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05.12.2014
11:51

The Aventine and Turner in Rome

News in early December of the sale through Sotheby's of Turner's great landscape painting "Rome, from Mount Aventine" has been given much publicity because of the record price of £30.3 million it fetched: the most ever paid for a painting by Turner.

 

In preparation for a new edition of Blue Guide Rome I recently revisited the park on the Aventine hill beside the church of Santa Sabina, which must have been close to the place where Turner would have made his pencil sketches, or coloured drawings, in the early morning, on his second trip to Rome in 1828. The view is still remarkably similar, looking downstream at the Tiber beyond a solitary umbrella pine, with St Peter's on the skyline and the city of Rome spread out on either bank. When the picture was first exhibited in London in 1836 Constable commented: "Turner has outdone himself, he seems to paint with tinted steam, so evanescent and airy".

 

The Aventine remains one of the most peaceful places to visit in all Rome. In the little park, aptly called the Giardino degli Aranci because it is planted with orange trees (laden with fruit in this season), apart from the magnificent view from the balustrade, there are numerous tall umbrella pines with their eccentrically shaped trunks (so beloved of Turner, who frequently included them in his landscapes). Near the entrance—and just beyond one of the city's most delightful wall fountains—is the church of Santa Sabina, justly considered the most beautiful early-Christian basilica in all Rome. It is wonderfully illuminated by thirty-four windows in the nave and apse. It has classical fluted columns, with Corinthian capitals reused from a Roman building of the 2nd century AD, as well as ancient marble inlay in precious marbles and porphyry and a long mosaic inscription. But it also possesses one of the least appreciated works of art in the city still in situ: its original 5th-century carved wooden doors.

Miracles of Christ from the Santa Sabina doors.

These doors can easily be missed since the church is entered from a side door (you have to go round to the portico on the left to find them). A coin-operated light has recently been installed which is essential to examine the panels, eighteen in all, with stories from the Old and New Testaments. Although they are high up you can make out many of the scenes, including Elijah in his chariot of fire with Elisha tugging at his mantle; Moses while still a shepherd tending his five sheep, and then talking with God on Mount Horeb; the Egyptians being drowned in the Red Sea; and three miracles of Christ, who holds a 'magic' wand (shown healing the blind man; next to seven wine jars at the marriage of Cana; and perfomring the miracle of the loaves and fishes). An eerie Crucifixion scene, said to be one of the earliest in existence, with the Crosses hardly visible at all, has Christ and the thieves depicted with outstretched arms. The charming Ascension of Christ shows two angels struggling to lift Him upwards as four of the Apostles watch in amazement. One only hopes Turner took some time off from his sketching to have a look at these, too.

by Alta Macadam, author of Blue Guide Rome. Santa Sabina and its doors are also covered in detail in two other Blue Guides titles: Pilgrim’s Rome and Sites of Antiquity: 50 Sites that Explain the Classical World.

Artwork of the Month: August. Bust of Augustus Caesar from Aquileia

Augustus, ‘the revered one’, was the honorific title of Gaius Octavius, great-nephew of Julius Caesar and one of the most remarkable figures in Roman history. He has given his name to the month of August.

Having no legitimate heir of his own, Julius Caesar formally adopted Octavius, and he exploited this position ruthlessly when the Republic collapsed after Caesar’s assassination. His uneasy co-operation with Mark Antony soon turned to open conflict. Mark Antony had taken command of the eastern portion of the empire, and when he allowed himself to become entangled with Cleopatra, Augustus seized his chance to brand them both as enemies of Rome. In 31 bc their navy was routed at the Battle of Actium and both committed suicide.

Back in Rome, with wealth and success to his name, Augustus could easily have become a dictator. However, that was not his way. Despite the ruthlessness of his youth, he now showed himself to be measured and balanced. His favourite god Apollo was, after all, the god of reason. Knowing that the senate was desperate for peace, he disbanded his army and the senate in turn acquiesced in his growing influence. The title Augustus was awarded him in 27 bc and he gradually absorbed other ancient republican titles too, as if the old political system were still intact. Behind this façade he was spending his booty fast. He claimed to have restored no fewer than 82 temples in Rome. He completed the Forum of Caesar and then embarked on a massive one of his own, centred on a temple to Mars Ultor: Mars as the avenger of his adoptive father’s murder.

