Capaccio, Salerno, Italia and her Grecian Marble of Paestum, a Greek colony of temples predating the Roman Empire
CLICK THIS LINK ABOVE FOR MANY MORE IMAGES AND VIDEOS OF PAESTUM.
I have selected several images from the original post on my other site, romepix.com.
The hamlet of Capaccio, found in the region of Salerno, located far down the boot in Campania, (about two hours or so from Sorrento), is a charming little town near the Greek ruins of Paestum.
There are silent stone churches with slants of light pouring into the shadows through stained glass and open windows shaped as doves and olive branches, each path of gold against black an evocation for peace in an undiscoverable darkness. Silence except for birds and echoing footsteps accompany you a foreigner in a foreign place. The solitude is universal in its unspoken language. You are welcome to sit and contemplate, or walk softly in cold corners under towering stretchs of wood and stone, somehow cradling us in its distance. A transitory connection to prayers whispered in the heart, undecipherable to human ears. How many gods have been called in how many temples on these grounds? Hera, Ceres, Athena, Poisedon, Christ, the Lord Himself, or the Madonna? Outside, a rush of sunshine, warmth on the skin, a grumbling in the stomach, a need to affirm we are still among the living. Fruit and pizza and coffee beckon across the way, and in a little shop in Capaccio we find local juicy figs floating in local honey, and figs woven together stuffed with regional almonds, in beautiful little packages we later brought home with us.
Just recently I gave Rian’s brother that last bundle we had been saving for the holidays… Rian would have wanted him to savor the taste of Italia, a place he’s never been, a place he never fell in love with as Rian and I had twenty years ago, and kept returning to. I gave it to him with Barolo and dark chocolate and champagne, I wanted him to taste a small glimpse into this magical world we had so long found ourselves enchanted with. He loved them. I thought of Rian smiling somewhere as if he could watch us somehow.
Bringing what we loved about this country is something we both so long felt driven to do. He would bring endless bags of chocolates and special Sicilian cookies for his friends at his office, and for family and close friends, after each trip back. Sometimes I would bring wines difficult to find in the states, or handmade liquers, and serve them at the holidays we hosted together for so long.
To share with others even a spark or a glimpse of the reason for our longing and our love for an otherworldy place, combined with tales of what we experienced and learned, kept us going until the next return. One day I suppose I shall return too, without him beside me as I wish, but with his ashes, with his memory, and with his energy still felt in the world, and set the remains afloat in the seas and lands he loved so deeply he broke through the mystery of Italia better than I ever could. And he took that mystery with him beyond. And here I am, as ever, in love with beauty I cannot dissect or take into me, I can only love from afar… as if in a dream. Perhaps life is the dream, and death a waking up? A return to the fold of everything seen and felt here through a veil.
There is that charming church write about above in the heart of the town of Salerno, and also a large cloistered monastery and cathedral, long with a fascinating museum of Clasiccal Antiquity, mostly containing the remnants (some vey much intact) of Paestum, a Greek colony in Italia pre-dating the founding of Rome. It is located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 600 to 450 BC. It was named Poseidonia (Ancient Greek: Ποσειδωνία) but was was eventually conquered by the local Lucanians and later the Romans. The Lucanians renamed it to Paistos and the Romans gave the city its current name.
The Paestum, or “Pesto” temples are some of the most intact ruins on the mainland of Italia, and their being Greek in nature only lends to their charm and mystery. The pastoral setting of Paestum leads one to get a feeling for the atmosphere of another era, millennia ago. Everything is beautiful in the town and most especially in the large park where the Grecian marble stands against all odds of weather, war, and time. One can find shade under tall olive trees and smell hints of lemon trees in the air as they walk among the dead and the stone of a culture and a people who no longer exist, and yet we feel some mysterious connection to, even to this day.
TO VISIT PAESTUM (with stops along the way in the city centers)
PAESTUM IS LOCATED AT Via Magna Graecia, 918, 84047 Paestum SA, Italy
Hours: Opens 8:30AM (VARIES) to sunset, with special evening extended openings to view the ruins at night.
