SPECIAL PREVIEW FROM ROME: AMAZING NEW LED LIGHTS FOR THE ANCIENT FORUM…WELCOME TO THE GREAT SHOW OF THE HISTORY!

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (2)

© Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (3)

© Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (4)

© Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (5)

© Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (6)

© Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (7)

© Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (8)

© Roberto Alborghetti

Foro Romano, 2016, by Roberto Alborghetti (9)

© Roberto Alborghetti

PHOTOS: © Roberto Alborghetti

Last night in Rome I had the wonderful chance to admire a special preview of a great show: the new LED lights system  for the ancient Forum area, as shown in this photo-gallery. But there is also a great new: every Friday night, from tomorrow April 22 to end of October, the Roman Forum opens to the public. The monuments and the ruins will be illuminated thanks to the new system provided by Acea and so they will be accessible in summer through guided tours. “The moon at the Forum” is  the title of the project added to the already existing “The moon at the Colosseum”, as part of initiatives for the founding of Rome. The visits  (from 8 pm to  midnight, groups of maximum 25 participants) provide a 75-minutes picturesque journey along the Via Sacra, the Via Nova, the Arch of Septimius Severus and to the monuments of ancient Rome.

 

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MY NEW BOOK / ICONOGRAPHY OF ALEXANDER, SOLDIER AND MARTYR WHO INSPIRED MANY ARTISTS AND THE ANCIENT KNIGHTS TEMPLAR

 

 

My new book it’s out (only in Italy) published by Velar Spa. It’s dedicated to Alexander and its iconography of martyr and soldier that inspired so many artists and fascinated the same ancient Knights Templar.   

A rich selection of works demonstrates how the arts over the centuries have bestowed a singular and striking homage to Alexander, the patron saint of Bergamo, an enchanting and ancient city near Milan (North of Italy). The artists list includes great names as sculptur Giovanni Ugo da Campione ( XIV century), Vincenzo Foppa (1430-1516 ), Lorenzo Lotto ( 1480-1556 ), Giovanni Battista Moroni (1520 / 24-1578 ), Giacomo Palma il Giovane ( c. 1548-1628 ), Antonio Boselli ( c. 1475 – c. 1530), Enea Salmeggia ( 1550-1626 ), Giovanni Paolo Cavagna (1556-1627 ), Carlo Ceresa ( 1607-1687 ), Francesco Coghetti (1802 -1875 ). These artists told through image an extraordinary story which corresponds to the content of “Passiones” documents and to the imaginative projection of the people as an expression of a simple and genuine faith .

The iconography always presents Alexander with its  military uniform – the armor symbolizes virtues such as courage and strength – and the lilies banner which expresses his role of flag-bearer and leader; lily flower is at the same time synonym for purity,  transparency of mind and appointment, in the biblical sense of the term . The extensive series of frescoes , sculptures , paintings, tables, miniatures, mosaics, stained glass, embroidery, frontals, stucco and silvers illustrates and honors the reputation of Alexander , exalting his courage, the spiritual power of those who fought ” the good fight “, to the ultimate sacrifice. 

 

Alexander (died c. 298-303) is the patron saint of Bergamo. He may simply have been a Roman soldier who was tortured and killed for not renouncing his Christian faith. As I write in the book, subsequent Christian stories (the so-called “Passiones”) consider him a flag-bearer of the Theban Legion commanded by Saint Maurice.

Prior to the commencement of the Diocletian in 303, both Galerius and Maximian in the West inaugurated, on their own responsibility, a crusade against Christianity and sought particularly to remove all Christians from the armies. St. Alexander was one of the victims of this persecution. He is reputed to have been a survivor of the decimation (the killing of every tenth man) ordered against the Theban Legion. He escaped to Milan.

At Milan, he was recognized and imprisoned, and it was demanded that he renounce his Christian faith. However, he was visited in jail by Saint Fidelis and Bishop Saint Maternus. Fidelis managed to organize Alexander’s escape. Alexander fled to Como but was captured again.

Brought back to Milan, he was once more condemned to death by decapitation, but during the execution the executioner’s arms went stiff. He was imprisoned again, but Alexander once again managed to escape, and ended up in Bergamo after passing through Fara Gera d’Adda and Capriate San Gervasio. Alexander was once again captured and was finally decapitated on August 26, (298 or 303) on the spot now occupied by the church of San Alessandro in Colonna. Bergamo Cathedral is dedicated to him and dates from the 4th century, and he is one of the saints in the dedication of the church in Rome for natives of Bergamo.

(HE)ART PLACES / FROM MALATESTA TEMPLE TO AUGUSTUS BRIDGE AND ARCH: GREAT MONUMENTS IN RIMINI (ITALY)

 © Photos: ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI ; Tiberius (or Augustus) Bridge photo is from Wikipedia (free use).

