Portraits of Italy: A Roman Holiday

In April 2016 I received a commission from Kevin Daniels, President of Daniels Real Estate  to journey with his team to Italy to photograph the selection of marble and travertine for their latest project, THE MARK in downtown Seattle. The Mark is a glistening skyscraper on the Seattle skyline and a significant part of the design of the building  is based on the class and style of actress Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn's first movie was Roman Holiday, set in the Rome of 1952 and my commission was to locate the areas of The Eternal City where Roman Holiday was filmed and recapture images from the iconic film and transform them into images with a mid-century vintage feel.  During one unforgettable day I was taken by my own private driver through the crowded streets of Rome in search of film locations. Such was the thrill of being set free in Rome to recapture the grandeur of the City as it was in 1952. The following photographs are the result of this photographic tableaux and I hope you enjoy these i ages as much as I enjoyed creating them. 

The Pantheon & Piazza Della Rotunda

Within the heart of the Piazza Della Rotunda lies the one of the greatest marvels of the ancient world, the Pantheon. Built by the Emperor Hadrian in the year 126 AD, the Pantheon is one of the oldest buildings in Rome and an engineering marvel even by today's standards. Today the Pantheon and the Piazza Della Rotunda are one of Rome's greatest wonders.

In Roman Holiday, Joe and Ann enjoy a champagne brunch across the street from the Pantheon. Although the interior of the Pantheon is not in the film, it is highly likely that Joe and Ann would have stepped inside this architectural wonder and marveled at the world beneath the oculus. 

Hadrian's Temple

Located a few steps from the Pantheon, the Piazza Della Pietra is the site of the remains of Hadrian's Temple. Built in AD 145, Eleven marble Corinthian columns stand on a base of volcanic rock. Today the building houses the Italian Stock Exchange.   

Palazzo Barberini

In 1623 Maffei Barberini became Pope Urban VIII and built a grand palace for his family on the fringes of the city, overlooking a ruined temple. The building of today houses paintings from the 13th and 16th centuries as part of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica. 

In Roman Holiday, the Palazzio served as the location for Princess Ann's Embassy, where she stayed during her visit to Rome, from where she stole away in the night to seek a life yet undiscovered. 

Piazza Colonna

The Piazza Colonna is home to the  art nouveau Galleria Alberto Sordi (1914) shopping arcade and the Column of Marcus Aurelius (180AD) in the central square. The column of Marcus Aurelius was erected in AD 180 to commemorate  his victories over the barbarian tribes of the Danube.  The 100 foot column is composed of 28 drums of marble with an internal staircase leading to the top. 

In Roman Holiday the Piazza Colonna served as the headquarters of the American News Service Office in Rome. In the film, the Column of Marcus Aurelius and the fountain in Piazza de Colonna (1577) are clearly seen in the view from the window of Mr. Hennessey’s office window. 

Palazzio Della Consulta

The Palazzo Della Consulta (1732) is a late Baroque palace in the Piazza del Quirinale and today houses the Constitutional Court of the Italian Republic. The Palazzio sits across   from the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, the Quirinal Palace.  

In Roman Holiday, after Joe and Ann's reckless vespa ride through the city, the pair are dragged to the police station. The Palazzio Della Consulta was the location for this memorable scene. 

The Trevi Fountain

The grandest fountain in Rome, and possibly, the world, the coin-filled Trevi fountain was completed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi and features Neptune, god of the sea, flanked by two Tritons. 

In Roman Holiday, Ann gets an Italian haircut just east of the fountain while Joe tries to steal a camera from a little American girl at the Trevi Fountain in an attempt to snap a shot of Ann getting her hair cut. 

Roman Forum

For centuries the Roman Forum was the center of Roman public life. It has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million sightseers yearly.

In Roman Holiday, as Ann feels the effects of a sleeping pill, she rests on a brick bench along the ruins of the Roman Forum (4th Century BC). That's where Joe finds her, takes pity on her and tries to take her home. The road seen in the film, close to the ancient arch of Septimus Severus (203 AD) no longer exists. 

Roman Coliseum

The Roman Coliseum is arguably one of the most famous structures in the world and has been photographed millions of times in every conceivable fashion. During the day the Coliseum is completely surrounded by throngs of tourists. At night the landmark is lit by enormous spotlights which makes it difficult to capture without the unwanted light. So the challenges are there, but for this series my idea was to focus on the details and then color them in an antique light. 

In Roman Holiday, Joe takes Ann on a tour of the Coliseum as part of their unforgettable day touring Rome. 

Castel Sant'Angelo

Although no longer there, the barge used to be moored between Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II (1886) and Ponte Sant'Angelo (134 AD), located at the foot of Castel Sant'Angelo, a 2nd century mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Over the centuries it has served as a castle, papal residence, prison and is now the National Museum of Castel Sant'Angelo.  

In Roman Holiday, When Princess Ann is invited to a night of dancing on a barge on the Tiber River, the Castel Sant'Angelo was the scene of the revelry.

The Mouth of Truth

The Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita), is where Joe Bradley puts his hand into the sculpture's mouth at Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin. According to legend, it would sever the hand of a liar who reached into in its mouth. In reality, the Boca della Verite is nothing more than a Roman sewer cover. 

Oratorio dei Filippini (The Bell Tower Monument)

The bell tower belongs to the Oratorio dei Filippini (Oratory of Saint Phillip Neri), a building erected between 1637 and 1650 under the supervision of architect Francesco Borromini. 

In Roman Holiday, this beautiful Baroque bell tower can be seen seen from the window of Joe's apartment. It is the one that rings to awaken Joe on the day the Princess' interview is canceled. It is really located on the opposite side of downtown.

51 Via Margutta

The Via Margutta is located in one of Rome's most expensive and desirable neighborhoods. In Roman Holiday, 51 Via Margutta was the address of Joe's apartment. Although the apartment was under renovation, a we were able to capture photographs of the street and the front facade of the apartment.