Travel guidebooks conceive of the world as a series of obvious, important monuments. This is particularly true of a brash and magnificent city like Rome. Your typical traveler could be forgiven for simplifying this complex historic capital down to a giant marble stadium, a series of famous steps and giant chapel mural. But writer David Downie reminds us there’s a lot more to Rome than its monuments. In fact, Downie argues, Rome is a city best savored through its secret places: the sensual and contemplative spaces unknown to the average visitor.
In his new book, Quiet Corners of Rome, Downie (a Gadling contributor) treats us to an insider’s tour of over 60 of Rome’s hidden spaces based on years of exploration. What he reveals is a city that is not about grand monuments, but instead the spaces in between: quiet courtyards punctuated by burbling fountains and the fresh scent of pine, the distant vibration of church bells in a shady courtyard and ancient stone plazas bedecked with intricate architectural details. Each sight is accompanied by a serene photo taken by photographer Alison Harris. It’s less a tourist guide than a dictionary of intimate discoveries and pleasant surprises – a sprawling, overwhelming city made personable, particular and specific.
Looking for a guide to Rome’s greatest and grandest sights? This is not that book. What Quiet Corners of Rome accomplishes however, is something altogether more authentic. It’s a highly personal, approachable and enjoyable way experience one of our favorite places as it was meant to be experienced: by cherishing every hidden nook and secret city view.
GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 25 – Click above to watch video after the jump
For the final installment in our series on Rome, we’ve saved the best for last & are satisfying our thirst for adventure. Watch as we tour the Vatican, rent Vespas, and check out Rome’s impromptu night life.
On the couch, we’ll dissect the differences between the Vatican & the Holy See, and show you the one place in Rome to peer through a keyhole and view 3 separate countries. Tune in to see just how crazy Roman driving actually is, what the best place public place to go after hours is, and what else the Vatican has to offer beyond the Sistine Chapel.
If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.
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Read more about the Holy See right here.
Hosts: Aaron Murphy-Crews, Stephen Greenwood
Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea
Seeing the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel is a hassle. It’s constantly mobbed, you’re not allowed to take pictures (unlike the sneaky photographer on the right) and you have to walk through a maze of rooms to reach it. But the minute you gaze up at the beauty of this Michelangelo masterpiece, all the pains of getting there evaporate. Now there’s a totally new way to view this stunning masterwork without all the fuss, courtesy of the Internet and some high resolution photography.
The Sistine Chapel Virtual Tour offers web-surfers the pleasure of exploring this oft-packed wonder all by themselves, all rendered in gorgeous detail. You’re free to zoom in on the most minute details of the frescoes, examining them up close in a way never before possible. To help get you in a properly pious mood, your Virtual Sistine tour is also accompanied by the sound of an ethereal chorus (get your mute button ready if you’re not a fan of choirs). As you spin your cursor in circles around the room, you literally feel like you were there.
Thanks to technology, everyone can now get up close and personal with this amazing landmark. Best of all, there’s nobody around to yell at you if you try to take a photo…
When I read that Charlton Heston died last night, an image of him parting the Red Sea as Moses crossed my mind. “The Ten Commandments” was on TV just two weeks ago. While channel flipping, I came across it and he was just getting ready to hold up that staff. According to the New York Times article, the scene where he came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandment tablets was filmed at Mount Sinai.
“Planet of the Apes” has several locations you can also go to and might recognize if you watch the movie. The scene with the top of the Statue of Liberty resting in the sand was filmed in a cove near Point Dume at Zuma in Malibu. The rest of the desert scenes were filmed around Lake Powell (where the spaceship crashed and the crew went to land), Glen Canyon and Page, Utah. I’ve driven through these places and they are gorgeous. I can imagine back in the 60s they were less traveled than today. Malibu Creek State Park was where the ape village was built. Fox Studios use to own the property. Here’s Charlton Heston’s World, a Web site I came across that has several “Planet of the Apes” photos and audio clips.
Other trivia. If you head to Rome, you’ll be near where the chariot race in “Ben-Hur “was filmed at Cinecittà Studios and the Sistine Chapel where Heston played Michaelangelo in The Agony and the Ecstasy.
As an interesting aside, not movie related, Charlton Heston was involved in the Civil Rights March on Washington with Martin Luther King Jr. With Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination 40 years-ago, just the day before yesterday, and Heston’s death the day after, that struck me. I don’t know why. It just did.
A friend of a friend of mine sent me a link to a blog post by Molly McCall. Molly has the dibs on a Flickr pool where photographers are uploading their best shots of the places that made it into Patricia Schultz’s book 1000 Places to See Before You Die.
When I went to this Flickr pool myself, I picked out the Sistine Chapel from the thumb nails on the first page straight off. Yep, I agree with this one. It’s worth braving the crowds of Rome to see this gem. I also recognized The Louvre. The rest of the first page thumbnails I’m not too sure about. If it”s between Paris and Rome. I’d choose Rome. If you’d choose Paris, there’s nothing wrong wth that.
With 404 members, this pool of more than 4,000 photos can keep you busy marveling over the variety of places to see in this world. There are close ups, panoramas, buildings and nature that range from the artsy to the mysterious to the bold camera angles. The variety of the composition is a broad as the subject matter.
This shot of Oia, Greece by Avarl reminded me of the trip to Europe I took after I received my undergraduate degree. The day I spent riding a motorcycle around Skopolos, another Greek island was one of my days of perfection. I drew a sketch in my journal of one of the villages that looked quite similar to this one.