The Aventina

The Fall of an Empire, the Return of a New One

Julien Potin, Reporter

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No more than 220 years ago, the soldiers of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Armée d’Italie crossed the Alps and marched into the booted peninsula, depriving it of its greatest treasures. The campaigns of 1796 and 1802 will always be remembered by Italy as the “French Betrayal”, and the bitter taste left by the sacks of Venice, Bologna, and Florence is still felt today.

Yet two centuries years later, at the dusk of 2016, we celebrate the return of Italy’s cultural heritage in a temporary exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome.

A St. Stephen’s group, organized by Dr. Raynor, Mr. Brouse, and members of History Club, attended the exhibit on January 27th, and laid their eyes on a fraction of the massive treasure stolen by the French in the Napoleonic era.

Paintings, engravings, and sculptures are displayed in a two-story exhibition, which groups the artworks chronologically, and points out both the date of creation and the date of restitution.  

Artwork by Raphael, Tintoretto, Canova, and many more is exposed in an invaluable collection that will remain in Rome until March 17th. All lovers of art, history, or art history are encouraged to go admire chef-d’oeuvres from Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical schools, which condense Italy’s religious, political, and social history.

With your school ID, entrance is discounted (if not free!) and due to the Scuderie’s “sit-and-watch” character, you are free to walk around without the weight of a detailed tour guide explanation. Once done, while using the exit stairs, you can admire what Mr. Brouse rightfully considers “One of the most spectacular views of Rome”, and conclude your evening or Sunday morning with a pleasing walk through the world’s most beautiful city.

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The Fall of an Empire, the Return of a New One