SaturdaysonCNN INTERNATIONAL630, 1030, 1430 GMT730, 1130, 1530 CET
April 21st, 2011
10:11 PM ET

What's Not to Love About Italy?

The history, the art, the culture and the charm make it one of the greatest destinations on earth.  So when The Revealer decided to do a piece on the Pantheon in Rome, the whole team was excited.

We were eager to investigate an exciting new theory that this majestic building, one of the oldest in antiquity, may actually have been built as a colossal sundial. It’s a complex piece of academic research that involves how shafts of light pour into the Pantheon at different times of the year.  Make sure to watch the piece on the website to fully understand it.

As we planned the shoot, we imagined filming CNN correspondent Nick Glass pouring over diagrams in quaint cafes and filming sunsets over Rome’s cobbled streets.  That would be the set-up, but we couldn’t cover the story without actually going inside the Pantheon itself.  Or could we?

Like so many historic buildings, you need permission to film for professional purposes.  Easy!  Or so we thought. Hordes of tourists pour through the building’s doors every day.  The only difference between them and us is… well, a few large broadcast cameras, some lights, miles of cables and oh, about seven big boxes of filming equipment. This is where we found ourselves up against the formidable barrier that is Italian bureaucracy.

What should have been a fairly straightforward process turned into a jumble of e-mails sent back and forth in English and Italian. Official requests were sent off and verbal agreements were made, but we still needed written permission to step foot in the Pantheon. When we were just days away from flying from London to Rome, the permission finally came through.  We thought we were sorted, but then another peculiar request came through…

Nick asked for a wheelchair. Not for him, for the camera. There was some uncertainty as to whether we’d be allowed to put our tripod on the floor.  To this day, we’re still not sure why that is. Perhaps it’s a bid to protect the floor – maybe they thought we’d be bringing in the amount of gear needed for a full feature film.  In the end, they did let us use the tripod – which was fortunate, as we needed this piece of kit to make sure cameraman Dave’s pictures weren’t all wobbly.

The wheelchair didn’t go to waste though.  We used it to capture the stunning, sweeping shots of the building’s majestic columns and gigantic doorway. As the researcher on the show, I was relieved that the team did use it, as acquiring the chair wasn’t as easy as you might think.  Most of the rental companies are miles out of the city, so I enlisted the help of Hada and Livia from the CNN bureau inRome.

Italian bureaucracy and wheelchairs aside, another looming issue which we had no control over was the sun. It’s not easy to film a piece on a giant sundial with no glimmer of the sun; or even worse, if there’s rain. Flights were tentatively booked, but nothing confirmed, as we anxiously monitored the weather in one of the world’s oldest cities, occasionally hurling abuse at the weather predictions.

After weeks of negotiation, and a transport strike in Rome thrown into the mix, we came up trumps.  The sun came out.  It’s the one thing you have absolutely no control over. Although, I think we can thank our guest Guilio Magli for its appearance – he’d promised to do a special sun dance just for the occasion.

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Filed under: backstory • The Revealer
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Megan Thompson

    Very interesting video! The things accomplished by the Roman empire are so impressive given the tools at their disposal. They were so intune with the movements of the sun and the heavens, and its effect on the Earth. I have been to the Pantheon and the video did it complete justice and some.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Prashanth

    Sorry guys Italy is a great place and Italians are wonderful people. Their cuisine is awesome and their monuments are some of the most beautiful in the world. But for youngsters such as myself, in this modern times of computers and technology, Italy for me, reminds me of a game called Assassin's creed. Ever since I played the series, I've been wanting to visit Italy. I've also learned a few things about the history of the nation through the game, though there are many pseudohistory in the game as well. Understanding the truth from the false is a task by itself, but the game had surely encouraged me to look into more info on the Italian history. I want to visit Italy as soon as possible.

    April 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      The ancient Romans existed in the ancient world with the Greeks. The culture and religion was an extention of the people at that time. The pagans of ancient Rome were nothing like the Catholics of today. Don't be fooled by a label. Pagans don't believe anything human could do miracles in this world. This was the role of the gods and there were many each with their own traits and responsibilities.