Augustus was keenly aware of the power of his own image. Not only was his temple adorned with a great bronze of himself in a four-horse chariot, but other statues, playing on ancient traditions, were distributed throughout the empire. Augustus appears in one of a number of stock guises: as military commander, veiled and pious priest, or youthful hero, as in the example shown here, a bust from the northern Italian town of Aquileia, where Augustus received King Herod in 10 bc and reconciled him with his two sons. One estimate puts the total number of statues of Augustus scattered around the realm at between 30,000 and 50,000.

The empire prospered under Augustus’ steady control: there was no challenge to his growing influence and poets such as Virgil and Horace praised his rule. A less lucky writer was Ovid, exiled to the shores of the Black Sea, allegedly for lampooning Augustus’ programme of moral reforms. In 2 bc the great leader was granted the honorary title Pater Patriae, ‘Father of the Fatherland’, an honour which left him deeply moved. He died in ad 14, and it was observed at his cremation that his body had been seen ascending through the smoke towards heaven. The senate forthwith decreed that he should be ranked as a god. By now the Republic had been irrevocably transformed into an empire, and emperors ruled it for the rest of its history.

This text extracted and adapted from Blue Guide Rome and Blue Guide Literary Companion Rome. ©Blue Guides. All rights reserved. For more on the town of Aquileia and its fascinating Roman and early Christian remains, see our e-chapter: Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

13.03.2014
11:37

Rome: seasonal stations

If you happen to be in Rome in early spring, it is fun to follow some of the ‘Lenten Stations’. For each day of Lent, a particular church is assigned, and Mass is celebrated there. The tradition of the stational church dates back to the early years of Christianity, when on certain appointed days the community of the faithful would gather in a designated church to celebrate Mass together. Today the tradition is kept up during Lent. Sometimes, the pope himself officiates (to find out when, check the Vatican website and click on ‘Liturgical Celebrations’).

The church assigned for the second Sunday in Lent is Santa Maria in Domnica, an ancient church on the highest point of the Caelian Hill. It is also commonly known as Santa Maria della Navicella, after the ancient Roman stone boat (probably a votive offering from soldiers at the nearby Castra Peregrina, a barracks for non-Romans) that was placed here by Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici, the future Pope Leo X, when he rebuilt the church in the 16th century. It still stands outside the church today, and now functions as a fountain.

Inside the church all eyes are turned to the lovely mosaics on the triumphal arch and apse, dating from the 9th-century restoration of Pope Paschal I. On the arch sits Christ in Judgement, robed in gold with the orb of the earth between his feet, holding a scroll and flanked by angels and the apostles dressed in purple-fringed togas. Paul is the first apostle on the left, Peter the first on the right, with Moses and Elijah below them. In the conch are the Virgin and Child enthroned. Kneeling at the Virgin’s feet, with a square halo to indicate that he was still alive at the time that this mosaic was made, is Pope Paschal himself. The Madonna and Child are flanked by angels, the blue of their haloes creating a striking abstract pattern on either side. The whole is rendered against a lovely green ground, the colour of new spring grass, covered with white and red flowers. The monogram of Paschal is in the centre of the underside of the arch.

The coffered ceiling dates from the late 16th century. It was commissioned by another member of the Medici family, Ferdinando, later Grand Duke of Tuscany, who was titular cardinal of this church. Its central motif shows the Navicella, playing the part both of the Ark of Noah and of the Ark of the Host, the tabernacle which holds the Communion bread.

For more on the early churches of Rome, see Pilgrim's Rome, available in print or digital.

23.01.2014
13:50

Thoughts on Rome

Some thoughts and insights from Karl Audenaerde:

We just returned from our annual month in Rome, and as always were pleasantly amazed by all the new stuff there still is to discover.  You may be aware of most or all of it, but in case you are not, here are our five cents worth:

(1) Priorato di Malta: I never met anyone who had got in by calling the Cavalieri, but various Roman cultural associations offer guided tours.  We used www.info.roma, but there are others as well.  Interesting detail: a fountain in the magnificent gardens with an inscription referring to the Templars; it is supposed to be the only visible sign of them left in Rome.

(2) In the Castel Sant'Angelo the route has been completely changed, bringing the visitor to spaces that previously were not accessible.

