Hidden Rome Gems – Tombs of Via Latina

The Roman Roads (Consular Roads – as the extraurban constructions were named) were extremely important for the imperial Rome as they connected the various parts of the Roman Empire allowing comunication and fast movements between the territories. We’re talking about hundred thousand kilometers of roads…

The Queen Road (the viarium Queen, the “most relevant among all roads”) was via Appia, the Appian Way going, in the beginning, from Rome to Capua. It was later extended up to Brindisi. And the mother (matrona) of the Consular Roads was via Latina, its origins dated back to the 8th century b.C. as an ancient Etruscan Road connected Rome with Campania.

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This autumn, after three years of reconstruction works, the walkable part of via Latina has been doubled inside the breathtaking Archeological Park ‘Tombs of via Latina‘. The Archeological Park is one of the most important funerary complexes of the suburbium of Rome, and it still conserves the traditional aspect of the ancient Roman countryside practically intact. A consisent walkable part of via Latina is still covered with ancient flagstones and on both sides of the road there are numerous funeral monuments, historical and material testimonies.

What is immediately striking, is the peace and silence that surrounds us just a short walk from the city center. Crossing the park gate means leaving behind the siege of the modern city – noise, traffic, people… and suddenly one finds himself in a place where the time seems to be stopped for two thousand years.
If you like cats (they are almost everywhere in Rome) you will not be disappointed here. The cats of the park will follow you during your visit and sometimes will ask a few caresses.

BeTreasure Tip: Sit on one of the benches, perhaps with your favorite book and spend an hour, enjoying the silence or the song of grashoppers if you happen to come in summer.

Just after a few steps on the original pavement stones, on the right you arrive to the beautiful tomb of the Barberini, the first ‘sepulcrum’ on the way.You may want to book the organized tour for the tombs, in this case you can visit the Barberini Tomb of the second century b.C. Observe the mosaic floor and the magnificent architectural decorations originally painted.

sepolcro ValeriThe tour continues in the direction of the Tomb of the Valerii and the Tomb of the Pancratii late first century b.C. To enter the underground spaces you’ll always need a licensed tourguide in the group.Sepolcro-Valeri

In both burials you can admire the perfectly preserved beautiful frescoed and stuccoed ceilings. The tomb of Valeri strikes with the perfect preservation of the medallions of white stucco (above) which amazes the visitor at the moment he enters in the hall – now illuminated by led lights which help to preserve the integrity of the original site.
A thousand details, mythological characters, maritime scenes, flowers and plants will capture your attention so that you’ll not be able to take your eyes off – we promise you a nice stiff neck in the end of the tour.

sepolcro pancrazi 1The other tomb we suggest you to visit is the tomb of the Pancratii that is often named the “Sistine Chapel of the Ancient Rome”.

SEpolcro Pancrazi

An art lover once entered will not want to leave for at least an hour and a half, and maybe it would take a lot more to discover all the details. You can never tire of watching the colors, the characters painted and the stories told…

In these beautiful sunny days of december we will definitely pay a visit to the beautiful Archeological Park for a morning walk, let us know if you did the same!

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Sweet Christmas Derby – Italian Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas holidays is an excellent period to visit the Eternal City: life slows down, there’s time for long afternoon walks on the festive streets of the historical center full of lights and magic… here’s a really cool guide for things to do and see around.

And as for the Christmas Derby? In the Italian households it’s also time for the eternal debate of the season – Pandoro or Panettone? pandoropanettone

The two traditional Chrismas cakes are both sweet and spongey, though they are able to cause lively discussions on which to purchase for the family dinner. It’s a tough one, pros and cons on both sides – let’s see if you can pick a favourite!

