Crime and Punishment: the Mamertine Prison

The Roman Forum was the very heart of the Empire: here, in addition to the temples and the basilicas, stood the Comitium, the Curia, the Regia, the Rostra, the Tabularium. And, along the Via Sacra, on the slopes of the Capitoline Hill, there was also the ancient state prison, which in the Middle Ages would have taken the name by which we still know it now: the Mamertine Prison.

Rear Window: Palazzo del Gallo di Roccagiovine

Piazza Farnese discloses like a majestic flower at the end of the narrow Via dei Baullari, in the very heart of ‘Regola’ district, and is dominated by the imposing size of the beautiful Palazzo Farnese – now the French embassy – built by Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Vignola and Giacomo della Porta. Here, in front of the ancient residence of Cardinal Farnese, the Palazzo del Gallo of Roccagiovine – also known as Palazzo Fusconi Pighini

The morning hour has gold in its mouth: the Casino dell’Aurora in Palazzo Pallavicini Rospigliosi

The beautiful Casino dell’Aurora Pallavicini is part of the architectural complex of Palazzo Pallavicini Rospigliosi, on the top of the Quirinal Hill. The Casino, which overlooks the Piazza del Quirinale and the Fountain of the Dioscuri, was erected between 1612 and 1613 at the behest of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, who entrusted the construction to the Flemish architect Giovanni Vasanzio.

The meals of the Ancient Romans – part I

Just like ours, the day of an ancient Roman was punctuated by three main meals: breakfast (ientaculum), midday breakfast (prantium) and evening dinner (dinner). As in the Greek world, it was the latter that actually represented the authentic meal, the very moment when Romans met with family or friends at the end of a hard day’s work.

Europe’s oldest hospital and the “project” wheel

The foundation of the hospital of Holy Spirit in Sassia, one of the oldest in Europe, dates back to the 12th to 13th century, and is linked to the will of Pope Innocent III (1161 – 1216). The pontiff ordered the construction of a hospital along the banks of the Tiber, not only to offer shelter and care to the sick and old, but also, and perhaps above all, to give a chance of survival to the many abandoned newborns and babies, condemned to certain death along the streets of medieval Rome.

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