Sunday, September 2, 2018

Sights of Rome Books

The Sights of Rome

Uncovering the legends and curiosities of the Eternal City

(hard cover, 163 pages, 118 photos)


This book will take you on a fascinating visit to some of the most interesting sites of the Eternal City. You will learn about many of Rome's most famous monuments, such as the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Colosseum and the Moses and Pietà of Michelangelo. But you will also come across lesser-known places and people seldom discussed in other guide books, such as the story of Righetto, a young hero of the Italian Risorgimento, two fifteenth-century courtyards hidden away in a modern hospital and a beautiful stairway in Trastevere dedicated to a young drummer boy. Read the intriguing behind-the-scenes story of the building of Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers and Michelangelo's dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Climb the Janiculum hill to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and see a fountain made of marble from the Forum of Nerva.


The book is filled with interesting legends, myths and curiosities associated with Rome. How did Borromini pay tribute to Urban VIII when he built the church of St. Ivo alla Sapienza? Why does the Bocca della Verità no longer perform its gruesome task of biting off the hand of a perjurer? What possible connection can there be between Pope Gregory XIII and Julius Caesar? Why is a cannon fired every day from the Janiculum hill? Where can you find today the original doors of the Roman senate house? All of these curiosities and much more await you in this intriguing book.



Rome: Sights and Insights

The Eternal City reveals its secrets and mysteries

(hard cover, 253 pages, 212 photos/prints)


In this companion volume to The Sights of Rome, the fascination of this incredible city continues. Many of the mysteries and secrets of Rome are revealed in a simple, straightforward style which will delight Rome-lovers everywhere. Some of the well-known landmarks visited are Trajan's Column, the Spanish Steps, the Ancient Appian Way, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and many others. Less well-known, but no less interesting, are stories about the emperor Constantine, Queen Cristina of Sweden, the annual blessing of the lambs and the talking statues of Rome. Vatican City is represented by chapters on the Swiss Guards, the Sistine Chapel and the Loggia delle Benedizioni (the most famous balcony in the world).


Like its predecessor, this book is filled with legendary stories and intriguing curiosities, seldom found in other guidebooks. Why does Campo dei Fiori have a decidedly anti-clerical reputation? How does a design by Michelangelo on a famous Roman gate ridicule a pope? Why is there an angel at the top of a pagan emperor's tomb? What is the story behind the ancient cobblestones found today on many Roman streets? What famous stairway are you allowed to climb only on your knees? How did the Pizza Margherita get its name? The answers to these questions and many more can be found in the pages of this book.


The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere

A blend of history, art and faith

(soft cover, 95 pages, 108 photos/prints)


In this guidebook of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Vincent Drago will lead you step by step through one of the Eternal City's oldest and most fascinating churches which happens also to be his parish church. For centuries Santa Maria has been the focal point of the Christian community in the historic Trastevere neighborhood. Its twelfth and thirteenth-century mosaics on the façade and in the apse are stunning. Many of the decorations in the basilica are recycled pieces from the third-century baths of the emperor Caracalla. The basilica is home to a sixth-century painting, one of the oldest representations of the Virgin and Child in existence.


The book includes many fascinating curiosities about the basilica, its contents and several of the people who have been associated with it over the centuries. Why did Pope Innocent II have such a troubled papacy? Do you know why Moses is depicted with "horns" rising up from his head? What curious connection is there between the fountain in front of the church and the legendary she-wolf of Rome? What sixteenth-century cardinal's son, executed at age twenty, has a funeral monument here? What is meant by the term "titular church"? What "miraculous" event in the year 38 B.C. led to the founding of this church? The answers to these and many other questions await you in this very readable guidebook.



Tiber Island and the Basilica of St. Bartholomew

A history of healing and worship

(soft cover, 94 pages, 140 photos/prints)


The Tiber Island is a remarkable piece of real estate in the very center of the Eternal City. It is steeped in history and legend, charming and at the same time mysterious. Two ancient Roman bridges connect the island to the mainland and the remains of a third ancient bridge loom hauntingly just a few yards downriver, a reminder of centuries past. One of the few remaining medieval towers of Rome still stands on the island, challenging the charming bell tower of the little church of San Giovanni Calibita just across the street from it. The church, in turn, is incorporated into the Fatebenefratelli Hospital which has been a fixture on the island since 1584.


