Through Eternity was born in the mid-1990s out of the deep friendship between Robert Allyn, born and raised in the United States, and in those years recently moved Rome, and me, Rosario Gorgone, born and raised in Italy. Both artists but with different cultural formation, we frequently confronted one another in those years over life in Rome, how the city and its cultural inheritance was lived by the Romans, and how our diverse cultural traditions caused us to focus more or less attention on certain aspects.
In those years we were passionately in search of the city's unusual characteristics and the sites absolutely neglected at that time (unfortunately some remain so) that were opened only on rare occasions, unexpectedly shedding light on the dark areas of our knowledge. It became clear that in order to attain a real sense of the city it would be necessary to enter every day a bit more into the life of the past, it would be necessary to reconstruct out of the archeological remains the city of ideas, laws, spaces, morality, and daily life—all buried more deeply than the houses or bridges.
Thus an idea took shape that there ought to be a different way to visit the city, to grasp its historical richness, to participate in its great art, to revive its treasures. To do all this we needed, in addition to a deep initial knowledge, above all to have accumulated discoveries, to have tasted the pleasure of living the places and the riches of time.
And so Through Eternity was born. It was born with one heart, one passion, one identity.
It was born with the idea of helping others have the same journey that the city had given us, a millennial voyage into the cultures of the past, into three thousand years of human presence and human activity documented by the manufactures and art, which on these hills have never ceased and have achieved wondrous results. Small change for sure, three thousand years, for a city with an eternal vocation, but for us who have a rather shorter stay on this earth, three thousand years seemed and seem an eternity. A game, perhaps eternal, between what remains and what reemerges from memory and in memory persists; it changes and renews.
Something perhaps can be summed up in a casual discovery of mine a few days ago: a new street, among the many I know, whose name carries an echo of what had been. It is called "Via di San Giovanni Decollato," a small street not far from the Circus Maximus. The term "decollato" in present-day Italian is used only to refer to an airplane that has taken off. But a literal analysis made me also read "senza collo," or "without the neck" an idea confirmed by a brief investigation. At the end of the 14th century a small church in the neighborhood was given to the Arcicofraternita' of Misericordia (or brotherhood of mercy) that, in memory of St. John the Baptist beheaded by Herod, gave assistance to those condemned to death by decapitation, comforting them and staying by their side from the day before execution until burial.
And so, with such discoveries and the shape they give to history, Through Eternity was born in 1999, characterized since that time by quality private tours and small group tours (maximum 15 people), devoted to an experience of the history and art of the city. It was born for demanding visitors, spirited and dynamic visitors who want to root around in the side streets of the city and in its museums, in its archeological remains, and its rituals, and who are not going to be satisfied with superficial hype.
It was born with walking tours above all because in a city such as ours, with its incredible historical stratification, one passes in the space of a few yards from the ruins of an Imperial Roman arch to a medieval church, and around the corner there is one of those stupendous fountains made out of an ancient sarcophagus. We can't let you miss such riches.
Traditional walking tours experienced in the calm and serene manner most authentically Italian, because the time of discovery is magical and it needs to be tasted with the senses and with the soul, through direct interaction with the expert who accompanies you in the exploration of these places. And, the time of the visit should not be destroyed by rushing; you cannot discover the Vatican Museums running from one part to the other, nor can you hop from one famous piazza to the next with your eyes closed, without passing through their millennial streets. Here lies the success of Through Eternity in all these years. An alternative of real substance instead of big business tours with no soul: good guided visits in the Italian style, interspersed with discussions of history and art, with stops in good restaurants for traditional Italian lunches - complete journeys in the present-day culture of the city, in the pursuit of its roots.
But at the heart of Through Eternity are also all those who have collaborated or continue to collaborate with us. In these long years in fact Through Eternity has been enriched by the incomparable collaboration of many archeologists, historians, art historians, theologians, passionate connoisseurs of the city in general, who in front of a Renaissance fresco or at an ancient temple know they are in a special place and know how to make you live it in special way. They are men and women who were chosen to be part of the group not only for their particular knowledge but also for their passion, their genuine interest in art and history, their generous desire to share it, their authentic respect for our clients' time, their ability to convey knowledge, enthusiasm, and feeling. Many are professionals, some even with rich curricula of study and university teaching, who have chosen us for the same reasons that we chose them.
With them, thanks to our many group meetings - often even monthly gatherings - we have confronted over the years minor logistical issues in order to optimize the itineraries, but above all we have engaged in lively debates about numerous subjects of history and art history. Together we have expanded our knowledge - frequently with the wine flowing and a bit in the lively Renaissance manner - we have grown tremendously year after year.
This is what Through Eternity is, a great cultural and human adventure that every day, thanks to the uninterrupted support that you have given us in these years, continues and reaches toward new horizons.