Baths of Caracalla Revisited

Last fall, we featured one of our tour locations as a blog post: the Baths of Caracalla.  Perhaps not has popular as the Colosseum, Roman Forum or Vatican, the Baths of Caracalla remains a monumental and awe-inspiring structure. As we draw closer to the warmer spring weather, Mind the Guide invites you to take a look at our Rome tours, especially the Colosseum ad Baths of Caracalla Tour as well as the Underground Colosseum Tour.

—-

With this weather, there is one site that you should visit while you have the chance: The Baths of Caracalla (Le Terme di Caracalla).

The Baths of Caracalla, ~AD 216

The Baths of Caracalla, ~AD 216

Continue reading…

Valentine's Day in Rome: 3 Ways to Spend It!

If the Eternal City is par excellence and your love worthy of eternal promise, then being here on February 14th will be one day in which you cannot help but to get lost in they eyes of your partner as you wander through the streets of Rome.

Image by D. Blake

Image by Diedré Blake. Click to visit her site.

Click per la versione italiana.

Continue reading…

Santa is gone, but the Befana is coming…

La Befana vien di notte  /  The Befana comes at night
Con le scarpe tutte rotte  /  In worn out shoes
Col vestito da romana  /  Dressed like a Roman
Viva viva la Befana!  /  Long live the Befana!

– An Italian Rhyme

Image from Samsonite Australia.

Click per la versione italiana.

For those who grew up in Rome, it may be hard to believe that this rhyme could be considered quite bizarre.  For most Romans, the Befana Rhyme creates a wonderful nostalgia for childhood, and paints colorful and beautiful images of the past.

Continue reading…

Location Feature: The Baths of Caracalla!

If you are in Rome or traveling to the city, then you may have noticed that the weather has been…well, unseasonably warm with a dash of intermittent cold and rain.  Truly, there are still days warm enough for expats and tourists (used to really cold weather) to break out sandals and other summer wear, or light/moderate autumn clothing.

With this weather, there is one site that you should visit while you have the chance: The Baths of Caracalla (Le Terme di Caracalla).

The Baths of Caracalla, ~AD 216

The Baths of Caracalla, ~AD 216

In the vicinity of the Basilica of St. John Lateran (the seat of the diocese of Rome, today presided over by Pope Francis), take a stroll down Via dell’Amba Aradam to the sumptuous view of Piazza Numa Pompilio and the Baths of Caracalla.  You can also reach the Baths via the metro line B’s Circo Massimo stop, especially if you are coming from Testaccio or some parts of Trastevere.

Continue reading…

Italian Christmas Cuisine (A Little History & 4 Great Recipes)

Even today, Christmas continues to be one of the most important holidays of the year in Italy.  In Rome, the playful side of the holiday is displayed through the many decorations to be seen outside and inside of homes and business.  In essence, the streets of the Eternal City are glimmering with the spirit of the Christmas season.

Image from Serious Eats: Click Image for Italian Grilled Octopus Recipe.

Click per la versione italiana.

If Christmas is embodied by the presence of Il Presepe (Nativity Scene), then the Christmas Dinner is its perfect complement, one that is uniquely defined in italy.

Continue reading…

MtG's Advent Calendar: 8 Days to Go…8 Facts to Know

With only 8 days to go, preparations of creating an unforgettable Christmas is in full swing in most homes throughout Italy, especially those in Rome.  This past Saturday, Pope Francis held the Vatican’s annual Christmas concert, featuring the likes of American singer-songwriter Patti Smith; and many other events are happening throughout the city over the next several days and beyond that. (Check out our previous post for a listing of some of those events: Winter in Rome).

(Video: He’s Ready for Holidays. Are You?)

Although Christmas is not celebrated by all who visit Rome or live here, the holiday certainly impacts the way in which the Eternal City is experienced during the winter.  To help you countdown to the 8 days to the big day, we’re sharing 8 facts about what it means to celebrate Christmas in Rome and the rest of Italy.  Feel free to share them with your friends!

Continue reading…

Winter in Rome: Markets & Holiday Events

Following up on our previous post, below are some ongoing events during this holiday season:

Christmas Markets (24 Nov. 2014 – 6 Jan. 2015)

La Befana Dolls at Christmas Market in Piazza Navona. Image by Samsonite Australia: http://www.samsoniteaustralia.com/

Piazza Navona is already of great historical and architectural renown, and its massive annual Christmas market adds a hefty dose of magic to this busy attraction.  On an average day, thousands of people make their way easily through the open stadium-shaped piazza.  During its Christmas market, however, the piazza is transformed into a crowded marketplace, filled with stalls selling all sorts of decorations (such as the Epiphany’s Befana dolls, shown above), foods (make sure to try a hot ciambella, shown below), jewelry, books, and a host of other things.

Continue reading…

Muri Puliti, Popoli Muti: Walls, Graffiti & Roman Tradition

lutero

Click per la versione italiana

Muri puliti, popoli muti (“clean walls, dumb people”) is a famous saying that has accompanied Rome’s long social and political history, extending beyond the walls of the beautiful capital to encapsulate a trend common to the entire Italian peninsula: graffiti.

The history of graffiti, or generally-speaking writing on walls, is not rooted in modern times.  Furthermore, the spontaneous practice of wall graffiti provides clear evidence of a population’s need to make openly make social commentary and explain concepts.  Italians call it scrittura di strada e di piazza (“street and piazza writing”), a means of communication, engaged in by various members of society from different social strata, that is equivalent and parallel to official and institutional forms.

Graffiti came to be seen as directly expressing popular thought, and covered a wide range of topics, many of which were incised into the walls of ancient Rome.  The curious passerby was treated to numerous graffiti that represented men, women, political caricatures, blatant erotic scenes infused with ritual and religion.

Continue reading…

Superstition in Ancient Rome: Crossing the “Bridge of the Dead” (10/31-11/2)

Ponte Sisto

Ponte Sisto. Click the image to learn more about our Rome Walking Tour!

Click per la versione italiana

October 31st to November 2nd marks a span of time that most Italians view with superstition.  It is known as the “Bridge of the Dead,” beginning with Halloween and ending with the Celebration of the Dead—a 72-hour period steeped in occult tradition, stemming from ancient Roman history.

Lost souls, the dead returned to life…masks, witchcraft, nursery rhymes and much more: are they really dark magic or mere superstition?  Or are they simply old wives tales that contain a grain of truth from some forgotten time?  In Rome, with its worshipping of ancient gods, there has always been special attention paid to these dark tales.

Continue reading…