      April 23, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • luigi gori

        Dear Mr.Glen do not say this....ancient gods had wings in the shoes, could stay in more places contemporary, they could fly, and so on. Enjoy Roma

        April 23, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Leo

    First of all, as Italian, I am happy that other people can visit and share such amazing places in my country.

    Now, I don't think that it can be our fault if it rains in Rome while you're filming. Then, yes, bureaucracy is terrible, like in Soviet era almost. But if CNN wants to film such a delicate enviroment, then a few days of emails going back and forth are understandable, I believe. Ah, and about the you know that a number of tourists (from all over, including some Italians as well I reckon) take home tiles and other pieces of our ancient temples, churches and villas, destroying what survived to centuries of warfare and decay? That's a great backstory...

    @Anne: I do recognize that you need a lot of patience to live in Italy...but living abroad myself, haven't visited any country without problems yet. Wish you are well wherever you are now!

    April 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Glenn

    It was my understanding, the hole in the dome was necessary in order to keep the weight of the dome pushing down on the exterior walls and preventing the strucure from collapsing
    It's my understanding that a round hole could be cut into any roof and the rays of the sun could be seen inside while changing with the seasons. Perhaps the Romans understood the rays would filter down to the north during the spring equinox and intentionally placed the entrance were it is. I don't really find this so intriguing.

    April 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kyle

    It must have been very disappointing when it was a cloudy day on the day the sun was supposed to illuminate the emperor.

    April 23, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. luigi gori

    I can say the same of washington, while san diego and new york are fantastic places

    April 23, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. form80

    italy is THE most beautiful and diverse country in Europe and probably in the entire world.
    I wish we could go there once more.
    lots of great history and the way Italians keep their stuff is just amazing.
    great food too.

    April 24, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Gomez the Gipsy Guy

      Diverse? Are you freaking kidding me? Diverse and friggin racist....just ask a gipsy.

      April 26, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Ana

        Not being racist, trust me, however, do you even know WHY Italians aren't particularly fond of Gypsies? I mean, usually, when someone just walks into someone else's house and takes their food by force, they develop a bit of distaste. But maybe that's just me. Of course, obviously there's some stereotyping as not all Gypsies could be like this, but it does happen. And for a lot of Italians, those are the only Gypsies they come in contact with, so they believe they're all like that.

        November 3, 2011 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
        • 4initalia

          The Italian relationship with gypsies is sad and complicated. They are a subculture that is not accepted – and some of the reason they're not accepted is because so many of them want to remain a subculture. It's a mess. But I lived in Italy for a year, adored every minute, and wrote funny stories about it. If you'd like to see the Italy I can't resist, see 4initalia on wordpress.

          November 4, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Cristian

      Erh .. i didnt understant a word of what you wrote! lol. Bill Cosby?? Who's that? and who the hell is leoni di wositt? loool And the model looks really scarey and serious. :O but there is one thing we agree on . DAM COOL SHIRT, the first one is ace. I i quite like the mushroom cloud one too. I wonder if they do girl versions peace out x

      August 30, 2012 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Agnis Z

    Italian bureaucracy? Like you don't have one in America lol I didn't get the point of this article.

    April 24, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Of course the USA has a bureaucracy, but until you've experienced one in any Latin country you don't truly know the definition of Byzantine. France is just as bad as are most Latin American countries. Believe me when you get home you will be astounded at how smoothly our system runs in comparison.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • 4initalia

        One of my greatest frustrations during my year in Italy was in trying to get my credit card – from my American bank – FedExed to me in Italy. Before I left the States, I said "I'll be gone for a year." Aaaand, just before I left, my bank canceled the card. It took me three months – threee months – to get the card replaced. The bank sent the card twice – but wouldn't give me the tracking number, so I didn't know when it would arrive. Since I wasn't there to sign for the card, FedEx would send it back to the States. I'd call, I'd email – and neither FedEx nor the bank would fix the problem. Aiiiiiii.......

        April 27, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Sara

        AAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa .. Can you hear me screaming with joy all the way from Missouri? I bet you can. I am SO ecitxed for you!!! How can you stand it. I still wouldn't be able to sit still I'd be so ecitxed. Congratulations!!

        June 16, 2012 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Deandre

      That's cleared my thoguhts. Thanks for contributing.

