There stands in what was once the Jewish Ghetto a rather shabby building that is distinguished by little else than the size and length of its inscription. The property once belonged to Lorenzo Manilio and the stone inscription that he commissioned extends across the facade for more than 21 metres.
In addition to the main inscription, Manilio had his name inscribed over each of the four entrances. It appears thrice in Latin and once in Greek.
The inscription reads: URBE ROMA IN PRISTINAM FORMA(m) (r)ENASCENTE LAUR. MANLIUS KARITATE ERGA PATRI(am) (a)EDIS SUO/NOMINE MANLIANAS PRO FORT(un)AR(um) MEDIOCRITATE AD FOR(um) IUDEOR(um) SIBI POSTERISQ(ue) SUIS A FUND(amentis) P(osuit) / AB URB(e) CON(dita)/MMCCXXI L AN(no) M(ense) III D(ie) II P(osuit) XI CAL(endas) AUG(ustas).
It can be roughly translated as: 'In the city of Rome, now being reborn in its former glory, Lorenzo Manilio built this house in the Jewish quarter as a token of love for his city and within the limit of his modest means. This house for him and his heirs was begun on the 11th day after the calends of August in the year 2221, from the foundation of the city, when Lorenzo was 50 years, 3 months and two days old.'
The building also incorporates spolia, fragments of ancient Roman sculpture, such as a lion and an antelope, once part of a sarcophagus.
Blogging about Rome:
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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