experience is well worth it and you would reduce also your impact on the city environment and on the traffic.

Even moderately experienced cyclists, however, may find that cycling through Rome's streets offers an unparalleled way to learn the city intimately and get around very cheaply and efficiently. While the Roman traffic is certainly chaotic to someone from a country with more regimented and enforced rules of the road, Roman drivers are, generally speaking, used to seeing bicycles, as well as scooters and motorcycles, and one may move throughout the city relatively easily. If you are in a car's way, they will generally let you know with a quick beep of the horn and wait for you to move.

A particularly spectacular, and relaxing, cycle trip is to pedal out along la Via Appia Antica, the original Appian Way that linked much of Italy to Rome. Some of the original cobblestones, now worn by over 2 millennia of traffic, are still in place. With exceptionally light traffic in most sections, you can casually meander your bike over kilometres of incredible scenery and pass ancient relics and active archaeological sites throughout the journey. (Rome/South)

Some of the many rental shops:

  • Punto Informativo, Via Appia Antica 58/60, +39 06 5126314. From Monday to Saturday from 9.3AM to 1:30PM and from 2PM to 5:30PM (4.30 in wintertime) and on Sundays and holidays from 9:30AM to 5:30PM non stop (4.30 wintertime). Price: €3/hour and €10/day.
  • Comitato per la Caffarella (Largo Tacchi Venturi), +39 06 789279. Sundays from 10AM to 6PM. Price: €3/hour and €10/day.
  • Catacombe di San Sebastiano, +39 06 7850350. Every day except Sundays. Price: €3/hour and €10/day.
  • TopBike Rental & Tours, Via Labicana 49 (500 meter-far from the Colosseum, +39 06 4882893. Everyday from 9.30 to 19 non-stop. Bike tours in Rome and surrounding areas; quality bicycle rental in RomeRom radtouren und qualität fahrradverleih in Rom auf Deutsch mit erfahrenen GuidesFietsen in Rome: fietsen huren en Rome fietstocht met Nederlandse gidsenAlquiler de bicicletas en Roma; Rutas en bicicleta en Roma con guías en españolLocation de vélos à Rome: Visites à vélo à Rome en français
  • Bici & Baci, Via del Viminale, 5 (Termini Station, +39 06 4828443.
  • Roma Rent Bike, Via di San Paolo alla Regola 33 (Campo de Fiori, +39 06 88922365.
  • Collalti, Via del Pellegrino, 82 (Campo de’ Fiori, +39 06 68801084.
  • Romarent, Vicolo dei Bovari, 7/a (Campo de’ Fiori, +39 06 6896555.
  • Bikeaway, Via Monte del Gallo, 25 A (Stazione FS S. Pietro, +39 06 45495816.

Association football is the most popular sport in Rome, as in the rest of the country. The city hosted the final games of the 1934 and 1990 FIFA World Cup. The latter took place in the Olympic Stadium, which is also the shared home stadium for local Serie A clubs S.S. Lazio, founded in 1900, and A.S. Roma, founded in 1927, whose rivalry in the Derby della Capitale has become a staple of Roman sports culture. Footballers who play for these teams and are also born in the city tend to become especially popular, as has been the case with players such as Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Nesta (for S.S. Lazio). Atletico Roma is a minor team that played in First Division until 2012; its home stadium was Stadio Flaminio.

Rome hosted the 1960 Summer Olympics, with great success, using many ancient sites such as the Villa Borghese and the Thermae of Caracalla as venues. For the Olympic Games many new structures were created, notably the new large Olympic Stadium (which was also enlarged and renewed to host qualification and the final match of the 1990 FIFA World Cup), the Villaggio Olimpico (Olympic Village, created to host the athletes and redeveloped after the games as a residential district), ecc. Rome made a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics but it was withdrawn before the deadline for applicant files.

Further, Rome hosted the 1991 EuroBasket and is home to the internationally recognized basketball team Virtus Roma. Rugby union is gaining wider acceptance. Until 2011 the Stadio Flaminio was the home stadium for the Italy national rugby union team, which has been playing in the Six Nations Championship since 2000. The team now plays home games at the Stadio Olimpico because the Stadio Flaminio needs works of renovation in order to improve both its capacity and safety. Rome is home to local rugby union teams such as Rugby Roma (founded in 1930 and winner of five Italian championships, the latter in 1999–2000), Unione Rugby Capitolina and S.S. Lazio 1927 (rugby union branch of the multisport club S.S. Lazio).

