mercoledì 26 novembre 2014

On the Celio hill

This is me in my eternal search
There are places in Rome that are lost in time and space, as if in touch with a mysterious thruth beyond; one is simply walking in between cars and traffic, maybe eating a slice of pizza, all in one with our crazy modern horizons, when all of a sudden, the Middle Ages seem to be back, with all their majestic struggle to reach eternity and God in heaven. A silence that is unreal spreads from the skies and eveything seems still and perfect, in the sublime search for holiness. 
All of a sudden, meaning it, the world is back to its premieval cosmos, lost and faraway all the turmoil of the City. This happens, for instance, to people, like me, that strolling  around the beauties of the Celio (one of the Seven Hills), reach, all of a sudden, a wondrous church called "Santi Quattro Coronati". It is entitled to four martys - that is to say witnesses - who, being marble sculptors refused to carve pagan idols for Diocletian. Thus, they were sentenced to death. To be forever remembered in the slumber of this magnificent church, as holy and perfect as if built in paradise...
You might want to peep at the beautiful Oratory of San Silvestro, asking for the key to the nun kept in claustration that sits, silent and still as a statue carved by the martyrs, behind a grate, or maybe just walk into the church itself to see, up high, the crown of saints and consecrated, that seem, dancing in a golden sky, to look at us, poor people downstairs, waiting, one day, to be up there in glory. One can just sit and stare at all that beauty or, why not, play the game of recognizing saints: each one  is painted together with his symbols. Let me end here and let me keep my score for myself, in glory up above.

mercoledì 19 novembre 2014

In the Ara Coeli

Like Saint Francis in this wonderful El Greco (Dublin)
When walking to my library (the Rispoli on Via della Gatta),  coming down from the Monti area (where I belong) I must cross Piazza Venezia, right beside the green lawn, on a slice of pavement, where tourists of all kinds stand, shoulders to the Vittoriano, taking pictures (and selfies) of the big white “wedding cake” (as the Romans called the gigantic building that the piedmontese Savoy built when they conquered the City of the Pope)  which dominates the large Via Lata (now Corso), as a big memento of the shift of power that happened in those lost faraway days… King Victor Emanuel the II, on his majestic horse, martial as Marcus Aurelius on the Campidoglio, seems ready to stride along the Eternal City, prey, conquered and humiliated. This is the deep reason why, I think, Romans do not like that huge marble monument, beloved by the tourists who might think the Vittoriano an old temple coming straight from Augustus times…
No, the Romans do not like the Vittoriano, calling it the wedding cake or the typewriter. And, please, if you have time, walk around it (note how it gives its strong shoulders to the Campidoglio) towards the magnificent paleochristian church of the Ara Coeli, the altar of the skyes. Up there, on top of the ripid staircase that leads us to the entrance of the church that is (and has always been) kept by the holy Franciscans (being Francis a second Christ on earth). And there, in holiness, enter the Church as if in the womb of Mary. Sharpen your eyes and look for the chapel where the holy Bambino is kept. It is not the original one (the one, I mean, carved by a Franciscan monk from an olive tree of the Holy land, which was stolen years ago), but, in its ieratic beauty this new little bambino, in gold and pearls, is as beautiful as the original; please, in focus and concentration, listen to his silent words: one must be a child again to enter the world of the skyes, in the Ara Coeli.