In Roman Footsteps
In Roman Footsteps and Beyond
This photographic tour takes in some of the most famous and iconic landmarks and monuments that make Rome one of those "must visit in your lifetime" destinations. The stops on the way span two thousand years of history and each one offers memorable and dramatic scenes to photograph. During this tour we will explore and capture Rome's unique atmosphere and learn how to overcome some of the challenges that a crowded, tightly packed city presents. You will learn how to make discerning photographic decisions and seek to develop your way of seeing in order to come away with a personalised set of photographs and that break the mould of the usual shots that the more casual tourists bring back from their holidays. We will use Rome's extra-ordinary light to bring out the best of our stops along the way, and create a portrait of Rome by putting its monuments into context with the modern city. You will also learn some of the history of the places we visit. We will take a break for lunch around 1 pm., depending on our pace we will probably stop somewhere between the quiet area behind the Campidoglio or in the historic and newly buzzing Jewish ghetto. Or have ourselves a custum made sandwich from one of the family run delicatesens in the Campo de Fiori.
Started by the Emperor Vespasian around the year 70 A.D. and finished by his son Titus, the colosseum, which was known to the Romans as Amphitheatrum Flavium after the Flavian dynasty of the two emperors, could hold 50,000 spectators.
A must on any visit to Rome and a treat for the photographer’s lens.
Arch of Constantine.
Built in 315 A.D. to celebrate the Emperor Constantine’s victory over his rival Maxentius, which brought official toleration of Christianity and eventually its recognition as the religion of Rome. Incoporated along with the Colosseum into the Mediaeval fortifications of Rome.
The Roman Forum.
Much more than a site of suggestive columns and ruins, the Roman Forum bears testimony to 12 centuries of Roman civilisation as the political, commercial and religious centre of ancient Rome.
Among the ruins the temple of the Vestal Virgins, The Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Titus, the Via Sacra, and the Curia which was the seat of the Roman Senate. In the Forum Caesar’s body was burned on a funeral pyre and Anthony made his speech to the populous of Rome.
The view from the Arch of Titus was a favourite with landscape painters to sell to 17th and 18th century “Grand Tourists”. In mediaeval times the area degenerated into grazing land for cows, until in the 1800s serious excavation re-exhumed the ruined temples from several feet of earth and debris.
The Piazza Campidoglio, or in English, Capitol Square, was the highest religious point of ancient Rome, housing the Temple of Jupiter to which triumphant Roman generals would pay homage.
One of the seven hills, and a citadel in times of invasion, such as when the Gauls invaded at the end of the fourth century B.C.; and a place of asylum. Fallen into decay in the middle ages, Alexander Farnese, Pope Paul lll, commissioned Michelangelo to restore the square to make a setting fit to receive Charles V Holy Roman Emperor on his visit to Rome in 1538. Michelangelo turned the square around to face the modern city rather than the Roman Forum.
Theatre of Marcellus.
Begun by Julius Caesar in A.D. 13 and finished by Augustus, it was designed to hold 20,000 spectators and rival Pompey’s theatre nearby, it is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. Later at turns a fortress, a palace and home under its arches to artisans’ laboratories and butchers’ shops. Light entering the portico at ground level makes a great location.
Fountain of the turtles.
Turtle Fountain (Fontana delle Tartarughe) was built by Taddeo Landini and Giacomo della Porta, and located in Piazza Mattei. Two legends surrounding the fountain tell that it was put in place overnight in 1581 on orders of the Duke Mattei to impress a rich gentleman who had denied him his daughter’s hand, and that the turtles, added in 1658, were an invention of Bernini.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
Gothic church built over a temple to Minerva and remodelled over the centuries with a rich interior. Outside stands a statue by Bernini of an elephant carrying an obelisk on its back. Inside we will explore and tackle the problems of shooting in low light conditions.
First built by Agrippa in 27 BC and dedicated to all the gods. Hadrian restored it in the 2nd Century AD after it had been badly damaged. The entrance is under a porch supported by sixteen monolithic granite columns. Its most famous feature is the self supporting antique dome with its round central opening.
Described as “the perfectest of all the antiquities.” Situated in the lively and bustling Piazza della Rotonda full of pavement cafes and surrounded by Renaissance buildings.
The most suggestive and enchanting of Rome’s squares Piazza Navona owes its long and narrow shape to Domitian’s 1st century athletics stadium over which it was built. Transformed by Pope Innocent X into Rome's supreme example of Baroque architecture and art, and splendid setting for Bernini’s Fountain of the Rivers and Borromini’s Saint Agnes in Agone. Always lively and full of portrait painters, mime artists and street performers. From the mid seventeenth to the mid nineteenth centuries it doubled as a giant paddling pool at summer weekends for the Romans to get some relief from the torrid August weather.
Built by the Emperor Hadrian in 133 A.D. as a triumphal entrance to his impressive mausoleum on the right bank of the Tiber, which over the centuries became transformed as Castle Sant’Angelo. The bridge’s strategic importance until modern times as the only crossing over the river to Saint Peter’s has bestowed it a chequered history of tragedy and artistic showmanship. Along with the Piazza Ponte Sant’Angelo and the castle the bridge was a site of executions for centuries. Most famously that of Beatrice Cenci, beheaded at the age of 22 in the year 1599 for the murder of her violent father.
Meeting point:- Colosseum metro station.
Meeting time. Choose to start at the time that suits you best, between 8 am and 9.30 am. In the summer months you can even choose an earlier start.
Main points of interest on the tour are:-
The Colosseum - Constantine's Arch - The Roman Forum - Piazza Campidoglio (or the Capitoline hill) - Theatre of Marcellus - The Ghetto - Fountain of the Turtles - Campo de Fiori - Pantheon - Piazza Navona - Via della Pace - Ponte Sant'Angelo - St Peter's Square and St Peter's Basilica.
Duration 8 hours plus a break for lunch
Approximate walking distance 7 Kms
*N.B. Also available as a half-day tour finishing at or just before the Pantheon.