The Roman Forum at a Glance

I first saw the ancient Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) from a Segway bike. I looked up from the cobblestones as our tour guide gathered us together, and there it was – the scene so often painted by Grand Tour visitors from the C17th and C18th. Stretching out beneath us, stood …

Why Seneca hated Diocletian’s Baths

At the T-junction of the present-day Via Nazionale and the Via Vittorio Emanuele Orlando in Rome, lies the Piazza della Republica. Glancing up from your Café Latte you will see a large but somewhat nondescript Romanesque building – part ruin, part cathedral and part museum. This is what remains of the …

Cassini – Science the Church and a Gnomon

As the Cassini Saturn probe prepares for its final few orbits before being de-orbited into the planet, it’s worth considering who it was named for – the C16th Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini. These days the Vatican collaborates with the European Space Agency and NASA on space science. Even the Vatican Library …

Rome – The Trevi Fountain and an ancient aqueduct

Just about everyone who travels to Rome tosses a coin or two into the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) – myself included! Legend has it, that if you throw a coin into the fountain over your opposite shoulder, you will return to Rome. Such rituals have their roots way back …