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Old and New in San Giovanni

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 | 11 comments

The same day that I took the sculpture and “Making the Sale” shots, I first stopped right outside the S. Giovanni metro stop in Largo Brindisi. To me these photographs say a lot about why Rome is so special. In the first picture we see how old, “new,” and modern have been blended together into the urban fabric of Rome. Old would be the section of the ancient Aurelian Walls, under which cars and motorinos now fly. “New,” which I only put in parenthesis because only here can something this old be considered new, is the Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano, which you can see in the middle with its sculptures peaking out. The home of the popes until they returned from Avignon, this Basilica sometimes falls off the radar, but should definitely be visited. And lastly we have COIN, a modern department store, which I’ve heard has a lovely bar on the top floor.

To be honest, once you live here for awhile you start to forget about how incredible it is that all this history is mixed together and how the old and new co-exist peacefully. That blending isn’t anything new, take one look under most structures here and you’ll find something older that is was built on top of. Whenever I get frustrated with the city or living out of my own culture, one walk around the city to view something like this makes me take a step back and realize how lucky I really am.


  1. I love these pics Jess. You should definitely take more day shots. The light in Rome is so amazing:-)
    Great contrast there and good game of reflections…brava super JEss

  2. Thanks, PEtulia 😉 I definitely will, especially once the days start to get longer. These were done around 3:30 pm, which is the ideal time since it’s right before the sun starts to go down. The other option is to go very early AM, which, as you know me, will take a miracle to happen.

  3. A good mix of old and new it is.

  4. Sadly sometimes we, who live here, forget of how much we have under our feet, as you perfectly describe modern and ancient blend being almost unrecongnizable (maybe i just invented this word)and like an addicition we don’t notice it any more.
    Fortunately, however, all this stuff enters in our veins and we feel all the 2761 (on 21st April will be 2762) years this city has and feel proud of them.
    This has been described by poets and other as “Romanità” and creates some funny things as calling a 400 A.D. church “new”.

    Purtroppo a volte, noi che viviamo qui, dimentichiamo cosa abbiamo sotto i nostri piedi, come tu descrivi perfettamente, moderno ed antico si fondono divenendo indistinguibili e come una assuefazione non lo notiamo più
    Fortunatamente, però, tutto questo ci entra nelle vene e percepiamo tutti i 2761 (il 21 aprile saranno 2762) anni di questa città ed esserne orgogliosi.
    Questo è stato descritto come “Romanità” e crea situazioni buffe come chiamare una chiesa del 400 D.C. “nuova”.

  5. Interesting views.

  6. Awesome photos! The 1st one can even be ‘shoking’ (in the positive way).

    By the way, if you want your echeveria to be redish, just give it some sun 🙂

  7. Ciao 3mendo, you are very right (and unrecognizable is a word – bravo!), it’s very funny for an American when all of the things that surround us are so new! It’s funny because now when I travel to other cities that don’t have the same mix of times periods that Rome does, I notice it even more and miss the lovely mash of Roman architecture and monuments.

    For those of you who don’t know, April 21 happens to be Rome’s birthday (and my mom’s as well!)

    Spero che tu possa passare alla mostra che faccio con la vernissage 23 gen al Gloss (vicino Largo Argentina). La puoi vedere alcune delle foto in persona!

    Walker and JM – Thanks for your compliments as well. JM, my echeveria lives outside on the terrace so does have that lovely red color 🙂

  8. Do you know how many times I’ve been to San Giobvanni and at “La Coin” like they say in Rome?And I never stopped to realize how the modern has been integrated with the ancient.
    Next time Im in Rome, and go to San Giovanni I will defiently stop a and admire at my surroundings.
    The pictures are amazing, Im lookign foward to more wonderful pictures.

  9. ShesDaily – I don’t think any of the customers going in on that Sunday noticed either, but it’s funny what looking through the lens makes you discover. Sometimes I don’t even notice things until I take one shot and then see something in the photo. Then I can zoom in or focus on what I see. In fact, I have been in Largo Brindisi many times and never noticed myself!

  10. Great photos Jessica. I moved to Rome from L.A. A building from 1950 is old in Los Angeles so I’m floored by the fact that Rome is over 2000 years old.

    I’m glad the days are getting longer. Over the weekend I did something I haven’t done in weeks (because of the rain and cold). I walked around without any particular destination in mind super early and took some photos. It was nice to get out before the tourists. I felt like I had the Center to myself.

  11. NYC – That’s great! I should have been more adventurous myself this weekend, but laziness and house duties kicked in so I only got around my area. Did you post the pics on your blog? I’m curious to see where you explored. See you Friday!

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