But the centerpiece of the island is, without a doubt, the Basilica of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, a thousand-year-old church founded by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III in the tenth century. Built over the third-century B.C. Temple of Aesculapius, the basilica holds the remains of several saints, including the body of St. Bartholomew. Despite its age, the church still touches present-day reality since it was chosen by Pope St. John Paul II in 1999 as the permanent memorial of the martyrs for the faith in the twentieth and twenty-first century.


The island and the basilica are the source of many interesting curiosities. Why is there a cannonball embedded in the wall of one of the chapels? What is the story of the ancient water well which still exists in the basilica? How did the island come to have the form of a ship? Why does one of the bridges have the odd name: Bridge of the Four Heads? What bizarre story explains how a saint came to be buried in the basilica as a result of trickery? Why is there such a close bond between the Catholic neighborhood of Trastevere on one side of the island and the Jewish Ghetto on the other side? All this and much more can be found in this little volume.



La Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere

Un insieme di storia, arte e fede

(soft cover, 111 pages, 181 photos/prints)


This is an Italian version of the English Santa Maria in Trastevere book. It is intended not only for native Italian speakers, but also for non-Italians who have a reading knowledge of the Italian language. Although it is a translation of the English book, there are several differences. It has a larger format, more pages and many more photographs and prints. In addition, the text has been expanded to include several facts which are not found in the English book.


To contact the author:

vincentdrago@hotmail.com


To purchase:


The Sights of Rome

and/or

Rome: Sights and Insights


Send a check or money order made out to:


Vincent Drago

3640 Loyola Drive, Apt. 135

Kenner, LA 70065


1 book: $20.00 plus $2.00 shipping

(add $1:00 shipping for each additional book)



To purchase:


Tiber Island and the Basilica of St. Bartholomew


The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere (in English)


La Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere (in Italian)


Send a check or money order made out to Vincent Drago to:


Vincent Drago
3640 Loyola Drive, Apt. 135
Kenner, LA 70065

1 book: $10.00 plus $2.00 shipping

(Ad $1.00 shipping for each additional book)


All books ordered will be signed with a personalized dedication by the author.


Be aware that there is a very limited number of each of these books available. There will be no re-printing of any of them. So as the saying goes, "when they're gone, they're gone".


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Bridges over the Tiber

Today's Photos:

 

1.Ponte Milvio is the site of a battle which changed the course of history.

 

2. Ponte Sant'Angelo as seen from the terrace of Castel Sant'Angelo.

 

3. Ponte Sisto is named after the Pope who had it built. Notice the dome of St. Peter's

Basilica in the background.

 

4. Ponte Cestio has an interesting connection with Julius Caesar.

 

5. Ponte Fabricio is the only ancient Roman bridge still in use today. You won't believe how old it is.

 

6. Ponte Rotto (the broken bridge). The reason for its name is obvious.

 

7. Horatius Cocles holds off the enemy as the Ponte Sublicio is cut down behind him.

 

8. This is my favorite picture of the Tiber Island. In the foreground, amidst the pine trees, is the Fatebenefratelli hospital. In the rear right we see the Basilica of St. Bartholomew with its bell tower. The top of the synagogue of Rome is seen above the trees on the left bank. Finally, one arch of Ponte Cestio is seen on the extreme right side; it leads to Trastevere.

 

 

Many cities all over the world have a river, small or large, which flows through them. One of these cities is, as we know, Rome, the Eternal City, which boasts its rather small but ancient and historic Tiber.

 

A curiosity

 

How did the river get this somewhat strange looking name? The average Roman today would probably have some difficulty answering this question. The fact is that the name derives from a legendary story about Tiberinus, a king of the town of Alba Longa just outside of Rome. He is said to have fallen into the river and drowned. His subjects then named the river "Tiberis" in his honor. The Latin "Tiberis" becomes "Tevere" in modern Italian and "Tiber" in English.

 

Oddly enough, there is no agreement about the exact length of the river. Most sources, however, converge on the figure of 252 miles. It originates in the Tuscan Apennines and flows down through the city of Perugia on its journey to Rome where it ultimately empties  into the Mediterranean Sea at the town of Ostia.  In its journey through Rome it is crossed by 27 bridges.

