ROME – Walked up a hill to see the most famous – and most infamous – of all tennis players. That would be the great painter Caravaggio, of course.
Marvelous Spanish Steps with Mother's Day display of azaleas
Oh, I know he’s been dead for 400 years, but you never know who you’ll run into while wandering along Rome’s skinny cobblestone streets. Caravaggio, whose straight name was Michelangelo Mensi, is hanging out on the museum walls of the Scuderie del Quirinale, where he grabs you with stark reality: from a bowl of fruit – you reach for a pear – to Goliath’s decapitated head. He, the conquering David, is a self-portrait and his last painting . More contrasts; the Annunciation sharing space with a prim lady cutting a man’s throat. Not to mention believable angels, seductive St. John the Baptists (no less than four versions) and a game of cards. continue reading »
May 21 2010 | Italy and Travel | 3 Comments »
While Roman emperors have come and gone over the centuries, the current one – of Spanish origin – holds the old town in the palm of his left hand. And has no intention of letting go.
One of the giant sculptures surrounding the Pietrangeli Court
Crowned for a Roman record fifth time, Rafael I should be known as Ravaging Rafa as he comes to town, sweeps up the goodies, and nobody dares to resist. Rafa started winning the Italian Open as a teen-ager in 2005, and boosted his match record here to 27-1 by beating countryman David Ferrer, 7-5, 6-2, on a cold, wet and windy Sunday. continue reading »
May 02 2010 | Tournaments | 1 Comment »
ROME — For 35 years, a remedy to Boston’s erratic, pseudo spring has seemed to be a flight to the Italian Open and almost guaranteed sunshine. Rome sweet Rome has been the annual escape for me since 1973, a discovery of Il Foro Italico, the playpen whose earthen courts have been such a frustrating mystery for American guys.
The artwork at the Italian Open this year was beautiful images of players....
Originally named Il Foro Mussolini for the dictator of the 1930s, who had it built and fancied himself as a high-grade hacker playing with a private coach, it nestles beside the Tiber at the foot of Monte Mario. Numerous of Respighi’s glorious “Pines of Rome” are hunched beside the courts, and the crowds become wildly passionate if one of their own is on view. They adored Adriano Panatta, the last homeboy to win the title in 1976, and threw coins at the young Swede, Bjorn Borg, to distract him in the 1978 final against Panatta. Borg cashed in, however, and never returned.
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May 17 2008 | Rome Masters | No Comments »
ROME- Amid a black cloud of habited nuns, all of us playing kneesies with a rising series of walnut planks, I wonder if a cluster of orthopedic surgeons will be at the top, offering a Jubilee Year discount on arthroscopic carving.
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May 01 2000 | Italy | No Comments »