Every May, Rome hosts the ATP Masters Series tennis tournament on the clay courts of the Foro Italico. Cycling was popular in the post-World War II period, although its popularity has faded. Rome has hosted the final portion of the Giro d'Italia three times, in 1911, 1950, and 2009. Rome is also home to other sports teams, including volleyball (M. Roma Volley), handball or waterpolo.

There are at least three campsites near Rome, they are:

  • Camping Tiber, Via Tiberina Km. 14, Prima Porta (On Rome's ringroad, take exit No 6 Via Flaminia, if arriving by public transport, take the ground-level Roma-Nord Subway leaving from Piazza Flaminia towards Prima Porta, from there there is a free shuttle service to the Camp Site, +39 06 33610733. On the bank of the river from which it draws its name. To the north of the city. There's a minimarket, a pool, a restaurant and a bar.

  • Happy Valley, +39 06-33626401. It has a pool, a bar, a restaurant and a minimarket.

Vernacular architecture

Vernacular architecture is an architectural style that is designed based on local needs, availability of construction materials and reflecting local traditions. At least originally, vernacular architecture did not use formally-schooled architects, but relied on the design skills and tradition of local builders. However, since the late 19th century many professional architects have worked in this style.

Vernacular architecture can be contrasted against polite architecture which is characterized by stylistic elements of design intentionally incorporated for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a building's functional requirements. This article also covers the term traditional architecture, which exists somewhere between the two extremes yet still is based upon authentic themes.

The term vernacular is derived from the Latin vernaculus, meaning "domestic, native, indigenous"; from verna, meaning "native slave" or "home-born slave". The word probably derives from an older Etruscan word.

The term is borrowed from linguistics, where vernacular refers to language use particular to a time, place or group. In architecture, it refers to that type of architecture which is indigenous to a specific time or place . It is most often applied to residential buildings.

The terms vernacular, folk, traditional, and popular architecture are sometimes used synonymously. However, Allen Noble wrote a lengthy discussion of these terms in Traditional Buildings: A Global Survey of Structural Forms and Cultural Functions where he presents scholarly opinions that folk building or folk architecture is built by "persons not professionally trained in building arts"; where vernacular architecture is still of the common people but may be built by trained professionals such as through an apprenticeship, but still using local, traditional designs and materials. Traditional architecture is architecture is passed down from person to person, generation to generation, particularly orally, but at any level of society, not just by common people. Noble discourages use of the term primitive architecture as having a negative connotation. The term popular architecture is used more in eastern Europe and is synonymous with folk or vernacular architecture. Ronald Brunskill has defined the ultimate in vernacular architecture as:

...a building designed by an amateur without any training in design; the individual will have been guided by a series of conventions built up in his locality, paying little attention to what may be fashionable. The function of the building would be the dominant factor, aesthetic considerations, though present to some small degree, being quite minimal. Local materials would be used as a matter of course, other materials being chosen and imported quite exceptionally.

The vernacular architecture is not to be confused with so-called "traditional" architecture, though there are links between the two. Traditional architecture also includes buildings which bear elements of polite design: temples and palaces, for example, which normally would not be included under the rubric of "vernacular." In architectural terms, 'the vernacular' can be contrasted with 'the polite', which is characterised by stylistic elements of design intentionally incorporated by a professional architect for aesthetic purposes which go beyond a building's functional requirements. Between the extremes of the wholly vernacular and the completely polite, examples occur which have some vernacular and some polite content, often making the differences between the vernacular and the polite a matter of degree. The Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World defines vernacular architecture as:

...comprising the dwellings and all other buildings of the people. Related to their environmental contexts and available resources they are customarily owner- or community-built, utilizing traditional technologies. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of life of the cultures that produce them.

Vernacular architecture is a broad, grassroots concept which encompasses fields of architectural study including aboriginal, indigenous, ancestral, rural, and ethnic architecture and is contrasted with the more intellectual architecture called polite, formal, or academic architecture just as folk art is contrasted with fine art.