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Rimini is the capital city of Italian vacations. It is located on the Northern coast on the Adriatic Sea. It is approximately 110kms southeast of Bologna, about three hours South of Venice and also three hours North of Rome. It is mostly a place where Italians go on vacation but also British, German, French and Russian tourists love to go there. But in Rimini – the city of the great Fellini! – visitors find some spectacular monuments: the Malatesta Temple (Tempio Malatestiano), the Arch of Augustus and the Bridge of Tiberius or Augustus.  

The Malatesta Temple – as Luigi Orsini writes in his book “The Malatesta Temple” (Bonomi Editore, Milano) – is perhaps “the only monument in the world of which it can be said that it lifted an architect to the heights of glory, immortalized the power of a potentate, and made vivid through the ages a woman’s smile. That edifice which Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta entrusted to Alberti’s genius for the perpetual exaltation and honour of the divine Isotta degli Atti, his mistress and consort, comprises in itself, the sweetest harmonies of art and sentiment, exquisite line and colour, subtle forms of mysticism, passion’s potent spell, in a perpetual union of real and ideal, of energy and dream, of mind and matter”.

The Tempio Malatestiano is the cathedral church of Rimini. Officially named for St. Francis, it takes the popular name from Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who commissioned its reconstruction by the famous Renaissance theorist and architect Leon Battista Alberti around 1450. St. Francis was originally a thirteenth-century Gothic church belonging to the Franciscans. The original church had a rectangular plan, without side chapels, with a single nave ending with three apses. The central one was probably frescoed by Giotto, to whom is also attributed the crucifix now housed in the second right chapel.

Malatesta called on Alberti to transform the building and make it into a kind of personal mausoleum for him and his lover and later his wife, Isotta degli Atti. The execution of the project was handed over to the Veronese Matteo di Andrea de’ Pasti, hired at the Estense court. Marble for the work was taken from the Roman ruins in Sant’Apollinare in Classe (near Ravenna) and in Fano. The Temple is immediately recognizable from its wide marble façade, decorated by sculptures probably made by Agostino di Duccio and Matteo de’ Pasti. Alberti aspired to renew the Roman structures of Antiquity, though here his inspiration was drawn from the triumphal arch, in which his main inspiration was the tripartite Arch of Constantine in Rome. The entrance portal has a triangular pediment over the door set within the center arch; geometrical decorations fill the tympanum. Due to the strong presence of elements referring to the Malatesta’s history, and to Sigismondo Pandolfo himself (in particular, his lover Isotta), the church was considered by some contemporaries to be an exaltation of Paganism.

Not so far from the Temple, located in the centre of the city, we admire the amazing Arch of Augustus (Arco d’Augusto), an Ancient Roman monument constructed in 27 BC for the Rome’s first emperor. Thought to have been the gateway to Ancient Rimini which would have formed part of the city walls, the Arch of Augustus is a fairly ornate structure depicting various deities such as Neptune, Apollo and Jupiter.

Outside the city centre, looking towards Bologna, on the old Consular road, the Via Emilia, we find the Bridge of Tiberius or Augustus, so-called through being constructed on the decree of Augustus, although afterwards finished by Tiberius (from 14 to ai A. D.). It is of white travertine, of the Doric order, and is composed of five great arches, of which the central one measures 10.50 metres in diameter and the others, 8.75 metres. The piles are laid obliquely in order to second the current without interfering with the Via Emilia, which passes above. The last arch, towards the town, was broken by the Goths in 552 to prevent the crossing of Narsete. It was restored in 1680 on the order of Innocent XI by Agostino Martinelli of Ferrara.

HEART PLACES / THE TUSCANY LANDSCAPE, SOURCE OF NOURISHMENT, BEAUTY AND INEXHAUSTIBLE GIFTS

© Photos by ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

My recent 100 days exhibition at Rocca Aldobrandesca – the XIII Century manor on Mount Amiata – gave me the way to trip through the enchanting Tuscany landscapes, discovering its natural beauty. Whatever direction you come from, the Mount Amiata appears suddenly and unequivocally. It shows different profiles: more or less high and more or less large, depending on which side you look at it. Surely its conic shape, that in the past inspired a widespread holiness can only remind of a mother breast, source of nourishment and peace.

The legend says that the Etruscans considered the Mount Amiata a natural sanctuary, the ideal place to evoke their gods. In fact some placenames come from Etruscan and Roman gods names and many people think that, at the time of the Roman expansion in the Etruscan territory, this area was a marginal land, protected by the two-faced god Janus, that set both the geographic and sacred limit between the region dominated by Porsenna and the one dominated by the Tarquin kings.

The mount Amiata is more ancient and sacred than the Etruscans thought, it is a Great Mother full of inexhaustible gifts, that still nourishes its children.

THE TUSCANY LANDSCAPE, MOUNT AMIATA, VIEW OF RADICOFANI VALLEY