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LAKE ALBANO

Published June 29, 2014 by Tony

– ROMAN ARCHITECTURES –

Lake Albano

The lake Albano is located in the Castelli Romani, on the Alban Hills in Rome, and with its depth of 170 meters is one of the deepest crater lakes.
A lovely stretch of water, dominated by the papal residence, located about three hundred meters above the sea level and that reaches a maximum width of 3500 meters and with a perimeter of  9800 meters.
During the terminal phase of the volcanic activity of the Latium’s volcanoes, the encounter between the masses of magma and the groundwater favored the formation of numerous lakes, such as Lake Albano and Lake Nemi that are the only ones left to date.
From thousands of years, the eruptive activity is still in a quiescent state, but it is still possible to record volcanic phenomena albeit modest, and emanations of carbon dioxide from the bottom of the lake, that cross the water in the form of bubbles.
Apart from its beauty in the setting of buildings and woods, this lake is remembered for the colossal work of hydraulic engineering of the so called  “emissary”, which Romans built in 397 BC using techniques still unknown. The reason for this emissary is mainly due to avoid the flooding of the lake that could destroy the Emperors’ villas.
Instead, according to the historian Livy, this work of hydraulic engineering, particularly interesting for those times, would have been originated by a prophecy of the Delphic oracle:

At the time when the Romans besieged the inhabitants of Veii [in the days when the star Sirius was rising] in the season when the waters of the lakes are lowered, as is the case for all rivers except the Nile, and in a period when there is no rain or other causes perceptible to humans, the lake located on the Alban Hills, where the mother city of Rome rises up, had such a growth of waters to flood a large portion of the surrounding region, destroying many farms, cutting through the mountain and pouring a large river in the plains below.  At first, Romans believed that a god was angry, and voted to propitiate gods and minor deities of the region, and then they asked to the soothsayers what they thought about this, but since they did not have anything to say, Romans decided to consult the oracle Delphi.
In the meantime, thanks to the Veii’s Etruscan soothsayers, the Romans who had besieged Veii, gained knowledge that, according to ancient prophecies, the victory of the Romans against Veii became feasible only when the lake’s water had channeled and used to irrigate the fields. After a short time, a messenger returned from Delphi with a similar response, a thing that pushed the Senate to dig canals to drive the overflowing warm waters of the lake.
Dion.Hal, Romanae Antiquities, XII, 10-12

And so it was; in no time the water reached the sea, at first thru a gallery of about 2500 meters, that appeared near the Via Appia in the locality “Quarto Mole” (below Castel Gandolfo), and then with another funnel that reached “Tor di Valle”, and from there into Tiber river. It has been a complicated manual labor of about 180 cm in height and 120 cm in width, with tunnels and vents that still could be useful in the event of a flooding.

emissary entranceLake Albano’s emissary, which ran until 1980, when ill water level began to drop 1 meter every 3 years.

Emissary

THE PAPAL CONCLAVE

Published March 9, 2013 by Tony


ELECTIONS OF THE NEW POPE

conclave

After the political elections of a week ago, and after the resignation given by Ratzinger on 28 February, now it’s time for the nomination of the new Pope
Thus, after the Pope traveled by helicopter to reach Castel Sant’Angelo, the first encounters between the various cardinals began.
Before the Pope went away, the famous “Fisherman’s Ring“, the papal ring of Pope Benedict XVI that he wore, has been canceled. It is no longer expected its destruction, as tradition demanded until the death of John Paul II, the Apostolic Constitution drafted by John Paul II specifies that the ring can only be Papal Fisherman's Ringstreaked. The person in charge of destroying the “Anulus Piscatoris” is the cardinal Camerlengo, who runs one of the most symbolic ceremonies of the Church with a silver hammer and a chisel, putting now a simply mark and the ring is then preserved in the Vatican archives.
The dismissed Pope can only bring away his personal effects, all the things closely related to his office must remain in the Vatican, including clothes as the camauro (cap of red velvet and ermine), the mozzetta (the skirt), the baleen (the liturgical vestment), any kind of miter and even the slippers.
In the meantime, however, the Vatican is not without government. In fact, according to the canon law’s norms, some figures can manage the ordinary administration of the Church of Rome. In the absence of the Pope only the secretary of state and heaads of department lose their tasks, while all the others remain in office. They have the task of guiding the transition and to monitor the election of his successor.
The Camerlengo is the most important figure after the Pope, because has the task of chairing the seat vacant until the new appointment. Currently he is the cardinal of bishops’ order who plays this role. His functions are varied, from verifies that the pope is actually died,  to the removal of the Fisherman’s Ring, as well as the management of  the Church’s daily affairs.
The Dean of the College of Cardinals is the president of the College of Cardinals who is responsible for convening the Conclave.
The Protodeacon is the title given to the cardinal deacon appointed for the longestblack smoke time. He is responsible for announcing the new Pope
The Cardinal Archpriest of St. Peter is, finally, one of the four cardinals who remains in office after the death or resignation of the Pope.
The Conclave has already taken the first steps through the general congregations of the college, where cardinals dialogue and exchange viewpoints, and this eighth congregation decided that the Conclave for the election of the new Pope will begin Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
Everything is held in the strictest confidence. While assembled in conclave, a Latin word for “locked by key”, nobody knows what they say. We only know the rules. In order to vote, a cardinal must have less than 80 years.
As always, the Conclave will be held in the Sistine Chapel closed for the occasion, and in the afternoon of Tuesday, 12  the cardinals will go in, and probably the first vote and the resulting smoke by the chimney visible from St. Peter’s Square.
white smokeThe first day of the conclave, the cardinals vote only once. In the case of black smoke (produced burning voting cards, notes and documents of the vote by adding a special substance that makes it black), in the following days they vote twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. 77 votes are needed to ascend to the throne of Peter, because they now are 115 cardinals to vote. A cardinal is elected Pope when he gets two-thirds of the votes. After the 34th polling, the ballot takes place between the two cardinals who got more preferences so far.
When a cardinal gets a qualified majority, the Cardinal Dean – presently the Archbishop Angelo Sodano – asks the newly elected whether he accepts and what is the name he intends take. After that, the vote cards are burnt in the stove that will produce white smoke (once wet straw was used, now a particular chemical). A cardinal may also be excommunicated unless he complies with the rules of the conclave.
To avoid any external influence, the cardinals are hosted in the close hospice of Santa Marta where they can not have any contact with the outside. There is no radio, TV or phone line.

nuntiovobis

The eyes of Catholics will be focused on the fireplace. When the smoke is white, the cardinal proto-deacon will look down from the balcony of St. Peter and officially will announce to the world:

“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum! Habemus Papam!

.

Madonna’s gym

Published February 21, 2013 by Tony

Hard Candy Fitness

A mega fitness center of 1,200 square meters divided into three levels, in the heart of Rome, in front of the Colosseum. In the capital the “Hard Candy Fitness“, the pop star Madonna’s gym was born, the first center in Europe, after the one in Mexico, Australia, Russia and Chile.

With five luxury rooms, one for the weights, one for anti-gravity suspended activities, one for spinning and a room for Madonna’s dance “floor concert”. The new ultra-luxury gym will open in Rome on May 26 and will be equipped with advanced equipment. You can experience the philosophy of Madonna’s fitness, with training programs that have as slogan the concept of “Harder is better“. As explained by Mike Apple, vice president of Hard Candy Fitness. <<Madonna began as a dancer, and her concerts are real shows. She trains every day, six days out of six, three hours a day, and proves and re-proves her choreography. She works very hard and thinks that the results can be got by sweating>>. The fifth exclusive spa, named like her 2008 album, comes to life through an agreement with the network of gyms “Dabliu“, Italian licensee of the brand founded by the queen of pop. Andrea Pambianchi, project manager of Hard Candy Fitness says: <<The relationship between Madonna and fitness is very clear, very strong. And her concerts are a proof. At the “Hard Candy Fitness” you will be able to try in exclusive the lessons “Addicted to Sweat” or the workout program that Madonna plays every day>>.
Who knows if Madonna will attend the opening ceremony.

LOVE-PADLOCKS LEGEND

Published August 18, 2012 by Tony

LOVE-LOCKS ORIGIN

We are at the beginning of 2006, when in Italy comes the fashion, for lovers, to affix a padlock to a lamppost on the Milvia Bridge in Rome. Not for nothing, the Milvian Bridge is one of the most renowned area for Roman youth nightlife, being a meeting place and entertainment venues.
Probably those who are not Italian won’t know the novel “Ho voglia di te” (I want you) by Federico Moccia, the following of the first novel titled “Tre metri sopra il cielo” (Three meters above the sky) of 2004, from which there were also produced two films, very followed by young people. It all starts here, with the scene in which Step and Gin, the young and in love characters of the  novel, walking on the Milvia Bridge, at the third streetlamp attach a padlock, then throwing the keys into the river, as a symbol of their eternal love.
For some years there has been the custom for many young lovers to put a padlock on the lamp and throw the keys into the Tiber, in imitation of the film. In July 2007, after the collapse of the lamps, due to the excessive weight given the enormous quantity of padlocks, the City of Rome has installed, adjacent to each lamp, some pillars on which have been attached appropriate chains to which people can attach their padlock. It did not take long and fashion became a craze that has plagued many Italian cities and then also other nations. The “locks of love” were hanging everywhere, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Ponte delle Grazie, the Colle della Maddalena in Turin, on the gate of the house of Romeo and Juliet in Verona, on the promenade of Via Caracciolo in Naples. But we find them also in Portugal, Russia, Hungary, Germany, Japan, Ukraine and who knows where else in the world.
lucchetti_di_ponte_milvio_romaThis practice, widespread  among teenagers especially (but not only), has always provoked the protests of those who think that the locks spoil the monuments and the architectural heritage of Italian cities.
Therefore, the lock of love by Federico Moccia also became the center of attention of the international media.
El Mundo, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, are just some of the newspapers that examined the phenomenon.
El Mundo calls it “an eyesore”, where the romance ends the trouble for local government begin; The Guardian compares the hype generated by Moccia saga with the Twilight cult status: the actor Scamarcio (Italian film’s main character) is the Italian teen idol, just as it became the vampire Edward for American teenagers. A success, said the British newspaper, which exploded in the face of criticism.
Today the spotlight is on the new French craze to hang padlocks on the bridge of the Seine. The Bridge on the River Seine, in front of Notre Dame in Paris, trying to emulate the not so enviable record of the Milvian Bridge in Rome, where abound “locks of love”. Lovers, in the par excellence romantic city, swear to love each other, which supposing to be forever, leave a padlock attached to the railings of the bridge: everyone brings a written incision with the fateful names. The new Parisian fashion fits in the wake of Rome, where in the past the locks have become a model.  For us, it just is history or a legend.

GOOD NEWS

Published May 25, 2012 by Tony

Ventricular Assist Device

The baby of 16 months who two months ago received a special artificial heart, enjoys excellent health. The baby was in serious condition and would not survive while awaiting for a heart transplant. Transplant which then has been carried out successful subsequently.
The intervention, lasted eight hours, was performed in March at the Children’s Hospital “Bambin Gesù” in Rome and for the first time a new device was used, but still in testing phase: a small titanium pump only 11 grams, capable of sustaining a flow rate of 1 liter of blood per minute. In medical jargon it is called Vad, or ‘Ventricular Assist Device’, and is a “temporary” mechanical circulatory support able to maintain a constant cardiac output in a diseased heart unable to perform the pumping function. The unit that had never been used before, has requested a special permit from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Italian Ministry of Health to be used.
But, a good new, finally.

2020 OLYMPICS

Published February 26, 2012 by Tony

OLYMPICS 2020

During the last Council of Ministers, the premier Monti has expressed his opposition to Rome candidacy for the 2020  Olympics, persuading all members of the executive. Then the announcement:

Under present Italian conditions, the government does not believe that would be responsible to face the costs that the Olympics could require“.
Nothing else to add to the dossier and, therefore, no Olympics in Italy, while remain in the race Madrid, Tokyo, Istanbul, Baku and Doha.
Having worked in economics sometimes – Monti said – I know that in an authoritative study as accurate as this, there may be very significant deviations between estimates and actual figures: the Italian economy in other circumstances, perhaps, would have considered the risk acceptable, but in these circumstances it is irresponsible.”
The Prime Minister has made reference to the Olympics in the last 20 years where “there are almost always been important financial trespassing” (referring to Atlanta ’96, Athens 2004 and London 2012). A range of responsibilities, Monti said, adding: “If we are here to deal with a difficult financial situation, it is because so many times decisions were made without regard for financial consequences in later years. It’s  true that Spain is a candidate: but I do not allow myself to enter the Spanish Government’s valuations whom do not know the motivations. We must deal with Italian one and we arrived on the above conclusions.