Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tour of the Chiesa Nuova and Oratorio di San Filippo Neri, Feb 2012

oratorio (oratory) di san filippo neri built in 1572 by Pope Gregory XIII Ludovisi. Facade restored by Borromini in 1637.

a borromini designed pilaster, no corner was left unturned!

the bell tower of the church 

one of the two inner cloisters, this one filled with orange trees

one of the library rooms in the building, housing old city documents

one of the old books which anyone, with a reason, can use. wills, deeds, city plans of buildings are kept here.

one of the drawings of the facade in the old books

a great window designed by borromini, was very cool. had the outer frame in brown and at a right angle was an inner arched window, leading off to who knows where

 same library, oval shaped, borromini designed. lots of light coming in.

some of the oldest books in the library

a Borromini designed doorframe

the oratory  (being restored)

fresco ceiling of oratory

Borromini's alternating columns, one fat at top and one thin at top. He often used this design in his churches.

balcony area of oratory where people who didn't want to be seen could listen to music. the screen was very pretty in wood.

incredible wooden library from 1581, the oldest in Rome, which houses a collection of about 200 of  san filippo nero's books  in a specially built wooden cabinet designed by Borromini

gorgeous wooden ceiling designed by Borromini

borromini added his touch to some Roman columns. he couldn't leave anything without a flourish.

the columns with Borromini's base added

a second smaller cloister

a wild cardboard cut out of San Filippo which was carried in processions when he was too ill to go himself

San Filippo's confessional in his room of relics

original door to San Filippo's chapel

was once a tomb for san fillippo neri

very cool flooring in one of the rooms which is now a chapel which abuts the chapel in the church where his body is buried.

design changes depending on which way you look at it

chapel with the above flooring.  On the other side of the grating is where Filippo's  body is buried.

main altar in church of Chiesa Nuova

another photo of bell tower from different angle

Borromini's window frames, couldn't be simple, was framed 3 times

another wonderful borromini touch

facade of chiesa Nuova
Went on a great tour of the Borromini designed complex of the Oratorio of San Filippo Neri and the Chiesa Nuova.  Church was built on foundations of an earlier church from the 1200's and was consecrated in 1599.  Oratory dates back to mid-later 1572 and was built for Filippo Neri.   Filippo Neri was apparently a cheerful soul. He came from an aristocratic florentine family,  and he rejected being groomed for a job with the family but instead wanted to do good works for the poor,  help the sick, etc. He went about dedicating his life to these things as a lay person but eventually became a priest in 1551. His oratory was originally built for a congregation of lay people dedicated to doing these good works and was more like a meeting hall than a monastery or convent. The building was for  listening to music,  had libraries for reading and other rooms for praying.  It was connected in ingenious  ways by Borromini which one can see as you walk around the oratory. The oratory is now (since 1902) mostly used for storing city documents as well as as a research facility for people who need to consult these documents. Saint Philip Neri is a very popular Italian saint and his popularity continues to this day. When he was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV,  he was in good company with 4 others, among them Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Francis Xavier, and Isidore the Farmer(?)!   The Italians have a saying that that day 4 Spaniards and one saint were canonized.

Monday, February 20, 2012

a moroccan dinner- Feb 18th, 2012

dinner of Lamb Tagine and Mint Tea with dessert

 Dessert: Dates from Doha ,  Italian carnivale masks chocolate, and french chocolates

table is set

 Dessert: Moroccan oranges with cinnamon and rose water

our side dish or parsley prior to cooking

side dish of eggplant (Zaalouk)

Appetizer: mouhamara (red peppers and walnuts)

my Valentine flowers

our "welcome" drink - a prosecco/hibiscus cocktail


Lamb Tagine, couscous, parsley and eggplant and mouhamara

lamb tagine (tasted a lot better than it looks!)

cooked parsley
Scott and I cooked a fun and yummy Moroccan dinner on Saturday night for friends. Came out great and was enjoyed by all

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Frappe and more

4 kinds of frappe- chocolate, honey, fried and baked from Pasticceria  Andreotti.
frappe  al cioccolato fritto -  fried chocolate frappe 

the classic frappe (fried)
other carnival treats- chocolate covered meringue masks and a cookie mask

honey frappe and chocolate frappe in the baked (i.e. healthy!) version from  pasticceria "Lotti"
One place to find these treats - DAGNINO between Via Torino and Via Emanuele Orlando in the galleria esedra. The Rome branch opened in 1955.
frappe in window of DAgnino

Carnival Donuts.  Haven't tried these treats yet!

Had the pleasure of sampling four different types of frappe (above) from this wonderful pasticceria which has been in Rome since 1931.
bar/pasticceria Lotti on Via Sardegna (off Via Veneto) since 1917.

Valentine's display window at D'Agnino- just happened to come during frappe season!
Bar/Pasticceria Lotti-started as a gelateria (ice-cream store) in 1917 

Carnival for all ages
"Coriandoli" which gets thrown all over the streets, people, objects etc.

carnival enthusiasts on the float

float being driven by a tractor as it goes down Via Nazionale

We are now in full swing of "Carnivale" which culminates on Tuesday with Mardi Gras. Italian children  get a lot out of Carnival as they are often on parade in their costumes anytime prior to Mardi Gras,  or Martedi' Grasso as it is known here.  This year due to our two in a row weekend snowfalls the children have been left with this weekend to celebrate. This morning there was a colorful, noisy parade down Via Nazionale with lots of princesses, pirates, clowns, honey bees etc. all celebrating by spreading lots of colorful coriandoli (confetti) all over the streets and on anyone else in their path.
Young and old alike also get to celebrate with special treats (most of which are fried) and made prior to Mardi Gras to fatten us up. One of these is frappe, a thin, light sort of pastry made from flour, eggs, sugar and butter. Frappe are sold all over Italy and depending on the region you find yourself in the name changes. They are also know as Chiacchiere, Crostoli, and in Venice as Galani. But I think the ones in Rome taste the best.
The classic frappe is fried but  in recent years they have become available in a baked version (frappe al forno, the healthy ones!) as well as in chocolate drizzled, honey drizzled, and  pistacchio versions.
Only in Venice (in Jan.)  have I sampled these fabulous Carnival treats, apple fritters. Melted in your mouth
We are fortunate in that two wonderful pasticcerias  (Dagnino and Lotti) are within walking distance and we had the good fortune of being treated, by good friends, to some delicious frappe from another very famous pasticceria, Andreotti. I have also found that in the Testaccio market the bread maker in the middle of the market makes some lovely chocolate covered, zig-zagged frappe. Frappe/Carnivale season has been great but it needs to end soon!
Buon Carnivale!