Culture and Tourism
A list of works by great artists once in Rome such as:
Michelangelo, Raffaello and Caravaggio.
Information about the roman Museums. Tourist information with a list of the most famous sites and some other ones.
The Art galleries in Rome.
The statues, of Rome with their address and timetable.
The list of all the Churches in Rome.
THE APPROACH TO ROME
ROME may be seen in two ways, by the " personally conducted " method and by the slower process of absorption. The former plan is preferred by the average American tourist, who, in haste to get home, and anxious to see the greatest number of things with the least possible expenditure of time, follows the crowd at the heels of an encyclopedic conductor, covers the city in from one to three days, and is off for Florence. When asked for details, he is somewhat in doubt as to whether the Arch of Titus stands in the Baths of Caracalla, or is among the antiquities of the Vatican Museum, but is quite sure that he saw it, and thinks he climbed to the top of it. He has seen nothing. He has a confused impression of ruins, statues, paintings, churches, and cabmen, —an impression which becomes more misty as the months roll by, until he falls into the habit of speaking of certain of these things because he has spoken of them before. He does not attempt to reach back to the original impression, for that has long vanished. The second method is far more satisfactory, for to understand Rome one must remain long enough to assimilate what he receives — to spend a morning where the guide-book demands a half-hour, and to take time to idle. One cannot see the " Eternal City " merely with the eyes; he must take it into his heart. Thus appropriated, it weaves a spell about him, and he comes to love it as he loves few spots on earth. Rome is a city of contrasts and contradictions. At first sight it seems a hopeless mingling of incongruous elements, — modern wine-shops in the shadow of imperial ruins, stately palaces jostled by squalid tenements, statues of Christian saints mounted on pagan columns. But a closer study reveals a historic order running through all, and discovers the existence of successive strata, by means of which we may read the story of past ages, as the geologist reads the story of the rocks. The surface is this mushroom growth of pretentious modern buildings lining the Via Nazionale and the Via Cavour, standing stiffly upright, and struggling to appear Parisian. Then come the characterless houses of the period preceding the unification, —before Rome awoke from her sleep and put on the life of a modern capital. Next are the Renaissance palaces and, contemporary with them, the older Christian churches. Then appear the towers and battlements which tell of the wild days of the Middle Ages, and farther still, a stratum of imperial remains reaching from the Column of Phocas back to the Mausoleum of Augustus, — with a multitude of Greek statues and Egyptian obelisks, carried hither from other lands by those great triumphal robberies which brought to Rome all that was rare or excellent in the ancient world. Below the imperial ruins are the monuments of the Republic, — the foundation walls of the Tabularium, the platform of the Temple of Concord, and other interesting ruins. Then comes the great Cloaca, built by the elder Tarquin, and finally the fragments of the wall of Romulus on the Palatine. They are all there. We need only to ignore present associations, and restore to each ruin, so far as possible, its true historic setting. When one becomes sufficiently acquainted with the city to begin to classify his material, he finds that, aside from the modern life, which may be studied equally well in any of the Italian cities, Rome presents three distinct faces : there is the Rome of the Ancients, found in the ruins and in the museums ; there is the Rome of the Popes, saturated with mediaeval traditions and monkish legends, and defined by scores of churches stretching from the Vatican to the Lateran ; and there is the Rome of the Artists, with its paintings, its statues, and its memories of Michelangelo and Raphael and the other great ones who lived and wrought in the high noon of the Renaissance. It was in the twilight of an afternoon in early May that, incarcerated in an Italian railway carriage, we jolted along through the Campagna, and drew near to Rome. The train was designated on the time-card as the accelcrato, which to the Italian means " fast," but to the American means very slow indeed. There was ample opportunity to view the landscape. Long stretches of green, broken here and there by masses of volcanic rock, marshes whence the wild fowl flew up and away as we passed, occasional patches of cultivated ground, with peasants taking advantage of these cooler hours of the day, and making the most of the waning light, — all this was visible, but seldom a human habitation, for malaria is abroad in the Campagna, and the peasants who cultivate the lowlands build their cottages, for the most part, upon the higher levels. The curses pronounced against the Imperial City seem to hover around her still. Death lurks in the stagnant pools, and the plain is desolate. Looking across this stretch of country toward the Alban Hills, we see a vision which quickens the pulse, and makes us feel that we are indeed on historic ground. A line of broken arches gleams white through the dusk, cutting the plain in two, and pointing away to the highlands, whence of old it carried the water-supply to the Roman city. These fragments of the aqueducts are among the most impressive sights of Rome, both by reason of their immensity and of their setting, for there are no mean surroundings to detract from their dignity, as in the case of nearly every other Roman ruin. The desolate Campagna adds a touch of pathos to their melancholy grandeur as they stand alone dreaming of the past. We rattle on, a timid lady in the opposite corner of our railway compartment meanwhile holding her handkerchief to her nose in an effort to strain the malarial influences out of the night air, whilst a robust English tourist takes sundry draughts from a flask in his breast-pocket, probably to fortify his system against the same insidious power. At length lights twinkle through the dusk, dark walls surround us, our train rolls into a great modern railway station, the guard cries " Roma," an army of porters and cabmen assail us, and we find ourselves in the Eternal City.