Monday, August 11, 2008

Roma-Parte Due

Our second day in Rome, we woke up bright and early to go on what my man decided to call "the art march of death." Even though he wasn't there... he wasn't too far from the truth!!

However, in order to survive this "art walk" a few of us left the hotel in the morning in search of better coffee that was served at the continental breakfast. While looking for a cafe, we happened upon the local piazza in which a market was taking place. An old man tried to sell me a handy carrot peeler... but his charms didn't work (nor do I have any room in my luggage for anything!) We also happened upon one of the funnies taps I've seen yet... Gotta love Italy!

We started again by revisiting The Piazza Navona, which was much less crowded in the morning, so we could see the fountains and sculptures much easier. Unfortunately, the famous Bernini sculpture was undergoing renovation, but we could see a bit of it through the construction. There were some other fountains (and characters) that I found worthwhile!

We went back to the Pantheon as well, again... this was different in the morning. Less crowded, and we could appreciate the space much more.

After this, we went on a wild church chase. Almost everything that's worth seeing in Rome is in the churches. We first went to St. Igancio's, where the most amazing false dome was painted! Jason made us all walk in with our heads down, and not look up until he said so...we were all fooled! It was a pretty cool optical illusion.

After that it was the march of Caravaggio's... and well worth it. We visited two separate churches that had the master's paintings in it. They were amazing. I have always been a huge fan of Caravaggio, and to be able to see his work in a place where it was meant to be seen, was breathtaking. My pictures cannot capture what I actually saw.

Once we saw these, we took a little break in the Piazza del Popolo for lunch, and then we separated for a few hours. I decided I wanted to see Santa Maria degli Angeli (St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs), which was a church designed by Michelangelo, and I ran into Sean who wanted to see San Giovanni Laterano, so we decided to brave the Roman Subway and do both!

St. Mary's church was a pretty amazing sight. Dave, who stumbled upon it while waiting for a train in Rome on his way to the airport, recommended it to me. On the floor was an amazing sight...a sundial/calendar designed to predict the most accurate time for Easter, as well as some other things. I tiny pinhole in the wall shone down onto a linear calendar on the floor. Amazing.

This church was built next to the Roman Baths, but unfortunately they were closed! On to our next destination...

The "San Giovanni Laterano"(Basilica of St. John Lateran) I have learned since I've been there, is the mother of all the churches in Rome. It is the main church of the Bishop of Rome, who IS the Pope. This pretty much explains why it's so lavish... it seemed to me that each church I saw got more ornate than the last. This one took the cake so far... Apparently, its importance within the Roman Catholic Church even outranks St. Peters in the Vatican City.

After our independent excursion, we met up at the Galleria Borghese, which holds many of Bernini's classic sculptures including Apollo and Daphne, The Rape of Persephone, and his David. He and Michelangelo were rivals and loathed each other, and you can see why! Two genius sculptors within city limits would undoubtably lead to some competition... Along with Bernini, this museum also included works by Caravaggio, Titian, and a special exhibit of Correggio. I was fortunate to see two paintings that I had done papers on, including Jupiter and Io by Coreggio, and Sacred and Prophane Love by Titian. It felt so amazing to see two pieces in life that I had only been able to analyze in books and over the computer screen.

Once we were finished with the Borghese, it was on to The National Museum of Modern Art. Here there were a few famous artists including Chagall, Degas, Monet, and many others. However, I found these collections fairly weak compared to the modern collections I've seen in the states. There was, however, an artist I had never heard of, Fillippo Palizza, who mostly portrayed animals, especially farm animals and horses! There was a fabulous paining of a flock of sheep coming upon a flock of goats, and the Border Collies going at it to protect their herds! I couldn't help but think of my Mattie!! It was fun to know that even some classic painters and I had similar loves.

No pictures allowed in either museum, which was fine. It's all in my memory box....

It had been a long art march that day! And a quiet evening was all I needed. A few folks and I went out to dinner in the neighboring Piazza to our hotel, and had a little toast to my upcoming birthday...! It was just what the doctor ordered.

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