If my recollection is correct, I bought this charming little book several years ago from one well-established antiquarian bookstore famous for its holiday decoration with both real and fake human skulls accented with twinkling red electric lights. Little I knew these yellowed pages would eventually lead me to other old bones.
On this month, I’m participating on a university art expedition heading to the eternal city. Named Roma Obscura – Underneath Rome it will bring me and other nine students to the subterranean catacombs, Mithraic temples and the ancient tombs of the mysterious Etruscans. We will visit numerous churches and admire the sacred remains of various saints. Bone decorated Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini and the shelter of embalmed papal hearts, Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi, are also on the list.
This book, Ricordo di Roma (Memory of Rome), features 32 black and white photos of old Rome. Among those attractions are places we are also going to experience like the Colosseum, Forum Romanum and Via Appia. There’s no publication date, but it’s from the early decades of the 20th century. I love the heraldic cover; it makes my mind wander away to the time of Italian city-states. The book has also a map. And what’s even more exciting, I can spot my residence there!
For my great excitement, I’m going to live two weeks of my life in a real renaissance villa built in the 16th century. Due to rather extraordinary episodes, Villa Lante al Gianicolo belongs now to Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, the Finnish Institute in Rome. It’s situated on the Janiculum (Gianicolo), the second tallest hill in Rome, and it’s very close to the monument of Garibaldi featured on the map. This small palace deserves its own post. Once I have settled there, I will share my impressions!