there’s many things about rome that makes me shake my head. the utterly horrible public transport for one. or how touristy it gets once you step within the roman walls. or how cafes here generally don’t have a sitting culture — people imbibe their espresso shots standing up and then dash off. i still don’t understand the last point to be honest.. and it really gets on my nerves especially when all i want to do is to sit at a nice coffee place and read a book to while time away. *sadz*
anyways, that being said, there’s still many nooks and crannies of rome that fascinates me and makes me really cherish my time here. last weekend, the place i explored was the aventino hill, close by to circo massimo. i was drawn to it by an off-the-beaten path article mentioning a really special view of the vatican dome from atop aventino hill – you apparently have to peer through a keyhole, and will see the vatican dome perfectly centered and framed by a beautiful row of garden shrub arches, which is in turn framed by the circular apeture of the keyhole. this curious place is at the gate leading to the gardens of the Knights of Malta (I Cavalieri di Malta).
it’s a real pity that the gardens aren’t open to public, because i can imagine just how more breathtaking the view would be if one were actually inside the garden. and it reaffirms that fact that the garden planners had a terrific eye for beauty and an innate understanding of perspective. and if you’re wondering whether i managed to snap a shot through the keyhole, well.. the answer is a sad no. i reached the hilltop around 3pm and it was still way too bright for me to capture the dome. (you can google the knights of malta for the keyhole shot) photography aficionados, you need to come to this place possibly when the light contrast between the dark garden shrubs and the surrounding sky is much less.
i settled for a much easier shot.
i mean, i wasn’t going to return empty handed was i? this shot was taken at the nearby giardno degli aranci (orange garden) and it actually reminded me of an interesting psychology/perspective theory. cornell peeps, remember maas’ 101 where he mentioned about the how the moon seems to look larger at certain incidences? well, for me, this was the exact case for the Vatican Dome. in the shot above, framed by dark trees in the garden, and devoid of any other surrounding buildings to give you any visual cues of the actual distance, the Vatican Dome seems to loom at you and seem much closer.
yet when i went up close to snap a paranomic shot, i was utterly disappointed and deleted my shot after a few failed tries. the problem? the Vatican Dome “shrinks” to its original size when placed against buildings close by to it (which is what you see at the edge of the garden). and it is actually really darn far away. cool stuff eh? makes me appreciate a little better, why Rome officials have refused to allow buildings to be built taller than the Vatican Dome – any building within view would dispel the illusion immediately.
anyways, do come up to the aventino hill if you have time to spare in rome. it’s a pretty nice walk round a quiet, non-touristy residential district, with a nice rose garden along the way up (see first picture), as well as a pretty stoic church (Santa Sabina) near the keyhole. the church has an impressive interior consisting of 24 majestic marble columns that were originally from a nearby temple of Juno Regina. (yeah that was the era where stuff from the past were often re-used. at least in this case it forms the centerpiece in a church — some sculptures were found to be used as filler material for renaissance palazzos. -_-)