Pilgrimage to St. Peter, 1869.

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It is 1869, facing the great lodge of the basilica, sheltered from the offence sun under a huge tent, behold Pio IX from Counts Mastai-Ferreti. Fervent Catholicism, but also a bit of dramatic protagonists: the crowds flock to see in action the last pope-king. Do not miss now that a year at the end of the temporal power of popes, but the formula remains the papal blessing "urbi et orbis" once, addressing the city as the whole world. Piazza San Pietro portentously be packed and the crowd was “propped up" by a rearguard of carriages of all kinds. The photographer probably was placed on a building at the extreme corner of Piazza Rusticucci, disappeared later with the creation of via della Conciliazione.


Another spectacular blessing, with thousands of faithful, would be repeated in a delicate moment in history: the morning of 21 september 1870, following the "breackthrough" of Porta Pia. Pope Mastai-Ferretti in that occasion he turned for the last time at the papal army and ended the conversation by sobbing. Had spoken to the same troops, defeated the honor of arms, which later were pulled shortly before the General Raffaele Cadorna, commander of Expeditionary Italian. The pontificate of Pio IX was the longest since that of the same St. Peter: 32 years.


The scene of the solemn blessing from the lodge Petriana has therefore been the subject of numerous photographic scoop. But the ceremony also takes place in San Giovanni in Laterano, at fixed date, on Ascension Day, always on the balcony with the big tent special protection. If jogging and nourishment to the lake today are the attractions of Villa Doria Pamphili, once they were instead the deer and the balcony of the "Valle delle Fornaci", which appears in the picture of the early century. The view sweeps over an area where now reigns the cement: the Aurelia, San Pietro and the Vatican Palace, in the days of crisp air, even the mountain Soratte. But he had to spend a lot of time before artists armed with palette and paint-brush or just visitors in the mood for a contemplative silence conquered the nine kilometers of Villa Bel Respiro (the park was also known by this second, more environmentally friendly name).


Browsing through a Baedeker of 1909, Harry has learned that at that time the land was owned and the esclusive domain of the principles Doria Pamphili, the descendants of that Camillo, the nephew of Innocenzo X, who had created the plans Algardi. "The Villa - reads the inseparable handbook of Anglo-Saxon tourists - is open to vehicles with two horses and the hackney coach unnumbered mondays and fridays from one sunrise to sunset, and closed the first of July to thirty August". A less explicit way of saying that they were not like the common carriages hired and anyone who wanted to enter on foot. The lady wears a romantic balcony overlooking the spectacular afternoon wearing the traditional dress of tulle evening hat almost a "mimetic" dense vegetation: in the twenties who were about to arrive, the floral decorations have given way to ostrich feathers. The railing separates the Valley "delle Fornaci", a prose interlude in the landscape of the park, where with the material that is drawn from “Monte della Creta” bricks were worked on housing growth (View of St. Peter from the terrace of Villa Doria Pamphili - 1910).

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