A Quick Trip to Napoli- Isola di Capri- Mount Vesuvius

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do and this semester’s abroad opportunity has given us all that chance. A few of us took a weekend trip to Napoli; where you can find the best pizza in the world, Isola di Capri, and Mount Vesuvius.

We started off our adventure with an early train ride to Napoli, checked into our hostel, and then headed to the docks to board a ferry to take us to Isola di Capri. Its jagged edges rise from the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Bay of Napoli. The ferry ride was awesome with an open deck and great views of the Almafi coast; it was a beautiful sunny day.  The island finally arrives in the distance with the two jagged peaks, and as we dock the dark blue water is clearer than I’ve ever seen. Small sail boats and larger yachts fill the docks and as we de-board the ferry with the small town surrounding. The island consists of Capri Town and Anacapri up the cliffs.

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By taking a bus up the smallest steepest switchback street you arrive in Anacapri and we make our way down a winding vine covered street with painted white shops to the Villa San Michele. It boasts a beautiful garden with loggia and balconies that lookout over Capri Town and the sea; the view is spectacular. Afterwards, we wander over to the Church of San Michele Arcangelo to see the mosaic floor depicting the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise. It’s a beautiful little church with the mosaic covering the whole floor. On a bus again we make our way to the other side of the island and take a funicular down the side of the mountain to Capri Town. They have white pebble shores with beautiful views and the though the water is cold, we stick our feet in. After some required tourist shopping (they are known for their coral and painted tiles) we hang out on the docks watching boats come and go while the sun sets before boarding our hydrofoil back to Napoli.

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For dinner upon recommendation we go to Pizzeria da Michele, that boasts the best pizza in the world. After a wait with locals we finally get a table and a choice of pizza margherita or pizza marinara. The food is wonderful and the location is noted for being where they filmed part of Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts!

Day two involves taking a train, bus, and walk up the steep mountain side of Mount Vesuvius, notoriously known for destroying the ancient city of Pompeii. At the top we are above many clouds and have a wonderful lookout over Napoli to the north, and Sorrento to the South, with Capri in the distance and the sea meeting the sky in a perfect line. The last bit of the journey is a 500 meter walk to the crest of the crater which I must admit was a steep trek. Part of the volcano smokes a little which is a good reminder of what we are actually standing on.

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It has been a great adventure and we agree we can mark these off our bucket lists!

An Adventure of Two Über Freunds!!

“Please be a traveler, not a tourist.” –Andrew Zimmerman

Though I must agree with Mr. Zimmerman and feel like we have effectively accomplished this with our stay in Rome, there are times being a tourist can make the world a little bit smaller as you explore new places. For spring break Lena and I did just that with an adventure to Zurich, Switzerland, Berlin, Germany, and Verona, Italy. And I must admit I am surprised by the amount of things we experienced in just one short week.

We embark to Zurich for two days and as our train speeds through the Tuscan country side the view changes to cascading mountains and small Swiss towns. Upon arrival in Zurich the air is colder and the people and public transportation far friendlier than in Rome, though we must navigate through a number of languages such as Italian, German, French, and English as these are all nationally accepted.

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We spend the next two days eating such American delicacies as Starbucks (which I’ve been deprived of for months now) while also trying the Viadukts; a converted space for a restaurant and market. We even go as far as to try the TexMex restaurant with some skepticism. However, it, like everything else in Switzerland turned out to be really good, and not what you would find in Texas exactly but tasty none the less. We visit the:

Kunsthaus Museum of Art- number of Degas, Monet, van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso paintings

Fraumunster Gothic Church and Grossmunster Romanesque Church

Usania Observatory and Jules Verne restaurant to overlook the city

Dolder Grand Hotel and lookout- way up on the mountain side this ritzy hotel was nothing but luxury and a beautiful view over Lake Zurich and Old Town

Bürkliplatz-  where our double-decker boat docked for our evening tour of Lake Zurich showing the beautiful houses that line the shore and the Swiss Alps in the distance. This was my favorite thing we did!

