Rome is pieced together by fragments old and new; a broken clay pile of people who have lived and died, and are forgotten, rivaling the Monte Testaccio in size and obscurity.
Rome is the heaviness of time. It is the marks left on humanity. It is a walkable history book, forever unfolding its pages.
Rome is monuments of the big whigs leaving you breathless with their grand scale and an overwhelming rush of beauty.
‘Everyone is dead here’, the city whispers, in a voice softened against the bone-white marble of ruins.
The palatine lies silent under the stars. This is your one moment to catch your breath and savor Rome.
Try to stop time by breathing it in slowly. Hold it in, and take a sensory snapshot. Stand there, holding your breath, recording, feeling as immovable as a statue; a Henry James’ American willing a sacrifice to the pagan gods.
‘Just let me remember this. Let this enter me. The endlessness of it. The cobwebs. The broken stone. The bones. The dust. The pulse remaining somehow. Let me carry Rome where ever I go. Let it become a part of me. No, let me become a part of Rome. Another story never writ, another name unknown.’
Raphäel rooms and frescoes.
The sumptuous Borgia Apartments.
The Vatican museum has room after breathtaking room of gorgeous golds, greens, purples, blues, reds and every soft and lush color and tone the eye can see. Everywhere you turn is the famed likeness of Lucrezia Borgia.
The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased 500 years ago: The sculpture of Laocoön and his Sons was discovered 14 January 1506, in a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Pope Julius II sent Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo Buonarroti, who were working at the Vatican, to examine the discovery. On their recommendation, the pope immediately purchased the sculpture from the vineyard owner. The pope put the sculpture of Laocoön and his sons on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery. (Wikipedia)
The minor Colossus reminds me a little of a fallen David.
One can wander room to room in renaissance splendor.
Minerva or Diana?
A Roman woman as goddess.
Venus or Aphrodite?
If you find yourself at the Vatican museum – don’t visit in August, get there early or off season to miss waiting in an interminable line – and before you see the Sistine Chapel make sure you don’t skip the sculpture gardens and statuary courtyards and the Borgia Apartments and the Raphäel Rooms!
//photographs copyright rebecca price butler …
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