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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Discover the Abbey of Farfa

12:16 PM
The masterpiece- Last Judgment, oil on plaster, Dirk Barendtz. (1534-1592)
Van Mander about him: "nursed at the great Titian's bosom"
This depiction of the subject derives from Tintoretto's Last Judgment (Madonna dell'Orto, Venice) in both its general composition and individual motifs. Like several other Netherlandish painters, Dirck Barendsz. may have worked in Tintoretto's studio for a while. There, or in its owner's house, he would also have seen Tintoretto's Susanna and the Elders (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), of which he makes use for the female sinner shown being resurrected in the lower part of his composition.
#christheguide #giovannasapori #barendsz #farfa #abbaziadifarfa #dutchmannerism #mannerism #romanguidesonholiday
#vanmander #fantachinotto #riverparione #beniculturali3.0

Less than one our by car from Rome (about 60 km) - in the area of Rieti, on the ancient via Salaria - there is the extraordinary Benedectine Territorial Abbey of Farfa.

A little bit of History:
A legend in the 12th-century Chronicon Farfense (Chronicle of Farfa) dates the founding of a monastery at Farfa to the time of the Emperors Julian, or Gratian, and attributes the founding to Laurence of Syria, who had come to Rome with his sister, Susannah, together with other monks, and had been made Bishop of Spoleto. According to the tradition, after being named bishop, he became enamoured of the monastic life, and chose a forested hill near the Farfa stream, a tributary of the Tiber, to build a church and a monastery. Archaeological discoveries in 1888 find strong evidence that the first monastic establishment was built on the ruins of a pagan temple. This first monastery was devastated by the Vandals in the fifth century. Only a handful of sixth-century finds document the early presence of the monastic community. 

In the seventh century, a wave of Irish monasticism spread over Italy. The foundation the Abbey of Saint Columbanus in Bobbio. and of Farfa by monks from Gaul, about 681, heralded a revival of the great Benedictine tradition in Italy. The Constructio Monasterii Farfensis, which dates probably from 857, relates at length the story of its principal founder Thomas of Maurienne; he had made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and spent three years there. While in prayer before the Holy Sepulchre, the Virgin Mary in a vision warned him to return to Italy, and restore Farfa; and the Duke of Spoleto. Faroald II, who had also had a vision, was commanded to aid in this work. At a very early date we find traces of this legend in connexion with the foundation by three nobles from Benevento of the monastery of St Vincent on the Volturno, over which Farfa claimed jurisdiction. Thomas died in 720; and for more than a century Frankish abbots ruled at Farfa. 

The Lombard chiefs, and later the Carolingians, succeeded in withdrawing Farfa from obedience to the Bishops of Rieti, and in securing many immunities and privileges for the monastery. If we may credit the Chronicon Farfense, with the exception of the Abbey of Nonatola, Farfa was at this period the most important monastery in Italy both from the point of view of worldly riches and ecclesiastical dignity. It had one large basilica church and five smaller ones, rich in the work of master goldsmiths. This excited the greed of the Saracens: and about 890, during the government of Abbot Peter, they besieged the abbey. Peter held out against them for seven years, and then resolved to abandon the monastery. He divided his monks into three sections and shared the abbey's wealth among them — one section he sent towards Rome, one towards Rieti, and one towards the county of Fermo. The Saracens preserved Farfa as a stronghold, but some Christian robbers set fire to it by mistake. 
Between 930 and 936, Farfa was rebuilt by Abbot Ratfredus, who was afterwards poisoned by two wicked monks, Campo and Hildebrand, who divided the wealth of the abbey between them, and ruled over it until Alberic I of Spoleto, Prince of the Romans, called in Odo of Cluny to reform Farfa and other monasteries in the Duchy of Rome. Campo was exiled, and a holy monk with the Merovingian name of Dagibert took his place. At the end of five years, he also died by poison — and the moral condition of Farfa was once more deplorable. The monks robbed the altars of their ornaments, and led lives of unbridled vice. 