 

Some of these bridges have interesting and curious stories which help us to better understand and appreciate the history of Rome. What follows is a brief sketch of what I consider the seven most important and historic of these bridges, beginning upstream and working our way downstream.

 

Ponte Milvio (the Milvian Bridge)

 

Here, on October 28, 312, there was an epic battle fought between the co-emperors of Rome, Constantine and Maxentius. This battle was won by Constantine thanks to his vision of the Cross of Christ and the words which he heard: In hoc signo vinces (in this sign you will conquer). This vision and the ensuing victory convinced Constantine to introduce freedom of religion into the empire, thus de facto ending the persecution of the Christians.

 

Ponte degli Angeli (Bridge of the Angels)

 

This bridge was first built by the emperor Hadrian in the second century as an entrance to the area of his tomb. Originally called Pons Aelius from the name of the emperor, Aelius Adrianus, the name was changed to Bridge of the Angels after Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century had a vision of an angel at the top of Hadrian's tomb, a sign which signified the end of a terrible plague in the city of Rome. In the 1600s Gianlorenzo Bernini re-designed the bridge, adding the statues of angels which still line it today.

 

Ponte Sisto (The Bridge of Sixtus)

 

This bridge, which leads into the Trastevere neighborhood, gets its name from Pope Sixtus IV who rebuilt the Roman bridge originally constructed in the third century by the emperor Caracalla. Sixtus had it rebuilt in preparation for the Holy Year of 1475. This is the same Pope for whom the Sistine Chapel is named. Both the chapel and the bridge were designed by the pontiff''s favorite architect, Baccio Pontelli. I crossed this bridge many times, and I almost always reminded myself that it was built 17 years before Columbus discovered America. Just to put our own short American history in perspective!

 

Ponte Fabricio (The Bridge of Fabricius)

 

People never cease to be amazed at this bridge when they learn how old it is. It was built in the year 62 B.C. and is the only ancient Roman bridge which has been in use constantly since it was built. It connects the Tiber Island to the Jewish Ghetto on the left bank.

 

Ponte Cestio (The Bridge of Cestius)

 

This bridge connects the island to the Trastevere neighborhood on the right bank of the river. It was first built in 46 B.C., but was destroyed and rebuilt several times, the last of which was in 1896. It was originally built as a favor to Julius Caesar, connecting the famous gardens of Caesar in Trastevere to the island and the left bank. Caesar is said to have hosted none other than Queen Cleopatra in his gardens when he brought her to Rome.

 

(To get the full story of the Tiber Island and its two bridges, see my book: Tiber Island and the Basilica of St. Bartholomew).

 

Ponte Emilio

 

Just downstream from the Tiber Island is a solitary, ancient arch next to a modern bridge. The arch is all that remains of the Ponte Emilio, constructed in 179 B.C. by Emilius Lepidus. It was the first stone bridge built over the river. The bridge was damaged and rebuilt several times in its history, but after a disastrous flood in 1598, it was decided not to rebuild it. The Romans have given the one remaining arch the name Ponte Rotto (Broken Bridge).

 

Ponte Sublicio

 

There is a famous legend told about this bridge, originally built in the seventh century

B.C. Horatius Cocles, in 509 B.C. courageously and single-handedly  held off the invading Etruscans, giving his comrades time to cut down the bridge behind him. Horatius is said to have been saved by leaping into the river just before the bridge collapsed. The modern

bridge here today connects the Trastevere neighborhood to the Testaccio neighborhood.

 

(To learn the fascinating stories behind the fourteen historic neighborhoods of Rome and their corresponding fountains, see my book: Rome: Sights and Insights, Chapter 17).


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Tiber floods & Via del Corso

Today's photos:


1. The Tiber island with its two bridges on a "normal" day.


2. Almost the exact same view during the high water of 2012.


3. The wall of the basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva with flood markers from various years.


4. A close-up of one of the markers from the preceding photo. See its translation in the text.


5. The straight and narrow Via del Corso seen from the top of the Victor Emanuel

Monument in Piazza Venezia.


6. Here is Via del Corso seen from the other end at Piazza del Popolo.


7. In this painting from 1860, French artist Jean-Baptist Carpeaux depicts the start of the race as he imagined it would have been during Renaissance times. To me it looks like something Michelangelo would have painted, with its twisting bodies and bulging muscles.