      December 17, 2011 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • yglqvi

      4AFVl9 axubxoqbkdki

      December 18, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • bgstkeofb

      nVwUHF nvqximxabyjb

      December 19, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
      • Merredith

        hej annika! har le4st dit blogg ett tag nu efrsteom jag starkt ke4nner igen dina ke4nslor till italien! se5 ja, jag ff6rste5r verkligen hur du ke4nner o ff6rundras sje4lv dagligen f6ver hur man kan ke4nna se5 starkt ff6r en land. men d e ne5nting mystiskt med italien som jag inte kan se4tta fingret pe5 d re4cker med att jag hf6r, le4ser eller ser ne5t om italien och mitt hje4rta klappar! kram

        August 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    There is lots not to love about! Rome is the biggest of all tourist traps in Italy. First of all, don't go as a tourist. There's a whole industry in place, grown and perfected over decades, waiting to rip you off. There are no loop holes, no escapes, unless you have friends or family living there (the 'friendly' restaurant owner next door knows you booked flights and hotel and can't get out anymore). It starts with arrival at the airport (taxis), followed by hotel rooms and then restaurant food. Roman culture and architecture is impressive, really great to experience. Stay a few days, admire it, but then move on quickly. There is more to see in Italy for tourists. Italian Pizza's are generally better in my home town (Munich) than in Rome.

    April 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jayusta

      To add to the above, in Barcelona the ship usually docks near the city. We ayalws take one of the open top city tour buses. They go all around the city stopping at tourist points like Sa Grada Familia, Park Geull and the Barcelona football ground. You can get on and off as many times as you like. Las Ramblas (not far from the port) is a must for walking up and down.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Irene

      I wanted to thank you for your ttfguhhoul coverage in regards to Penn State. I'm not surprised that Biden was so informed, his father has written and sponsored some of the most important legislation in this regard. I listened to Jimmy Williams, and his past earlier today. That took a lot of courage. Its a thankless task, and its very stressful to talk about these things, however, just hearing some responsible media coverage, that means a lot. keep up the good fight.

      August 30, 2012 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. I love Italy

    As an American who lived in Italy for an extended period, I get tired of Italy-bashing. They have a right to expect procedures be followed when allowing access to such important monuments as the Pantheon. I hope they do all they can to protect what they have to share with the rest of the world. I loved my time there. Italians, in addition to having a beautiful country, great food, and warm people who understand how to live life, are absolutely wonderful with children.

    April 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chuck

    After traveling Italy with my wife, renting apartments, going to the markets every morning, eating with the Italians, drinking and conversing with shop owners, i realized how life should be lived. I came back to America with the hopes of one day returning to Italy for good, 25 Days was not long enough. T.I.I.

    April 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. booner

    Been there but made the mistake of not learning their language. my bad as they were quick to help out. I guess i'd do the same with people who do not speak english

    April 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rockgin

    Italy, specifically Rome, is one of the most architecturally beautiful places in the world. However, as a non-white American living there for a year, I should also add that it is one of the most xenophobic and prejudiced places I've been as well. As a 1-3 week tourist, you'd never see it, but living there and being apart of daily life, it's painfully obvious. My other non-white colleagues who were also there felt the same bias and glares. I had visited many times and always wanted to live in Italy, but after the truth was uncovered, my opinion and desires have completely changed. On the bright site regarding the Pantheon, there is a rose festival that takes place every year in which artist Kristin Jones releases hundreds of rose petal from the open at the top of the Pantheon – it's amazing. I'm happy to be a short term tourist in Italy rather than a resident.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ironmet

      Ufortunately racism in Europe is a well kept secret in US. One only hears praises about Europe in regards to culture, health care, architecture. But nowhere you find about true racial profiling everywhere: at work, in hotel, in restaurant, etc. Where in US you hear the anti-black chants during the sporting event or at the concert? One example: officials reiterate anti-racial pledge prior to every soccer game just because of those racial rants by fans.

      April 25, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clarence

      a difference a year makes! Especially in the life of a baby. Baby Aaron's ewobnrn session was one of my favorites ever, and I think I had more compliments on it than any other session

      March 24, 2012 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    The government?

    April 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      Yeah...Communist government or a socialist government... only two choices....

