Over the centuries, La Pieta has given scholars and viewers much to ponder. When Michelangelo sculpted it in 1499, the Rome-based Italians hadn't given much thought to the image of a post-crucifixion Christ. Then there came the wonder - why does Mary look so beautifully young? Why does Jesus look so small? Michelangelo never bothered to explain himself too clearly. The sculpture had probably already caused him enough private quandary. In a singular stroke of pride he scrawled "Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made it" on the sash across Mary's chest. He later regretted his outburst and vowed never to sign another of his works. But La Pieta was to later suffer a much greater blow. In 1972 a mentally disturbed geologist burst into St Peter's Basilica, where the sculpture resides, and hammered into the sculpture shouting 'I am Jesus Christ'. Mary's nose was not recovered amongst the pieces on the floor and had to be reconstructed from a block cut out of her back. Que sera!
Hotel de Russie. Contemplate the quiet of the 'Secret Garden' from the cream and gold Nijinksky suite or overlook Piazza del Popolo from the enormous terrace balcony of the Popolo Suite.