8. Another calmer representation of the start.



Tiber Flood Inscriptions


Prior to 1900, before the retaining walls were built, the Tiber river often overflowed its banks and caused serious flooding in Rome. In various parts of the city you can still find markers on the walls of buildings indicating the level reached by the flood waters, as well as the date. The oldest of these inscriptions can be found on Via del Banco di Santo Spirito in the historic center. It is dated November 7, 1277.


A curiosity


This particular inscription includes not only the date of the flood, but also the fact that it occurred during a sede vacante, a Latin term used to describe the period between the death of one pope and the election of his successor. In fact, John XXI died on May 20, 1277 and the conclave to choose his successor dragged on for over 6 months. Finally, Nicholas III became pope on December 26, 1277, over a month after the flood.


There is one place in particular in Rome where you can see several of these flood markers: Piazza della Minerva on the wall of the basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva just behind the Pantheon (photo 3). This area, including the Pantheon, is one of the lowest parts of the city; it suffered many floods over the centuries before the retaining walls were built in the late 1800s to contain the Tiber (photos 1 & 2). Here is the translation of the marker shown in photo 4:


In the year of the Lord 1530 on the eighth day before the Ides of October (Oct. 8), in the seventh year of the pontificate of Pope Clement VII,


(Here you see the hand pointing to the level of the water)


the Tiber rose to this point and all Rome would have been destroyed if the Virgin had not brought swift help.


Via del Corso


Interesting facts about the varied history of Rome can also be found in the stories behind the street names in the city. If you have ever been to Rome you have probably walked along or at least crossed Via del Corso, street of the (horse) race, the main north-south thoroughfare in Rome. It stretches in a straight line for 1.5 kilometers from Piazza del Popolo in the north to Piazza Venezia in the south (photos 5 & 6). The name of the street derives from the running (corso) of the barberi (fast horses) which was held every year at Carnival time along the entire length of the street, starting in Piazza del Popolo and ending in Piazza Venezia.


A curiosity


After the assassination of King Umberto I in 1900, the name of the street was changed to Corso Umberto I, in honor of the martyred king. However, when the kings fell into disgrace after World War II, the original name was re-adopted. Notice that the word corso is now used as the title of any important street, not only in Rome but in all of Italy. So, for example, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II in Rome has nothing to do with the horse race; it simply means Vittorio Emanuele II Avenue.


Getting back to the race itself, it was a real no holds barred contest, more so even than the two famous Palio races held every year in Siena – a real free for all. Unlike the Palio however, this was a race of riderless horses (photos 7 & 8). The contest was discontinued in the late 1800s because of a tragic accident which happened during the race. In the excitement of the moment, a young boy ran out into the street just as the horses were approaching at full speed. The child was trampled to death in the presence of Queen Margherita who was a spectator at the race. This was the last running of the barberi; only the name survives in the label of the street.


A curiosity


Today we take for granted the illumination of the streets of our towns and cities, but of course it has not always been that way. During the pontificate of Pius IX (1846-1878), to the wonder of the population, Via del Corso was for the first time entirely lined with gas lighting.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sant'Agostino









Today's photos

1. The facade of the church of Sant'Agostino.

2. Caravaggio's Madonna dei pellegrini.

3. Chapel of the Madonna del parto.

4. A close-up of the Madonna del parto.

5. The tomb of Saint Monica.

6. The main altar by Bernini.

7. Raphael's Isaia and the sculpture of Saint Ann, Mary and Jesus, by Sansovino.

8. A close-up of the Sansovino sculpture.

9. This mosaic is not in the church, but I wanted to show mother and son together.
In a tiny, crowded and inconspicuous piazza near the north end of the more famous Piazza Navona, stands one of Rome's earliest Renaissance churches, Sant'Agostino (Saint Augustine). The church is often overlooked by tourists, despite its location in the middle of the historic center. Making the church seem even more dominant in the piazza is the fact that it is preceded by a high and steep marble stairway. As everybody knows, every church in Rome has its own history, its own works of art and its own curiosities, and Sant'Agostino is no exception. It was begun in 1479 and finished in 1482.