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Then we take an early train ride to Berlin, Germany where the passing countryside begins to be covered in snow until it is completely white. Upon arriving in Berlin Hautbahnhof we realize this is a different kind of city with about 6 different forms of public transportation and a main train station 5 stories high to accommodate. There is a consistent 6 inches of snow on the ground the whole 2 days we are there and it is so beautifully different from Rome and Oklahoma. Yet unlike Rome and Zurich almost everything is in German and it’s hard to explain the feeling of staring at a sign and not understanding a word on it but we manage. As tourists we visit:

Alexanderplatz Radio Tower

Bradenburger Tor a former city gate now Triumphal arch that leads to the snow covered park. Also along this street you can see the two rows of cobblestones that mark where the old Berlin Wall once separated the great city.

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Peter Eisenman Holocaust Memorial- 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae“, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. It was eerie with a thick layer of snow blanketing the memorial but beautifully done.

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Potsdamer Platz with the Sony Center and wall fragments of the original Berlin Wall now colored in graffiti and displayed as a reminder of what once caused so much pain in the city.

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Hard Rock Café Berlin- a little American culture in such a foreign country

Jewish Museum designed by architect Daniel Libeskind with the astounding architecture of the three axes that form the displays, circulation, and overall aesthetic of the museum.

Museum Island- Altes and Pergamon museum displaying ancient Greek and Islamic/ Germanic history.

And of course more shopping! Though Berlin was cold we had a great time even though we were unable to go in the Reichstag, I feel like we visited several highlights. And of course got our fill of American and German food before departing early the next morning to Verona, Italy

We had a short stop over on the way in Innsbruck, Austria which was beyond gorgeous with amazing mountains surrounding the green valleys. It was truly something out of the sound of music.

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It is easily noticeable that we are back in Italy when we leave the train station at Verona Porta Nouva mostly due to the blatant stares Italians give, the lack of buses which turned out to be on strike (very typical in Italy) and our taxi driver that whizzed through the narrow Italian streets reminiscent of our first night in Rome. The bed and breakfast we stayed in was right down the street from Casa di Guilietta and the lady was very welcoming to our exhausted selves. The next morning we eat breakfast in her kitchen with her dog (which was wonderful since we miss our dogs so much) and another exchange student, then head out into the city for a day of exploration before we board an evening train back to Roma. Once out and about Lena and I realize how nice it is to be back in Italy, we recognize the language better and are familiar with the curving quaint streets. We make a giant circle around the historic district visiting the:

Casa di Guilietta- thought it lacked some romantic qualities due to the number of tourist writing your name on the wall for good luck is a must.

Teatro Romano- an ancient theater that overlooks the river and can be reached by the Ponte della Pietra

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Santa Anastasia and the Duomo basilicas

Castelvecchio and its roman brick bridge

San Zeno Basilica- with frescoes dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries

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Piazza Bra with its Roman Arena, open market, and park, it was a beautiful day to have lunch outside.

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After a long day we finally board our train back to Roma and when we arrive in Termini it feels like home, or at least our familiar home away from home. This has been an adventure to remember!

Addis Ababa, EUR, and Colonialism

When you first hear about the EUR in Rome it seems like this odd space age suburb full of gleaming buildings. In reality however the EUR, which stands for Esposizione Universale di Roma, is a planned suburb between the historic center of Rome and the ancient port city of Ostia Antica. Designed during the Fascist regime it shows all the wonderfully harsh characteristics of Fascist architecture with orthogonally regulated building facades, large streets formed around a grid, and blocky white travertine buildings. It is simply everything that tourists don’t stereotypically think of as Rome; quaint curving streets, buildings in a number of colors, and a comforting irregularity in the architecture. And this is exactly what we witnessed upon our journey out there. When boarding the bus by Largo Argentina you are surrounded by ancient temples and small pizzerias, then you travel through the slowly changing urban landscape and the buildings become more regulated, the streets become wider, more apartment buildings of glass and steel rise above the streets, and then eventually you stop and hop off at the corner of the “square colosseum,” which is on direct linear axis with the massive Congress Hall. Everywhere you turn in the EUR some form of Fascist influenced architecture can be witnessed as detailed in Mia Fuller’s article Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ’42, which compares the Italian colonial capital of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to the EUR. In May of 1936 Addis Ababa was chosen as the colonial capital of the Italian imperial expansion into East Africa, which lead to the formation of the Italian East Africa, l’Africa Orientale Italiana. Comparatively the EUR was started seven years after the invasion in Africa in preparation for the world’s fair in 1942 for the 20th anniversary of the Fascist march on Rome.1 It was intended to be a suburban expansion about the same size as Rome but orderly as planned by Rationalist designers.