Architecture designed by professional architects is usually not considered to be vernacular. Indeed, it can be argued that the very process of consciously designing a building makes it not vernacular. Paul Oliver, in his book Dwellings, states: "...it is contended that 'popular architecture' designed by professional architects or commercial builders for popular use, does not come within the compass of the vernacular". Oliver also offers the following simple definition of vernacular architecture: "the architecture of the people, and by the people, but not for the people."

Frank Lloyd Wright described vernacular architecture as "Folk building growing in response to actual needs, fitted into environment by people who knew no better than to fit them with native feeling". suggesting that it is a primitive form of design, lacking intelligent thought, but he also stated that it was "for us better worth study than all the highly self-conscious academic attempts at the beautiful throughout Europe".

Since at least the Arts and Crafts Movement, many modern architects have studied vernacular buildings and claimed to draw inspiration from them, including aspects of the vernacular in their designs. In 1946, the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy was appointed to design the town of New Gourna near Luxor. Having studied traditional Nubian settlements and technologies, he incorporated the traditional mud brick vaults of the Nubian settlements in his designs. The experiment failed, due to a variety of social and economic reasons, but is the first recorded attempt by an architect to address the social and environmental requirements of building users by adopting the methods and forms of the vernacular.

In 1964 the exhibition Architecture Without Architects was put on at the Museum of Modern Art, New York by Bernard Rudofsky. Accompanied by a book of the same title, including black-and-white photography of vernacular buildings around the world, the exhibition was extremely popular. It was Rudofsky who first made use of the term vernacular in an architectural context, and brought the concept into the eye of the public and of mainstream architecture: "For want of a generic label we shall call it vernacular, anonymous, spontaneous, indigenous, rural, as the case may be."

Since the emergence of the term in the 1970s, vernacular considerations have played an increasing part in architectural designs, although individual architects had widely varying opinions of the merits of the vernacular.

Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa is considered the pioneer of regional modernism in South Asia. Along with him, modern proponents of the use of the vernacular in architectural design include Charles Correa, a well known Indian architect; Muzharul Islam and Bashirul Haq, internationally known Bangladeshi architects; Balkrishna Doshi, another Indian, who established the Vastu-Shilpa Foundation in Ahmedabad to research the vernacular architecture of the region; and Sheila Sri Prakash who has used rural Indian architecture as an inspiration for innovations in environmental and socio-economically sustainable design and planning. The Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck was also a proponent of vernacular architecture. Architects whose work exemplifies the modern take on vernacular architecture would be Samuel Mockbee, Christopher Alexander and Paolo Soleri.

Oliver claims that:

As yet there is no clearly defined and specialized discipline for the study of dwellings or the larger compass of vernacular architecture. If such a discipline were to emerge it would probably be one that combines some of the elements of both architecture and anthropology with aspects of history and geography

Vernacular architecture is influenced by a great range of different aspects of human behaviour and environment, leading to differing building forms for almost every different context; even neighbouring villages may have subtly different approaches to the construction and use of their dwellings, even if they at first appear the same. Despite these variations, every building is subject to the same laws of physics, and hence will demonstrate significant similarities in structural forms.

Following the eclipse by International Modernism of turn-of-the 20th century vernacular-inspired British and American Arts and Crafts buildings and European National Romanticism, an early work in the renewed defense of vernacular was Bernard Rudofsky's 1964 book Architecture Without Architects: a short introduction to non-pedigreed architecture, based on his MoMA exhibition. The book was a reminder of the legitimacy and "hard-won knowledge" inherent in vernacular buildings, from Polish salt-caves to gigantic Syrian water wheels to Moroccan desert fortresses, and was considered iconoclastic at the time. Rudofsky was, however, very much a Romantic who viewed native populations in a historical bubble of contentment. Rudofsky's book was also based largely on photographs and not on on-site study.

A more nuanced work is the Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World edited in 1997 by Paul Oliver of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development. Oliver argues that vernacular architecture, given the insights it gives into issues of environmental adaptation, will be necessary in the future to "ensure sustainability in both cultural and economic terms beyond the short term." Christopher Alexander, in his book A Pattern Language, attempted to identify adaptive features of traditional architecture that apply across cultures. Howard Davis's book The Culture of Building details the culture that enabled several vernacular traditions.

