Monday, August 11, 2008

Roma-The Final Countdown!!

On our last day, we saw what was the mothership of Roma, The Vatican Museum!

Again, we woke up bright and early in order to avoid crowds and extreme heat and made the march to the Vatican City.

It was already brutally hot at around 8-9 AM when we arrived at the Vatican, and we felt it! Luckily, there were a few fountains we could cool ourselves along the way, and the line wasn't too long.

The museum itself, was phenominal. Everyone's goal is to arrive at the Sistine Chapel, but there was so much to see along the way! First we went along a series of rooms including various sculptures. One room was just animal sculptures! (you know I was there!!) We also saw many roman replica's of greek sculptures, which all seemed pretty amazing to me! According to my instructor, the Greek ones are even better...

On of the famous peices we were able to see was "The Laoco├Ân and His Sons", an original sculpture from around 160 B.C. I has only seen copies of this from my undergrad, and I remember drawing it as an assignment. Seeing the real thing was an absolute thrill!

Along the way we went into another series of rooms, including tapestries, frescos, more sculptures, and maps! Amongst all of these classical maps, we were able to find Corciano... no stone was left unturned!

One of the pieces I was excited to finally see in person was Raphael's "School of Athens." I absolutely loved it! This was one of the moments I really wished I had more time, because I could have spent quite a bit of it just picking apart every detail of this masterpiece. One of the many reasons I need to go back to Roma!

But the pinnacle of all of this, was Michelangelo's most famous (and first ever!) fresco... The Sistine Chapel. It was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. I spent at least 20 minutes just sitting and looking, absorbing, and embracing this "wonder" of my world. I felt extremely lucky to be in the presence of this incredible work of art. It's so large, and consuming, it's hard to believe that it's real!! No photos allowed... but I took video!!

After we did the Vatican museum, it was time to see Rome's most famous church, St. Peters. This place was every bit as opulant as I imagined, if not more. The exterior was large and beautiful, the interior was dripping with gold, sculptures, marble and gems. Not only was this church probably one of the more amazing houses of worship I had seen, it housed another of Michelangelo's sculptures, The Pieta. Beautiful and Breathtaking.

Once we all had our fill of world famous art and museums, it was time for a relaxing cocktail and lunch! We all stopped at local ristorante, most folks enjoyed cold beers or water, but I couldn't resist my favorite italian white wine... just a small one!

After lunch, we were all ready to melt from the heat. (I think it was the hottest day so far...) and the Holiday Inn with the Pool that we were spending our last night in wasn't too far away!

After a nice dip in the pool, we enjoyed a casual dinner at the hotel bar. Both of my instructors, Craig and Jason, treated me to a birthday dinner. At the end of the meal I was surprised by a birthday cake and a big pink candle! I couldn't resist going Carmen with it for a "photo op" or two...!!

After dinner, we all hung out and had a few drinks at the hotel bar (for my birthday!!) and also as a last hurrah and goodbye to everyone. We were all leaving at different times the next day, and the photo op's along with a lot of "keep in touch!" es were exchanged. I sure hope we do all keep in touch! This was a great group of folks to spend my summer with....

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