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The common defining principle of the two master planned cities was referred to as Civilità, 2 based around the justification that archeology is evidence of civilization and that architecture equaled civilization. Ethiopia had some temple and church ruins however they lacked rectilinear house plans. In the EUR a new Italian cultural standing was formed through the exhibitions at the World’s fair in 1942 with the overall intention of the EUR forming a connection between Rome and Ostia Antica. This geographical relation was intended to reinvent the Imperial connection of Rome to the ancient port town by dehistorizing and rehistorizing an area devoid of history. One of the most important structures created for this purpose was the Museo della Civilità Romana which “displayed illustrations of Italy’s suprahistorical essence.”3 It could be argued that the quaint Roman town people are expecting in Rome could more easily be found in Ethiopia where there is an irregularity, spaces people can be comfortable in. Instead as we wonder around the Congress Hall and the Museo della Civilità it becomes apparent that comfort was not intended.

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David Rifkind has characterized urban designs developed under Fascism as corporativist urbanism, which he describes as “Italian rationalist architects adapting modernist design principles to the scale of urban and regional planning, to restructure Italian society through a transformation of the built environment.”5 During the 1930’s a number of master plan analyses were experimented with in such cities as Verona, Milan, Rome, and Como in an attempt to integrate a political system with ethic forming planned ways of life intended to control the masses. However they failed in some ways. The historic district of Rome and Verona remain irregular today. Though massive streets cut through every now and then the majority of the time I’ve spent walking through these cities that distinctly Italian comfortable feeling exists. People are friendly, architecture is sporadic, and Fascism cannot be seen.

During our recent visit to the EUR, I experienced clear evidence of the planned design and strict rectilinear architecture. Both Fuller and Rifkind show how Italian designers pushed for urban control both in the colonies and throughout Italy. This desire for control is reflected in the Fascist movement’s architecture, planned public piazzas, streets, and neighborhoods as well as the separation of classes . Italians felt compelled to alter urban fabrics and create built environments as a form of political propaganda for the Fascists and Rationalists to promote their ideas in every aspect of people’s lives. Colonial expansion and the EUR were both attempts to reinvent the Roman Empire, which seems to be a big part of later Italian history. Consequently this rewriting, re-sculpting, and redefining of history presents the alternative question; what would Italian culture and urbanism look like today if they had not continually tried to resurrect the old Empire? What would Italy look like if in the 1930’s they focused on a futuristic plan leaving behind their history to create new history? One can only wonder.

1  Fuller, Mia. “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ’42” in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol 31, No. 2, Special Issue: The Aesthetics of Fascism, 397-418.

2 Fuller, “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ’42”.

3 Fuller, “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ’42”.

4 Fuller, “Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ’42”.

5 Rifkind, David (2012): ‘Everything in the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state’: Corporativist Urbanism and Rationalist Architecture in Fascist Italy, Planning Perspectives, 27:1, 51-80.

6 Rifkind, David ‘Everything in the state, nothing against the state, nothing outside the state’.

Talent is just around the corner…

The longer I spend in Rome the more I realize that music is a huge part of the culture. It has become an integral part of life. In the mornings there’s usually someone playing an accordion on the tram to school, walking around town there are all types of street performers dancing or playing some instrument, and hanging out in Trastevere at night there are bars and cafes full of live performances.

One such performance would be the second appearance of Mis(S)take at the Lettere Caffè that a few friends and I had the enjoyment of seeing. Though Nathan and I have only been there a few times the servers recognized us, and the bassist from the band greets Nathan like a friend. They are happy to have their American audience back and we get a shout out during their performance thanking both Italians and Americans for supporting them. Alessia belts out some of my favorite songs, Florence + the Machine Dog Days Are Over and Massive Attack Teardrops, while maintaining her classy 1940’s style and also adds in a few new ones making for a longer set. Nathan compliments her for being more confident and we appreciate the show because these are the pieces of awesome memories we’ll take back home.