(3) Santa Maria in  Cosmedin: the archaeological narrative seems to have undergone a major revision, and the newer version makes more sense, at least to us.  (When we're in Rome we belong to the Greek-Melkite parish there.)  Here follows what I wrote in our travel diary, immediately after the visit:
It all starts with the Invicti Herculis Ara Maxima, a huge 20x20m altar, built in the sixth century BC and related to one of the Greek myths (as opposed to Romulus and Remus) explaining the origin of Rome. In short: the area of the Foro Boario, near a fordable crossing of the Tiber, was halfway between the Etruscan North and the Greek South, and became a major meeting place for all kinds of merchants traveling the Mediterranean basin.  And since Hercules had roamed the entire area…
The enormous altar was located where now the front half of the church is.  Some of its tufa blocks can still be seen near the entrance of the current crypt. It was built where the hero was supposed to have slain the monster Cacus, and its construction was attributed to Evander in 495 BC.  Later it was embellished with a propylon that obtained its final form after the great fire, and of which a number of columns can still be seen, incorporated in the current structure of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The theory that this building was the Statio Annonae has been abandoned.  The area had been inhabited by Greek expatriates for the longest time, and when Greek refugee monks from the Kosmadeion (Constantinopolitan convent devoted to Saints Cosmas and Damian) arrived, they chose to live where they encountered fellow countrymen. Whatever building was already there was adapted to their use, but together with everything else was destroyed by the Normans of Robert Guiscard.  Under Pope Hadrian II (867-872) the Eastern wall of the propylon (or what was left of it) was breeched and the church was expanded towards the East.  A crypt was dug into the tufa base of the Ara Maxima.  The niches in the crypt originally served as seats, more or less like stone versions of the later choir stalls.  The shelves that one sees now halfway up in each niche were added later to accommodate urns, likely from martyred Saints whose remains were removed from the catacombs during the Middle Ages.  Around 1123 Cardinal Alfano (camerlengo of Calixtus II, 1119-24) had the church rebuilt.  Except for the winter chapel all Baroque additions were removed in 1894-99.  
In parentheses, the church is trying to raise money (1.2 million Euro...) to restore the winter chape
l.

(4) Casino dell'Aurora Pallavicini: Aurora is invariably described as "scattering flowers before the chariot of the sun."  But I didn't see any scattered flowers, and came up with an alternative interpretation: a literal version of Homer's rose-fingered dawn with roses emanating from her finger tips.  I wonder if I'll make some converts...

(5)
The newly discovered and excavated Auditoria di Adriano off the Piazza Venezia.  It has been called the most important archaeological find of the last 80 years.

(6)
Santa Maria della Concezione (the Cappuccini) is closed for restoration.  They have a brand new museum detailing the history and spirituality of the order, and their infamous bone collection is now accessed through the museum of which it has become an integral part.

(7) San Paolo fuori le Mura:
the excavation to the south of the basilica is finished, and open to he public.  The excavated area contains remnants of various monastic buildings belonging to the abbey as it existed during the papacy of Gregorio II (715-731).  It is very well presented with labeling in Italian and English.

(8) Palazzo Valentini (the administrative seat of the province of Rome): below it is an excellent excavation of two domus and enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that the long-lost temple of Trajan has been found.  The whole thing is made exciting by a very sophisticated multi-media show with alternating presentations in English and Italian.  It is even wheelchair accessible!  They have some info on-line, but expect a book out by this spring.  It is one of the best things we've ever seen in Rome!  And so far no guide book mentions it.

(9) A few rooms of the Palazzo Lancellotti have been rented out to a Turkish cultural center.  Not much of interest there, but it gets you in the door at the Palazzo Lancellotti, and that is more than worth the effort.

25.02.2013
15:35

Pope Benedict: an unorthodox farewell


It didn’t take long. A mere twenty-fours hours after Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication, portents were being seen in the skies above the Vatican. Jupiter, the great god of the Romans, began rattling his thunderbolts and lightning was recorded striking the cupola of St Peter’s—twice. This is the kind of thing that happened on the eve of Caesar’s murder. “Never till to-night, never till now,” says a trembling Casca, “did I go through a tempest dropping fire. Either there is a civil strife in heaven, or else the world, too saucy with the gods, incenses them to send destruction.” Is that what heaven is doing? Or is it a seal of approval? After an eight-year pontificate, Jospeh Ratzinger is volunatrily vacating the Throne of St Peter. It is not an unprecedented step, but it is a controversial one. It is something that is not “done”. But Benedict XVI has never been afraid of controversy. While he lacks the charisma of his predecessor John Paul II and while he never inspired such fervent devotion in people’s hearts, he has been, in his thoughtful, mild-mannered way, revolutionary.

