The light this morning is fabulous. I ought to get out and experience Rome as it wakes. Walking down the river Tevere, or the Tiber as the English-speakers seem to call it, is a glorious experience. Look at that light. It’s time to use my Olympus Trip 35 and some film.
There are rays of sunlight and an early haze over the water.
Looking upstream I can see Ponte Sisto, a bridge built between 1473 and 1479. It has a large ‘eye’ called an oculus on one of its spandrels as a protection against the force of a flood. It’s a beautiful ancient bridge.
Over 20 generations of people have walked over Ponte Sisto since it was built in the Italian Renaissance. Maybe Raphael (or Raffaello, which was his actual name) walked over it, as he was born shortly after it was constructed, and worked for a while painting in the nearby Villa Farnesina.
Who other than the Pope could afford Raffaello to do their interior decoration?
Agostino Chigi could. A banker. Obviously.
Agostini was so rich that he would host parties at Villa Farnesina and throw the silver plates ostentatiously out of the Villa’s window into the Tevere after eating his food, ostensibly to show his contempt for money. Naturally, being a banker, he had staff and nets below to catch all the silver before it reached the river.
People don’t change.