During our recent 30 day stay in Rome, I was able to document and share a total of seven Roman travel articles with you, welcome to the eighth and final one—the Rome nobody talks about. The cover image was taken at a convenience store in Italy, they sell those carnival masks everywhere, ranging in sizes from everything to a keychain to something suitable for an elephant. There was a boutique around the corner from Pantheon that sells nothing but masks with thousands to choose from priced anywhere between five and 5,000 Euro.
I was able to show you The Vatican, both outside and around St. Peter’s Basilica, picturing everything from Michaelangelo’s infamous painted ceilings to the priceless sculptures mounted up and down the 120’ tall walls supporting the gold plated ceilings with a gold stock valued at $50 million dollars (a statement issued in 2013). The Vatican is only one of 900 churches lining the streets of Rome with nearly triple that in all of Italy, we toured several, each of them are decorated with an inspiring collection of priceless paintings, precious metals, and one of a kind sculptures.
Spending 30 days in Rome isn’t adequate time to experience all 900 but I featured a decent amount them here including some of the most iconic structures dating back thousands of years that draw more tourism annually than anywhere else in the world. Along with churches and historic monuments are the countless number of fountains and statues everywhere you turn to look, it’s undoubtedly the most decorated city we’ve toured since beginning this journey one year ago. With so much #history and anticipated architecture, the epidemic lying on the city streets seem to be overshadowed and swept under the mosaic.
People travel from all over the world to visit Rome and experience everything the city has to offer—it’s engulfed in beauty. However, there isn’t a museum, library, train station, church, nothing that isn’t littered with offerte stations—especially the churches. They have offerte’s (offering’s) placed about every 5-10 feet inside those elaborate, highly anticipated, priceless art covered churches. There’s three offerte’s per one candle station and they’re in multiple languages, too, look at art—offerte. Thumb through a brochure—offerte. Sit down—offerte. Touch a bible—offerte. Exit door—offerte. They even have offerte’s positioned at the entrances to public toilets inside those churches. You’re expected to donate money just to wash your hands and, according to @puravidaville, the women’s toilets don’t even have toilet seats. I took each of the following pictures in one church. While people were taking pictures, pointing in awe and captivated by the gorgeous art on display, praying, and experiencing this one church in particular, I don’t remember which one it was now, I took pictures of the offerte stations.
The majority of them are worn out in the center from collecting so many offerings, even the brass ones are worn out. I’m not against donating to your religion or any cause of your choice, in fact, I think it’s admirable—that’s not what this is about. I have no authority to judge. But if you look a little closer, there’s a lot more going on in Rome than just known tourist attractions.
They’re resting on the steps of those elaborate churches with $50 million dollar ceilings, what everyone steps over so they can get inside, what they ignore, what they walk around and pay no attention to so they can pay an offerte station—literally on the steps. They’re leaning against the statues and monuments, drinking water from the city fountains, and living under fancy light fixtures—even the broken ones.
The first couple of photos you’ve already seen, you likely missed it the first time, I’ll show you again—the Rome nobody talks about. The previous seven Roman articles I released, including Pantheon, the one I dubbed ‘selfie center’ because of the amount of people taking selfies didn’t offend anybody. The most recent one was titled People Photography Of Rome, Italy, “people photography” is in the title and that didn’t offend you either.
What I’m getting at is, if I can picture random shots of both suspecting and unsuspecting pedestrians, military personnel, street performers, and buskers without offending anyone, then none of the following photos should offend anyone either—they’re people. There’s a side of Rome nobody talks about. They’re everywhere and, I’m from Los Angeles, a city famous for numerous reasons including skid row but there’s worse “skid row’s” out there, this one’s in Rome. I don’t think enough people are talking about it—I think they prefer to hide behind carnival masks.
Sight Unseen - Unveiling Rome, Italy