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: www.latin.org).

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).

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!

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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.