A series of performances will be held in both indoor and outdoor venues, over the New Year period.
Piazza della Rotonda, RomeThe Pantheon is one of history’s best preserved and impressive forms of ancient architecture which remains an architectural marvel even to this day. Its dome was the largest of its kind when built nearly 2,000 years ago and incredibly is still the largest unsupported dome in the world today. This breath-taking temple, to the twelve Greek Gods and the living Sovran or ruler, was initially commissioned by Emperor Agrippa between 25 and 27 BC. The Pantheon we see today was rebuilt between 118 and 125 AD by Emperor Hadrian. The 7.8 meters diameter hole, or oculus, in the centre of the dome is open to the elements allowing the rain and snow to fall through. It is the only source of light in the temple and was designed to represent a direct connection to the Gods above to those in the temple. In 608 AD Pope Boniface IV brought the remains of the Christian Martyrs from the Roman catacombs to the Pantheon resulting in its conversion to a Christian place of worship and changing its name to the church of Saint Maria of the Martyrs. Inside you will see the final resting place of the painter Raphael and Queen Margherita of Savoy, who gained international fame as the inspiration for the Margherita pizza.
Piazza di Campitelli, RomeThe original church, the most holy Oratory of Saint Gala, housed the much-venerated icon to the Virgin Mary. Legend has it that it just appeared on the altar one day in answered to the prayers to save Rome from a plague sweeping through the city in 1665. Soon after Pope Alexander VII asked architect Carlo Rainaldi to design and build a grander church giving it the name Santa Maria in Portico Campitellli in honour of the icon. The current Baroque church was completed in 1667 with the famous icon enshrined in the eye catching golden Gloria of Angels located behind the main altar. You can also see a wonderful collection of art, frescos and statues including the oldest Marian shrine in Rome which dates back to 1073. In 1747 Henry Stuart, son of Bonnie Prince Charlie, became a cardinal deacon to the church and started the tradition of the Perpetual Prayer which is still recited at every Saturday mass hoping for the return of the Church of England to return to the Catholic faith.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, RomeThis magnificent Teatine church was founded in 1524 and dedicated to Sant’Andrea, the patron of Almalfi, whose ruling family instigated the building of the original church. The construction started in 1591 with the façade finally being completed in 1665. It is a truly impressive feat of architecture with its high barrel vault ceiling, decorative interiors and remarkable paintings. The lavish fresco, decorating the third largest dome in Rome after St. Peter’s and the Pantheon, was painted by the great Baroque artists Lanfranco and Domenichino, set the standard of design and artistry for decades after. Follow the story of Sant’Andrea in the fresco over your heads along the centre of the church. This church impressed Puccini so much that he based the first act of Tosca in Sant’Andrea della Valle. Remember to visit the embalmed bodies of the Supreme Pontiffs, Pius II and Pius III who have both been resting here since 1623 and the tomb of Cardinal Theatine San Giuseppe Maria Tomasi can be seen in the chapel with the wooden crucifix.
Piazza del Popolo, RomeThe 17th century Santa Maria dei Miracoli sits at the entrance to Via del Corso alongside it’s twin church Santa Maria in Montesanto. The story behind this beautiful church is that in 1325 a woman dropped her baby into the river and prayed to an icon of the virgin Mary for help. The baby was miraculously saved and as a result a chapel was built near the river to enshrine the icon. Being close to the river, the church survived many floods but eventually, in 1590 the icon was moved to San Giacomo. In 1662 Pope Alexander VII ordered a pair of churches to be erect to provide a monumental backdrop to the magnificent Piazza del Popolo with one to house the icon. Santa Maria dei Miracoli was completed in 1678 in the Baroque style, designed by Rainaldi. Look out for the ten statues on the façade all designed in the Bernini school. Inside the church look at the fresco inside the dome depicting the Dove of the Holy Spirit. Over the altar you can see the miraculous icon of the Blessed Virgin supported by four angels and the front of the altar has a bronze relief of The Last Supper.
RomeNeoclassical in style, the Piazza del Popolo, or People's Square, is one of Rome's largest urban piazzas and lies within the city's northern gate, Porta del Popolo, the ancient starting point of the most important road north and, until the birth of the railways, all visitors first sight of Rome. It was the place of Rome's public executions, the last of which took place in 1826. The Eygptian oblelisk, in the centre of the square, is the tallest and second oldest in Rome, arriving in 10BC by order of Augustus Caesar, originally on the Circus Maximus but re-erected here in 1589. On the northern side of the square, guarded by the sister churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto, are the three shopping streets, locally known as the 'trident', Via del Corso, Via Babuino and Ripetta, which is the route of Rome's New Year's Day Parade.
FrascatiFrascati is an idyllic hill top town located 12 miles south-east of Rome in the Alban Hills famous for its crisp white wine, the aristocratic Villa Aldobrandini, winding cobbled streets and magnificant views over the plains surrounding Rome. Piazza San Pietro, named after Frascati's 16th Century Basilica, which watches over the square, is in the historic centre and a popular pedestrian hub. Piazza del Mercato, as its name suggests, has produce and craft markets held throughout the year as well as an array of small market shops located around the square making it a bustling and busy area. Both squares are regularly used as outdoor spaces by our performers.
Vatican City, RomeSt. Peter’s Square is located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, where the Pope resides. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the piazza including the colossal but simplistic Doric styled colonnades which surround the square, or embrace visitors ;in the maternal arms of the mother church.’ He designed it to create an open space to allow the greatest number of people to see the Pope giving his blessing from either the central facade or from his window in the Vatican Palace, At the heart of the piazza is an Egyptian obelisk dating from 1586, which is the location for many outdoor concerts.
Piazza del Popolo, RomeThe Basilica of the holy mountain named after Mount Carmel in Israel and the home to Carmelite monks. Sister to the neighbouring church Santa Maria dei Miracoli it is known since 1953 as the Artists’ Church and in honour of artists everywhere a special mass is held on Sundays throughout the year. Completed five years after her twin, in 1683, it has an oval dome in contrast to her twin’s round one. Inside the church, the presbytery is stuccoed with angels and houses the miraculous 15th Century altarpiece depicting the Virgin of Montesanto, which is believed to have been painted by an 11-year old girl. The second chapel is dedicated to Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzi in honour the Carmelite nun canonized by Pope Clemente XI in 1669. It was awarded the honour of being names Basilica in 1825.