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Pope Pius VI's Improvements

As rulers of Rome, the Popes often felt it was up to them to improve on the works of the ancient Romans. Titus leaves a good inscription on his triumphal arch? The Pope appropriates it. Hadrian rebuilds the Pantheon? The Pope clears the area around it so you can see it nicely. The Romans engineer waterfalls? The Pope makes us a nice comfortable observation post:


[image ALT: The backs of the heads of 4 people looking at a waterfall thru a stone arch. It is the lookout over the Reatine Falls, also called the Cascata delle Marmore, near Terni, in Umbria (central Italy).]

and signs it. (Actually, others sign it for him:)

[image ALT: a handsomely cut Latin inscription surrounded by a solid border]

Transcribed and expanded:
1



5

AUSPICIIS, ET IMPERIO
PII VI. P
ONTIFICIS OPTIMI MAXIMI
UT PROPE, AC TUTO VELINI LAPSUS IN SUBJECTUM NAREM
CONSPICI POSSET
APERTA SEMITA, MUNITA EXTERA, EXTRUCTA SPECULA
DECRETO VI VIRORUM INTERAMNATUM NAHART
IS
ANNO MDCCLXXXI

Translated:

At the behest and command of Pius VI, the Best and Greatest Pope, so that the falls of the Velino into the tamed Nera might be viewed safely from up close, a path was cleared, its outer works consolidated, and this lookout built. By decree of the municipal councillors of Terni in the year 1781.


[image ALT: A schematic diagram of a path describing about 180° of a circle, at one end of which there is a waterfall, at the other a small square lookout. It is a map of Pius VI's lookout over the Reatine Falls near Terni, Umbria (central Italy).]

For a good pair of photographs of the falls, unobstructed by heads — one view with the falls "turned off" and the other with the falls running freely — see my diary, Sept. 2, 2000.


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Page updated: 22 Dec 12