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Rome - Palaces and Fountains


This is one of the early pages which emerged from our first serious photographic expedition to Rome in 2005.  These and other photos are now expanded in:


Links to Rome Fountains and Piazzas      Links to Rome Palaces


Links to Rome Churches


Art in Rome       Ancient Rome


Paradoxplace Rome Galleries


Rome Restaurants and Hotels     Guides and Books about Rome


This fountain is in front of the Palazzo Farnese, which the French Embassy has a lease on until 2035.  The facade, a product of the minds of Sangallo and Michelangelo working for Pope Paul III (Alessandro Farnese, 1468 - 1534 - 1549 (81)) is as close to perfection as makes no difference.  It's not easy to know how perfect the inside is (including a huge fresco cycle by Annibale Carracci on the first floor - setting for Act II of the Puccini opera Tosca) because it is difficult to get in - but Dom P has found a way .......

Paul III was the Pope who kicked off the Council of Trent (the "Council of the Counter Reformation") in 1545.  Four more Popes were to occupy the throne of Saint Peter before the Council ended 18 years later in 1563, so the court artist had plenty of time to capture the scene in the painting below of the Council in session, which is in Santa Maria in Trastevere. 


Paul III was also the Cardinal who had a drop dead gorgeous sister called Giulia (Farnese), who was the mistress of the notorious Spanish Pope Alessandro VI (aka Roderigo de Borgia).  Sadly no portrait of her survives, and  one of the few memories of her name is the road named after her which runs down the back of the Palazzo Farnese.  The Palazzo itself ended up  in the hands of the French Bourbon family through various marriages.  It was purchased by the French Government in 1911, but the Italian Government insisted on a 25 year buyout option, which they exercised exactly 25 years later !  The building was then leased to the French for 100 years for use as their embassy - it will be interesting to see what happens next!



In the next door Campo dei Fiori is the statue of Giordano Bruno (1548 - 1600 (52)) who was burned at the stake by the Inquisition in the Campo on 17 February 1600 after 7 years of trials.  Bruno, who in his youth had been a Dominican friar, was world class bright and world class prickly.  He could not understand why everyone could not see that the Greeks were right about the earth circling the sun, and the existence of an infinite number of other sun, planet and moon systems, and he went around saying this and other "truths" often and loudly.  However, it was his frequently expressed contempt for the church and its mainstream scholastic and other philosophies which eventually sealed his fate .... an observant Protestant said of him that he was "a man of great capacity, with infinite knowledge, but not a trace of religion."



Next door (the other way) to the Palazzo Farnese is the Palazzo Spada, whose courtyard contains the "Borromini Perspective".   The "corridor" you are looking at is only 9M deep, but looks many times that.


The centre spout  of the Naiad Fountain, which is in the middle of the traffic free for all in Piazza della Repubblica.

Water pours off one of the two fountains in traffic free  Saint Peter's Square (above), whilst there is no traffic either to stop you enjoying a joke with the creatures of the fountain in the Piazza della Rotonda outside the Pantheon (though nobody does).

The Castel Sant'Angelo, built by the Popes on the drum of the mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian (117 - 138), became home to several Popes when they needed a feeling of temporal security.  It is also the setting for Act 3 of Puccini's Opera Tosca.

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