Below is the Aerial view of Paestum, looking northwest; two Hera Temples in foreground, Athena Temple in background, and a Classical Antiquity museum on right. The first Temple of Hera, built around 550 BC by the Greek colonists, is the oldest surviving temple in Paestum. The second Temple of Hera was built around 460–450 BC, is found just north of the first Hera Temple. At a short distance and height from the the Hera Temples, and north of the center, is the Temple of Athena, built around 500 BC. In the center of the complex is a Roman Forum, perhaps built on the site of a preceding Greek agora. North of the forum is a small Roman temple, dated to 200 BC, and dedicated to the Capitoline Triad, Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva.
To the far north-east of the forum one sees an amphitheater, recently many parts of Paestum have been reopened so vistors can wander through these structures and lands, even walking withing the open aired temples. It’s a wonderful experience.
Source: Wikipedia & me.
VISIT THE PAESTUM MUSEUM SITE FOR ALL THE ARCHEOLOGICAL INFORMATION AND IMAGES.
Additional Cultural and Architectural and Art History and Archeological sources:
(The Museum of Paestum with images of the artifacts and art.)
(Paestum – The Temples)
(The Walls of Paestum)
One of my favorite and most romantic things to do in Rome is to stroll through the Villa Borghese parks and gardens to one of the most elegant and sensual villa art museums on earth: The Galleria Borghese.
The Renaissance and Baroque gardens of umbrella pines, cypresses, palm trees, flowers, hedges, and exquisite lemon, orange, and magnolia trees surround the gorgeous villa, bringing one back into the past glories of Roman country estates, free and open to the public for generations.
The parks were private gardens for the aristocrats of Roman society until they were opened for the 19th century Grand Tourists. In 1820 English Romantic poet John Keats himself strolled through these same hallowed grounds before he succumbed to tuberculosis in his rooms at the Piazza di Spagna. Goethe mused through the art collection of the Borghese’s a generation before that, recording his impressions of the palazzo and of the art in his grand book, Italian Journey.
Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn is a painting by Raphael.
The beautiful Galleria Borghese is home to part of the Borghese art collection curated by the Cardinal Scipione Borghese (nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605-1621).
The Villa was commissioned to be designed and built by the architect Flaminio Ponzi, partly based on sketches by Scipione, as a “villa suburbana” on the country edge of Rome. Scipione was one of the first patrons of Bernini and collected many pieces by Caravaggio, including The Sick Bacchus, Boy With a Basket of Fruit, and the poignant Saint Jerome Writing.
The Borghese collection also includes the breathtaking Bernini sculptures of David, Rape of Proserpine, and Apollo and Daphne, – and the Tiziano masterpiece, Sacred and Profane Love.
Other maestros are Raffaello “Lady With A Unicorn” (purported to be the Lady Giulia Farnese, commissioned by Pope Alexander aka Rodrigo Borgia), alongside countless pieces by Rubens, Barocci, Antonio Canova, Coreggio, Dosso Dossi, Domenichino, Veronese, Lorenzo Lotto, and Parmigianino.
Sacred and Profane Love by Titian. c. 1514
I love the gorgeous architectural details in stone and in fountains and statues lining the entrance of the Galleria Borghese.
Remnants of the past play out as well in “ancienne” statue fragments and the fountains outside the museum’s grand entrance.
The walk to the Galleria Borghese always has that lazy Sunday feeling, surrounded by Roman families and visitors enjoying the greenery and fresh air. Young and old lovers can be spied kissing under a tree or lying on a picnic blanket enjoying the sunshine and the sounds of songbirds above them.
There are homages to temples, gods and goddesses, Greek Tragedies and Comedies, and to Rome’s storied past in the “Romantic era ruins” among the pleasure walks and dreamy Umbrella pines. As you approach the museum you feel you are in for something really special… and are not disappointed in the great architectural reveal.
More architectural details by Flaminio Ponzi and Scipione Borghese create a feast for the eyes, before entering the villa with a ticket… for the Roman antiquities and Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces, … in room after sumptuously decorated room.
Tickets are recommended bought IN ADVANCE, online or at the ticket office down the stairs. To enter the museum, proceed up the stone stairs to the stunning Classical Antiquity portico where they will take your ticket.
You don’t want to miss this experience!
