ST. PETER’S BASILICA, ROME, VIEW FROM DOORWAY: It’s not easy finding a different angle from which to shoot this most iconic building. I shot this one late one evening at the end of stroll in the Eternal City.
When St. Peter’s was built, a dense group of buildings—much of it housing, lay in front of the great square, blocking a decent distant view of the basilica. In 1651 the St. Peter’s Building Commission considered the building of a major thoroughfare between the Borgo Vecchio and the Borgo Nuovo to provide a longer vista. The plan was dropped due to cost and politics. Many more popes considered other options in subsequent years. It was Benito Mussolini who revived the idea and pushed ahead, establishing the view we have today. Construction began— with destruction– on October 29, 1936 when Mussolini himself wielded a pickaxe to begin tearing down the structures that blocked the view.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D3100, Nikon A-FS 10-24mm lens at 24mm, 1/13 sec, f3.5, ISO 800. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
BASILICA OF ST. JOHN LATERAN: December 27th is the feast day of St. John the Evangelist. This church is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and John the Baptist. It is one of the four major basilicas in Rome. And, while most may think that St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is the “Pope’s Church”, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is actually the Pope’s ‘home’ cathedral. Built by the Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century, San Giovanni in Laterano was the first church to be officially built in Rome. The cathedral was dedicated on November 9, 318. It was embellished with decorations given by Constantine, including seven silver altars with seven gilded candlesticks inlaid with images of the prophets. The building has undergone many changes over the centuries following periods of neglect, invasion (Vandals) and natural disasters. Arches are adorned with reliefs of angels, including those shown in this photo. No two angels look alike. Shot handheld with a Nikon D70s, Nikkor 18-55mm lens at 51 mm, f4.2 1/13 sec.
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
BICYCLE, ROME, ITALY: Rome is such a great city for walking. The back streets and alleys wind their way between buildings that are often several hundred years old. It’s also there where you’ll find most cyclists, who prefer to leave the bigger and busier roads to the motor scooters. This one caught my eye because of the warmth of the light and subtle blends of reds and oranges on a late Roman afternoon. Shot handheld with a Nikon D70S, Nikkor 18-55 AF lens at 25mm, f5.6, 1/125 sec. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
PANTHEON, ROME, ITALY: Rome’s Pantheon is my most favourite building in the world. It radiates strength, beauty and history all the time, day or night. The perspective in this photograph is mostly missed by visitors as it is taken just inside the massive doors. With the rush to get in and the push to get out of this popular site, it is easy to miss. It’s a real treat to be there when a downpour falls into the building from the open oculus. In 609, the building was consecrated as a Roman Catholic church and named Sancta Maria ad Martyres. It remains a church today, a fact that is obviously lost on many visitors. Shot handheld with a Nikon D70S, 18-55 mm lens at 33mm., f22, 1/60 sec. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
CAMPO DEI FIORI, ROME, ITALY: I love visiting this charming market every time I visit Rome. In English, it literally means ‘field of flowers’. It is a vibrant place on market days. From fish to fruit and vegetables to baked goods, this is where it’s at in central Rome for great fresh food, though it’s rather pricey. Best to go early in the morning for the market. At night it’s a great gathering spot with lots of cafes and restaurants at which to pass the time on a glorious Roman evening. Check out the monument to Giordano Bruno who was burnt alive on this spot in 1600 by the Roman Inquisition. His statue defiantly faces the Vatican. Shot handheld with a Nikon D70S, Nikkor 55-200 mm at 60mm, f 6.3, 1/60 sec. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography