Facts About Italy and Italians
31. In Rome, there is a famous building called il Castel Sant' Angelo. - the Castle of the Holy Angel.
It was built beside the River Tiber - il Tevere - around the year 134 A.D. by the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
In Italian he is known as l'Imperatore Adriano. This emperor is also famous for commanding the construction of Hadrian's Wall in the north of England.
Originally, the building was intended as the mausoleum for the emperor. In other words, he was building his own future tomb!
The original name for the building was il Mausoleo di Adriano - Hadrian's Mausoleum.
The emperor also arranged for the construction of a bridge to span the River Tiber and to lead to his mausoleum. The bridge was called Hadrian's Bridge - il Ponte di Adriano.
Over the centuries, the mausoleum has also been used as a castle, a military fortress and as a prison.
According to a legend from the late 6th. century, an angel (the Archangel Michael) was seen hovering above the mausoleum. The angel announced to the people of Rome that the terrible outbreak of the plague was coming to an end. Soon afterwards, the names of both the building and the bridge were changed to il Castel Sant'Angelo - the Castle of the Holy Angel and il Ponte Sant'Angelo - the Bridge of the Holy Angel in honour of the Archangel Michael.
A statue of the Archangel Michael - San Michele Arcangelo - was placed on the rooftop of the mausoleum to commemorate the apparition of the Archangel in the 6th century. The current bronze statue was created by the Flemish sculptor Pieter Antoon Verschaffelt and replaced an earlier one. It was placed on the rooftop in 1753.
In 1669, the famous artist and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini was asked by the Pope to design ten statues of angels to be placed along the sides of the bridge leading to il Castel Sant'Angelo. Each angel holds an item that belongs to the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus.The angel statues were sculpted by different artists according to the designs of Bernini.
Each angel has a name:
1. Angelo con la Colonna - Angel with the Column
(sculptor: Antonio Raggi)
2. Angelo con i Flagelli - Angel with the Whips
(sculptor: Lazzaro Morelli)
3. Angelo con la Corona di Spine - Angel with the Crown of Thorns(sculptor: the original statue was created by Bernini and is visible in the church called la basilica di Sant'Andrea delle Fratte. A copy of this statue was created by Paolo Naldini and placed on the bridge.)
4. Angelo con la Spugna - Angel with the Sponge(sculptor: Antonio Giorgetti)
Angel with the Whips
Angel with the Crown of Thorns
Angel with the Sponge
5. Angelo con il Volto Santo - Angel with Veronica's Veil
(sculptor: Cosimo Fancelli)
6. Angelo con la Veste e i Dadi - Angel with the Garment and the Dice
(sculptor: Paolo Naldini)
7. Angelo con i Chiodi - Angel with the Nails
(sculptor: Girolamo Lucenti)
8. Angelo con la Croce - Angel with the Cross
(sculptor: Ercole Ferrata)
9. Angelo con il Cartiglio - Angel with the Superscription
(sculptor: the original statue was created by Bernini and is visible in the church called la basilica di Sant'Andrea delle Fratte. A copy of this statue was created by Giulio Cartari with the assistance of Bernini himself and placed on the bridge.)
10. Angelo con la Lancia - Angel with the Lance
(sculptor: Domenico Guidi)
The next three facts (32,33,34) are also related to the story of Jesus and The Crucifixion:
32. The real staircase that Jesus walked up for His trial can be found in Rome. It is called la Scala Santa and it was transported from Jerusalem to Rome by Saint Helena (Sant' Elena) in the year 326 AD.
The staircase belonged to the house where Ponzio Pilato- Pontius Pilate - lived.
The tradition is to go up the staircase on your knees, whilst praying.
The staircase is situated in an area of Rome called Laterano.
In English, the staircase is called the Holy Stairs.
33. There is a very famous statue carved out of marble and situated in la Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter's Basilica) of the Vatican City. It depicts Jesus being held in His mother's arms after the Crucifixion.
The sculpture is called La Pietà and it was created by Michelangelo in the years 1498 - 1499.
34. The Last Supper is called Il Cenacolo in Italian. This event is commemorated on Holy Thursday - il Giovedi Santo. The most famous painting of Il Cenacolo was created by Leonardo da Vinci in the 1490s.
It portrays the Last Supper of Jesus with His disciples, before His arrest, trial and Crucifixion.
Leonardo painted the moment when Jesus announces that one of His disciples will betray Him. The disciples are reacting with surprise and disbelief.
It is painted on a wall inside the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.
35. The Trevi Fountain - la Fontana di Trevi - is a very famous fountain in Rome, designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi. It is over 26 metres high and almost 50 metres wide, making it the largest fountain in Rome.
The fountain was completed in the year 1762. Its designer, Nicola Salvi, died before its completion. The work was finished by Giuseppe Pannini.
The fountain stands in front of a building called il Palazzo Poli in a square called la Piazza di Trevi in a region of Rome called Trevi.
The name Trevi originates from the words tre vie meaning 'three roads'.
The water of the fountain comes from a restored ancient Roman aqueduct that was called Aqua Virgo. This water was traditionally considered good for health and people would drink from the fountain. Nowadays, the water in the fountain is not drinkable as it is recycled.
The aqueduct is also known as l'Acquedotto dell' Acqua Vergine.
The theme of the fountain is 'the sea.'
A statue of Oceanus stands in the centre. In Italian he is called Oceano. His chariot is being pulled by two sea horses. One horse is wild and the other is tame, representing how the sea can change from calm to rough.
Each horse is guided by the statue of a sea god known as a triton.
There are two statues on each side of Oceanus. One represents 'abundance' and the other represents 'health'.
The Trevi Fountain has been used in scenes of famous films such as - la Dolce Vita, directed by Federico Fellini, Three Coins in the Fountain and Roman Holiday.
When visiting the Trevi Fountain, the tradition is to turn your back to it, close your eyes and throw a coin over your left shoulder (using your right hand) into the water. It is believed that this will bring you the good fortune to return to Rome one day!
If you decide to throw a second coin into the fountain, this will bring you the good fortune to fall in love with someone!