SPQR short for latin “Senatus Populusque Romanus”: A leading principle of the politics of ancient Rome, meaning the rule of the senate and the people, became something like a slogan for the empire. The four letters remain present in the modern metropole and can be seen for example on manholes. A vivid reminder of the vast history of this city spanning many thousands of years and its role in the development of modern stateship and democracy.
Pictures of Rome in October 2019.
Rome today is an economic oriented and liberal European city much like Paris, Madrid or Prague. It offers its residents and visitors alike all advantages of metropoles like a vibrant nightlife or shopping streets. Beneath this Rome though lies another city, an ancient behemoth and important cradle of Western civilisation – the capital of a forgone Empire which spanned almost the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean, at the same time being an antipode to the similarly developed Chinese Empire in the far east. Ancient Rome was a metropole of grandiosity with large temples and treasures beyond imagination, where gladiators fought in large stadiums to entertain the masses and the corrupt political elite discussed the faith of the continent in glamorous bath houses or while watching chariot races in the Circus Maximus. A city with paved streets in grid like arrangements, multi storied residential buildings, working sewerages and roofed shopping centers. Maybe not so different from the year 2020 after all.
Having been in Rome many times before, the Italian capital is one of these European cities you come back again and again. Sure it is the history of this ancient place which can be vividly experienced at every corner and in every street, it is also the Italian culture with it’s exquisite cuisine, the delicious wine and the so called dolce vita – the sweet life, which the Romans like to celebrate today as much as they used to in ancient times. Overall though it is a certain feeling of surprise and novelty when travelling to Rome, altough you think you know the city. The truth is it is impossible to “know” this place, as there are always new streets, new sculptures and churches to discover. Also Rome is an ever-changing metropolis of new bars, restaurants and cultural venues.
Capri in the Bay of Naples is also known for being the island of the sun. Because of its natural beauty and the favourable weather conditions already Roman emperors used to come to Capri to spend their summers on the island. But even the most sunny island in the world can have a bad weather day of course and that’s what happened when I visited the place in 2018. You don’t see Capri very often in myst and even in poor weather conditions the island proved to be immensely beautiful.
Third just to Sicily and Sardegna Elba is one of the largest islands belonging to Italy. Historically it was important for its iron production and mining. Today it is a hotspot for tourists, but not as run over as other parts of Italy. Luckily the islanders were able to succesfully maintain the authenticity and quietness of Elba.