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As part of our continuing relationship with Falangas Tours, based in the United States, we present this first blog post about the New Acropolis Museum in Athens. This is a phenomenal new museum and offers visitors exceptional opportunities to view, study and learn about the treasures of ancient Greece. Read on!


 

antiope-petronikolou

Hello! My name is Antiope Petronikolou and I am a professor of philology and literature. I studied history and philosophy at the University of Bucharest, Romania, and Greek philology at the University of Athens, Greece. I have worked in secondary education in the Athens area for many years, teaching Ancient and Modern Greek, history, and literature.

My commitment to teaching the above disciplines and my love for Classical culture incited my desire to join as a volunteer the team of FalangasTours, LLC and contribute to the success of their cultural tours. My principal aim is to help travelers become familiar with destinations related to the ancient Greek civilization.

My participation in this cultural tourism project is also due to my admiration for Professor Andronikos Falangas, for his mind, character, spirit, and passion.

Please see below a brief presentation of the new Acropolis Museum, based on a recent educational visit I organized for my students. I will be more than happy to see you in Athens.

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The New Archaeological Museum Athens

 

A Tour to the Acropolis Museum

4.000 Exhibits from the Acropolis Archaeological Site in a 150,000 Square Feet Space

The new Acropolis Museum was built to shelter every ancient object found on the “Sacred Rock” of the Acropolis. Its collections cover a long period of time that extends from the Mycenaean Age (ca 1600-1100 BCE) to Roman and Early Christian Athens. It is located close to the Acropolis Hill, in the archaeological site of Macriyanni, an integral part of Roman and Byzantine Athens.

The new Acropolis Museum opened its doors to visitors in the summer of 2009. It is a modern, austere, clear-cut, and in no case pretentious building. It is intended to not distract visitors’ attention from the unique artwork in its interior, so that it may incite curiosity, admiration, and emotion. The museum faces the Acropolis Hill and offers a splendid view of its monuments, and also a panoramic vista of the modern city extending down the hill below.

Museum Entrance

Before entering the museum, visitors see the archaeological excavations through a glass platform leaning on carefully built concrete supports. The ancient findings lying under their feet create the amazing feeling of walking through a 3.000-year-old Athenian neighborhood.

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First Level, Archaeological Museum

First Level – Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis

After crossing the museum’s threshold, visitors cannot avoid the emotional charge, as they find themselves surrounded by artistic creations coming from the small or large temples and nearby dwellings built on the rocky slopes of the Acropolis, a transition zone between the city of Athens and its sacred citadel. All these findings are eloquent witnesses of the city’s public and private life.

Visitors are symbolically moving up the “Sacred Rock,” as they are crossing a long uneven rectangular hall that enables them to contemplate the Acropolis’s past over a period of 1.000 years, from the Archaic to the Roman Imperial period (7th c. BCE – 3rd c. CE). In the hall’s south side, they see a wide range of findings: artifacts from houses and tombs; sculptures from the House of Proklos; offerings from the small temples of Celestial Aphrodite, Eros, Pan, Aglaurus, and Apollo. The north side is dedicated to pottery and votive tablets from the temples of Asclepius and Dionysus. At the top of the monumental stairway leading to the next level, you may have like me the strong sensation of having ascended the Acropolis Hill.

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Exterior view of Archaeological Museum Athens

Second Level

A large trapezoidal hall is the characteristic feature of the second level. It houses objects dating from the Mycenaean Age (2.000-1.100 BCE) to the Archaic (800– 480 BCE) and early Classical periods (5th c. BCE). They are displayed in the following order:

  • Archaic exhibits: architectural sculpture and building parts from the Older Parthenon (ca 490 BCE).
  • Votive sculpture from workshops in the Cycladic islands of Naxos and Paros.
  • Early Attic sculpture: Moschophoros—Calf-bearer (ca 560 BCE), etc.
  • Sculpture from the middle Archaic period: Peplos Kore (maiden) (ca 530 BCE), etc.
  • Votive statues from horsemen: Rampin Rider (ca 550 BCE), etc.
  • Monumental Attic sculpture: Antenor Kore (ca 520 BCE), etc.
  • Kore (maiden) statues and other sculpture from the late Archaic and early classical periods: Nike of Callimachos (490 BCE), Kritios Boy (ca 480 BCE), the marble relief of Mourning Athena (ca 460 BCE), etc.

