Daily Rome Shot 102

Photo by Bree Dail.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Gab says:

    Can’t wait to read what ThePapalCount has to say on this picture. Yes, yes I can look it up online but it’s not the same as hearing about the backstory and such.

  2. ThePapalCount says:

    This is the Roman Planetarium. It was one of Europe’s oldest planetaria and is located a distance from central Rome. Few visitors make it there. In fact, I confess, I’ve never been to it. Others have said that it needs an updating and a technical face-lift. I do know that in such a place you are able to stand or sit and look up the stars and the sky projected on the ceiling. However, in Rome I prefer to look up and study the ceilings in the churches I visit. The handiwork of God through the artists of the day, who created such magnificent ceilings, show to me the creativity and majesty of God as much as the ceiling of a planetarium could ever do. That might make for a good Roman “coffee-table book” — “The Ceilings of Rome”. The ceilings of so many of the churches tell us remarkable stories of things Divine. They’re statements of Faith. So, in Rome, I urge us all to keep looking up ….at the ceilings.

  3. I’ll add a few relevant and irrelevant details.

    This was the Octagonal Hall of the Baths of Diocletian, which were the largest of the ancient Roman baths. Some of the ruins house the Church Santa Maria degli Angeli, which has touches of Michelangelo and a great long solar clock that was used to mark official noon in Rome. I’ve written about that elsewhere.

    This building was indeed a planetarium. There are digs, and you can see foundations, etc.

    The last time I was in there, a long time ago, I walked in to find the incredible ancient bronze Boxer, who has since both travelled and relocated. I’ve seen him a couple times in other locations, once I think in LA at the Getty and once at the Met. It is stunning, and the tale of its discovery is dramatic. I think it’s home is the Palazzo Massimo near these ruins of the Baths of Diocletian.

    The Plantarium is not to be confused with the Septizodium (seven planets) built by the Emperor Septimius Severus near the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill. That place eventually went to ruin and was demolished. BUT… not before it was used as place of a forced conclave to elect Pope Celestine IV (Castiglione) in the 13th c, in the time of Frederick II, Hohenstaufen who tried to capture cardinals going to the conclave. In a nasty hot rainy August in 1241 cardinals gathered and were gridlocked for two months. The troops of the governor of Rome at the time, Matteo Orsini – a personal friend of Francis of Assisi, were urinating on the roof tiles, which leaked into the palace with the heat and rain. Celestine IV died 17 days after his election, but not before excommunicating Orsini. Orsini’s son eventually became Nicholas III. Only one Pope had a shorter reign, Urban VII in the 16th c.

  4. ThePapalCount says:

    In all humility I fall before Fr Z on my sword. I was way off. I was talking about the modern Roman planetarium — which I have never visited. But this PLANETARIO is of course near the Termini station. I confess I had not ever been struck by this entry way. I was lost. Yes, Father Z ,these are the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian and the most beautiful and frequently visited church – St Mary of the Angels and Martyrs is attached. And it does contain the great solar clock that determines Roman time. It’s a magnificent church. I apologize to readers for misleading them to Rome’s more modern but technically challenged, I am told, planetarium in the EUR district.
    I grovel before genius.

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