The Borromini’s lantern: the fire of the Knowledge

Imagine to walk peacefully throught the fine streets in the city centre of Rome.
Now, imagine to have to the right an open door.
Passing the entrance, you will stay just in the centre of a courtyard, surrounded by columns. But what is majestic and truly beautiful is a white and brilliant lantern set above a church in front of you.

That lantern, the architectural final part of a dome in a church, has a spiral shape, recalling movements and virtuosism. It isn’t a dream, but a true church which stands not far from Piazza Navona. This is the church of Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza, and the genius who created it and its wonderful lantern was one of the most important artists in Rome: Borromini

The Borromini’s lantern

Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza

It was a church projected during the XVI century, when all the area was under restoration.
What is foundamental to say is that this place was famous in Rome, just because it was the first headquarter of the La Sapienza University.
It was inaugurated during the first years of the XIV century by the Pope Bonifacio VIII, who wanted to show how the city could be the birthplace and the core of the Knowledge.
But over the centuries it was quite destroyed and abandoned.
This is the reason why in the Renaissance, a time in which whatever you want in Rome was restored and built, La Sapienza University was one of the palaces chosen for some restorations.

Cupola - Chiesa Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza

After many years the construction site wasn’t finish.
It was a huge problem, due to the image of Rome which had to indicate the city not only as the place of the Church, but also the refuge of Arts and Wisdow.

They could be created thanks to the deeds of the Christian Church and for this reason the sacred building was essential. Borromini started to work there with a simple aim: he had to built something that could remember to everybody the real symbols of the place.

The Lantern

We could speak a lot about the great project created by the master. How he was able to use geometrical shapes in order to produce a star map, how the inside of the church was so brilliant… but we have to put our attention to the fantastic lantern! An architectural element which connects the ground with the sky, with its curved lines and decorations.

What do it represents?

The lantern is the Fire of the Wisdow, but not only…it symbollically regains the Babele Tower, which was also a symbol of the human Knowledge. Moreover, the lantern regains also the Headlight of Alessandria, other human masterpiece.
So, in this way we could understand how Borromini played with the history and the traditions, in order to obtain something that managed to represent some of the most important human discretions.

Then, he was able to create something more: a new must see monument in Rome!

A marble intruder at Trevi Fountain

Fontana di Trevi Roma

 

Walking around the famous Trevi Fountain, while your look is totally catched for the great beauty of the majestic Baroque masterpiece, you could find an odd object which seems stand here just for a mistake.
But what is looks like a giant marble vase, it’s the main character of a curious story.
This is the tale of the Ace of Cup

 

 

During the construction site of the gorgeous fountain, the architect Nicola Salvi had some troubles with a picturesque man who lived and worked just close to the place in which would be set the Trevi Fountain. He was, according to the history, a little and fat barber who stood inside his shop, in order to cut the hairs of his customers.
Ace of Cup Trevi FountainThe problem was just one: each day and for many times, this man managed to criticize the Nicola Salvi’s project.
How was annoying it!
Imagine how was terrible for the architect stay here while that man found everytime an excuse for disapprove the construction site!
So, for this reason, Salvi decided to put something which could impede the look at the barber.

And the great solution imagined from the architect was this big marble vase which at the beginning was named as the Ace of the playing card.
And today the name is still the same!

Ace of Cup Trevi Fountain

When you are in front of Trevi Fountain, with its huge sculpted groups which symbolize the real dynamism of the water, try to take a glance at the right.
Very close to the false rock which creates the impressive scenic design of the Fountain, stands this marble vase decorated with naturalistc reliefs.
It’s an example of the Roman tradition

But would you know what is the strange thing?
It is that this story it isn’t just an invention or something similar.
This is the truth!