Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rome's Magic Door


The Porta Alchemica can be found in the garden of a ruined villa on Rome's Esquilino hill. It was once one of five mysterious gates that were built around 1680 by a wealthy marquis who was friends with some of the biggest names in alchemy.

According to legend, the marquis once dined with an alchemist who claimed he had discovered an herb that would turn ordinary metals into gold. By the next morning, the man had disappeared. But he left behind a few gold flakes--and the recipe he had used to create them. Unfortunately, the marquis couldn't understand the strange document, so he had its contents inscribed on five doors around his villa in the hope that some passerby might be able to interpet the symbols.

Today, only one of the doors is still standing.

16 comments:

one very curious girl said...

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I wonder where the other doors went?

MushroomCloud said...

thats pretty cool...

Kitty said...

Another possible good story ;w; I really wonder where you find epic stuff like this >w<

Elizabeth said...

I agree, this is very mysterious. Where have they gone? Hmm...

Anonymous said...

Dear Elizabeth:

"Urban renewal" in Rome often involves recycling used building materials. Very likely the original door lintels are between the kitchen and dining room in a villa or apartment far from their original locations.

On the other hand, if one DID know where the remnants were, one could plan an awesome urban race that would depend a lot more on brains than on speed or stamina.

Robert "faster than a GPS" in San Diego

Netta said...

I wonder if the recipe did work i wonder if anyone tried it before and i wonder what happened to all the other dooors that is very mysterious!

Anonymous said...

hmmmmmm, mysterious I wonder if anybody has tried the recipe

MushroomCloud said...

so, just cause i was bored I was rereading the Who were you? posts. There was one, the Florist, i believe, where you said the subject today was interesting, but that you'd retain your secrecy policy. If you put your mouse over her picture, the name shows up. Just thought it was ironic...

Violet :) said...

Cool. I wonder if there's any way to find the other doors.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the whole Who Were You thing, Can anyone just put down their jobs or what, although it looks cool.

Toodles*** said...

GASP where are they?!?!!?!?!??! i am now officially on a mission to find them. Because if i want my dark red vespa, i am going to need some money. something i dont have.

And Anonymous that posted at: March 26, 2011 11:16 AM,

You just had to send your photo to Kirsten with no additional information, and she would predict your past.

OmiGoshers said...

.......WHEN IS KIKI 3 COMING OUT!!!!!!! i'm about to die!!!! :( its been 3 yearrrrsss!!!! sad day...

EQ said...

@ Robert: Oh yes. Like a combination of National Treasure and The 39 Clues. And Kiki Strike? I can imagine that black Vespa hurtling through the streets of Rome, tracking a centuries-old mystery, with...someone...on her trail.

So is the recipe on each one, or is is broken up between them? The former would be more convenient, the latter would make a better story.

EQ said...

And what happened to the alchemist? Was he just looking to start a fight? (The Eris situation) Was he really hoping to share with this guy, but was whisked away to heaven-knows-where by evil enemies in the night? Or by good guys, mere minutes ahead of said enemies? Or was he trying to bring trouble down on this guy's head by pinning the much-coveted secret on him & leaving him with the hot potato?

Anonymous said...

Dear Violet:) --

I hope the other doors are still out there, even if "repurposed." They could have been crushed to make aggregate for concrete foundations, or been used as loose fill to cover over some swampy ground. Long-established cities have lots of interesting, and sometimes maddening, reuses of things. This drives the archeologists NUTS. For example, we'll never be able to recover all the information we could have recovered from the Troy of the Trojan War era. In part its because the most famous person digging there dug about a thousand years too deep. However, the builders of Troias (the successor city on the site) back around 300 Common Era or so leveled the top of the mound of Hisarlik to give themselves a smooth starting surface -- and they trashed the Palace of Priam while doing it.

Robert in San Diego, only somewhat bitter about that.

Maka Albarn said...

oooooooooooooooooooomygosh!!!!
I love it!!! Where do you find this stuff, Kirsten
Hey, does anyone here like Soul Eater? i am kind of obsessed... ;P