Friday, 28 February 2014

Seeing is Believing

Rome is full of amazing sights but it also has a fair share of optical illusions too. Here are five that need to be seen to be believed.

 
This fabulous view of St Peter's Dome is taken from Via Piccolomini (you can reach here after taking a stroll through the lovely Villa Doria Pamphili park). What is amazing about seeing the dome from this perspective is that the closer you get , the smaller the dome appears.

 
 
St Peter's square has an optical illusion too.
 
 
Designed by Bernini, the colonnades must have appeared to pilgrims as open arms welcoming them in to the most important basilica in the Christian world.
 
 

 If you stand on  one of the two circles of stone set between the fountains and the obelisk the columns will appear as a single line.

 
The church of St Ignazio  can be found in the delightful piazza of the same name which resembles a theatrical set.
 
 
More theatre inside the church where all isn't as it seems. That splendid dome isn't a dome at all but a trompe l'oeil ceiling frescoed by Andrea Pozzi.
 
 
The delightful Villa Farnesina , across the river in Trastevere , was built for Agostino Chigi,  a wealthy banker.The main salon, the Loggia of Psyche was designed to bring the gardens indoors. The  huge arches are now glassed in but originally guests would have found themselves in a loggia opening directly on to the garden.
In the main living room of the  villa, Salone delle Prospettive, we catch glimpses of Trastevere and the Borgo  between porphyry columns. Not real glimpses of course but yet another example of trompe l'oeil.
 

 
 Perhaps the most famous optical illusion in Rome is that found in Palazzo Spada. Borromini used false perspective to create a corridor that appears four times longer than it really is.
 
 
 

 
 


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