Postscript to the many wonders of Rome
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

ROME, Italy — Indeed, with the magnificent grandeur of this so-called ''Caput Mundi'' or capital of the world, we could readily agree to the common saying that Rome was not built in a day. It took many centuries to have built such a fantastic city of many architectural wonders, a great confluence of arts, history, culture, and technology.

This wonderful square, for instance, called Piazza del Quiranale, is one of the best sites, highlighted by a tall obelisk made of the best quality of granite and marble, surrounded by the artistic masterpieces, the statues of Castor and Pollux, and, of course, the grandiose Palazzo del Quiranale as the backdrop. It rises to the top of the Quirinal Hill, the site of the Roman Temple of Quirinus. The Palazzo de la Consulta, which houses the Supreme Court of Italy adds grandeur to the square. This is one of the hundreds of squares in the city of Rome. The Pantheon is an impressive building which is more than a thousand years already, having been built in 27 BC, by Agrippa, son-in-law of the emperor, Augustus Caesar.

To me, one of the most beautiful edifices in Rome is the San Paulo Fouri le Mura, an awe-inspiring basilica with more than a hundred marble columns, and with a beautiful ceiling laced in gold. This is the second largest basilica in Rome, next only to the St. Peter's Basilica inside The Vatican. And since The Vatican is an independent state, then San Paulo is the biggest basilica in Rome, with over 20 chapels surrounding it. It was built in the fourth century, but burned down completely in 1823. It was rebuilt even more beautifully and with outstanding works of arts inside it. But the most important content of the basilica is the crypt containing the body of St. Paul, apostle of the gentiles.

One interesting site to visit is the Catacombs of San Sebastian along the Via Appia. Like the catacombs of Domitilla, otherwise known as the underground cemeteries of Saints Nereus and Achilleus, these are among the largest in Rome. These are virtual cities underground, with secret entrances in the form of subterranean caves, the hiding places of the earlier Christians who were persecuted by the Romans. It was only the young emperor Constantine and his mother, St. Elena, who changed the course of history. Before him, Christians had to undertake their religious activities underground, and so they built a fantastic city underground, complete with fortifications and air and drainage systems. The catacombs are some of the marvelous creations of human ingenuity and have become a tourist attraction today.

The Italian government took ownership and possession in 1912 of the Galleria Borghese, which is a marvelous building containing a gallery of ancient relics, museum pieces and many historical articles, like armors, swords, paintings and giant statues of emperors, kings and queens. But the older collections are in the Museo Nazionale Etrusco di Villa Giulia containing statues and monuments from fourth century BC, like the statues of Apollo and Hercules and gladiators, emperors and warriors. The Museo Nazionale Romano is one of the most complete museums containing ancient relics and historical pieces. Around it are the famous baths of Diocletian, containing a collection of ancient inscriptions, columns, capitals, sarcophagi, and figurines.

There is never an end to the array of wonderful evidence of Rome's grandeur. One month, even one year may not be enough if we wish to scrutinize the details of Rome's many wonders and surprises. But time is always insufficient. There are many other countries to see.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com

ROME
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