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Art and Architecture of Rome

Tom, Sean, and I had our walking tour in Rome this week. We toured three sites including the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and Santo Augustino. We started our tour at the Pantheon, which means “Honor all gods” in Greek. The most preserved construction of ancient Rome, the Pantheon was dedicated to all the gods of ancient Rome. Outside of the Pantheon, there is a fountain in the plaza. Fontana del Pantheon was ordered by Pope Gregory the 13 and modified with a different basin in 1711 by Pope Clement the 11. In 1711, the marble figures were removed and replaced by Luigi Amici and can be seen in the Museum of Rome.

Noticing the incredible architecture, we walked towards the inside of the Pantheon which had burned down twice after being built in 31 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. It was built to pray to all gods but was turned into a church in 7609 AD. Having the largest dome in the world, the Pantheon has many buildings modeled after it like the United States capital building.

Our second stop was at Piazza Navona, which includes three fountains, a beautiful piazza, and the church Sant’Agnese of Agone. The piazza was lively with street performers in previous times but now mainly restaurants and street cafes. There are winter festivities around the holiday season. Built on the site of an old stadium, Piazza Navona is a historic Piazza in Rome and is also arguably the most beautiful. We first looked at The Fountain of the Four Rivers. Unsurprisingly, the fountain is named by the fact that it was meant to honor four rivers- the Nile, Ganges, Darube, and Rio della Plata.

On the south end of the Piazza, the Moor fountain stands centered around a huge statue which was designed by Bernini. The fountain had a man holding a large fish. This fountain was made in the 17th century and the rest was added in the 19th century. On the north end of the Piazza, we toured the fountain of Neptune. This fountain was originally built in the 1600s while the tritons that surround it are 19th century additions.

Construction for Sant’Agnese in agone was underway in 1652. Pope Innocent X commissioned the church to be built by Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi and due to fighting, Francesco Borromini. It was turned into a family chapel and then abandoned. The skull of Saint Agnese is inside the church which is not open to the public.

The Last stop on our tour was a small church called Saint Agostino. It was named after Saint Augustus of Hippo. This is because his mother Saint Monica is buried in the church. Inside the church there are murals made by Raphael and Caravvagio. The church was built in the fifteenth century. Inside is a statue called the Madonna del parto. Meaning the Mary of childbirth. Many people from the town leave ribbons to pray for their babies here. The walls are decorated with many different paintings. It was a great spot to stop to reflect and end the tour.

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