Sometimes in Rome you are just walking along and have to stop and say: "What is THAT?" This big slab of ancient masonry just sticks out of some buildings on Via dell' Arco della Ciambella. It is a surviving bit of the Baths of Agrippa, circa 25 BC. These remains by the way are a gentle curve, part of a remaining niche or semi-circular room. The other half is out of frame to the left. The name of the street you are standing on here reflects this....it means approximately "Doughnut Street".
The next two pictures are not so much monuments as, I think, some sort of graffiti. They are both from the Palatine Hill, so they were in spitting distance of the Imperial Palace. When I saw the first one I figured it might be some kind of game board. You see odd things carved on stone that we assume were used for some now forgotten amusement.
But then I saw this one that makes my understanding harder. Faintly carved but on a very tough basalt paving stone. Was this some kind of "Palatine logo"?
In the Campus Marti neighborhood they had a lot of problems with flooding. In various places you see these "Flood Tablets" These are on the wall of Santa Maria sopra Minerva....and fairly high up on said wall I might add. Oh, and the river is half a mile away. These tend to be rather whimsical inscriptions. The largest one shown here reads:
IN THE YEAR OF THE LORD 1530
ON 8 OCTOBER
BUT IN THE SEVENTH YEAR
OF THE LORD POPE CLEMENT THE SEVENTH
THE TIBER ROSE TO THIS POINT
AND NOW ALL ROME WOULD HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMED
HAD NOT THE VIRGIN
PROFFERED SWIFT AID.
Now this is an oddball, and one that I find documented nowhere on the internet. It is on the Capitoline Hill, out back behind the Museum. Its located next to a little path that nobody seems to walk on and is among some scrubby foliage. The inscription translates to: "Oak given to the Italian sword team that won the XI Olympiad in Berlin". This and a very similar adjacent stone recognize two Italian fencing teams that won Gold at the controversial 1936 Berlin Olympics. I got to wondering....with World War Two right around the corner, how many of these Italian young men - in a rather martial sport - ended up dying in the war?
Answer....none, they all lived to ripe old ages. You might think that this says something about the Italian war effort, but actually fencing is a somewhat aristocratic sport in which the highest level competitors are usually on the mature side. These fellows were mostly too old for combat by 1939.
As a very odd, very off topic aside, Helene Mayer who won the Woman's Silver for Germany is felt to have been Jewish, but was still invited to be on the team.
But it says something like this: "By order of the Honorable President of the Road it is forbidden to make a dumping of filth in this alley under penalty of ten scudi (this was a silver coin) and other corporal punishments"
Since this was posted in December of 1763 things have gone down hill considerably!
Note, an interesting further discussion of these No Dumping signs can be found HERE