Owing to the protection of the Emperor Otho, the abbot John III, who had been consecrated circa 967 by the pope, succeeded in re-establishing a semblance of order. But the great reformer of Farfa was Hugues (998-1010). His nomination as abbot was not secured without simony — but the success of his government palliates the vice of his election. At this instance, abbots Odilo of Cluny and William of Dijon, visited Farfa, and re-established there the love of piety and of study.
The Consuetudines Farfenses drawn up about 1010 under the supervision of Guido, successor to Hugues of Farfa, bear witness to the care with which Hugues organized the monastic life at Farfa. Under the title Destructio Monasterii, Hugues himself wrote a history of the sad period previous to his rule; and again under the title Diminutio Monasterii, and Querimonium, he related the temporal difficulties that encompassed Farfa owing to the ambition of petty Roman lords. These works are very important for the historian of the period. 

One of Hugue's successors, Berard I, abbot from 1049 to 1089, made the abbey a great seat of intellectual activity. The monk Gregory of Catino (b. 1060) arranged the archives. To substantiate Farfa's claims and the rights of its monks, he edited the Regesto di Farfa, or Liber Gemniagraphus sive Cleronomialis ecclesiæ Farfensis composed of 1324 documents, all very important for the history of Italian society in the 11th century. 
In 1103, Gregory wrote the Largitorium, or Liber Notarius sive emphiteuticus, a lengthy list of all the concessions, or grants, made by the monastery to its tenants. Having collected all this detailed information, he set to work on a history of the monastery, the Chronicon Farfense; and when he was 70 years old, in order to facilitate reference to his earlier works, he compiled a sort of index which he styled "Liber Floriger Chartarum cenobii Farfensis". Gregory was a man of real learning, remarkable in that, as early as the eleventh century, he wrote history with accuracy of view-point, and a great wealth of information. 
The monks of Farfa owned 683 churches or convents; two towns, Centumcellæ (Civitavecchia) and Alatri; 132 castles; 16 strongholds; 7 seaports; 8 salt mines; 14 villages; 82 mills; 315 hamlets. All this wealth was a hindrance to the religious life once more. Between 1119 and 1125, Farfa was troubled by the rivalries between Abbot Guido, and the monk Berard who aimed at being abbot. During the Investiture conflict, Farfa was, more or less, on the side of the Ghibellines. The monks issued an Orthodoxa defensio imperialis in support of the Ghibelline party. The collection of canonical texts contained in the Regesto seems to omit purposely any mention of the canonical texts of the reforming popes of the eleventh century.s But when, in 1262, the victory of the popes over the last of the Hohenstaufen put an end to the Germanic rule in Italy, Farfa sought the protection of Urban IV. At the end of the 14th century the Abbey of Farfa became a cardinalatial in commendam, and since 1842 the Cardinal Bishop of Sabina, a suburbicarian bishop, bears also the title of Abbot of Farfa. 

The Orsini family stayed up to early 16th century, consecrating the Cathedral in 1494. Then came the Della Rovere, but the Orsini came back and stayed until 1542; finally it was taken over by the Farnese family. Under the management of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, the monastery joined the Cassinese Congregation (1567). During the next two centuries, in spite of some restorations and new constructions, Farfa lost all importance. Soon after, Napoleon's suppression came in 1798, followed by the Italian one in 1861 the results being that part of the possessions were sold to private citizens. The inheritors of the last owner, Count Volpi, gave the part of the monastery owned by them and some land around it to the monks. In 1920, a group of monks sent by Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster, then Abbot of the Abbey of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome (attached to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls), gave a new life to Farfa Abbey by starting anew traditional monastic praying (the Divine office) and living. In 1928, Farfa was declared a national monument but only much later did restructuring work to the building take place.