However, talent can be found in other places such as a small street in Trastevere full of lights and people as they wonder into restaurants, shops, and stores unique to this side of the river. Nathan and a few friends and I head off in search of live music “music dal vivo” and though we wander for some time come to no results. Nathan detailed this search this in our last post. Along the way though we walk by two guys with a unique style; one jamming on the guitar has a southwest style yet speaks fast Italian and the other has a style all his own. He is playing a make shift upright bass and has quite the whistling talent. Their jazz music causes us to stop and watch and I felt like I could have lingered there all evening for their performance. They play because they love music and that’s something to be envious of.

I hope you enjoy these video clips and I feel inspired to look for more local talent here and once we are back in good ol’ Norman.

The Roman Empire Through Monuments

Rome is marked with thousands of plaques, obelisks, statues, and memorials dedicated to lives lost, lands conquered, and historic leaders’ successes and deaths. Several of these draw on cultures of the Roman Empire stretching back to its full strength consuming the Mediterranean Sea, northern Africa, Eastern Europe, and Turkey. Krystyna Von Henneberg’s article Monuments, Public Spaces and the Memory of Empire addresses the tension between monuments, Italian colonialism, and remembering history. Much like other modern European countries, Italy has a history with colonialism specifically in Africa. For a number of years they colonized several east African countries like Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, and Somalia.

As with most colonization expeditions, Italian history is marked with a number of conflicts and wars that led to an always growing number of lives lost due to the expansion of the Roman Empire. Von Henneberg examines the social and mental effects of Italian colonialism in Africa, the removal of said colonies as repercussions of losing World War II, and the “selective amnesia about Italy’s imperial record among Italians.”1 By drawing on examples of monuments, streets, and public spaces Henneburg explores attitudes towards the modern Italian Empire. She clearly states “my goal is to investigate how and why official views of imperial conquest have been forged in public spaces, why they endure, and how they may be changing.”2

As a consequence of losing World War II several streets and places were renamed; stripped of their fascist designations in an attempt to erase parts of history. Henneberg argues that the “revisionist movement of the time attempted to forge a new republican and democratic consciousness, informing citizens about who to admire, what to remember, and what to forget.”A prime example of the monumental representation of modern Imperial Roman conquest sits on the Via dei Fori Imperiale in the cartographic sculptures Mussolini had constructed leading from the National Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II to the Colosseum illustrating the vast distances the Roman Empire expanded to in a number of years.4 These ostentatious “works of art” highlight the black and white view of history and how certain things are meant to be remembered and glorified where as others are meant to be forgotten. Years later Italian leaders would travel back to these countries to apologize for the colonialist wars, however, many such attempts held seemingly ulterior motives as almost a reminder of the power held over these lands.Image

Many other public spaces and monuments represent loss, imperial space, and Italian and African bodies. These heroic monuments invite details.5 Often times to mourn loss plaques and statues are erected in neighborhoods where locals can reflect on such travesties. However a problem arises when discussing imperial spaces. Most colonial monuments do not sit on the site where the commemorated events took place, due to location or to the sheer amount of lives lost; this dislocation dilutes the emotional meaning. The same happens with place names intended to evoke stories but reflecting a political choice as to which stories to tell. For example most African place names speak neutrally about events, whereas dedications to Italian lives often speak negatively of whoever the opposition was whether in the wrong or not. This relates back to Henneberg’s original question of why certain monuments still exist and how have views of them changed? Most people no longer directly associate with these historical events so they become urban markers of unacknowledged history. Sometimes there is no longer the political association to monuments, and therefore the original intention has been altered.

Some would say there are two sides to every story, and it is easy to say history is remembered how we choose to remember it. Sometimes events, lives, and conflicts are forgotten or never spoken of, and conversely sometimes the same are plastered all over cities as forms of art and political expression. Our views are tainted by perspective and in order to understand Henneberg’s theories addressed in this article a clear understanding of the imperfections of history must be accepted.

1-5 Von Henneberg, Krystyna. “Monuments, Public Space and the Memory of Empire,” History and Memory. Spring/ Summer 2004.

A Little Bit of Home and a Little Bit of Rome!