A curiosity

If you want to see a piece of the Colosseum without actually going to the Colosseum, all you need do is stand in front of this church and look at the facade (photo 1) which was made using travertine stone taken from the famous amphitheater. Another example of pagan material turned into Christian use.

La Madonna dei Pellegrini

One of the most famous works of art in the church is the Madonna dei Pellegrini (the Madonna of the pilgrims) by Caravaggio (photo 2). It depicts two elderly pilgrims kneeling at the feet of Mary who is holding the Christ child in her arms. But this representation of Mary is unlike those serene, pious-looking scenes we usually see surrounding the subjects of Mary and the Child. No praying angels and soft, pastel colors here. The pilgrims are dressed in rags, and their dirty, bare feet are in full view. Mary is also in her bare feet, standing in the doorway of what appears to be a dilapidated building. She holds the naked Child in her arms. The only concession made by the artist to the usual depictions of saints is the barely visible halo over the heads of Mary and Jesus. The painting provoked outcries of scandal when it was first placed in the church.

La Madonna del Parto

Perhaps the most interesting statue in the church is the Madonna del Parto (the Madonna of child-birth) which has been associated with various miraculous cures. As its name suggests, it is a statue before which prayers are said for the safe birth of a child. The statue is located in the rear of the church between two entrances; it is filled with ex-voto (votive offerings) left in thanksgiving for a successful birth (photo 3).

A curiosity

A popular tradition holds that this sculpture was adapted from an ancient Roman statue of Agrippina, the mother of the emperor Nero, and that the child she is holding represents the infant Nero. And if you look at it carefully, it does seem to have a similar facial expression as is seen on other statues which depict Agrippina (photo 4). This would be yet another example of a pagan object turned into Christian use.

The cult of this statue as intercessor in child-birth goes back only to the 1800s when a young worker, Leonardo Bracci, prayed to the Madonna to protect his pregnant wife and unborn child. When the baby was born and both mother and child were healthy, Leonardo donated oil to keep a perpetual flame burning before the statue. Since that time this Madonna has been considered the protector of women in child-birth.

The tomb of Saint Monica

A most sacred and revered area of the church is the chapel to the left as you face the main altar. Buried beneath the altar of this chapel is the body of Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine. She died in the year 287 at Ostia, the ancient seaport of Rome, as she and Augustine were preparing to sail back to their home in Hyppo, North Africa. Monica was originally buried in Ostia, but her body was transferred into this chapel shortly after the church was built in 1482 (photo 5). In his Confessions Augustine gives a moving account of his mother's sudden illness and death.

Next to the chapel of Saint Monica is the main altar of the church, a spectacular work by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (photo 6). It displays a Byzantine Madonna said to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist.

Isaia and Saint Ann

There are also two superb works of art in the center aisle: a beautiful fresco of the prophet Isaia by Raphael and a statue-group of Saint Ann, Mary and the Christ-child (photo 7). Just think, this is Jesus with his mother and his grandmother! The piece was carved from a single block of marble in 1512 by Andrea Sansovino (photo 8).

The church of the courtesans

This church also has the dubious reputation of having been known as the “church of the courtesans” in the 16th and 17th centuries. Courtesans were prostitutes whose clients were wealthy and powerful aristocrats, politicians and even clergymen.

A curiosity

The first three pews in the church were reserved for the courtesans so that the faithful would not be distracted during the services by seeing them face to face. Some of these high-class prostitutes were even buried in the church, including the infamous Fiammetta, the lover of Cesare Borgia, the son of Alexander VI Borgia (1492-1503).

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Protestant Cemetery











Today's photos

1. The first century B.C. Pyramid-tomb of Gaius Cestius.
2. A striking view of one part of the cemetery.
3. The tombs of John Keats and Joseph Severn.
4. The tomb of Percy B. Shelley.
5. You might not expect to see this flag in a cemetery in Rome!
6. A close-up of the inscription of Thomas Jefferson Page.
7. The tomb of Antonio Gramsci.
8. A close-up of the inscription on the Gramsci tomb.
9. The entrance gate to the cemetery.

During the period of the Papal State, burial of non-Catholics within the city of Rome was forbidden. In 1716, however, Pope Clement XI Albani was persuaded by the Stuart family, ex royals of England in exile in Rome, to provide a small piece of land just outside the Aurelian walls to be used for non-Catholic burials.