The Cathedral has a huge Romanesque gate, with magnificent floral friezes. The interior has three naves, and the middle one is surmounted with a lunette representing the Virgin and the Child. The Renaissance hall has several chapels: the most venerated image of Farfa is housed in the Crucifix Chapel. The interior wall of the façade has a fresco depicting the Last Judgment (1571).

Ruins of the ancient 9th century church are included in the church and the monastery. In 1961, in the apse, a precious Roman sarcophagus from the 1st or 2nd century AD was discovered. The large cloister is from the 16th century. The bell tower belongs to the original Carolingian buildings. Inside, at the lower end, Abbot Sichard had an oratory built.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I Giubilei attraverso i secoli e l' arte

3:41 PM

Video - Un itinerario attraverso i luoghi dei Giubilei nei secoli.
- San Giovanni in Laterano ed il primo Giubileo.
- L'Ara Coeli e la cattività di Avignone.
- Piazza del Popolo e la porta dell'Urbe.
- Il ponte dei pellegrini: ponte sant'Angelo.

Prodotto da Next New Media per
Scitto e condotto da Christiaan Santini

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tour: The Sacred and the Sexual

12:38 PM

Palazzo Barberini is an an extraordinary Baroque palace built for Pope Urban VIII. It hosts the national collection of Renaissance and Baroque art. 
Discovering this unique art collection we will focus on the development of European taste in matter of nudity, sexuality and love to find out that both profane and sacred art pieces are valuable historic sources to comprehend the morality of the European society through the centuries.

  - In Christian societies, patrons and artists valued chastity and celibacy. Depictions of unclothed bodies were very rare and used just to convey ideas of shame, how and when did it change?

- What is the influence of "classical" Greek and Roman art nudes on the development of European art?

- Nudity in Christian art is just a consequence of Renaissance naturalism or it is an aesthetic choice guided by deep religious beliefs? 

- What is the difference in-between nudity and nakedness?

- Are sex objects in art shown just for the viewer's gratification?

- Could sexuality in mythological and biblical themes panting be elevated as a legitimate subject of art?

-Practical information-
Every day exept mondays.
Duration:       2 hours
Languages:    italian / english / español / nederlands

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Summer tips by Chris

8:04 PM

Rome has a lot to offer, a never ending list of notable places, I would need a book to give you a proper list.
However, if you want to grab some ideas ad suggestions by a local:

The Roman National Museum. It hosts the most important collection of Roman sculptures, mosaics and paintings of the city, maybe even more important than the Vatican Museum collection but with the advantadge that it is never crowded (I do not really understand why…). If you go do not miss: the Boxer statue, the Portinari sarcophagus and the house of Livia paintings. With the same ticket you can also visit other 3 museums: The Domitian Thermal baths, Althemps Palace and the Crypta Balbi.
Pas mal... 

Another great museum to visit is the "Capitolini", that has also a wonderful rooftop cafeteria and and incredible view on the Forum (not to mention the amazing art collection). It is by the way the fist museum ever opened to the public in Europe!

The most astonishing ruins in Rome are no doubt the Thermal Baths of Caracalla. Huge pillars and vaults built tin the IIIrd cent., are to me the highest masterpiece of Roman engineering you can find
Have a walk if you can in Trastevere, it is a very nice district, full of charme, art and good food.
Do not miss the main church, Santa Maria in Trastevere, the pastry shop “Biscottificio Innocenti” in via della luce and the pizza and supplì street food style at “Venanzio, la Casa del supplì” in via San Francesco a Ripa.

Other nice discoveries are the undergrounds of San Crisogono church (ask the old man in the sacristy ,he will open you the door and turn on the light with a little tip) and the nuns choir of Santa Cecilia church (with 3 € you can go on the 1st floor and admire the wonderful frescoes by Pietro Cavallini)

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About Us

Christiaan Santini, Rome, Italy / - Tour Designer, Tour Guide, Tour Manager / Official Tour Guide license issued by the Regional Administration of Rome (nr. 4545) / p.iva: 12307641006 / c.f.: sntcrs79e19h501o / Nationality: Italian-Dutch