flickr.comPandoro, “golden bread” has its origins in the beautiful Verona. Shaped usually like an 8 pointed star, it’s an elegant dessert on the Christmas table. Sliced accordingly, horizontally, it maintains the form and can also be re-assembled putting various fillings between the slices. Light texture, simple, delicious cake with sweet vanilla profume… Just perfect.
Loved by children because of the nice interactive touch – you take out from the box the bag with the Pandoro in it and beside you find a small pocket of vanilla icing sugar. You pour it in the big bag, close the top and shake the bag until the sugar powder covers all the sweet cake. It’s really fun!
Curiosity: as reported in the wikipedia article, Pandoro was also the last meal eaten by Mussolini before his execution.

flickr.comPanettone, “large bread” or “Toni’s cake” is the traditional Christmas holiday cake for excellence originally from Milan. Shaped like a cupola, or like a high puffy muffin, inside with dried raisins and candied fruits: orange, lemon usually. The top can either be plain, or covered with icing and almond slices or with chocolate. For dinner with a glass of dessert wine or for breakfast with a hot tea… sweet indulgence.
Candied fruits – love or despise, that’s your call. Character, structure, masculine delight are the distinctive elements of Panettone, a popular cake not only in Italy but in Latin American countries as well.

Haven’t decided yet? The perfect solution is definitely to purchase both and alternate the slices, or also try the many variants of these sweet temptations! Chocolate filling, vanilla cream filling, chocolate on top, almonds on top… Afterall, there’s still plenty of time til’ Christmas and New Year’s Eve, isn’t there?

 

Hidden Rome Gems – Breathcatching Attractions You’d Hardly Hear About

We’d love to share with you insights on archeological sites and other secret spots you’d probably not have picked on your first (/ second / third) visit to the Eternal City – until now!

Time to go personal – Agnes was so full of ideas about hidden gems that we needed to split the list and schedule in several parts. She’s the one madly&lost in love with the underground Rome (Roma sotterranea, Archeologia Ipogea). agicaEvery single weekend she puts her boots, her safety helmet with the torch on and adventures around in narrow caves, aqueducts, dark-as-hell tombs on hands and knees in the mud… you know, the kind of activity that makes you feel in flow with the world and after which back at home all dirty and tired you have that ear-to-ear simle all day. That’s how she feels and we’re always keen to see the pictures 🙂

So this is her list of Ancient Rome Must See – first part.

Domus Valentini

Palazzo Valentini is situated few steps away from the Piazza Venezia – Via del Corso hub, in via IV Novembre, 119/a and most likely during your stay in Rome you pass by at least twice a day. The palace, headquarters of the Province of Rome, with security guards at the entrance is not a walk-in site. The 90 minute guided tour (groups in limited number) must be booked in advance, nice touch that if you purchase RomaPass this can be one of the two free museum admissions included! Everything about booking tickets, opening hours and prices here.

Surprising, exciting, it’s a kinda magic. We heard a lot about it before going but didn’t really expected what we got – left speechless. Well deserved the Traveller’s Choice Award of TripAdvisor 2013.

The remains of two Roman domus from Imperial Era belonged to powerful families of the time. The buildings were in fact embellished with mosaics – ridimensionaone of these is made up of more than 500,000 pieces! -, walls and floors decorated in polychrome marble.The modern glass stairs above the original ones have already extraordinary effect while you walk down beneath the palace, seems like walking directly on the ancient paths…

What makes though the difference here compared to other archaeological sites?

The “being there” experience! With multimedia techniques all becomes real, you can almost touch and feel the history through virtual reconstructions , graphics and movies. About 1800 square meters of extension will be “reborn” thanks to computer graphics – walls, rooms, peristyle, spas, salons, decorations, kitchens, furniture – you’ll have it all walking through the virtual tour. As you listen the tourguide voice, accordingly, different parts of the rooms get illuminated, guiding your eyes and helping the reconstruction of the domus. Hard to transmit the goosebumps but don’t worry you’ll feel that for sure 🙂

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BeTreasure tip: if you have over 6 year old kids, take them with you to the visit, you’ll be surprised how much they will enjoy it!

If you feel this was just an appetizer about the attractions of the Ancient Rome we have in store for you – you’re right! We’re so not finished yet – check back for the next episode of the series.

Til’ then be safe and #BeTreasure!