Living History in Rome day by day

Liv­ing in Rome has proved to be an excit­ing adven­ture over the past 20 years, more inter­est­ing than I could have imag­ined. Now, as the sum­mer sea­son is upon us– with sev­eral over­lap­ping pro­grams and a slew of doc­u­men­taries to film– I can’t help but reflect on the many ways I get to live his­tory daily in Rome.

Latin dead? Not when I can host a Latin tweet up #LTNL  every cou­ple of weeks with col­leagues and any­one inter­ested in speak­ing Latine.  (In less than a month, stu­dents will attend our upcom­ing sum­mer Latin pro­gram, com­ing from schools big and small, from Stan­ford to Steubenville. Our guru is Nancy Llewellyn of SALVI:

It’s been said fre­quently that Rome is a liv­ing museum.  Even more amaz­ing is just how much that tru­ism is indebted to the efforts of Mus­solini and his forced con­nec­tion to the ancient con­cept of romanita’ or Roman­ness.  So I’ve steered our intre­pid NEU film stu­dents to the cen­tro storico, Foro Ital­ico, EUR, and periph­eral neigh­bor­hoods to record the impact of Fas­cist archi­tec­ture and urban plan­ning in Rome past and present.  #NEURome12


Con­nect­ing the dots.  The major­ity of a unique set of mar­ble pan­els once dec­o­rat­ing the por­tico sur­round­ing the Tem­ple of Hadrian in the Cam­pus Mar­tius are to be found in Palazzo Mas­simo, Capi­to­line Muse­ums, and Museo Nazionale di Napoli.  But the other day, vis­it­ing a friend and col­lab­o­ra­tor from Banca Finnat in Palazzo Altieri, I caught a glimpse in the stair­case of another one of the same panel set.  Just when you though you had seen it all.

Not just archae­ol­ogy and Roman cul­ture but cul­tural her­itage. All in all work­ing beyond my ini­tial range and train­ing in archae­ol­ogy to con­cen­trate on her­itage mat­ters and a larger scale and range of par­tic­i­pants has been reward­ing. In a short time we’ve taken Unlisted2011 con­fer­ence ideas and made con­crete projects, such as a con­ser­va­tion project in Ostia Antica and Fas­tiON­LINE videos.  I look for­ward to fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tion with this year’s par­tic­i­pants (VIDEOS 2012 con­fer­ence are already online).

Char­iot cruising

Rid­ing in a char­iot for the day is great work, if you can swing it. So many film doc­u­men­taries to do and so lit­tle time.  You’ll get no com­plaints from me rid­ing around in a char­iot in the Alban hills and talk­ing about the thrill of that expe­ri­ence in front of a camera.

Pro­tect­ing the past– It’s truly spe­cial to be able to assist in sav­ing Hadrian’s villa peti­tion from the pro­jected land­fill– an ongo­ing effort– and pleased we are up to nearly 5000 peti­tion sign­ers. Sign up!


Sun­light time machine.

  • April 21st, Rome’s birth­day.  Tak­ing the fam­ily to see the sun­light pass through the Pan­theon ocu­lus and strike the entrance of the Pan­theon, a one-a-year event.
  • Then, head­ing to the Cir­cus Max­imus to mix with the Romans of the 2nd cen­tury AD.

Ancient reflec­tions:

  • After heavy rain-always, always some­thing new, some­thing spe­cial to observe, e.g., Col­umn of Mar­cus Aurelius.
  • Fendi Fondation’s annual exper­i­men­tal art show fol­lowed by drinks in the Fendi gallery, which con­tains a sec­tion of Trajan’s Basil­ica Ulpia.
  • Tak­ing an Amer­i­can fam­ily friend to the Colos­seum hypogeum and arena floor on her 21st birth­day,  though I don’t think she could appre­ci­ate it that day… The car­nage appar­ently took place the night before.
Discussion2 Comments Category Archaeology, Conservation, Culture, Documentaries, Excavation, Latin, Rome, Sponsorship Tags , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to Living History in Rome day by day

  1. thanks for shar­ing your knowl­edge and expe­ri­ences! If I could go back 20 years I’d go to school to study ancient his­tory, since I can’t I’ll fol­low your adven­tures :)

    very much enjoy the arti­cles, pho­tos and doc­u­men­taries, great works!

  2. Are there any sources that attribute Rome’s birth­day to April 22? I read that in an old and ran­dom book in Columbia’s art his­tory and archi­tec­ture library (many years ago). I was delighted to read that, as it’s my birth­day –but I never came across any­thing else men­tion­ing that date, and I couldn’t track the obscure book down again.

    Have so many other ques­tions for you — and not just because I am going to Rome next week with 10 children!

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