      April 25, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Duh

        Italy's current prime minister is a member of the right wing Pdl. Any more smart comments?

        April 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Keith

    Wait, you wanted to drag all that crap into a millenia-old, massively important world treasue and the Italians wanted some serious procedures followed????

    How DARE they.....what a dumbass report.

    April 25, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  16. James

    The legal system?

    From the pictures I've seen, it looks like a beautiful place, I wouldn't mind visiting, although like any country, my own included, there's plenty not to like.

    April 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Kitt

    I loved Italy up until the day I was pickpocketed. The Italians were quick to blame the gypsies. Just be careful about your cash and cards. My card was used the first hour it was stolen, according to my bank. Luckily for me, they denied the charges (way over the daily limit was requested). But the food and people and architecture were great!

    April 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gianni

      I've been to Italy and Rome tens times so far in my life (I have family there) and I know for a fact it is not a lie when the Italians blame the gypsies. They have very large communities in Rome and other tourist cities in Italy and other European countries. They come from poorer countries, such as Romania, to escape their government there for the very same thing that they are doing Italy. It's really a pretty significant problem. Not only do you have to watch out for gypsies pick pocketing you, they will try to leave their children with you, swarm you by trying to sell flowers, disguise themselves as Carabinieri to search you and pickpocket you.

      April 26, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
      • Stephen Martin

        It's not just the gypsies. I've been ripped off by Italians all over Europe (Germany, France, Switzerland); be alert when in Italian restaurants. Be alert in Italian cities. Be alert, particularly alert, when in Italian train stations. Everything in Italy seems decrepit and about to break, and while the country is indeed beautiful I often wonder whether Italians actually respect and love their country. Want to see the difference in just one facet? Take the train from Milan to Switzerland or from Austria to Italy and compare trains and cities. Ouch.

        April 26, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  18. Kailua Yoach

    Italian men.

    April 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  19. MK

    Rome, The Eternal City......I eternally want to see it again and again!

    April 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Daniela W

    As an Italian citizen who grew up in Italy.... I have to say I smiled at many of the comments here....... Italy is a racist country..... interesting... ( I am not saying that xenofia does not exist however...) have you guys turned on the TV lately here in the US? I wonder if the whole birther issue would even have surfaced if Obama was white... it find it very interesting and somehow coincidental since he is African American all of the sudden this is an issue... and then WE are racist? Really? Italy is a great place with a lot of flaws but I can see that here there is a lot of flaws as well. In my daily job I come in contact with many "poor" Italian speaking people that worked so hard in this country to find themselves broke because of illnesses or the outrageous cost of drugs! I always thought that a country that can fly to the moon should be able to take care of its citizens..... I as an Italian can say we might not have the modern conforts or latest gimmicks available (maybe a year behind) but WE can and will take care of our citizens healthwise until they die. I have never seen anybody going banko there for such reasons.... a little lesson to be learned from across the pond.

    April 26, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Nica

      I must say I agree,lived in Italy for several months.
      Maybe moved,their in the future.

      April 26, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  21. Michele Amato Biancaniello

    Michele is not Michelle... It's Michael in Italian. Good Morning, America.

    April 26, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  22. 4initalia

    I lived in Italy for a year, and savored every moment. taly is fascinating, fun, and frustrating. Buying a stamp, trying to fulfill residency requirements, even getting a cart in a supermarket were funny lessons in cultural differences. But for every frustration there was gorgeous compensation. Gelato, pasta, cappucino – and Italians. Did you know that every September 11th, the town of Modena (Pavarotti's birthplace) holds a ceremony in honor of the Americans who died? In front of a memorial that holds pieces of the Twin Towers? Italians have earned our respect for their amazing art and architechture – and our envy – for their lovely lifestyle. For funny stories about learning to live in Italy, see 4intialia.