A curiosity

What prompted the Stuarts to make this request of the Pope? It seems that an Englishman, 25 year-old George Langton, was killed when he was thrown from his horse and struck his head. Since the young man's family wished to bury him in Rome, they asked the Stuart family to use their influence with the Pope to permit the burial. Young Lamgton thus became the first person to be laid to rest in the cemetery in 1718. Over the years his tomb was lost but was re-discovered in 1929.

After the city of Rome fell to the Italian troops of unification and became the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy in 1870, the cemetery was greatly expanded. By 1918 it was considered to be a national monument, and today it is visited by thousands of people every year. It is referred to by several different names: The English Cemetery, The Protestant Cemetery and The non-Catholic Cemetery. And today it has a place in almost all the guidebooks of Rome . . . including mine, The Sights of Rome!

The cemetery was established just outside the ancient city walls erected in the third century by the emperor Aurelian (270-275).

A curiosity

The practice of burial “outside the walls” goes back all the way to the time of ancient Rome when burial within the walls was forbidden to everyone. This is why, for example, the early Christians established their cemeteries outside the walls. Today we know these ancient Christian burial places as the Catacombs.

One reason why it is a popular tourist destination is that it holds the tombs of several famous people including the English poets Keats (photo 3) and Shelley (photo 4), and Joseph Severn (photo 3), the English Consul in Rome from 1860-1872 who was a close friend of Keats. Also buried here is August Goethe, son of the famed German poet, and Antonio Gramsci (photos 7 & 8), the founder of the Italian Communist Party.

A curiosity

The curious fact about Gramsci's tomb is the grammatical error in the short Latin inscription at the bottom of the monument. It reads: “Cinera Antonii Gramscii” (the ashes of Antonio Gramsci), but the “cinera” should be “cineres”.

But aside from the famous tombs, people visit the cemetery because it is such a beautiful and peaceful place with an abundance of tall cypress and pine trees (photo 2). Despite the fact that it is located in a heavy traffic zone of the city, it is a place of almost total silence as it is protected from the noise on all sides by a high wall. People are also attracted by the tombs themselves, many of which are authentic works of art.

A curiosity

There are even a few Americans buried here. One of them is the naval officer Thomas Jefferson Page (photos 5 & 6), a southerner who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. He was one of several southerners who moved to Europe after the defeat of the Confederacy. The first time I saw his tomb there was a Confederate flag flying over it. Unfortunately, the flag has since been removed. Political correctness seems to be making inroads even in Rome!

A unique feature of this cemetery is the administration of it. It is under the patronage of fifteen foreign embassies in Rome, surely a diplomatic feat unequaled in the history of diplomacy! The embassies are, diplomatically in alphabetical order: Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Practically a little United Nations in itself!

There is one tomb which is halfway inside and halfway outside the Aurelian walls. It is a monument known as the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius (photo 1), and it is not at all out of place in a cemetery because it was originally built as a tomb for this Roman official in the year 12 B.C. So we have the third-century Aurelian walls which literally incorporate the first century pyramid, thus leaving half of it inside the walls and the other half outside the walls.

There are many interesting tombstone inscriptions in this little cemetery, and in several different languages, as we would expect considering all the embassies involved. Here are just a few of my favorite ones. Were I still in Rome I would spend another day in the cemetery copying inscriptions!

Sit tibi terra levis (Latin)
May the ground upon you be light.

Sol me rapuit (Latin)
The sun has snatched me up.

Fermi stare qui significa salire (Italian)
Staying still here means climbing up.

Venni a Roma – Salì al cielo (Italian)
I came to Rome – I climbed to heaven.

Britannia! Mihi et meis patria carissima!
Cor, ut semper, meum, si non ossa contines! (Latin)
Britain! Very dear fatherland to me and mine!
You keep me heart, as always, if not my bones!

A curiosity

The most compact Latin inscription in the cemetery is seen above the monumental entrance gate (photo 9). It means: To those who are about to rise. But these seven English words are rendered in Latin by one word: Resurrecturis.

Both the pyramid and the cemetery are overlooked by most tourists, especially those who spend only a day or two in Rome, but it is well worth a visit the next time you find yourself in the Eternal City.