August 2017

Roman houses beneath Palazzo Valentini

What lies beneath this building is breathtaking….Walking past the 16th century Palazzo Valentini in Rome, you would never think that it was housing an entire maze of ancient Roman houses with exquisite mosaics, waiting to be discovered. It was as much a surprise to them, when they discovered the ruins a mere decade ago, as it was to the Roman [...]

The Roman calendar

Enjoying the month of August? Did you know that Augustus added the month of August to the calendar? There were once ten months of the year. That’s right. The Roman calendar was 10 months, which is 304 days. They ignored the remaining 61 days, which fell in the middle of winter. The months began with March and were named Martius, [...]

Ostia Antica: The perfect day tour

The seaport town of Ostia Antica, is bigger than Pompeii, with minimal crowds, and where the visitor can enter another world. Bakeries, fishmongers and restaurants dating back two thousand years ago, eerily stand empty, but pretty well preserved. Mosaics and frescos are waiting to be discovered and miraculously seem as though they were made yesterday. It’s hard to believe this white marble [...]

July 2017

The Keats Shelley House in Rome

Just beside the Spanish Steps, the Baroque monument that’s on the top of your to do list, is the Keats Shelley Museum. Blink and you will miss it, but it’s definitely worth a visit as one of Rome’s many hidden historic gems. Most tourists don’t realise that the English Romantic Poet John Keats died of tuberculosis in Rome aged 25 [...]

The Rome Carriage Museum

Museo Delle Carrozze D’Epoca: The Horse Drawn Carriage Museum Want to see the original charriots used in the Films Ben Hur and The Gladiator? The Rome Horse Drawn Carriage Museum displays 159 old carriages, which are part of a collection of 600 collected over a 50 year period and on show within a 3000 square foot space. There is even the wagon [...]

June 2017

Roses and ancient Roman rituals

During the Roman Empire, Rosalia or Rosaria was a festival of roses celebrated on various dates, primarily in May, but scattered through mid-July. The observance is sometimes called a rosatio (rose-adornment) or the dies rosationis, ‘day of rose-adornment’.  Flowers were traditional symbols of rejuvenation, rebirth, and in Greece and Rome, wreaths and garlands of flowers and greenery were worn by both men and women for festive occasions. [...]

Our favourite flowers in Rome

Flowers are all around us, in stone, frescoes, and marble. Here are a few of our favourite around the city.How gorgeous are these stones that form the shape of a flower at the fountain @ Piazza Mazzini, in the Prati neighbour, a ‘stones’ throw from the Vatican City. A great space to sit and enjoy a gelato in the [...]

Lazio and Umbria Flower festivals

June is such a fab month to see Italy, it is literally a full on festival of flowers in Umbria and Lazio. In Umbria, the stunning medieval town of Spello celebrate Corpus Domini (Latin for the body of Christ) with their ‘L’Infiorata di Umbria Festival’. Floral carpets (Infiorata) are laid out on the streets of the historical centre. Florists and artists [...]