Tag Archives: Rome

Se l’Italia non ci fosse… The view from the pitch

RG triumphantOn 13 August 1973 Richard Greenwood, former captain of England’s rugby union team and father of a 10 month-old son, Will, who would  be part of the World Cup winning team in Sydney in 2003, arrived in Rome to become player-coach of Algida Roma. He stayed for five years, leading his fellow-players to undreamt-of levels of fitness and skill while becoming the person described by his Italian friends as a unique blend of English humour, genio napoletano and spirito romanesco. What follows is his story of his move between two different rugby worlds which nonetheless appear to play the game according to the same rules ….

‘I am in the Osteria dell’Orso on the Friday evening before the 2016 Six Nations rugby match between Italy and England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. I am happily involved with a party of 20 or so of my son Will’s clients and sponsors, but, happier still, I am surrounded by Roman friends and team mates from my time in the 1970s when I was playing for Rugby Roma….

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Francis Towne’s Rome, 1780-1

Born in 1739 to a London grain merchant, apprenticed to a coach painter, interested in landscape painting, Francis Towne went to Rome in 1780, painted 52 watercolours of its sights and monuments, sold none of them, applied 11 times to join the Royal Academy, failed each time, died in 1816, disappeared from art history, his paintings dispersed. Laura Cumming summarises his life as a pointer to the first complete exhibition of those watercolours since 1805, Light, Time, Legacy: Francis Towne’s Watercolours of Rome at the British Museum (21 Jan – 14 Aug 2016).

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The weather in the Roman streets


(C) Alessandro Prada @ Flickr

Glimpsed a classical fashion icon as you sipped your cappuccino in Piazza Navona? Been queue-jumped at the ticket office by a louche member of the Mount Olympus club? Had a funny thing happen to you on the way to the forum? Travis McKenna has been making poetry out of such encounters ….

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‘Gabriele D’Annunzio never met an adverb he didn’t like’

TLS_Beard_396117kThat’s the opening sentence of a review by Joseph Luzzi of a recent translation of D’Annunzio’s Pleasure in this week’s Times Literary Supplement (3 Jan 2014). Apart from this review which chimes in with the recent post on D’Annunzio by Stefano Bragato, the issue has other pieces of interest to Italianists. Focusing on the relation between art and power, Mary Beard compares the celebrations of the 2000th anniversary of the birth (63 BC) of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, by Mussolini in 1937 (the Mostra Augustea della Romanità) with the current exhibition in Rome to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of his death (14 AD), more soberly entitled Augusto. Then Joe Farrell reviews a translation of The Childhood Memories and Other Stories by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (the author said that no one would ever read those memories, sharing the misplaced confidence of many writers that their juvenilia, private correspondence and laundry lists will never be made public). And, for comparative literature specialists, there is also an extended review of Franco Moretti’s two recent books, Distant Reading and The Bourgeois.

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Il Paroliere: Italian Word of the Week – 9

italian-language-courses-300x240O porfido perfido! Indole intimamente vulcanica, sempre in mano agli enragés intenti a distruggere pavé e pavimentazione, ti prenderei a selciate! O cara invenzione di Papa rigoroso e vigoroso (‘Fra ttutti quelli c’hanno avuto er posto/De vicarj de Dio, nun z’è mai visto/Un papa rugantino, un papa tosto/ Un papa matto uguale a ..’)! O dolce parola in bocca all’adetto specializzato nella manutenzione dei bolognini della nostra lingua, di turno ogni venerdì mattina sul Paroliere…..