Sunday was my sort of day in Rome, the weather was amazing and we visited incredibly interesting places…I’m going to leave out the fact that I did get pooped on by a bird while standing in a lovely orange grove atop a hill.
We began our day in one of the most depressing ways possible at the Museo Storico della Liberzione di Roma or the Historic Museum of the Liberation of Rome. During the Nazi occupation of Rome, approximately September 1943 through June 1944,this building was used as a detention prison by the Command of the Security Police. A couple of the cells remain as was within the museum, with names and painful inscriptions carved into the walls of the cells by those detained there without light and little ventilation. Several of the prisoners that were held here by the Nazis eventually met their demise during the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine, when ten Roman or Jewish prisoners were chosen to die in order to compensate for each single German that had been killed, totaling 335 people. Though we did have limited packets of information in English, all of the exhibitions were in Italian, making it difficult to read the entire story.
Next on to the Centrale Montemartini. I found this Museum to be absolutely fascinating because of the history of the institution itself. The Museum is housed in what used to be the first public thermoelectric center in Rome (electricity plant). Much of the hulking equipment and industrial machinery are still present in the building, which for a time had merely become offsite storage for the Capitoline Museums antiquity overflow.
In 1997 a structured exhibition was created in order to maintain accessibility by the public to these works of art, it was called “The Machines and the Gods”, which placed side by side classical art and industrial machinery. I feel this is truly one excellent example of adaptive reuse and a perfect dichotomy of new existing with old. I especially enjoyed the use of soothing blues and greens for wall/accent colors as it helped to make peace of the transition between the harsh gray machines and the smooth tans and whites of many of the artifacts.
As far as our structured portion of the day, it was fairly short. So far the rest of the afternoon Luciana and I headed out to Aventine Hill (another of the Roman hills) and it was absolutely lovely. It was a peaceful afternoon of walking, sitting in the orange and lemon groves, looking at beautiful churches with more beautiful views, rose gardens and the absolute BEST view of all of Rome (or so I think).
On Aventine Hill there is a keyhole in a door to a garden. If one looks through the keyhole you see down a shrub lined path with a sunlit opening at the very end. Through this opening at the end you see a perfectly framed view of St. Peter’s. Now I thought this might be a little hokey but after seeing it I think I would definitely put it on the list of things one must do in Rome. It is unfortunately hard to take a picture of this glorious view, especially with my brick of a camera so I’ll have to cite somebody else here. Alas, another wonderful day in Rome.