    April 26, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  23. xxx

    Italians in general leave much for wanting in terms of organization and manners. Almost as bad as the french. I would prefer to travel South America again than to step foot in western Europe. (Iberian peninsula and England excluded)

    April 26, 2011 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  24. YYY

    Extremely Racist

    April 26, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  25. Living here sucks

    As my amazing wife puts it ever so bluntly "Visiting Italy and living in Italy are two very different things...I suggest the former." Life's great here for all of 2 weeks...then the 3 weeks it takes just to turn on the gas to your house, month it takes for internet, the water heater tank that holds no more than 2 gallons of mildly warm water, electricity switch that trips if you run both a washer and dryer (capable of holding 3 pairs of jeans and that's it) at the same time, and the people who get pissed at me when I don't speak fluent Italian and they can't fully understand me (God forbid they even meet me a quarter of the way with a few words)...after all that...I'm ready to leave this place and only bring with me the good things (food, wine, some pictures, and our "mini Golden retriever-an Italian mixed mutt really" that was abandoned and we took her in)...Visiting here is great...just don't stay too long...for those of you in America saying the grass in greener in may be, but other than mowing it, there isn't much to do outside of visiting old buildings.

    Side note: I'll admit, the Colosseum was awesome...everything else is less than that so once I saw it...a small statue/old church really doesn't do much for me.

    April 26, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • 4initalia

      I did live there, for a year – with no car, with no water pressure, and a washer that held three cups of clothes – two cups if they were dirty. But carrying the groceries a quarter mile from the grocery store kept my family in shape. The lack of water pressure was a constant frustration – but I learned to discuss plumbing, in Italian. And washing the clothes meant a trip to the roof to hang them out to dry – oh, my – the clothesline overlooked the lair of Fabio on the Balcony – the most perfect human being I've ever seen – aaaaaah. It's not that the grass is greener, it's that you have time to enjoy it. Each culture has its pleasures – and frustrations. Enjoy the good stuff – Italy has that in abundance.

      April 26, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • I love Italy

      I never had any negative experiences with Italians not tolerating and supporting my sincere efforts to learn their language while I lived there. Neither did my children, who became fluent very quickly and often received compliments regarding their skill with the language. The electricity issue is part of the European philosophy of meeting and living within certain usage standards to avoid destroying their environment with more power plants. Back in the US, I have lower water pressure and endless waits for service from the cable company. I had to go to great lengths to avoid schools for my children with issues I never encountered in their schools in Italy. I appreciated Italians in many ways and made that clear to them. I didn't complain or lose patience with what are simply different ways of doing things. After all, I was in their country and considered that a privilege. I taught my children to do the same. Maybe that is why we had a great experience and still have friends there.

      April 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • 4initalia

        I agree with you completely. Italians have a much smaller environmental footprint because they have different priorities – they don't live in McMansions, they drive small cars, they don't buy more than they can use. Their culture is much less focused on consumerism than is the US.

        When I bought envelopes, the clerk brought out a package of 50. I expected to buy the whole pack. But then she asked "How many do you want?" In Costco, I would buy hundreds – a lifetime supply. Because she asked me, I bought only ten – as many as I needed. That's "foreign" to our culture, but a good thing. I don't know that that's based on an environmental ethic (I found Italians very skeptical of environmentalists) as much as it is living within the reality of less room to develop and an antiquated electrical grid (not even well off people have dryers, because the wiring wouldn't support it) But because life in Italy is really not about "stuff," Italians live on a smaller, but richer scale.

        Americans refuse to limit their consumption – we buy hundreds of envelopes when we need only ten. Our cars are tanks, even our toothbrushes look swollen compared to what you buy in Europe. It's crazy. I'd much rather live on their smaller and richer scale.

        But the water pressure issue was unique to my apartment – my landlords, who lived next door, had a pump that solved the water pressure problem – but they didn't want to install one for their renters. Their good friend, also a friend of ours, was appalled that they didn't fix that. And after we left, they renovated the whole place for their daughter. I'm sure she's taking fabulous showers!

        I loved living in that culture, where beauty and history and art are as central to their landscape as big box stores and strip malls are to ours.

        If you like funny stories about Italy, see 4initalia on wordpress.

        November 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • pedro

        I would not go with a program like Rossetta Stone, that they sell in the mall or at the iaprrot in separate stands, but going to Italy might be a good idea. Don't stay with only americans, but mix yourself in and go to public places. The only way to really learn a language is to live it.