So usually our blog is dedicated to giving you the low down on what to see and do in Rome each week but I thought I’d change that up a little. This one is consequently titled “A little bit of home and a little bit of Rome!” These past two days reflect that and how even though we are 5,500 miles away the little things make it feel like you could walk outside and be several places in the US. However then there are places you visit unlike anywhere else in the world. For a few friends and me that would be the Vatican Museum home of the Sistine Chapel, the Hard Rock Café Roma, and a little boy’s 5th birthday party.

As my lovely roommate Lena discussed in her recent post the Vatican Museum is a little bit of Heaven; with corridors of rooms painted and decorated to perfection. After winding through several of these you descend a set of stairs, an air of quite consumes the surroundings, and you step into the Sistine Chapel. As we walked in and turned our eyes to the ceiling The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo stares back down. It’s quite the sight to behold as these frescoes are gorgeous. After exiting I comment that can now be marked off my bucket list, because isn’t that what traveling is all about; experience unique cultures all over the world, and seeing things that leave you in awe.

After we make the long walk across the city to the Hard Rock Café Roma and once inside it is apparent this has an American style. The servers speak English, and the menu is all in English which is something uncommon here. We order burgers with cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce, ribs, and fries. This is one of the first times it has truly felt like home. As we compare the other Hard Rocks we’ve visited while we eat, it no longer feels like when we walk out doors we will be an ocean away from Oklahoma, we are just enjoying a little taste of America.

Lastly a birthday party, something we all look forward to especially as a little kid. It’s a tradition to get together with friends and family, play games, blow out candles, and open presents but for our Professor’s son, his 5th birthday is a unique one. Not many kids would be ok with hanging out with a bunch of 20 year olds, however he makes the most of having us all play pin the tail on the doggy. Again this feels like home, especially when the homemade brownies come out as the cake. And there’s nothing like a remote control car to make a little boy as happy as can be.

So we are learning it’s about the little things in this adventure that are the true entertainment. The little things that make you feel like home and the little things that make you feel miles and miles away from ordinary. The Vatican Museum, Hard Rock Café Roma, and a birthday party are all fun adventures just with different perspectives. So let us continue to enjoy birthdays, and marking things off our bucket lists a little by little.

Attraversiamo!

Political Regimes and Political Subjects

In Adam T. Smith’s The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities he addresses the excavation of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur in contrast to modern attempts by political regimes to demonstrate political authority through shaping urban environments. A prime example comes from Dr. Pilat’s article La Parola al Piccone which, discusses how under Mussolini, Fascists sought to reconstruct the urban fabric of Rome by ambitiously reconstructing remnants of the ancient Roman Empire. This presents the paradigm between the political subjects and political regimes in which regimes build and demolish landscapes that directly affect society’s perception of a city. Such a cycle of construction and destruction both figuratively and metaphorically represent large portions of Roman history. Smith suggests cultures form an understanding of authority through places of ruins of built environments that they then implement in the modern times. This may have adverse effects such as how the Fascists attempted to transform the view of Rome as the root of political stagnation into an equally progressive and conservative society.

In order to effectively comprehend this juxtaposition in views we must start with the concept of a landscape. Smith describes it as the “totality of the external world as mediated through subjective human experiences,”1 suggesting a layering of the land, what humans build both physically and figuratively, and how that evolves to shape human activity. We set in place rules such as laws and construction such as roads that determine human interaction and perception of the built environment. When the Fascists rose to power and attempted to control this cause and effect they showcased destruction and reconstruction with Fascist architecture that showed the young radical power as steadfast and inured to the corrupt cultural influences of the capital. This was done in stages at numerous sites and most prominently seen along the Via dell’Impero around the Imperial Fora. Stage one in 1873, 1883, and 1909 called diradamento focused on preserving the urban fabric while also excavating the ruins. Stage two in 1925-1926 called sventramento was a more radical total demolition of neighborhoods displacing thousands to make way for Mussolini’s grand tributes to the Emperor Augustus to solidify his political authority through archeological propaganda.2 This further developed at the Mausoleum of Augustus which was to be resurrected for the 2000th anniversary of Augustus with the inclusion of the Ara Pacis monument to the west. The architect Enrico Del Debbio stated he “envisioned the mausoleum as an object in space to be viewed by spectators from particular points.”3 This approach set a perfect precedent for how politicians sculpted the built environment to their choosing and the desired outcome of perception of an area. The work also included such political propaganda as the Fascist buildings constructed and the excavation of the monument showing how politics influences the landscape.

