photography by alessandro ciapanna

Posts from the ‘reportage’ category

FORM w/o FUNCTION – a bad bridge

rome’s newest bridge spanning the river tiber is not yet a year old.

beautiful? yes, definitely. useful? absolutely not.















































this is the first bridge to be built in rome in many many years. not yet a year old, rome’s ponte della musica¬† is built with high-manitenance materials such as steel arches which need frequent repainting and hardwood walkways already showing signs of ageing.

it is perfectly useless, as it links two sidewalks that run along two four-lane highways – the lungotevere.

you can walk or ride your bicycle on it. the difficult part is trying to find someone who wants to ride his bike from one highway to another, a bare 200 meters away.

cars can’t drive across it. buses will, oneday – maybe – be allowed to use it. or maybe a tram. who knows? especially – someone up high is shrugging it off – who cares? it’s all done with public money anyway. we took the photo ops at the inauguration, now let the next batch of public officials deal with all the nitty-gritty.

welcome to italy at its most beautiful.  its sloppiest beautiful

alessandro ciapanna

EXTRA: you want to see for yourself the extent of italian sloppiness? take a look at ponte della musica’s official website, which looks suspiciously like it was last updated before work even began. but wait… wasn’t that about twelve years ago…?

CAMPO CESTIO – Rome’s ‘English cemetery’

Campo Cestio is an interesting and beautiful place in Rome with a fairly bizzarre history and some very fine scupture. It’s also very little-known, hardly visited and a generally quiet and relaxing place full of green and shade.





Irreversible damage in Rome’s dying cemetery. Campo Cestio, Rome.





Here a tree is growing right out of a very young man’s tomb. Campo Cestio, Rome.





One end of the cemetery has wide open spaces with shady lawns and a pyramid to boot! In the background, Rome’s Porta san Paolo. Campo Cestio, Rome.





Pilgrimage site: William Shelley’s tomb. Campo Cestio, Rome.





On the inside looking out. Visitor shooting the Piramide cestia. Campo Cestio, Rome.





The ivy is trimmed back only as little as is necessary, and many of the tombstones are leaning one way or another. Campo Cestio, Rome.





An incredibly detailed bas-relief. Just beyond, a low wall, a quiet street and some low-rise houses. Note the old-school tv antennas. Campo Cestio, Rome.





Young British Devereux Plantagenet cockburn, who died in Rome on this very day (may 3rd) of 1850 at only 21 years of age. Campo Cestio, Rome.





The tomb of Mister Piccoli, born New York, died Rome. Campo Cestio, Rome.





This one is heart-wrenching. Not only is it truly beautiful, it was William Wetmore Story’s last sculpture. For the tomb of his wife, Emelyn. Now they rest together. Campo Cestio, Rome.




Could have sworne i heard a little growl when i got too close to the tomb for the picture. Campo Cestio, Rome.





This one seemed to be levitating. Campo Cestio, Rome.





One side of the Campo Cestio is constituted by Rome’s ancient defensive walls, a real, massive fortification. Campo Cestio, Rome.





At first i thought this gentleman had been sculpted wart and all. Then i realized he had a snail on his forehead. Campo Cestio, Rome.





Take my hand, we’ll go together. Campo Cestio, Rome.





Russian Mr Sharoff’s favorite play was ‘The Three Sisters’ by Anton Chekhov. When he passed away, his students offered him this sculpture on the theme, placed atop his tomb. Campo Cestio, Rome.





I didn’t read this child’s story, but children and cemeteries almost always make a bad, sad, devastating mix. Campo Cestio, Rome.





This little guy, one of four, shows noticeable signs of corrosion due to atmospheric agents. Campo Cestio, Rome.





This little angel had just fallen asleep at the foot of the tomb of a child born in Austria and died in Rome ten short years later. Yes, i cried. Campo Cestio, Rome.




This photo essay is from what Romans call the ‘English Cemetery’. The real name is Cimitero Acattolico di Campo Cestio, and it is a cemetery built just outside Rome’s ancient walls especially to house foreigners and Italians who were not catholic, and could therefore not be buried inside Rome, in hallowed ground. There are tombs in Greek script, Arabic, Russian, as well as in every European language.

The place is privately owned and struggling to maintain the vast grounds. Falling limbs from the huge trees have inflicted irreversible damage to some of the tombs, and acid rains are slowly eating away at others. In some places, trees grow right out of tombs.

to read some accurate information about campo cestio, you can visit this website in italian and english.

to watch a well made video documenting the history and the current state of affairs at campo cestio (15minutes) in english

Photographs taken on may 2nd, 2012

Alessandro Ciapanna

LOST in ROME – and trying to get home

o, tourist. you come to enjoy my city. just to thank you, i think i’ll shoot you






kick off those shoes. now plug your nose. piazza san silvestro, rome






for some reason, these ladies had two maps each. trinita’ dei monti, roma






this man is holding the smallest map of rome i have ever seen. trinita’ dei monti, rome






ok, we’ve done that, that and that. now to do that, that and the other. piazza barberini, rome






these are the same people from the photo above. took them the longest time trying to get their bearings. piazza barberini, rome






lady in white got them lost. lady in black not happy about it. piazza barberini, rome






so, we’ve got our miniature pinocchios. now where to? piazza di spagna, rome






had to shoot fast here. the cop in the car was giving me the hairy eyeball. piazza colonna, rome






one of the few who had the dignity of getting lost all by himself. piazza colonna, rome






ok – these guys weren’t really lost. more like reading the guidebook. but then again, none of the others were actually lost. piazza colonna, rome






what do you mean you’re already tired? we’ve only walked about two inches on the map… piazza di pietra, rome






i’d like to ask someone for directions, but the only italian in the whole piazza is the horse, and he won’t speak. piazza della rotonda (in local lingo: piazza del pantheon), rome






i have absolutely no idea where i am or where i’m going, so i’ll be the one to lead the group! pantheon, rome






hm… he’s young, he’s cute and he’s obviously lost. interesting. extremely interesting… pantheon, rome






photo essay shot on may 1st 2012 in the streets of rome.

alessandro ciapanna