Thursday, May 24, 2007

Campo dei Fiori

Today we set out to explore the Campo dei Fiori area of Rome. However on the way there we stopped at the basilica of St. Mark. It was built in 336 and restored five hundred years later. Its facade was constructed out of marble from the Colosseum. In this picture you can also see the mosaics of the apse, which depict Pope Gregory IV offering the church to Christ in the presence of St. Mark. The wood ceiling which you can't see here was built in the 15th century. I'm not sure why, but it kind of sags and leans to one side.

The altar is built over the tomb containing the relics of Sts. Abdon and Sennen. They were martyred in Persia and their relics transferred to Rome. If you go to the crypt you can view the bones through a hole in the wood.

Next we came across the church of St. Pantaleon near the Forum. Inside was this huge fresco of St. Joacchim, St. Anne, and the Blessed Mother.

Here is the high altar.

Next we stopped to get some lunch. I saw a guy making arrancini and suppli so I had to take a picture. I prefer suppli so I'll tell you how those are made. :) You take a short stick of mozzarella cheese, and wrap it in rice that has been mixed with tomato sauce. Then you bread the whole thing in bread crumbs and fry it. Hungry yet? Arrancini are similar only the rice is mixed with saffron and I think these had ham in them.

Look at the size of these mounds of gelato.

Finally we got to the Camp dei Fiori. Here is one of the many outdoor markets there.

Next we crossed the Tiber near the island resting in the middle of it. There used to be a temple there dedicated to the god of healing, and later a hospital was built on the island. It was very nice in the hot sun with all the pine and palm trees.

Here is a picture of everyone on the bridge.

The bridge is named the Ponte Fabricio and was built in 62 BC. On it are statues dating from Roman times of the two-faced god Janus. Janus was the god of beginnings and endings, the keeper of doorways. It is from his name that we derive the month of January (a month looking both back at the old year and forward to the new) and the word janitor (keeper of halls).

On the island we went to the church of St. Bartholomew. It was built in the year 1000 by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III. In it are the relics of St. Bartholomew. They were brought from Armenia in 809, and placed inside this Roman bathtub where they have remained ever since. The bathtub has been converted to an altar.

Here is this fresco of the saint's martyrdom. He was flayed alive...that is his skin was cut off him. I think the artist did a great job picturing the sadistic faces of his martyrers.

This is the bowl that his skin was brought back to Rome in. You can't tell, but it's really quite large. I would guess it's at least 2 1/2 feet across.


Erika said...

That whole 'flaying' bit brings a whole new meaning to "slip me some skin..." doesn't it?

Thanks for another great history lesson.

Bronwyn said...

That's...gross. :p

Though I'll admit my favourite shots have been ones with real bodies, or parts of, in them! (apparently missing two weeks means a lot of catching up!)

Aggie said...

Ok I'm playing catch up after our 2 week National Park RV trip. What is the significance of the bathtub-altar. How unusual!!!