Other metaphorical representations of political authority are discussed in Smith’s article when referencing Andy Warhol’s silk screens of the electric chair at Sing Sing prison.4 These images depicted the “physical sacrifice of political subjects”5 and bring to mind other cultures throughout history. These people’s lives are controlled by political agendas and calculated perceptions created for them through their built environment. Smith’s comparisons between the death pits of Ur and the electric chair illustrate a harsh reality of the less nostalgic histories of the world.

Though these endeavors led to the excavation of many ancient monuments in Rome and still evident urban characteristics, the application of archeological concerns to modern life may not align evenly. In attempting to capture sites frozen in time politics shape the built environment in positive and negative forms that are not always best for the common good.

1 Smith, Adam T. The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Politics, University of California Press.

2  Pilat, Stephanie. “La Parola al Piccone: Demonstrations of Fascism at the Imperial Fora and the Mausoleum of Augustus” in Jelena Bogdanavic and Jessica Christie, editors, The Political Landscapes of Capital Cities (University of Colorado Press, forthcoming).

3  Pilat, “La Parola al Piccone.”

4 Smith, The Political Landscape.

5 Smith, The Political Landscape.

Even if we are busy we still have fun!

Ciao! Hope everyone enjoyed Nathan’s post about the monks chanting in Florence. It was a blast! However this coming weekend brings several projects for school as we dive deep into our Ara Pacis museum designs, but there’s always time for a little music and entertainment. Just this evening Nathan serenaded Lena and me on the acoustic guitar at studio as we worked away. But if you are looking for something a little more formal check out some of the highlights of this week’s music and entertainment!

Baustelle: “Fantasma” is an indie band from Siena ready to rock it with songs from their third album titled, La Malavita. Showing at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, Sala Santa Cecilia this Wednesday, February 20, 9 pm. Tickets range from €32-22 and save your seats by calling tel 892 982 or checking out this website www.listicket.it

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If you like the church performances try the Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minevera
Piazza di Santa Maria Sopra Minvera (near the Pantheon) where they are having a Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro d’Opera di Roma, commemorating the feast of Beato Angelica, patron saint of artists. This will be playing Monday, February 18, 7:45 pm and it’s FREE!

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If you like movies ZERO DARK THIRTY will be showing at the Barberini, Piazza Barberini. The 5 Oscar nominated film from the acclaimed director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who collaborated for Hurt Locker, recreates the intensely secretive hunt for Osama Bin Laden in relation to the September 11th attacks. It has been critically acclaimed as one of the best American fiction films in a decade.

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If you want to take it classier and enjoy some art, try the Tiffany and Galle’ and Masters of Art Nouveau which showcases blown glass, ceramics, textiles and jewelry from the golden époque of Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau was an international style extending from art and architecture to philosophy and fashion. Located at the Museo Capitoline in the Palazzo Cafarelli the show goes from February 20 through April 28 Tuesday – Sunday, 9 am- 8 pm. It’s bound to be a gorgeous exhibition.

What to do, When to do it, and Where to go for the best Music and Entertainment in Roma

Ciao! And welcome to Friday! There are a lot of wonderful events going on this weekend and into next week so here’s a highlight of a few.

If you are into classical music check out Gabriele Carcano performing on the piano at Aula Magna ,Universita La Sapienza, Piazzale Aldo Moro (San Lorenzo). He’s won the Casella Prize and has toured through the US. The show is Tuesday, February 5, 8:30pm and you can get tickets at www.greenticket.it

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If you want to try a performance in one of the numerous gorgeous churches here in Rome, Sant’Antonio dei Portoghesi (between the Piazza Navona and the Pantheon) is hosting a classical performance this Saturday, Feb. 2, 7 pm and Sunday, Feb. 3, 6:30 pm. This concert is free so it’s a wonderful opportunity for something unique.