        March 24, 2012 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
  26. lina

    Rome isn't the only beautiful city to see in Italy. You must check out the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Sorrento, Positano and further south in Sicily the crysal waters of San Vito Lo Capo in the province of Trapani. The food, wine and hospitality is also amazing. I was born in Canada and been to these places once and plan to retire there...arrivederci (or not) North America.

    April 27, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • 4initalia

      My favorite place in Italy was Cinque Terre. Gelato-flavored houses stacked in the cliffs above the aquamarine glass of the Ligurian Sea.To read about CT, see 4initalia. Better yet, go there yourself!

      April 27, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  27. HM

    It's common knowledge that the first two floors of the Parthenon have been altered and redecorated over the centuries. You might very well be right, but a bit more thorough analysis of the history of the building might be pertinent in a report like this...


    HM / Architect

    April 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Love Italy

      This article is about the Pantheon, not the Parthenon.

      May 14, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
      • Matsumoto

        lakesriversoceans on August 15, 2011 Wow! this is very creative Wow! Wow! Wow! U got to see right now this NEW music video about Dropping POUNDS-Shedding Weight & it's a part of a 12 video SERIES cllead: I like the way you move by JM (JM THE MASTER MINUTE)

        March 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Ralph Giorno

    Doesn't he mean March 21, that is the equinox, not April 21

    July 26, 2011 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  29. Grizzly

    If time is money you've made me a wehatlier woman.

    November 4, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  30. qgeusm

    UEVaJG wvjerihhgiqr

    November 4, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  31. yzsddka

    WpzTRV tfwlpcevxfhu

    November 6, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Hassan

      Posted on incredible, that was a very good read. In nosclucion, someone who actually thinks and understands what they are blogging about. Quite difficult to find of late, especially on the web . I bookmarked your web blog and will make sure to keep coming back here if this is how you always write. thank you, keep it up! .

      March 24, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Deepti

      My first shock in Italy, was that people aaulctly use mama mia!Italy is a Latin country, the music, the food, the mess? It's shocking how many stereotypes are true of Rome, and Italy over all.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
  32. Daniel Parker

    Hey guys, Will likely be the U.S. considerably greater off sticking to Syria's Assad?

    December 18, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Eric Jenkins

    What is the exact date that the arch is illuminated in the time lapse images? It's not March 21 (it is above the arch that day) and it is not April 21 (it's below the arch that day). I checked the two historian's research. What day was that filmed by CNN or others? Thanks,

    April 24, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Sinalo

      Annika,I share your feelings too for Italy..being there last year this time, for my brhitday and our 15th anniversary, I miss Bella Italia so much, but with aging parents, work, the economy, we are not sure when we will be able to return.. we were hoping this year but not so sure now. always know that if you are true to your dreams, like I know you are girl, Italy will be real to you again one day ciao Bella

      August 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Classical Archaeologist in Rome

    The Parthenon is probably the best building in the world, but this video is entirely ridiculous.

    1. The temple faces north (which is *not*, in fact, unusual for Roman temples—cf. eg. the temple of Portunus in the Forum Boarium) not in order to produce a "cold" effect, but because Hadrian had the temple rebuilt (the original, built by Agrippa, faced south) with a northern orientation so that it would face the Mausoleum of Augustus up in the Campus Martius—thus creating a triangulation between the three circular monuments of the Pantheon, the Mausoleum of Augustus, and Hadrian's own mausoleum, across the Tiber (now the Castel Sant' Angelo).

    2. The video also makes no accommodation for the fact that *had* the construction been thus calculated—hardly a feat for a people who were able to construct what remains the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world—it would have been calculated on the Julian and not Gregorian calendars.

    3. The Romans had not "just discovered" concrete: they began to use concrete in the late Roman Republic, at least a few hundred years before Hadrian's Pantheon rebuild.

    4. The emperor was never worshipped as a god in Rome while he was still alive (elsewhere in the Empire was a different story); only upon death would he received the term "divus," which means something more like "divine" than "god" (which would be "deus"). The hypothesis that Hadrian would have entered the Pantheon "invited by the sun" (what?!) on either the vernal equinox or Rome's birthday is patently absurd.

    April 24, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Fleta

      How could any of this be better satetd? It couldn\'t.

      August 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
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    What's Not to Love About Italy? – BackStory – Blogs nike shox cheap

    July 27, 2013 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |