Saturday, March 14, 2009

Castel Sant' Angelo, Rome

View from Castel Sant' Angelo, Rome, originally uploaded by - di.

There is something that draws me back to Castel Sant'Angelo every time I am in Rome …

This mausoleum that Emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus began in 135 gives me so much than one would expect from a mausoleum. I have no explanation for this place it reaches, deep in the soul of me.

Maybe it is the walk up the spiral tower intended, some say, for a four-horse chariot or a colossal statue of Hadrian. I love the peace of that walk and I've been lucky to often walk it alone, out of tourist seasons and early enough in the day to avoid crowds.

Perhaps there is something about knowing that it later became a military fortress and acted as such for more than a thousand years … or perhaps it's simply about knowing that this hugely solid structure has been modified through time by new masters and still, it outlived them all.

But perhaps the kiwi in me, the woman from a country of empty spaces, loves reaching the top and standing there on the roof terrace, looking out over Rome and the River Tiber and revelling in being there, in this ancient place so far from home where so many have already stood. A place that has witnessed so much.

It's a place I love.


Kay said...

It must be almost surreal - that's the sense I get anyway. Time and Place - deep, deep spaces we can never get to the bottom of.

Di Mackey said...

It is surreal, Kay. Those places we read of ... perhaps I thought they were myths or fairytales too - to be here is simply staggering sometimes.