Pope Benedict is eighty-five. Before him lie who knows how many years of increasing frailty. It takes a vigorous and resilient man to hold the Christian world together. His decision to abdicate was taken, he says, “for the good of the Church”. The same was said in 1406, on the election of Gregory XII, who was raised to the pontificate purely on the understanding that he would resign, “for the good of the Church”, in order to heal the Great Western Schism. He did resign (though not as easily as all that; he was a wily old Venetian) in 1415. And the Schism did eventually heal. But what was this Schism, and how could a papal resignation heal it?

For most of the 14th century, the popes had abandoned Rome for Avignon in the south of France. This so-called “Babylonian captivity”, when the popes were “exiled” from their homeland, began when Pope Clement V (a Frenchman) was persuaded (by the French king) to set up his court in France. Political disturbances in Italy made this seem a good idea to Clement, and in 1309 he decamped to the peaceful banks of the Rhone. Horrified Italians—notably the poet Petrarch and St Catherine of Siena—begged for the papacy’s return, but it was not until 1377 that Gregory XI (also a Frenchman) re-established papal government in the Eternal City. (Since this Gregory, incidentally, there has never been another French pope—but who knows what may happen next month; the Archbishop of Paris is a current contender.) But though the popes came back to Rome, all was not healed. Strife and confusion were to dominate the next four decades, in the form of the Great Schism, which lasted from 1378 to 1417. This represented a complete rupture of ecclesiastical unity. Rival claimants to the papal throne were simultaneously nominated and crowned by competing factions of cardinals. For almost all of this period there were two or even three popes at once, each claiming to be the anointed successor to St Peter. The true popes found themselves locked in combat with rivals known as ‘antipopes’. Gregory XII was elected under the terms of a deal whereby both he and his rival, the antipope Benedict XIII, would simultaneously renounce their claims, allowing for a single successor to be appointed to replace both of them. For the good of the church. The plan worked—admittedly not without plenty of shenanigans—and eventually, in 1417, the Roman-born Oddone Colonna became Pope Martin V.

The Church hopes to have a new pope in place by Easter. But how do papal elections work?

A pope is elected by the cardinals, who form the “parish clergy” of Rome. The complicated rules for the conclave (from the Latin con clave, referring to a chamber that can be locked “with a key”) are designed to ensure that the election is not unnecessarily delayed, nor unduly hurried, and that it should be free from any kind of external pressure. After the death (or resignation) of the pope, all the cardinals are summoned to the conclave, which must be held in whatever city the pope dies, not necessarily Rome. The cardinals are housed in specially prepared apartments and before the conclave begins, a Mass of the Holy Spirit is celebrated, to invoke divine inspiration. Voting takes place twice a day, in the Sistine Chapel. The practice of burning the ballot papers, so as to indicate by the colour of the smoke whether or not a pope has been chosen, is probably a 20th-century innovation. A two-thirds majority is required, and it is usually obtained fairly quickly, though in 1799 the cardinals took three months to make up their minds. The winning candidate must be formally asked by the Cardinal Chamberlain whether he accepts the nomination. Sometimes he is very reluctant to do so: the infirm Leo XII, in 1823, pointed to his ulcerated legs and said, “Do not insist, you are electing a corpse.” Once he has accepted, and has chosen his regnal name (the last pope to use his real name was Marcellus II, in the mid-16th century), the new pontiff is robed and the Cardinal Chamberlain makes the announcement to the waiting crowds: Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum, habemus papam: I bring you tidings of great joy, we have a pope.

Pope Benedict XVI is to renounce his duties on February 28th. On the day preceding, Wednesday 27th, he will deliver his final audience to the public. Papal audiences are held every Wednesday morning, either in the purpose-built Vatican Audience Hall, or, if the weather is fine, in the open air. If you are going to be in Rome on that day, don’t miss it. It will be an emotional occasion.

(With extracts from Blue Guide Rome and Pilgrim’s Rome: A Blue Guide Travel Monograph, and featured on Stanfords blog.)