After an afternoon stroll and a few hours in the museum, head to the Pincio at the Golden Hour (an hour before dusk) and watch the sun set over the cupolas and ruins and houses behind the glittering Piazza del Popolo.
The golden and orange light eventually turns a deep violet, and there is an enchanting glow about Rome at its most magnificent! It is a heady, Romantic vision, and every one seems to be under a collective spell of beauty and the feeling of immortality in Éros in the Eternal City.
This is one of the best, most beautiful, and unforgettable days you could spend in Rome. It could be the most romantic Valentine’s Day of your lives. Rome seen and felt like this is truly writ on the heart for an eternity.
You can eat at the romantic nearby Casina Valadier for sweeping sunset views and aperitivos or an early dinner – they have a Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu for lovebirds.
Looking for something quicker? Walk a short distance to the late Renaissance church of the Santissima Trinità dei Monti, (French: La Trinité-des-Monts).
Pop into the sanctity and quiet beauty of the French Roman Catholic church and you may luck out with a choir of nuns singing en français classical songs of devotion while you peer at lush murals, sculptures, paintings, and the altar.
Light a candle together and head down the famed Spanish Steps just outside and whisper a snippet of a Keats ode into your beloved’s ear outside of the Keats Shelley (Byron) House Museum (worth a visit if you’re there earlier when it is open!).
Stop for a late tea at Babington’s and try their Rome in Love Tea inspired by the Paolina Borghese sculpture and Female Beauty at the Borghese, or enjoy some cocktails or champagne and light fare – offered in the luxurious comfort of their 125 year old tea room. It’s a cute British afternoon tea room with Italian flare.
Looking for something sexier? Cross the avenue and stop in at the nearby Romantics’ saucy hangout, the Antico Caffè Greco, decorated in 18th century red satin and marble decor, for drinks and desserts.
The Santissima Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps from the Via Condotti.
Gregory Peck’s apartment in Roman Holiday where he brings Audrey Hepburn in the film.
If you’re still in the mood for a short early evening walk hand in hand past the glamorous shops and passersby, head to the most romantic street in Rome, the charmingly low-lit, ivy covered boutiques and artisan art shops, boutique hotels, and restaurants, Via Margutta (made famous by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday!) I love the vegetarian restaurant created by film director Federico Fellini, Il Margutta! They have many vegetable creations, handmade pasta and smoked cheeses, and a vegan and gluten free menu, with exceptional organic wines, mocktails, and delicious desserts, including house made gelato.
Casino Valadier’s LOVE ELIXIR
€25 per person.
La Grande Cucina S.p.A.
Piazza Bucarest, Villa Borghese
P. I.V.A. 05901701002
Tel (+39) 06 69922090
Fax (+39) 06 6791280
GALLERIA BORGHESE (english site)
Via del Collegio
00186 Roma, Italia
tel. 39 06 67231
map by Guilbert Gates
Antico Caffè Greco
Via dei Condotti, 86, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Babington’s Tea Room
Piazza di Spagna, 23, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
And Happy Valentine’s Day from A Love Letter To Rome… to everyone lucky enough to be in the sexiest and most romantic (and Romantic) city in the world, Roma, Italia! May Cupid’s arrows always find you when you least expect (but need) amore!
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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.
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.
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.
The Palazzo Pitti is a large villa museum built in 1458 for a Florentine banker near the river Arno, in the heart of Florence, Tuscany, Italy, and is sumptuously laid out with antique furnishings and priceless works of Italian paintings and sculptures. It contains nearly 500 Renaissance and baroque frescoes and masterpieces by Artemisia Gentileschi, Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Fillipo Lippi, Perugino, Correggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Andrea del Sarto, Fra Bartolomeo, il Rosso, Canova, Verrochio, and Pietro da Cortona, among many many others. I am writing a piece about these incredible collections, accompanied by photographs, and the background of some of the most important and beautiful works to see if you can visit. It’s highly recommended for serious art or palazzo fans.Surveying the grand grounds and estate from a distance as visitors have admired the beauty and harmony of the Boboli Gardens for centuries. The house and land were bought by the de’Medici’s in 1549 and they filled it with their incomparable art collection, second only to their nearby famed Uffizi Gallery and residence. Napoléon even used this as his main living headquarters in Italy in the late 18th century. The exterior courtyard where horses and carriages would draw up. Paris and Helen of Troy.Themes of alchemy and the occult mingled with myths of classical antiquity in the natural caverns decorated to enhance an atmosphere of enchantment.Far away seashells and coral encrusted on water formed stalactites. Sea nymphs and faeries and aristocratic crests.The prisoners in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.The fascinatingly carved and decorators part natural, part artificial cavern the Buontalenti Grotto in the Boboli Gardens is a fascinating place, is encrusted with seashells and stalactites, housing mythical, fantastic, and allegorical elements, as well as symbols referring to esoteric subjects. The Grotta di Buontalenti (also known as Grotta Grande or the Big Grotto) was built by Bernardo Buontalenti between 1583 and 1593, and commissioned by Francesco I de’ Medici.
