When we were in Rome recently we came across this outdoor café called Bibliobar. It’s beside the Tiber and just north of Castel Sant’Angelo.
This bar serves coffee and sandwiches and also has a free library. So you can take a book off the shelf and read it while enjoying your coffee. Also, nearby are some outdoor stalls selling second hand books.
We just happened to be walking through Queens Gardens in East Perth on the weekend, and stopped to photograph its famous literary sculpture.
The Peter Pan bronze sculpture in the centre of the garden was installed in 1927, and is a replica of Sir George Frampton’s original Peter Pan sculpture that is in Kensington Gardens, London.
Apparently, J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, lived near Kensington Gardens when he wrote his first Peter Pan story in 1902. Barrie commissioned the sculpture which was erected in Kensington Gardens in 1912.
We are fortunate to have in our neighbourhood every year in March the wonderful Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. Sculpture from all round the world is displayed at Cottesloe Beach in the city of Perth.
This year’s exhibition included a sculpture with a book theme. By Danish sculptor, Keld Moseholm, the sculpture Is This a Step Forward, could be seen as a warning to not get too engrossed in a book. The three bulbous figures appear to be reading books as they step out over a precipice.
An example of the kind of thing covered by Secret Rome, mentioned in the previous blog, is Berardi’s Water Clock on the Via del Gesu. As mentioned already, some of the listings in this book have limited opening hours, and this clock can only be seen if the doorway to the Palazzo Berardi is open and can then only be viewed from the street. The clock was designed in 1870 by Dominican priest, Giovan Battista Embriaco
Also mentioned in Secret Rome is another water clock by Embriaco, which is on the Pincio and can be seen at anytime. You can see more about these water clocks at our travel blog.
When we are in Rome we always call into the Anglo American bookshop at via della Vita, not far from the Spanish Steps. They have a good selection of maps and guidebooks in English.
This time we picked up a copy of Secret Rome published by JonGlez. It’s a good guide book for those making their third or fourth visit to Rome and wanting to check out some sites not listed in most other guides. We found it to be useful, despite the fact that many of the places can only be visited by appointment or have limited opening hours.
Shakespeare in his play, Julius Caesar, made the Ides of March famous. On the Ides of March 44BC, Julius Caesar was assassinated.
The ides occur in every month of the Roman calendar, usually on the 13th, but sometimes as in March on the 15th. This was a date, determined by the occurrence of the full moon, and associated with particular religious observances.
On a recent trip to Rome we visited the Largo di Torre Argentina. This square-shaped piazza is made up of the ruins of four Roman temples and part of Pompey’s theatre. It was in a section of the theatre that the assassination of Julius Caesar took place. An information board at the side of the archaeological ruins has a map showing where the murder took place.
One last place to visit on the Angels and Demons tour of Rome is the tiny island of Isola Tiberina. This is where Robert Langdon receives medical treatment after parachuting into the River Tiber.
The novel refers to a tunnel linking the Castel Sant’Angelo with Saint Peter’s, called Il Passetto, literally the little passageway. This does exist, though it is actually a covered passage which runs along the top of an ancient wall. You can see some of this covered passageway from the south side of the castle.
Pope Clement IX was so impressed with the Bernini angels on the Sant’Angelo bridge, that he ordered that two of them be replaced with copies done by Bernini’s pupils. These were exposed to the wind and rain, while the originals were kept in Bernini’s studio. In 1729, Bernini’s grandson gave the two angels to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte. You can have a close up look at these angels, as the church, which is not far from the Spanish Steps, is open every morning and late afternoon.
Bernini’s sculptures feature again at Castel Sant’Angelo, where Robert Langdon finally confronts the assassin. The Sant’Angelo bridge which crosses the Tiber in front of the castle is lined with 10 sculpted angels. These were erected in 1668 by order of Pope Clement IX.