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did you know?
...that in Rome live
17.418 Filippinos
10.873 Americans
8.244 Poles
7.863 Spaniards
6.372 Britons
6.368 Indians?
(Source: City Council)
Rome Tips

Vittoriano - finally re-opened...

Where: Complesso del Vittoriano, Via di San Pietro in Carcere, (tel. 066780699).
What: The sight is exceptional. The high point of a visit, which winds through the enormous and unimagined spaces hidden inside the very belly of the building, are the 40-metre high terraces beneath the colonnaded attic portico, flanked by the curved arches of the two vestibules that frame like metaphysical vistas marvellous views over the capital: the long axis of the Corso, the ruins of the Forum, the walls of the Colosseum and as far as EUR, the Congress Palace, the Aventine, the peak of Monte Mario with its Observatory and all the domes of the city.

All this at a glance, as if by magic. Now that the terraces have been waterproofed, the floors cleaned, the marble sealed with elastic sealants and repairs done to the pipes draining water which used to leak in everywhere, one can finally admire from up close the sculptures, friezes and architecture designed by architect Giuseppe Sacconi.

The bronze equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele and the symbols of the history of Italy: the allegories of the 14 cities in the peninsula that were once capitals or marine republics, the frieze inspired by Virgil's Bucolics and Georgics representing Labour and Love of the Fatherland and, in the centre, the statue of the goddess Roma and the allegories of the civic values of the Italian people, four statues in marble representing Strength, Concord, Sacrifice and Law and, in bronze, Thought and Action.

In the very centre, the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier, added in 1924 following an initiative promoted by first world war veterans.
When: Every day untill 4 o'clock pm.

Three jewels on the Celium...

Where: Celium Oratories, Piazza di S. Gregorio (tel. 0339 6135329) Entry: L. 5.000 , reduced L. 2.500.
What: For many years they have been invisible to the public due to complex and radical restoration work. But the three oratories of Santa Silvia, Santa Barbera and Sant'Andrea on the Celium hill are now not only as good as new, but can also be visited, allowing Romans a chance to once again view the art works inside by Guido Reni, Domenichino and Lanfranco, as well as rediscover the delights of a solitary and out of the way hill like the Celium.

Set apart since ancient times from the Rome of power and business, and occupied by only a few wealthy villas, the Celium has left us with the clearest picture of early Christian Rome, of what happened when Imperial Rome dissolved and the city emerged as a new point of reference in Europe. All this was mostly thanks to Pope Gregory I, an extraordinary master of doctrine as well as civil and church organisation, so much so that he was first dubbed 'Great' and later sanctified.

The majestic church in the centre of the Celium is dedicated to him. It was built as a reminder of how Gregory, a member of the great Anici family and a rightful heir of the ancient Romans, was the man responsible for feeding a people reduced to rags, the politician who negotiated with the Lombards, the missionary who sent monks to Ireland and the head of an ecumenical Church capable of settling the disputes of France and Spain. The Pope's family residence stood to the left and alongside the church, and it was here in the sixth century and on Roman remains that the three oratories were built, decorated with splendid frescoes relating the life of Saint Peter's successor.

The chapel of Santa Barbera stands to the left. In the centre of the room one can still find the great table where Gregory dined daily with 12 guests and where, the story goes, a thirteenth arrived one day, a blessed angel sent by God.

A beautiful marble statue of the Pope sculpted by Nicola Cordier stands in the apse. Frescoes on the walls by Antonio Viviani di Urbino tell the story of the conversion of the Dutch by monks sent by Gregory. On the right is the chapel to Saint Silvia, Gregory's mother, containing a niche with her portrait, also by Nicola Cordier. The beautiful frescoes in the apse, telling the story of "The Glory of the angel musicians", are the work of Guido Reni. But the chapel in the centre, dedicated to Saint Andrew, contains the greatest masterpieces. Frescoes on the left by Guido Reni show Saint Andrew on his way to martyrdom, as well as the saints Peter and Paul.
On the right is the flagellation of Saint Andrew by Domenichino, while the far wall contains portraits of Saint Gregory and Saint Sivlia by Lanfranco. This is the most striking discovery for a visitor to the oratories: that three great artists, leaders of different schools of Roman baroque, should have left three masterpieces in such a small chapel far from the city centre.
When: 9.30-12. 30, 16.00-19.00, daily, including holidays.

The body beween being and well-being...

Where: Pigorini Museum, P.zzle G. Marconi 14 (tel. 06 549521). Entry: L. 8.000, (free for under 18s and over 65s).
What: While it's only one hundred years or so since Western medicine discovered that physical and mental well-being go hand in hand, Eastern medicine has always recognised the link. Especially Tibetan medicine, which studies the mind-body relationship in the context of a third fundamental component: energy.

To understand how this mechanism functions, and on what scientific basis, visit the Pignorini Ethnographic Museum's current exhibition, "The celestial treasure: The Tibetan art of medicine". The exhibition has been organised by ASIA (Association for international solidarity in Asia), in collaboration with the Luigi Pignorini National Prehistoric and Ethnographic Museum and the Shang international institute of Tibetan studies. The discipline of Tibetan medicine is illustrated through traditional art, its development enriched by its long contact with the neighbouring cultures of India and China. The approach to scientific knowledge will enthuse scholars of "alternative" medicines and draw sceptics - doctors included - towards a closer understanding of the practices and methods of treatment in those far off countries. The exhibition will be open for approximately two months and will include a programme of workshops and seminars by Western and Tibetan scholars.

The scholars will include ASIA president, professor Namkkhai Norbu Rimpoche, a lecturer at the Oriental University of Naples, president of the Shang Shung Institute and author of numerous works on Tibetan culture and history; and professor Fernand Meyer, director of the 'Ecole Pratique del Hautes Etudes' in Paris and head of the French National Research Council's project researching Himalayan culture. The Pignorini Museum exhibition includes 58 Tibetan cloth paintings (Thang-ka), Tibetan medical instruments and traditional objects and works of art. In addition, 30 videos in various languages illustrate the main aspects of Tibetan medicine and the events which in the past have brought it into contact with traditional science and Western sanitary techniques. Themes discussed at meetings will include the relationship between mind and body in medicine and a comparison of the role of the doctor in traditional medicine and modern medicine. Birthing practices and the approach of traditional medicine to drugs and incurable diseases are the topics for seminars 13-14 January, while talks 20-21 January will cover development and health policy projects run by the Italian Foreign Ministry in Tibet.

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