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Eyes on Rome

April 1, 2015

Words don’t work so well to express Rome in the springtime when the weather gets warm and things start to bloom. They end up betraying me, leading me to whine when I should be extolling. I like to show this city to people so as to see it with fresh eyes myself.


The lemon tree under which I am writing

I had the opportunity to do this over the past few days, exploring Rome with an architect and an antiquities dealer, designing and improvising an itinerary between sacred sites of all eras and all denominations, from the Jubilee Church at Tor Tre Teste to Rome’s Mosque to the Synagogue and the Sistine Chapel,  from the MAAM to Bramante’s Tempietto to Sant Ivo to the Pantheon. I’ve also been heavily into EUR and the churches of the Celio. And of course the Tiber where I’m concentrating efforts as Director of TEVERETERNO Onlus. Rome never ceases to amaze.

Richard Meier's Church at Tor Tre Teste "Dives Padre Misericordia"

Richard Meier’s Church at Tor Tre Teste “Dives Padre Misericordia”


Rome’s Mosque by Paola Portoghesi. Echos of Kahn and Yamasaki.


Santi Quattro Coronati Cloister: recently restored and so peaceful


Unification fighters and tourists looking down from the Janiculum


Double Helix in Vatican City




Of course it also surprises, and not always pleasantly. My street was closed to traffic for three days this week after trees fell in a windstorm. For three days it was an “open street” safe for people;  children were playing in the streets, you could hear the birds and breath the air. Now it’s back to normal, clogged with speeding cars and everyone seems happy, saying it has been “re-opened” when it seems just the opposite.

In the Monti neighborhood Via Urbana is struggling to maintain the civilized state that it achieved when it too was pedestrianized and became an oasis of urban vitality. Some people actually want to go back to the way it was.

And despite the international attention being received by this grassroots movement for civic space, the Mayor hasn’t answered the call.  I’m not surprised really.  Despite having told me explicitly that his office would answer all queries and suggestions, it’s hard to even get an auto response from Rome’s administration.


My favorite transportation and temples

Dear Mr. Mayor,

When we spoke last in December you were very clear in your commitment to respond to emails from your constituents.  You also spoke of a program you are launching to promote some sort of cultural crowdfunding for the city of Rome.  Having worked for 20 years in the cultural heritage management business in Rome, and being in touch on a daily basis with donors and investors interested in contributing to urban transformation projects (such as TEVERETERNO), perhaps I can make a suggestion.  Why don’t we launch a program directly on the Roma Capitale cultural portal through which donations can be made to support public projects?  I know for a fact millions of people would be thrilled to take part in this, and I know the language needed to make it happen.  Sure it must be innovative and ambitious, but it requires one quality for which Italian administrations are not always known: accountability.  Why don’t we talk about how to change this?
Best regards,
Tom Rankin
P.S. I have yet to receive a formal, substantive answer to any of my emails to date, with the exception of occasional chats with Roberto Tricarico.

Filming at EUR #eclisse revisited


Watching lunar eclipse with my Engineering students in Sangallo’s courtyard next to Julius II tomb (San Pietro in Vincoli)

Rome cannot be better, but it can do better.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 5, 2015 13:38

    Great info…and the city is my favourite…


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