The northwest side of the hall accommodates exhibits that followed the construction of the Parthenon (447 BCE).

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Columned Hall Archaeological Museum, Athens

 

The tall concrete columns evoke the architecture of the large Greek sanctuaries inspiring esthetic awe. The glass walls allow the daylight to penetrate and genuinely highlight the exhibits in a way that changes their aspects and dimensions depending on the time of the day.

 

Third Level

Anteroom preceding the glass hall with the Parthenon sculptures:

  • Architectural members from Propylaea and related inscriptions.
  • Sculptures from the Temple of Athena Nike (ca 420 BCE) and parts of the frieze of the building’s entablature.
  • Parts of the frieze at the Erechtheion (406 BCE) and inscriptions related to the temple’s construction.
  • The famous Caryatids, the original maiden statues from the south porch of the Erecthteion. They are put in a prominent place on a specially made platform.
  • Sculptural complexes and other artwork from the Classical era to Late Antiquity (5th BCE – 4th c. CE).

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All sculptures from the Parthenon still existing in Athens are exhibited on the museum’s upper level in a special hall surrounded by glass walls. Its dimensions are the same as those of the inner chamber of a Classical temple, so that the elements of the frieze can be displayed as they were originally in the Parthenon. The frieze, almost 5 feet tall, immortalizes the Panathinaic procession to the Acropolis, part of the festival held in honor of goddess Athena, and the related offering of the robe for the statue of goddess that was kept in the Parthenon.

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The marble sculpted panels (metopes) that were decorating the top of the walls of the Parthenon look like supporting the hall’s ceiling. They depict legendary battles among gods and humans: Trojan War: Centauromachy, Amazonomachy, Trojan War.

 

The sculptures of the Parthenon’s pediments are placed in a way that makes them widely visible. The east pediment represents the birth of Athena from Zeus’s head in presence of other gods and humans as well. The west pediment illustrates the contest between Athena and Poseidon for the land of Attica.

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The original artwork collocates with the copies of the ancient sculptures displayed in foreign museums.

The Acropolis Museum keeps in its bosom Archaic and Classical masterpieces, unique creations of the ancient Greek civilization and treasures of the world heritage. They offer to each of us a unique experience, further initiating us to the mysteries of the finest and always man-centered aesthetics.

For further reading:

 http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/el/content/ores-leitoyrgias-kai-eisitiria

http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/el/content/kafe-estiatorio

Do you know that Parthenon means the temple of the virgin goddess? The term derives from parthenos, virgin in Greek. In fact, Athena was one of the three Greek virgin goddesses, Hestia and Artemis being the other two. And Parthenon was dedicate to the cult of Athena. According to an Athenian tradition, the temple also commemorates four other virgins, the daughters of legendary King Erechtheus of Athens. We should then keep in mind that the most important monument of Classical Age is related to women.

 Interested in small group explorations of Italy? Contact Private Italy Tours LTD for further details. Villa accommodations, small groups, easy day explorations from your villa, excellent local chefs and cooks. Join us!

Your view over Lucca is unforgettable.

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Come Home Again to Italy

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Isola San Giulio View. Church bell tower on the left.

 

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Graffiti at Isola San Giulio, Lago Orta

Admittedly, unashamedly, Lago Orta in the lake region of Italy is one of my  favorite haunts. Isola San Giulio, located in the shadow of Madonna del Sasso high above the lake and just off shore of the village of Orto San Giulio, is a treasure.

It is not only the Way of Silence and the Way of Meditation which wend their way through the narrow lanes of the island that make this such a unique and memorable place; it is also the secrets of monks inside the Basilica di San Giulio which add intrigue and even some humor to the quiet meditative interior of the church.

Study the graffiti etched in to the frescoes on columns in the church and surprises await. Amidst the clutter of too many modern scars are Latin notes made by monks in centuries past.

“The weather is cold today.”
“Brother Paul is asleep.”
“I am bored.”
“The weather is cold today.”

It is as if the monks, bored, cold, jealous or otherwise distracted took advantage of early morning or evening services in the dark, shadowed corners of the basilica to add a note of discontent or criticism; no worries that the surface used were 15th or early 16th Century frescoes by artists of their day.

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Graffiti scarred frescoes – Basilica di San Giulio

When you next visit the lake region, please take some time to visit this intriguing island in one of the least known lakes in Italy.