14.02.2013
15:39

Obscure St Valentine and his famous Feast Day


‘St Valentine at the Milvian Bridge’ was an early Christian basilica situated outside the walls to the north of Rome. The true identity of Valentine, the saint to whom it is dedicated, is obscure, though one tradition makes him an early bishop martyred on the Via Flaminia, the continuation of the Corso which runs north from the city centre, on 14th February 273. His remains were buried nearby. The spot soon became a Christian burial ground, and the basilica was built in the fourth century. It flourished until St Valentine’s relics were taken to a more central location, to the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin (site of the famous Bocca della Verità). This so-called ‘translation’ of relics became common practice after the emperor Theodosius I passed a series of acts between 378 and 380 declaring Christianity the official religion of the empire. Although at first loth to convert pagan temples into their own sacred buildings, the early Christians gradually overcame their aversion and began adapting structures in central Rome as churches, consecrating them with the bones of martyrs brought in from the old, outlying burial sites.

St Valentine’s original basilica exists only as a ruin today, attached to catacombs dug into the Parioli hill. Traditionally the site was open to the public on St Valentine’s Day, but the complex is extremely unstable: of the basilica that had been enlarged and embellished by that tireless beautifier of martyrs’ shrines, Pope Honorius I, nothing at all remains to be seen.

A little further north, however, in the Olympic Village built for the Games of 1960, there is the modern church of San Valentino, consecrated in 1986. This is a remote location, and on the feast day of the saint, few seek out his church. Millions are scurrying around with cellophane-wrapped flowers, and blood-red fluffy hearts are dangling in every gift-shop window. But in the church of St Valentine only a subdued Mass is taking place in a side room.

St Valentine with the attribute of his martyrdom, the axe. The book he holds bears a text from John 13: ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. The theme of love and faithfulness, with which Valentine is chiefly associated today, is taken up in the pair of mating birds upon the tree stump.

The spirit of the saint lives on in the tradition whereby lovers attach padlocks to the nearby Milvian Bridge as a symbol of their indivisible attachment to each other. Though the padlocks were removed by the municipal authorities in 2012, they are slowly returning. The association of St Valentine with lovers comes from the date of his martyrdom, 14th February, the day when, according to old lore, mating birds choose their nesting partners.

The basilica of St Valentine is one of twenty-three churches visited on pilgrimage by Sigeric, newly-elected Archbishop of Canterbury, in 989. You can follow in his footsteps in Pilgrim’s Rome: A Blue Guide Travel Monograph, from which the above text is extracted.

22.01.2013
16:21

The St Agnes lambs


St Agnes’ Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold…

I have always loved Keats, and he is, of course, a poet with better claims than many others to a Roman association. But as a schoolchild, studying him, I disliked that poem. I sniggered at the line “Into her dream he melted.” I was irritated by the way, for the sake of a perfect jog-trot iambic pentameter, Keats writes “a-cold”, instead of just plain Anglo Saxon “cold”.

It was much later in life that I became acquainted with St Agnes herself, her legend and her beautiful basilica, on the Via Nomentana in Rome’s northeastern outskirts. On the eve of the saint’s feast day, January 21st, the Pope solemnly blesses two white lambs. But why?

The lambs of St Agnes and the pallium
Sigeric of Glastonbury, recently named Archbishop of Canterbury, journeyed to Rome in the year 989 to receive his stole of office, the pallium, from Pope John XV. During his time here, Sigeric visited three churches intimately connected with the manufacture of this vestment, a connection which is still maintained to this day.

Every year, two winter lambs are purchased from the Cistercian monks ofSanti Vincenzo e Anastasio at Tre Fontane, south of the city centre (on the site of the martyrdom of St Paul). It is their wool that will be used to make the pallia. On the feast of St Agnes (21st January), the two lambs are taken to the basilica of Sant’Agnese fuori le Mura and solemnly blessed. The association of St Agnes with lambs comes from a play on the virgin martyr’s name (Agnes) and the Latin word for a lamb (agnus). If the pope is not personally present at the service, then the lambs are afterwards taken to the Vatican, decked in white roses, to receive his benediction. After this they are entrusted to the care of the Benedictine sisters of the convent of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, where they are raised with the utmost care until Holy Week, when they are shorn. The nuns weave their wool into the pallia which will be conferred on new metropolitan archbishops on the Feast of St Peter and St Paul (29th June). In the apse mosaic of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Pope Paschal I is shown wearing the pallium. His is pure white, adorned with two red crosses.

