Rome: Sant’Agata dei Goti

One of the most confusing things about the small church of Sant’Agata dei Goti is that it is not located in the Via di Sant’Agata de Goti. This streets runs just to the south of the church. The Sant’Agata has its main entrance on the Via Mazzarino and a side…

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The Jews of Ostia

I get the impression that very few people bother to visit the remains of Ancient Ostia’s synagogue. These are located some 300 metres outside the Porta Marina, the gate that faced the sea in Antiquity. The location feels rather isolated, and the situation was probably not very different some 2.000…

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Palestrina: The Duomo

The Duomo of Palestrina is dedicated to Sant’Agapito or Saint Agapitus, a teenage martyr from the third century. Virtually nothing is known about his life, apart from the fact that he was apparently a native of Palestrina, then called Praeneste. The Duomo is located just west of the Piazza Regina…

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Palestrina: The Nile Mosaic

I will readily admit that the famous Nile Mosaic was the reason I took the bus to Palestrina in the first place. This gorgeous piece of art, presumably from the late second century BCE, is the most prized possession of Palestrina’s National Archaeological Museum. The mosaic has a room of…

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Rome: Sant’Agostino

I had not yet visited this large Augustinian church just north of the Piazza Navona and it was high on my list. I had spent the morning visiting other Roman churches (this one, this one and this one) and then hurried towards the Sant’Agostino, hoping to get there on time…

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Rome: San Silvestro in Capite

I had not planned to visit the San Silvestro in Capite.[1] It is another one of those Roman churches that are not mentioned at all in most travel guides. I do not blame them: there are certainly more interesting churches in the Eternal City. However, that does not mean that…

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Rome: Santi Apostoli

My first attempt to visit the church of the Holy Apostles in Rome was hardly a raging success. I had not forgotten that the Romans celebrate Epiphany on 6 January, but I had not expected that that meant that the Santi Apostoli would be used for religious services all day…

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Rome: San Marcello al Corso

It is hardly surprising that I have walked past the San Marcello al Corso on numerous occasions. The ‘Corso’ part of the church name refers to the Via del Corso, one of the busiest streets in the city, which connects the Piazza Venezia with the Piazza del Popolo. In Antiquity…

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Rome: San Cesareo in Palatio

A short version of the history of this church could be something along the lines of: “It survived in the past because it was mistaken for another church, and it survives in the present because it is a popular wedding location”. But that does not do the San Cesareo in…

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Rome: Santa Balbina

Getting to the church of Santa Balbina is fairly easy. The church is located on the eastern slope of the Little Aventine, overlooking the gigantic Baths of Caracalla. Actually getting into the church is a whole lot tougher. Apparently, people have been having difficulties with visiting the Santa Balbina for…

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Veneto: Bassano del Grappa

Our trip to Bassano del Grappa in the summer of 2017 can basically be summarised as follows: the Duomo: closed; the church of San Giovanni Battista on the Piazza Libertà: closed for maintenance; the famous Ponte Vecchio or Ponte degli Alpini: only partly accessible because of much needed repairs; the…

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Veneto: Asolo

Ah, Asolo! This lovely little town in the foothills of the Dolomites was high on our list during our most recent summer holiday in Italy. And yet for some reason we kept procrastinating visiting it until the very last day of that holiday. We were certainly not disappointed when we…

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Rome: Ara Pacis Augustae

The Ara Pacis Augustae – the Altar of Augustan Peace – is what one could call a monument in the wrong place. The large open-air altar is not in its original position. It can now be found next to the remains of the gigantic circular Mausoleum of Augustus, but it…

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