Monday, February 26, 2018

Roman Churches Under Snow

Here’s something you literally don’t see every decade: snow in the Eternal City that lasts long enough to be photographed! Rome is less than a full degree of latitude south of Boston, but the climate is so much milder that the city is about as capable of handling a major snowfall as Los Angeles or Nairobi. All the schools were closed, so a lot of people took the morning and brought their kids out to the parks and piazzas, making for a really joyous carnival atmosphere. The snow was the most perfect kind of weapons-grade sticky, and many battles were waged throughout the city; Roman children, however, are completely unpracticed in this fine and subtle art, and tend to make Soviet-style projectiles that are effectively too heavy to launch. In Piazza San Pietro, American and English seminarians showed them how it’s done. (Courtesy of Mr Jacob Stein, via his blog Passio XP; more photos at the link.)

From our Roman pilgrim Agnese, the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda, and the Roman Forum.
San Luca e Martina, and the forum of Julius Caesar.
A unique snowman made by Mr Lucas LaRoche, a seminarian at the North American College.
A Barbiconi collar was sacrificed to make this Snow-Pope, the work of Mr Joseph Sigur. (Photo by Fr Kevin Staley-Joyce, also of the North American College; see more at his excellent Instagram account.)
From Fr Dominic Holtz of the mighty Order of Preachers (which did NOT cancel classes at the Angelicum today), some views from the roof. Here are the markets of Trajan, with the Colosseum off in the distance.
Ss Sixtus and Dominic, the church of the Angelicum, and snow-covered trees in the local park...
... and in the cloister.
The rest of these are mine, starting with the dome of St Peter’s, seen from the Janiculum.
From the opposite side of the same park, the dome of the Pantheon and the historical center.

The Acqua Paola, also on the Janiculum, named for Pope Paul V Borghese (1605-21), who made so many beautiful fountains in Rome that he was jokingly referred to as the Fontifex Maximus.

Santa Maria della Scala in Trastevere.
Down the street sits a little chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Mt Carmel, which just missed being damaged by this tree bowed over by the weight of the snow.

The bell-tower of Santa Maria in Trastevere, seen from behind the church; the façade is currently under scaffolding.

The bell-tower of San Crisogono seen from the side of the church...
...and the façade, together with the snow-covered trees on one of Rome’s longest boulevards, the Viale Trastevere.
The bell-tower of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, seen from the Ponte Cestio, the bridge which connects Trastevere to the Tiber Island. In the middle of this photo is seen the one remaining arch of the Ponte Emilio, originally completed in the middle of the 2nd century BC; it is now usually called “il Ponte Rotto - the broken bridge.” Massive floods in 1575 and 1598 destroyed about half of it, but the remains continued to be used for centuries as a fishing pier; most of what survived was pulled down in 1887 to make the modern Ponte Palatino seen to the right of it.
San Benedetto in Piscincula, seen down the alley next to the old Palazzo Mattei; this church is on the site said to be where St Benedict lived when he was in Rome.
By later morning, the normal weather of central Italy reasserted itself, the sun was out, and the great melt was already beginning. Here is the entrance to Santa Cecilia in Trastevere...

...and the courtyard in front of the church, where a snowman was soon to meet the fate that awaits all of his kind.

San Francesco a Ripa
One of the innumerable street shrines.
Bless the Lord, o ice and snow; bless the Lord, all things that bud forth upon the earth; praise and exalt Him above all for ever!

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