Each of these churches, SS Vincenzo e Anastasio, S. Agnese fuori le Mura with its attached catacomb, and S. Cecilia, is hugly rewarding to visit. You can read more about them in Pilgrim’s Rome: A Blue Guide Travel Monograph.

Slightly pixelated, but still recognisable: Pope Paschal I (left) wearing his pallium woven from the wool of St Agnes lambs (and with a square nimbus indicating that he was alive when this portrait was created), in the company of St Cecilia and St Paul. Detail of the apse mosaic in the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

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In praise of Venice’s water transport system
The Red Rooms at the Uffizi
The Blue Rooms at the Uffizi
A trip to the Port of Trajan, outside Rome
Pour l’honneur de la France
An early-morning visit to Sant’Andrea delle Fratte, Rome
Church of SS Luca e Martina reopens above Roman Forum
How the tide turned at the Milvian Bridge
A compelling reason to visit Trapani province
St Augustine and his mother at Ostia
Visiting St Paul’s in London
Hadrian, Antinoüs and the Christian Fathers
Earliest-known image of a martyrdom
Can’t face the Vatican crowds? Try San Lorenzo
Turin, Pisa and mathematics
Ideal cities are all around us. It’s simply a matter of...
On Canaletto and Guardi and Venetian Light
Mithraism: a Roman Mystery Religion
Random Musings on Pontormo and Vermeer
The Amphitheatre of Londinium
Edward Lear and Crete
A handful of favourite things to see in Sicily
The mystery of the veiled virgins
Venice without the crowds
Cividale del Friuli and the Lombards
The Trouble with Snake Goddesses
The tragedy of Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico
Oranges, lemons and relic cults: an escape from the queues...
City Picks: Verona
Hitherto unknown language discovered in east Anatolia
Painting of the Day
Museo Barracco: a little-visited gem
Santo Stefano Rotondo in Rome
Staten Island: Upcoming Exhibition …
International Gothic at the Uffizi
Celebrating Santa Rosalia, patron of Palermo
Delhi Ghost Trail
Comments on Pilgrim's Rome: A Blue Guide Travel Monograph
The Roman Villa at Balácapuszta (Baláca, Nemesvámos,...
The Bard of….Messina? Was Shakespeare Sicilian?
Rereading Ruskin
Sicily’s emblem: the Trinacria
Luca Signorelli on exhibition in Umbria
The Tribuna of the Uffizi reopens
The Venice equivalent of the anonymous Tweet?
Comments on Blue Guide Sicily
Sicilian Holiday Reading
Attila the Hun and the Foundation of Venice
Death in Venice cocktail a hit
The Gentry: Stories of the English
381 years ago this June
Brooklyn Bridge: a New York landmark
A Venetian Update
Sixth-century church to reopen
Roman Aquileia
Springtime in Friuli
Northern Italy dining and accommodation recommendations
Al Dente: Madness, Beauty & the Food of Rome
A celebration of Lucca
Romantic music in a Baroque setting
Blue Guide India Delhi Launch
Nikolaus Pevsner: The Life
The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci’s Arithmetic Revolution
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The Roman Forum
Whispering City: Rome and its Histories
The 15th-century Health Museum at Edirne
City of Fortune, How Venice Won and Lost a Naval Empire
Books about Istanbul
Comments on Blue Guide Istanbul
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Constantine: Unconquered Emperor, Christian Victor
Comments on The Venice Lido: a Blue Guide Travel Monograph
Comments on Blue Guide Literary Companions: Rome, London,...
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The 54th Venice Biennale stars Tintoretto
Holy Bones, Holy Dust
RECOMMENDED PLACES TO STAY AND EAT ON CRETE
Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity
Full Circle: How the Classical World Came Back to Us
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Comments on Blue Guide Hay-on-Wye
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Comments on Blue Guide Crete
Comments on Sites of Antiquity: from Ancient Egypt to the...
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Familiar face
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Comments on Blue Guide Paris
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Blue Guide Northern Italy
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A day trip to Ostia Antica from Rome - highly recommended
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A day trip from Venice up the Brenta Canal
A day trip to Murano from Venice
Pietrasanta, Pisa: in search of Stagi
Reading list for Venice
Reading list for Florence and Tuscany
The Best Credit / Debit Card for Travel
Ruskin on Venice
Reading list for Rome
Comments on Blue Guide Greece the Mainland

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