A Love Letter To Rome … Italy photo & book shop is online now! I ship worldwide! Beautiful images of Italia in handmade packaging & surprise gifts.

My labor of love has come to fruition. Off the beaten path and iconic fine art film and hi res digital images of Italy are available at my online shop.

Prints, postcards, books, and more!

High quality museum reserve paper and books, made in the US.

I also make custom bundles and prints and books: a Rome theme, an Amalfi Coast, an Art / Architecture theme, a Church / pilgrimage theme, a Pagan gods and goddesses theme, Florence, Naples, Capri, La Dolce Vita / Cafe mix or a Mix of Italia theme… or any personal requests. Romepix.com/prints

Ten dollars off (12) mini Prints ($10) or (9) Postcards ($20)! Special includes hand made packaging with special surprise gifts and souvenirs of Italy inside until Jan 31!

Perfect as souvenirs of your favorite country or for a dream board of future destinations. The sweeping views of Italy, the beauty of the Eternal City of Rome. The ruins. The art. The cafes. Getting lost in the moment under the Italian sun.

Shipping worldwide! romepix.com

Postcards can be used as photo art or real mailing postcards. Designed and printed in the USA on 50% recycled, Museum reserve high grade photo lab paper with a light UV gloss ink. Shot in Italy on fine art portra and velvia film and high res digital.

Made by a “local” artist who loves Italy I ship worldwide!

shop here Romepix.com

Thanks, Rebecca ❤️🏛

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I am working on a portfolio site

You can visit it here: I’m a freelance photographer… romepix.com

…and I will be writing here at alovelettertorome.com more often for my book on Rome 😉

And I have many many many beautiful film rolls being developed several at a time because I am on a budget but as soon as I get them in I will be posting the gorgeous pictures I took… the best I have ever taken… I’ve really studied the craft very hard this year… and I can’t wait to share it with you.

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Rome laid out before you from far far above the rooftops

Take an elevator ride on the “wedding cake” and see the Roman gods’ view of the Eternal City. 

The ruins are laid out before you betwixt cupolas and Renaissance rooftops of villas and apartments like dollhouses.

Hints of the past stir some ancient feeling in you you never knew you possessed until you saw Rome from a mount.

The sign of greatness and the sign of a fall and all around you the beautiful noise of life that will not stop long enough to extinguish itself into the remains of dust it lives among.Rome lives among the shadows and the bones and the blood and the ghosts and the stone and the picked away marble because it is the heart and the remnants of the past are the nervous system which still courses with life from that heart center of a slowly dying immortal, entombed in the blessing and the curse of a memory which feels like a dream.

Church bells ring and ring through the city when the golden hour colors everything and there’s time for one last sun-glow walk and one last smile exchanged like kisses on the mouth, not the cheeks.

I will remember you even if the imprint of my self is swallowed up in the city of too many stories and too many lights and too many songs to find a memento mori for me in some nook or cranny when I’m gone.

And so I have Rome written on my soul should I be able to take it with me.

Bury me not in the earth of the place I love but burn my ashes to the sky so I may float like some augur of another time, a shadow to pass over a new face with her own love flashing on her face as she falls in love with the Roman sky at sunset, as she dreams to be remembered somewhere somehow in the eternal city, to leave her mark somewhere and to be known and felt by some future stranger intoxicated by the same love for the same city and the same ringing of bells and the orange becoming purple and the golden lamps flickering on and the smiles becoming kisses, not on the cheeks, but on the mouth. 

My “Fall of Rome” professor last summer asked me, “Are we Rome?”

Are we, the west in 2017, are we “Rome”?

Yes! Yes and no. It depends on how you view Ancient Rome and how you view the west now. There is no easy answer.

Here, I believe, in the church, and in certain rituals, and beliefs… are where the living tradition of ancient Rome is carried on today… 

After this course I can understand more and more why a pagan would adapt this religion to aid his war success, and to be a unifier of an already somewhat fractured people. 

Tom Holland recently wrote about returning to the church after realizing in writing about the ancient Roman era for years, and about the Medieval, and the Renaissance periods, he saw more and more how Christian thought shaped much of our ‘modern’ form of humanism.

Discovering remnants and fragments and sometimes entire pieces or histories of dug up Greco Roman art and philosophy in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was an intellectual and spiritual goldmine for learned men, often monks, and eventually for wealthy woman patroness like Isabella d’Este or Lucrezia Borgia or Caterina Sforza or female artists like Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana or Artemisia Gentileschi. 

A great patron and nearly empirical statesman of Firenze, the infamous Cosimo de’Medici, installed the first “open” humanist library in a monastery for Florentine scholars and students, commissioning prints of works from classical antiquity, contemporary Humanist Catholic writers, and artworks with religious and classical themes. It was the first library not exclusively for ascetics or royalty in Europe in 1,000 years. 

When open minded scholars and artists (who were artisans as much as they were artists)… when they married classical thought with the higher moral teachings found in the broadening church interpretations, the commissioned theological (and later classical and allegorical works;) mostly paintings and sculptures, were ordered by the wealthy citizen patrons; first by the church, then the aristocrats, and finally by the growing mercantile class…

The Ancient Romans in the late western empire and in the eastern empire, had to adapt to a new increasingly popular religion to survive, to become yet another new “old” Rome in an eternal city which had always extended itself to the farthest reaches of the earth, with a distinctive calling card, and yet was nevertheless as mutable as the water coursing through the aqueducts… Ancient Rome had to keep something from the past alive, and also they had to grow along with it and the times in order to still thrive in this rapidly flowing world. 

As far as why Rome “fell”, it also appears to me to be for a variety of reasons, and yet Christianity, I don’t think, is one of its downfalls. 

In darker moments I think we are the new Rome, then I remember Rome didn’t necessarily fall the way I thought before this class, that I can still walk among the ruins in the eternal city today, I can see the rituals, and even hear pieces of the language in an old church, and I can even see faces which remind me of a 2000 year old fresco… in the cafes.

For every doom and gloom scenario for Europe or the US, and other parts of the west, there is a twist and turn, an adaptation or rejection, a battle or a war, and I think we are a long way off from either a surrender or a fall.

you’re my piazza navona

When I think of the Piazza Navona in Rome I think of you now.

Last time I was there I was walking around, and every coffee I had, or wine I sipped, or smile I gave to a passing man, or Bernini fountains I stopped and stood at for the hundredth time pondering with fresh eyes, or place I wandered into… gazing at everything in Saint Agnese, or in the museums near by; I thought about you there in the piazza before me, and after me, off in your own reverie, not thinking of me except when I asked for an image of you once, standing before a marble goddess. You sent it to your part-time Aphrodite on Hérmes’ winged feet, and I treasured it, and buried it, like Crassus’ riches.

You have captured my imagination against my will, and that’s kind of lovely.

This strange, exciting, impossible idea of you sprung from the wells of imagination.

My eyes shine at you; the color of dreams and the sea.

Your eyes burn at me; the color of will and life and earth.

And time itself is a secret nod between us.

The Villa Farnesina in Trastevere, Rome

Trastevere is a lovely residential neighborhood of Rome just across the Tiber from the centrale storico (historic city center)… a taxi or bus ride away or a rather lengthy but enjoyable walk on a sunny spring or autumn day. 

It is a must see for an authentic side of the city with wonderful local restaurants and little shops and cafes and bars and a piazza which boasts one of the oldest and most beautiful (and Byzantine!) churches in the city. 

It is my favorite place in the Eternal city to people watch and to get out of the crowded tourist spots. The Almost Corner Bookshop is there and sells books in English, too, and Trastevere has an ancient portico and a sumptuous small villa museum built in the sixteenth century, the Villa Farnese, owned by a Sienese banker named Agostino Chigi, who commissioned the architect Baldassarre Peruzzi to build him a splendid little palazzo. 

The interior of the Villa Farnese is decorated with frescoes by Raphäel Sanzio, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giovanni da Udine, Giovanni Bazzi (known as il Sodoma), Giulio Romano, Giovanni Francesco Penni, and Baldassarre Peruzzi himself… among their studio artisans and apprentices, as well. 

At the end of the sixteenth century this Villa was purchased by the famous Cardinal Alessandro Farnese from whom it takes its name “Farnesina” to distinguish it from the Palazzo Farnese on the other side of the Tiber (which I will be writing about in detail soon). 

The Villa was also used by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, and is used for other important Roman events and groups today.

It is a “boutique museum” so its intimate setting is a perfect place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere of what it was like to live in a Renaissance villa, and to imagine the Farneses wandering the halls or Raphäel painting the walls… 


The garden is small and lovely to view, with architectural details and lush trees and other hidden gardens among the grounds you can peek at through gates. It’s one of Roma’s many green spaces and respites from the crowds.

From the official website:

OPENING HOURS

Villa Farnesina is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, closed on Sunday and holiday.

Visitors who present their admission ticket to the Vatican Museums (within 7 days from the date of visit to the Vatican Museum) will be entitled to a reduced entrance fee to the Villa Farnesina
GUIDED TOURS

On Saturday at 10 am (english), at 12.30 (italian)

Audio guides are available to visitors (italian, english and french)

SPECIAL OPENINGS

The Villa will be open the second sunday of each month. Info: +39 06 68027268; farnesina@lincei.it

The website is villafarnesina.it

All photographs are by me, Rebecca Butler, shot on analog film in spring 2008, for alovelettertorome.com
I have some interesting stories I picked up about the Villa Farnesina I will post next time. This will be included in my FARNESE family chapter in my book. There is a fascinating Borgia and Medici connection to the Farnese and I’ve spent a lot of time in their amazing Roman and Neapolitan villas (now museums). Alessandro Farnese eventually became pope.