Sunday, June 7, 2009

Roma

Yesterday we went to Rome. It was a terrible disaster of a trip because it was very unorganized and our group consists of a variety of age ranges and interests, so some people would DRAG ON for hours when we were ready to continue moving. However, I did get to see some very excellent things that reminds me why I chose to study art history in the first place.

After about an hour bus ride which reminded me of my unfortunate ability to get motion sickness at the most inconvenient times, we stopped at our first destination, Ara Pacis Augustae.


It is a monument dedicated to the peace brought by Augustus's rule over the Roman Empire, which was apparently the longest period of peace in its history. I just studied this in Classical Art History last semester, so it was cool understanding the iconography and being able to physically walk around inside it. The center has an area that was used for animal sacrifices. On the outside are a bunch of really great friezes including one featuring personifications of earth in harmony with air and water. Check it out:



The actual building of the museum it's in is apparently built by the famous American architect Richard Meier, and downstairs there were some interesting modern art exhibits along with a more complete exhibit of the monument, including digital images in 3 dimensions of what it would have looked like when it was made, as it would have been painted in bright colors. It was actually pretty awesome.


The modern bathroom signs in the museum of Ara Pacis Augustae

Lindsey, Lauren, Kate, me, Katie outside of the museum

The next place we went was the church of San Luigi dei Francesi where there is a chapel that has 3 giant Caravaggios in it. The church itself was absolutely breathtaking.



Caravaggio was commissioned to paint 3 pictures for a chapel that was dedicated to some patron saint (St. Matthew?) by some guy when he died who left a chunk of money...so these are the original pieces that have hung here since the turn of the 17th century I believe. They are in amazing condition and have just undergone a cleaning because the natural varnishes used at the time they were painted would have darkened too significantly after so long.



After that, we went to the Pantheon, which was absolutely beautiful and I got to see the tomb of Rafaello Sanzio (generically known as Raphael) who is one of my absolute favs.


Pantheon


Raphael's tomb!! Crappy picture, but whatever.

Our final destination was the Galleria Borghese, but on the way we stopped by the Trevi Fountain and took some pictures and threw in some American pennies, and of course stopped for some paninis and gelato!


Emily and me in front of the Trevi Fountain

Make a wish!!

The Borghese Gallery wouldn't let us even take in anything, so no cameras, but I did buy a book of all the treasures I got to see inside. These included some of the most AMAZING Bernini statues I have ever seen. It is a completely different experience seeing them up close (you could touch every one if you wanted) than learning about them from pictures. You could see every crease in the skin, every vein, every muscle. It was amazing, the things that man could do with marble. I saw David, the Rape of Persephone, and my fav Apollo and Daphne. There were also a bunch of paintings by Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio (all the really famous ones worth looking at, like Little Sick Bacchus, Youth with Basket of Fruit, St. Gerome, David and Goliath, etc etc), Rubens, and the list goes on. And of course, a main exhibit was Canova's Paolina Borghese Bonaparte, which I have also studied in the past. Plenty of amazing pieces that were totally worth the long visit.


Me, Olivia, and Isabel outside of the Galleria Borghese...with gelato cioccolato :-)

After I got back from Roma, Amelia and Isa had returned from Rome as well and we had a big traditional Italian dinner party with some of their older friends. Try cramming 8 people around a table that comfortably fits 4, with 6 bottles of wine and food that never ends! It was an amazing time, and the food was to die for, as usual. Lots of gesticulating and carrying on, much like my crazy family at home. I see where my mom gets it from. I tried fennel for the first time (sorta tastes like licorice) and learned that the word in Italian also means homosexual...good to know!

After dinner, Amelia took me to the next small town over called Giove where her friends were performing. They are in a folk band called Fischi per Fiaschi and they sing exciting Italian songs I don't understand but I really like and include instruments such as guitar, bass, drums, violin, clarinet, harmonica, some Midieval lute looking thing, some crazy old flute thing, tambourines, all sorts of crazy stuff. It was actually really good! And I got to meet a lot of her friends who are all very nice and we got to play guessing games with English and Italian, trying to understand one another. The performance was at an outdoor bar very similar to the one we went to in Amelia, and people just stay out until 2 or 3 in the morning listening to music, talking, drinking wine or beer, and eating! All the time they are eating! I did enjoy a delicious crepe with nutella and whipped cream and chocolate however :-) And I (sort of) swing danced with one of her random friends who was grabbing random girls to dance with. It was loads of fun, even though I didn't get back until 3 am!

Today we had a big lunch where Isa and Antonio invited a few of my ARCA friends over to cram around the table like last night. More wine, delicious penne with some sauce that Isa says is an ancient recipe that is not used anymore but it stupendo!, a meat cooked with a great sauce and carrots and onions and zucchini and eggplant (I actually love the eggplant and how it's cooked here!), bread, fennel and olives, cherries, pistachio gelato with like some sort of candied pistachios on top, and espresso afterwards! It was sooooo good but I will gain about 20 pounds before I leave here.

After lunch Isa took Robin (who is from Poulsbo!) and Julia (my ARCA mom figure) to her garden and Alan and Patrick and I went up to explore the cathedral here in Amelia. And holy crap it is AMAZING!!! And HUGE! As big and glorious as any in Rome. The outside is currently undergoing restoration, so it is completely covered in plywood and beams, but inside is completely decorated and the priest was playing this big, gorgeous organ. I lit a candle and put in my euros :-) like a normal pious individual should to redeem myself for testing out my priestlike abilities as I heard Patrick's confession in the confessional...pretty sure I shouldn't have sat in the priest's spot for that. Pictures will come soon. I took a bunch. But now I am off to the wine festival!!!! Time to taste test the flavors of Amelia!!

3 comments:

  1. You make me more and more jealous every day, however, I also get more and more excited to come see you. I can't believe I missed the Caravaggios while I was there! I think I have some of the exact same photos from the Pantheon. :-) You look amazing as always and you look like you're having fun, that's all that matters. Have a great time at the wine festival. I love you, baby!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is what life is all about. Those people who do not understand that their roots are determined by their art are morons. It is a shame that few Americans undertand their heritage and value that which defines their origins. I am so glad that you get to see this!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. So art, history, and beautiful location aside, I am so jealous of the food you're having. Guess its the inner fatass in me talking. Oh and I remembered my rose and vladdy moment. Will share as soon as possible!

    ReplyDelete