As a kid I was very fond of the comic books of Asterix. Then of course, Rome is thè city to long to go to. For a long time I wondered what today's Rome would be like and how much of the past could still be seen. Kurt Hielscher must have had the same interest in 1925, when he published not only his photoalbum of Italy but also another one solely on Rome. I have been in Rome twice: in March 2012 and November 2016. At the time I did not start this photoproject yet, so all the similarities between the then&now photos on this page are accidental. More important: next time in Rome there will be an ambitious quest waiting for me. So much looking forward to that.
Forum Romanum, Temple of Saturn (497 B.C.), 1925. Photo: Kurt Hielscher
Forum Romanum, Temple of Saturn (497 B.C.), 11th of November 2016. Photo: Casper Molenaar
The differences between the impressive Temple of Saturn at the Forum Romanum in Rome in Italy between 1925 when Kurt Hielscher took his photo and 91 years later when I did are not as big as the changes in the 1500 years before. The original Temple of Saturn (497 BC) is one of the oldest temples in Rome and was rebuilt in 42 BC and again in the fourth century AD after a devastating fire, hence the inscription: "Senatus Populus Que Romanus Incendio Consumptum Restitvit," "Destroyed by fire, Restored by the Senate and the People of Rome." The temple housed the aerarium, where Romans' reserves of gold and silver were stored. It is truly an amazing place where history comes back to life, with only a small portion of imagination needed.
Me and Iulio Caesare, 14th of March 2012.
Me and Iulio Caesare, 10th of November 2016.
Though not the exact same photo, I think it is still an awesome view to see the Colosseum in 1925 by Kurt Hielscher and mine 87 years later next to one another. In 72 AD Emperor Vespasianus initiated the building of the amphitheatre with a 527 meter circumference funding it with the revenues of the looting of Jerusalem two years earlier. The opening games in the 80 AD lasted a 100 days.
Colosseum, 1925. Photo: Kurt Hielscher
Colosseum, 15th of March 2012. Photo: Casper Molenaar
Let's make a jump in time and go to the Piazza di Spagna where we find the Spanisch Steps, built in 1725 AD and named after the square and the impressive church Trinità dei Monti on top of it and the Obelisco Sallustiano in front of the church. The church is founded by the French King Louis XII and its construction began in 1502 and was completed in 1587. The French prefer to name the steps "l'escalier de la Trinité-des-Monts" so without referral to name of the square. Italians use both names. The Spanish Steps contain of 135 steps, interrupted by two wide terraces. The fountain dates back to 1629. Question: do you think it is the same palm tree on the right?
Fontana della Barcaccia, Spanish Steps and the Trinità dei Monti, 1925. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Fontana della Barcaccia, Spanish Steps and the Trinità dei Monti, 11th of November 2016. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
View on Rome from the top of the Spanish Steps in front of the Trinità dei Monti, 15th of March 2012. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Built between 123 and 139 AD, the Castel Sant'Angelo was originally the mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian. When I walked there I did not realize the building is that old. The castle served as a hiding place for the popes since the Vatican was situated outside the city walls. When danger emerged they could escape behind its walls via a corridor. The bridge in front of the castle was built in the same era.
Ponte and Castel Sant'Angelo with view on Saint Peters Cathedral in Rome, 1925. Photo: Kurt Hielscher
Ponte and Castel Sant'Angelo as seen from the other side of the bridge with the tower from the building of the National Association for the Mutilated and Invalids of War , 16th of March 2012. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Ponte Sant'Angelo with view on Saint Peter's Basilica, 10th of November 2016. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
Built between 1506 and 1626, the Saint Peter's Basilica was the largest church in the world until 1989, but still is in Europe. Its dome has a diameter of 42.60 meters.
Basilica di San Pietro, 1925. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Basilica di San Pietro, 16th of November 2016. Photo: Casper Molenaar. Remember this is accidentally shot, almost from the same place.
In the Basilica di San Pietro.
De diameter of the Pantheon is a little larger: just over 43 meter. The opening in the dome has a diameter of nine meters and is the only daylight that enters. The Pantheon is way older. It find its origins in 27 BC but destroyed in a major fire in 80 AD, but restored by Emperor Domitian. In 110 the Pantheon was struck by lightning. For a second time, the Pantheon had to be rebuilt. Emperor Hadrian had the Pantheon completely rebuilt between 119 and 125, giving it its current round shape.
Pantheon, 1925. Photo: Kurt Hielscher.
Pantheon, 16th of March 2012. Photo: Casper Molenaar.
The opening in the dome of the Panteon is 9 meters wide. Photo: Casper Molenaar, 16th of March 2012.
Kim and me having diner in a restaurant in the Trastavere neighborhood.
Taking a rest somewhere in Rome, 15th of March 2012. Photo: Kim van Ierssel.
Within the crowds at the Trevi fountain, I found some fun in photographing tourists who were more busy with themselves than the fountain. Here a compilation of snapshots, mainly shot at the Trevi fountain. Nobody noticed I was photographing, some from really close by.
And this is what the tourists were making selfies with: the stunning Trevi fountain. Of course Kurt Hielscher made a photo here too, but I will update this page every now and then.
Below: sunset somewhere at the impressive Via dei Fori Imperiali, 14th of March 2012. Photo: Casper Molenaar. This road is the best start for a visit to Rome if you'll ask me. One will easily imagine to be in an Asterix edition.