Winding labyrinthine hedge walkways to get lost in or sneak into for a stolen kiss.A brilliant blue heron rests in an artificial lake. Naked trees promise a boast of riches at the first bloom.Wild iris and flowers of delicate violet and pale lavender dotted among tall wild grasses of rolling meadows.Oranges a reminder of the beautiful year round climate of most of Italy.I was there on an overcast early spring day before the beauty of the garden really bloomed but shall return their in autumn to take photographs of the richer, fuller gardens. The little wildflower meadows and orange trees and statutes were lovely against the grey sky and ornate fountains (turned off in the cold) but I long to see this place teeming with color and fullness after the long hot summer, as autumn turns the leaves Amber and gold. I get that chance this early October.
Watch this highly interesting and gorgeous historical and visual tour of the Boboli Gardens by Brit and garden expert, Monty Don. Boboli Garden — Tour of Italy – Florence
I am exceedingly charmed byBerlin. I’m smitten with it, in fact. This German city is pristine and enormous, with beautiful stretches of wide open boulevards and bridges betwixt baroque, art nouveau, Romanesque and post modern architecture (with character).
They have turned part of the old Soviet regime of East Berlin, that former extension of the cold eastern bloc into a museum island of buildings housing rare antiquities and art from around the world… in an homage to ancient Grecian architecture — one could almost imagine what it felt like to walk between intact Greek temples and palaces, everything is just so well tended to, the whole part of the city marries the past and the present together seamlessly.
I stayed in the chic, sleek, uber modern Potsdamer Platz East Berlin neighborhood, just a short jaunt up from the stunning Brandenberg Gate. Another ode to Ancient Greece, you feel in Berlin as though you are in a city which truly both reveres and celebrates learning and culture.
Because East Berlin was isolated for so long after World War II, it was the perfect spot to turn Bizmarck and Weimar Republic era buildings into museums and hotels, and the Soviet utilitarian era 20th century monstrosities into apartments and offices. The sleekest designs of exciting new architects are in areas like Potsdamer Platz, and it’s fascinating to walk through areas where you can still catch a sense of the ambience of the Stasí and yet where 21st century modernity has taken over.
Berliners take their coffee very seriously, and I fell in love with every cup of coffee or chai or tea or double espresso I had in East and West Berlin. I will be writing about my favorite cafes in Europe soon… And Berlin truly impressed me with their innovation and attention to detail and quality.
There’s so much to enjoy about Berlin, there is dark history to absorb yourself in, sumptuous art to view in gallery after gallery, classical antitiquites like the Ishtar Gate, Greco Roman ruins and objets, the Pergamon altar, and the brilliant Berlin Philharmoniker, restaurants and bookshops and even elegant BMW taxis to recline in the back of as you drive through the city listening to Beethoven.
Visiting the Berlin wall in Germany in March was such an amazing experience. The recent history of the most basic freedoms stripped from half of Berliner‘s every day lives for decades is a vital reminder of why fascism and totalitarian societies don’t work under any conditions. Power always corrupts, art and education are replaced by propaganda, and group think, not individuality, is encouraged. Any political or social group who fears satire or who encourages Orwellian newspeak or Kafkaesque show trials or book burning or word banning, is its own little Stasí police state ripe for the taking. The wall pieces must stay, the new city must continue to grow, and history must be taught and learned so we all have the possibility for it not to repeat itself with total abandon. Berlin is a fantastic city!