IF YOU GO:

Isola San Giulio: Information about the lake area, hours for various visits and other helpful details.

Navigazione Lago d’Orta: Timetables and information about ferry schedules on Lake Orta.

 

Easter in Rome is one of the busiest times of the year.

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Interior, St. Peter’s Basilica

Keep in mind that if you are planning to be in Italy, in general, around Easter, that this is a very important holiday. Almost every museum, event venue and archaeological site is closed Good Friday through Easter Monday. The holiday weeks preceding and following the Easter weekend also are a challenge for tourism due to changing hours at those locations as well.

Here, for your use and reference, is a list of events currently planned in the city

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Maundy (Holy) Thursday Mass 09:30AM St. Peter’s Basilica (Smaller crowd with better chance of closer proximity to the Pope) (Tickets Required)

Second Papal Mass of the day:  5:30pm, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Basilica of Saint John Lateran

Friday, April 14, 2017:

Good Friday procession from Colosseum to Palatine Hill

Papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica 5:00PM (Tickets Required)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica (Tickets Required)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Mass in St. Peter’s Square with the Pope – 10:15AM (Tickets Required)

“Urbi et Orbi” Blessing at 12:00PM Noon in St. Peter’s Square (No Tickets Required)

Vatican Web Site Calendar and other information.

Audience or Mass with the Pope: Information

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Crowd in St. Peter’s Square, Easter Celebration

For those of you who will be traveling in Florence in late March, please make note of the following world cultural conference to be held in the city. Hotel rooms are at a premium, if you can find them (!) and the city will be extremely busy.

An unprecedented culture-focused meeting of the seven major economies—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—will take place in the Tuscan capital on March 30-31. Discussions will center on the protection of cultural heritage, as announced by Culture Minister Dario Franceschini. Mayor Dario Nardella called the cultural summit “a recognition of the role that Florence plays in the world, and an important opportunity to demonstrate the best of Italian and Florentine culture at the international level.

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The program for the exhibit available from Casa Editrice Sillabe

The great treasure of the arts in Florence is shared in yet another unforgettable program at the Medici Riccardi Palace.

Artifacts and memories from the Flood of 1966, La Bellezza Salvata,  are shared in this exceptional show. From now until March 26, 2017, visitors can walk through the exhibition which showcases the commitment to “saving beauty” in the aftermath of that flood.

It was not only Cimabue’s Crucifix, Vasari’s Last Supper or the removal of oil damage to Taddeo Gaddi’s Last Supper that were restored.  As you stroll through the exhibit you are reminded of the tremendous work, which continues even to this day, involved in the restoration of the city’s nearly numberless and invaluable trove of artistic treasure.

This marvelous exhibit was inaugurated by the President of Tuscany (Enrico Rossi) and the Councillor delegate of the Metropolitan City of Florence, Benedetta Albanian. The exhibit is curated by Cristina Acidini e Elena Capretti.

PALAZZO MEDICI RICCARDI

Via Camillo Cavour, 3,

50129 Firenze, Italy

HOURS:

CLOSED Wednesday

Thursday – Tuesday 8:30AM – 7:00PM

Palazzo Medici Riccardi. "Firenze 1966 – 2016. La bellezza salvata"

 

 

Technology and gorgeous art come together once again in the de-consecrated church of Santa Stefano al Ponte in Florence. The church, located just steps from the northern edge of the Ponte Vecchio, is a fabulous location for the exhibit.

The Klimt Experience brings over 700 images, projected by 30 laser systems, in an intimate exploration of the artist’s work.

From The Kiss to Portrait of Adele Bach-Bauer, recently the subject of the book and film, Woman in Gold, the opportunity to see so much of Klimt’s work, even if only in very high quality photographs is a rare one. Gustav was a symbolist painter, a leader in the Viennese secession movement. He is known for his use of multiples types media to include gold leaf.

The Kiss, Gustav Klimt, The Klimt Experience

 

Period Clothing at the Klimt Experience

Period clothing along with other information about the artist and his time are shared as part of the show.

This is an interesting opportunity to learn more about a great late 19th Century, early 20th Century artist in the city of Renaissance art!

Tickets cost 13 euro for adults, 8 euro for children from 6 to 12, 10 euro for over 65s, students and COOP members.

Chiesa di Santa Stefano al Ponte

Piazza di Santo Stefano, 5

50122 Florence

Web Site

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