We’ll begin our walk in one of the most famous public spaces in Rome, Piazza Navona. Here we will discuss the political and historical background of the piazza, as well as its modern incarnation as a magnet for street performers and visitors in search of that perfect outdoor cafe seat (complete with the direct view of Bernini's fabulous fountain). This tour is as much about the life and spirit of Rome as it is about the history, and so we'll look closely at how Romans use the city and think about what it's like to be a local. Moving on, we'll continue to the side streets around Piazza Navona, which in recent years has morphed into a hip area crammed with wine bars, art galleries and funky designer boutiques.
Next we may explore the elegant streets of via Giulia and via Monserrato, filled with Renaissance palazzos, Baroque churches, and artisan workshops, or head to the area of the Campo de' Fiori—one of the busiest piazzas in Rome. If time allows, we’ll end our Rome Night Tour on the picturesque Ponte Sisto, which offers great views of the Tiber in both directions and a glimpse of Michelangelo's cupola of St. Peter's Basilica (the subject of our St. Peter's Basilica Tour and a gateway to another exciting Roman neighborhood, Trastevere).
What is the dress code inside the churches in Rome?
All churches require modest dress. Men should wear slacks, and women should wear slacks or skirts below the knee. Shoulders must also be covered. If you are intent on wearing spaghetti straps or a halter-top, bring a shawl and expect to keep it around you. Shorts above the knee are not allowed.
Philip has been working in Rome as a historical archaeologist for the last twenty years. Trained as a byzantinist, he has excavated on numerous sites in England, Greece, Cyprus and Italy. During his doctorate at the Sorbonne, he specialized in the material culture of southern Italy during the Middle Ages. His nine hundred page encyclopedia, entitled Culture Materielle Medievale has been hailed as a classic in its field, bringing to light hundreds of previously unknown words and terms in medieval Latin and Greek that pertain to everyday household objects and paraphernalia.
Jose brings an unusual combination of theoretical knowledge and practice to his walks, which he has led in Philadelphia and in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as in Rome, Naples, and Florence. A professional fine artist with an art studio in Rome near the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva and graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, Jose knows how to read the almost forgotten languages of Greek and Roman mythology embedded in the art and architecture of Rome. His studies of Plato's dialogue, TIMAEUS, for example, open up dimensions of Raphael's School of Athens fresco and of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes otherwise unsuspected by visitors to these two sites. In addition, his own native Cuban background and master's degree in Spanish literature from the University of Delaware in Newark give his walks a Spanish flair and sense of humor that can be most welcome elements. Jose also studied fresco painting, history, and restoration at the Spinelli Institute of Art and Art Restoration, in Florence, but his St. John's College "Great Books" education earned him a rich 20-year-plus teaching career at the University of Miami, first in the English Department (specializing in Composition), followed by art history and freehand drawing in the School of Architecture. During the summers, this docent has taught "plein-air" drawing for the Rome Art Program directed by artist Carole Robb. Jose holds the official Italian tour guide license for Italy, issued in Rome (Province of Lazio) in 2017.
Janet has lived between Rome and U.S.A. while working on her dissertation for Columbia University on photography in Italy under Fascism. Before that, she worked as an editor for an arts publication in Chicago. She is a painter and has taught drawing and painting in art schools and art departments in the Boston area. Her specialization in Modern Italy addresses the effects on Italians of living with history while defining themselves as modern so she has become familiar with Rome's many pasts and their expression through art and architecture. She is now based in Rome where, among other things, she sings in a Gospel Choir.
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