Some extend the term vernacular to include any architecture outside the academic mainstream. The term "commercial vernacular", popularized in the late 1960s by the publication of Robert Venturi's "Learning from Las Vegas", refers to 20th-century American suburban tract and commercial architecture. There is also the concept of an "industrial vernacular" with its emphasis on the aesthetics of shops, garages and factories. Some have linked vernacular with "off-the-shelf" aesthetics. In any respect, those who study these types of vernaculars hold that the low-end characteristics of this aesthetic define a useful and fundamental approach to architectural design.

Among those who study vernacular architecture are those who are interested in the question of everyday life and those lean toward questions of sociology. In this, many were influenced by The Practice of Everyday Life (1984) by Michel de Certeau.

An appreciation of vernacular architecture is increasingly seen as vital in the immediate response to disasters and the following construction of transitional shelter if it is needed. The work Transitional Settlement: Displaced Populations, produced by Shelter Centre covers the use of vernacular in humanitarian response and argues its importance.

The value of housing displaced people in shelters which are in some way familiar is seen to provide reassurance and comfort following often very traumatic times. As the needs change from saving lives to providing medium to long term shelter the construction of locally appropriate and accepted housing can be very important.

As many jurisdictions introduce tougher building codes and zoning regulations, "folk architects" sometimes find themselves in conflict with the local authorities.

A case that made news in Russia was that of an Arkhangelsk entrepreneur Nikolay P. Sutyagin, who built what was reportedly the world's tallest single-family wooden house for himself and his family, only to see it condemned as a fire hazard. The 13-storey, 144ft tall structure, known locally as "Sutyagin's skyscraper" was found to be in violation of Arkhangelsk building codes, and in 2008 the courts ordered the building to be demolished by February 1, 2009. On December 26, 2008, the tower was pulled down, and the remainder was dismantled manually over the course of the next several months.

Germany

Scotland

  • The blackhouse
  • East Ayrshire, Medieval turf house
  • A Caithness, croft house with whale bone couples, Brotchie's Steading, Dunnet

United States

  • Vernacular Architecture of Rural and Small-Town Missouri, by Howard Wight Marshall
  • Earl A. Young (born March 31, 1889 – May 24, 1975) was an American architect, realtor and insurance agent. Over a span of 52 years, he designed and built 31 structures in Charlevoix, Michigan but was never a registered architect. He worked mostly in stone, using limestone, fieldstone, and boulders he found throughout Northern Michigan. The homes are commonly referred to as gnome homes, mushroom houses, or Hobbit houses. His door, window, roof and fireplace designs were very distinct because of his use of curved lines. Young's goal was to show that a small stone house could be as impressive as a castle. Young also helped make Charlevoix the busy, summer resort town that it is today.

Ukraine

Different regions in Ukraine have their own distinctive style of vernacular architecture. For example, in the Carpathian Mountains and the surrounding foothills, wood and clay are the primary traditional building materials. Ukrainian architecture is preserved at The Museum of Folk Architecture and Way of Life of Central Naddnipryanshchyna located in Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine.

Wales

Architecture of Wales

House types:

  • List of house types
  • Hut
  • Shotgun house
  • Mountain hut
  • Log cabin
  • Oast house
  • Trullo
  • Half-timbered construction
  • Blackhouse Building techniques:
  • Cob (material) Organizations:
  • Vernacular Architecture Forum
  • Architecture, SUST
  • International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism Real-life examples:
  • Broken Angel House
  • Ethel S. Roy House
  • Indian vernacular architecture
  • Machiya – traditional Japanese wooden town houses
  • European medieval architecture in North America
  • Phonehenge West
  • Slow architecture
  • Vernacular architecture of the Carpathians
  • Vernacular architecture in Indonesia
  • Vernacular architecture in Norway
  • Watts Towers
  • Witch window People:
  • Laurie Baker
  • Geoffrey Bawa
  • Bashirul Haq
  • Saiful Haq
  • Friedensreich Hundertwasser
  • Howard Moffitt
  • Mudéjar
  • Kea Tawana

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