April 6, 2005 |
The air is filled with hymns and gridlock and the staccato rage of taxi drivers. This city, which has known pilgrims for centuries, is playing host again to the masses: At least 2 million international mourners are converging toward Friday's funeral for Pope John Paul II. Unfolding maps and following flags, they resemble an ecclesiastical army camped amid the ruins and umbrella pines.
April 2, 2005 |
Murmured prayers and wisps of incense for a dying pope have hushed this ancient, clattering city. Workers, robed friars, nuns in crisp habits, pensioners and seminarians with new haircuts gathered in churches and squares in recent days, lighting candles, dropping coins into votive boxes and hoping that John Paul II would once again summon his dogged strength.
January 29, 2005 |
A well-preserved, nearly 2,000-year-old mosaic depicting five frolicking naked men in a grape harvest scene is Rome's latest stunning find from digs into layers of history under the city's modern-day surface. So far, the only ones to come face-to-face with the underground marvel is a team of cave explorers who lowered themselves into a space under the ancient Baths of Trajan, in the bowels of the Oppian Hill, one of the city's seven ancient hills.
April 25, 2004 |
I developed a little trick in my conversational Italian class a few years ago. Insecure in my command of vocabulary, I found I could deflect difficult conversation by changing the subject to Italian food and restaurants. Prosciutto, risotto, minestrone -- those words I knew. My classmates played along. "Jerry is a buongustaio," one observed. I fumbled through my Italian-English dictionary. "I am a ... 'good-taster'?" "A gourmet."
April 14, 2004 |
Maria Santonastaso has lived most of her six decades in Esquilino, a popular, busy neighborhood of wide streets and 150-year-old buildings atop one of ancient Rome's seven hills. For generations, Romans came from all over the city to shop for bargains at Esquilino's vegetable and fruit market, stopping on the way at its mom-and-pop coffee bars and homey trattorias. But today the merchants are more likely to be named Ling Chong than Luciano.
March 23, 2004 |
Quincy Jones is hoping to draw about 1 million people and a global television audience with an all-star concert May 16 in Rome aimed at easing the suffering of children in violence-racked parts of the world. Among the participants confirmed for "We Are the Future," which echoes the title of the "We Are the World" all-star charity single Jones produced in 1985, are Norah Jones, Jay-Z, Sting, Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, LL Cool J, Josh Groban and the casts of "Stomp" and Cirque du Soleil.
February 29, 2004 |
During our most recent visit to Rome, old friends Serenella and Mario Franchi asked my husband and me to dinner. "Where to?" we inquired, and the unequivocal answer was, "In Testaccio, of course." Of course. How silly of us. Until a decade or so ago, Testaccio was a quiet, unassuming quarter of blue-collar workers in the southern part of town. It has since become a fashionable destination for the Roman (and foreign) culinary intelligentsia and a hopping spot of late-night clubs and pubs.
November 30, 2003 |
Piece by ancient piece, Italian engineers are delicately dismantling an intricately carved obelisk in southern Rome and wrapping it for delivery to Ethiopia. In a move that sends a message to all nations attempting to recover looted artifacts, and to the governments and private collectors that hoard them, Italy is finally making good on a promise to return the Aksum Obelisk, capping decades of bitter dispute over the monument's fate and home.
February 9, 2003 |
Few cities are as complacent about their architectural legacy as Rome. For decades, while other European capitals like Paris and Berlin continued to probe the edges of contemporary culture, Romans have mostly been content to contemplate the depth of their existing legacy, from the brute force of the Colosseum to the perfection of Michelangelo's dome. So it may be a surprise to learn that Rome is regaining its creative momentum.