Bold as brass

January 11, 2013 / Local Interest
Rome, Lazio

Sometimes light does a funny little jig in Rome. Certain types of light, or maybe better to say certain ways that light behaves, are definitely seasonal. Who hasn’t noticed the “chalky” consistency of a Roman August afternoon’s light? Or the depth-cancelling effect of light at noon in early winter?

Light in Rome doesn’t only follow seasonal patterns, however. Sometimes a number of phenomena simply come together and take you completely by surprise. One example that comes to mind was a recent stormy afternoon when you would have sworn that the entire Venetian Renaissance school of art had been brought back from the dead to re-paint the entire city and sky.

IMG_20130104_164515Another example occurred a few days ago. Not too sure exactly what conditions brought it on, yet the light, even if for no more than the five minutes that the moment lasted, made the entire city look like it was made of brass and had been just given the polishing of a lifetime.

The effect on this grove.. thicket (?) of Mediterranean umbrella pines in Villa Pamphilj was particularly startling.




by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

25 Responses to “Bold as brass”

  1. francesco costa

    che meraviglia è villa pamphili e che fortuna averla così vicina a casa! è proprio lì che, seduto sotto i pini, scrivo a mano i miei romanzi per poi passarli al computer! le tue fotografie sono stupende, caro gb, e rendono perfettamente il fascino di una luce unica al mondo! ancora buon 2013, caro amico, f.

  2. Rosemary

    I can always tell from the first line that you have written the note! Gorgeous light! How jealous I am that you are there to witness the changes in light throughout the seasons in Rome. We were at the Coloseum once at sunset when the light made everything appear as if it were dipped in gold!

  3. Louise Matarazzo

    This has come at the perfect time. I leave for Rome on Feb. 28th for a month’s stay. I am an artist and a writer.
    The photos are feast for the eyes and the written word ransports you into s exquiste reverie.
    If anyone has any info on events happening in Rome in March please let me know.
    Luisa Matarazzo

  4. Harvey-Jane Kowal

    As someone else mentioned, one can always tell when you have posted a note–just a special feeling that conjours up Rome and Italy. Grazie mille,


  5. Che meraviglia! I grew up in Rome and seeing these photos takes me right back. The light is quite unique and magical in Italy and that is one of the main aspects I remember best. Mille grazie!

  6. Lynn Michaels

    How fortunate we were that you had your camera at the ready for this gorgeous sight. Thank you for sharing the moment.

    Lynn (aka Lina Maria Concetta Farina)

  7. Monique Quesada

    I have a few photos from the Forum that match that brassy golden light… From London, where the parasol pines are as rare as copper Roman sunshine!

  8. Arthur Bierman

    GB, I think you retouched your photos. Too perfect for finger to shutter control. Arthuro

  9. Ann Waggoner

    I remember well this incredible light. Che Bella Roma e tutti l’Italia.

  10. Iris Carulli

    I love your notes GB. That light – along with those trees – is what I live for in Rome.

  11. francesco costa

    in una delle pagine del suo “viaggio in italia”, il grande poeta tedesco j. w. goethe racconta di essere andato il 28 novembre 1786 a prendere il fresco all’ombra dei pini di villa pamphili perché il sole era troppo cocente (alla fine di novembre!) e descrive un “un grande prato incorniciato da querce sempreverdi e da alti pini, tutto cosparso di margherite che volgevano le testoline verso il sole”. villa pamphili era quindi celebre per la sua bellezza ancora prima della rivoluzione francese ed è rimasta da allora praticamente immutata. per fortuna la vediamo come appariva ai grandi viaggiatori del settecento…

  12. Janet Eidem

    Magnificent! Thank you. I love the trees in any light, but this is very special.

  13. Angela Finch

    We can get this light in England, although may be quite rarely.
    I don’t think I have witnessed the ‘chalky’ afternoon light as seen in Rome.


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