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Posts tagged ‘ancient Roman’

The Convent & the Hidden Ruins: Where to Stay in Jerusalem

Walking through the streets of Jerusalem crowded with believers of several faiths, you know you’re in a holy place.  During my visit, I wanted to stay in the heart of the old city so that I could experience this energy and spirit.  My early morning walks with mothers taking their children to school and evening strolls among the prayerful were everything I had hoped for.  While in Jerusalem, I stayed at a guesthouse for pilgrims run by an order of nuns which was located on the Via Dolorosa (or the Way of the Cross).  Besides being a welcoming home, the convent had a surprisingly beautiful but quirky church and a basement of archaeological remains dating to the Roman occupation of the city.  What more could I ask for?!

Via Dolorosa and Ecce Homo arch, Jerusalem

The Franciscans and Catholic pilgrims heading down the Via Dolorosa for the Friday afternoon Stations of the Cross. Note the aptly named alley (“The Nun’s Ascent”) and the public entrance to the Lithostrotos at the right.

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Real Gardens that Inspired Art

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are discussing Spring!  Take a look at all the great stories at the bottom of the page.

"The Unicorn in Captivity", Netherlandish, 1495-1505 (Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Unfortunately the unicorn in this lovely garden is pure fantasy.  “The Unicorn in Captivity”, Netherlandish, 1495-1505 (Photo: The Cloisters Collection)

While Washington D.C. has been stubbornly cold this March, I’m just starting to see the first bulbs pop up.  And nothing announces Spring like flowers!  Gardens and their exquisite flora have always been a popular subject in Art, but not all of the places in these paintings are made up locations.  Let’s take a look at a few of the “real” gardens behind some famous paintings.

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A Evening Stroll Through Rimini

Sunset and early evening are my favorite time of day in Italy.  Rather than retreating home, it seems like everyone pours into the streets for strolling, shopping, or an aperitif with friends.  Even public festivals and fairs continue on through these waning hours.  While my days in Rimini, Italy where busy with TBDI 2014, it was still a pleasure to enjoy the city with an early evening walk through its historic heart amid the vibrant nightlife.

Piazza Cavour at night, Rimini

Statue of Pope Paul V and the civic Palazzo dell’Arengo building in Piazza Cavour, Rimini

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Swimming in Apollo’s Pool

Every good ancient Roman knew that bathing was important for one’s health.  Thermal springs were seen to be something divine and precious, often visited for their purported healing properties.  But why rely on historical accounts when you can see for yourself?  The thermal spring in the ancient city of Hierapolis, Turkey is active today, open for swimming, and even comes with some very authentic decorations!

Hierapolis thermal pool, natural spring spa with Roman columns, Pamukkale

Underwater archaeology? Not quite.

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Painted Roman Statue

By traveling in Greece and Turkey, I’ve learned a lot more about Classical art and architecture.  I find myself describing the ancient sites I’ve  seen and usually slip something in about how “bright and colorful” it must have been.  That usually stops the conversation.  No one believes that ancient Greek and Roman statues were painted!  I myself am still trying to wrap my head around what that would have looked like.  But it’s true, and now I have my own photographic evidence that statues were colorful:

Painted ancient Roman general statue in Corinth

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