Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rome, de rigueur for the cultured

the Tiber

the ruins

Spanish steps

the Pantheon

the Trevi fountain

the old and the new, the ancient Roman wall, the modern building on Via Marsala, picture taken in front of Roma termini.
I heard on the radio some time back that a guy (any guy) before the age of 40, to be more attractive to girls, must be some what cultured. He must have been to at least one major museum and know a little about art history, architecture and food. It is not about liking escargot (what is that- snails) or truffles as much as knowing what they are and maybe to have tasted them. One should have at least heard of Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci and maybe has seen some of their work. They can be forgiven if they don't know who Caravaggio is.
What better place to start being cultured than in Rome.
Rome, more than any other city has squashed in it centuries of civilizations. Art- centuries of art- ancient Roman, Medieval times, Renaissance and Baroque to the modern. Baroque is a product of the counter reformation movement, a time of learning by the Jesuits, a time of Rococo design to bring back the masses to the church after leaving because of the reformation. The same with architecture- from the ancient Roman ruins, the Colosseum to St Peter Basilica, to the Victor Emanuele memorial.
Italian food, from pasta to gelato to great coffee, it's la dolce vita in Rome and in Italy.
Italy was de rigueur for the young Englishmen on 'the Grand tour". They were sent on extended trips to Italy to learn about art, architecture, food and people in order to be a cultured Englishman.
Rome is also a place of pilgrimage especially for the Catholics. St Peter Basilica is always packed with people, Catholics and non Catholics. It is a most beautiful place. I brought my 2 Jewish nieces, even they were impressed. It is more like a museum.
Rome can be daunting the first time but it can be easily managed and enjoyed. Read my posting, 'Rome made easy' on how to get around. Once you have mastered Rome, the rest of Italy is easy. You can come in and out of Rome, go to the rest of Italy and even Sicily and enjoy the whole of Italy. If you've never been , make Rome your next vacation destination.

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