However if you are looking for something a little more upbeat check out Arisa “Amami tour”. This Italian pop star and judge on the “X Factor” of Italy will perform at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, Sala Santa Cecilia this Thursday, Feb. 7, 9 pm. For ticket prices go to www.listicket.it

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MOVIES!

Personally movie nights are my favorite hangout but I’d always be up for a movie out as well. If you didn’t get the chance to see Les Miserables in America then check out the English showing at the Barberini in Piazza Barberini. Showings start at 3:45pm and at the Lux at 6:15 pm. There’s nothing like a mix of a French play shown in English while in Rome to shack up your cultural education.

If you are a museum wonderer like me then check out these openings:

Ana Tzarev- The Life of Flowers at Palazzo Venezia, Via del Plebiscito 118

Tuesday- Sunday, 10am – 7:30pm through February 15

Her exhibit includes a number of oeuvre which reflects her lifelong passion for flowers and her interest in the natural history of the world. Somewhat resembling Matisse and Van Gogh these brightly colored works have shown in NYC and across the world.

Roma Caput Mundi. Una città tra dominio e integrazione

This exhibition tells the history of the Eternal City from the perspective of domination and integration. Showing more than 100 works of different media and discussing cultural and religious influences, this show is bound to be insightful.

Anfiteatro Flavio, Colosseo Piazza Del Colosseo

Monday – Sunday, 8:30am – 6pm through March 10

A presto! and remember you never know what type of interesting adventure is lying just around the corner from you here in the Eternal City so feel free to explore and tell us about any great places you visit or happen to know about.

Music and Entertainment

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As you may have seen my co-writer  Nathan, and I had a wonderful experience this weekend listening to the band Mistake at Lettere Caffe in Trastevere. They were awesome and everything you’d want to set the bar high for our posts. From now on though we will publish a weekly guide to what’s going on around Rome. I hope this provides an insight into how true Romans live and spend their free time.

MOVIES

Though most movie theaters here show movies in Italian there are a few around that will show big name American movies! For example this coming week you can visit the Nuovo Olimpia on Via in Lucina 16/g off Via del Corso near Via Frattina to see the Oscar nominated film Lincoln starring Daniel Day Lewis. Seeing as how I was so busy packing before we left I didn’t get to see this however now I have the chance to in ROME!

OPERA

If movies aren’t your thing then try an Italian Opera this week with Il Naso- The Nose written in the 1920’s by Dimitri Shostakovich following the story of a self-important St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own. You’ll find this comedy at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Piazza Beniamino Gigli (Esquilino) with showings Tuesday 1/29, 8pm; Thursday 1/31, 8pm; Saturday 2/2 6pm; and Sunday 2/3, 4:30pm.

MUSIC

Personally I’ve been to one opera in my life and that was plenty, but I’m always up for listening to live music in a variety of venues and styles. Rome is known for its Jazz music that levels with that of famous American artists and one great place to check this out is Big Mama in Trastevere. Sometimes known as Rome’s house of blues they have nightly music showcasing international and Italian blues and jazz acts. You’ll pay about 10 € for a Big Mama card that lasts several months. Shows start at 10pm but get there early for good seats, and they do accept reservations. Located off of Vicolo San Francesco a Ripa, 18 you can find a listening for all sets at www.bigmama.it in both English and Italian.

For this week at Big Mama

Thursday 1/31- Daniele Bazzani “solo guitar”

Friday 2/1- Anonima Armonisti “Anonymous Harmonists” A cappella music group.

Saturday 2/2- JJ Janis is Alive where Gianna Chilla will rock out with influence from Janis Joplin.

However as I learned last night occasionally the starter band is more impressive than the actual listed band so never be afraid to just drop in a place for a while before the main show because you might find the next up and coming names.

Some other venues to check into include:

Charity Café- Located in the Monti neighborhood this cocktail bar, wine bar and tea room, hosts jazz jam sessions on Thursday nights after 9:30 pm, jazz ensembles Friday and Saturday, and spins jazz recordings the rest of the week. The address is as follows, Via Painsperna, 68 and they are open Monday-Saturday 6pm- 2am.

We plan to check out as many café venues as possible, as well as dance clubs, concerts, and sporting events so look forward to what’s coming up in this great city.