in which i fell in love, a little, with Rome
I’ve been trying to upload and edit my pictures as diligently as possible—to no avail. It doesn’t help that my connection speed has been akin to a snail’s. I got back fourteen rolls of film, though (3, I have yet to have processed) and I’ve scanned them all. I guess I should try to find the time to do that, too.
In any case, it’s been a high stress situation, being back. Something I’ve decided to remedy by vegging out while reading bad YA lit, and super-cramming everything.
We started our Roman holiday by alighting from the metro, thinking we were two minutes away from our rented apartment’s street—only to find out that we were not. Rome’s underground rail covers only a little bit of the city. The quickest way to get to our new home was to cross the entire Vatican City, dragging our luggage on the cobblestones. As unpleasant as the experience was on our arms and fingers, Rome, at least, offered a spectacular view.
We settled in, had spectacular pizza (!) and a new dish my mom discovered made from Bresaola (dried beef), rocket salad, and shaved parmesan. The next day, we planned to conquer the Vatican Museum and to see, of course, the Sistine Chapel.
We crossed St. Peter’s Square everyday, to get to the central places, as well as the Roman underground.
There was a room dedicated to maps. It was quite thrilling to see people who made these partly from imagination, as there had been no cameras to take accurate pictures of land and water at the time.
I had no idea that Raphael’s “The School of Athens” was going to be there! I walked into one of the rooms, which was adorned in the style that was typical of this Museum. Then, I turned around, and there it was! I love this fresco; we talked quite a lot about it in school.
A bigger surprise: a series of Matisse!
We finally reached the crowning jewel—the Sistine Chapel. It was so breathtaking, I actually thought I was going to cry. The last restoration was conducted between 1980 and 1994, which reportedly made the colors really pop. Prior to the restoration, the chapel was dark and badly cracked. Imagine being part of that restoration team! I suppose it would have been exhilarating but frightening as well.
Technically, you weren’t allowed to take pictures, but of course no one listened.
The exit by the post office was an enormous spiral staircase and a thing of beauty. My dad wanted a picture, but we couldn’t time it properly without other people passing.
We had pizza from a random place called Pizzeria Rustica (near the Ottaviano stop), which created personal delusions of how any random place in Rome had great pizza. Lots of places had excellent pizza, but you could luck out and eat at a bad one—which we did. Here, you pointed to your chosen variety, they cut it for you, and charged by weight.
The crust is a bit thicker than typical Roman pizza (they like their crusts thin!) but it was delightfully crispy and burnt in some parts.
We took the underground to the Spanish Steps, which as you can see, a lot of tourists also wanted to see. I don’t exactly understand the fuss, but my brother said it was a big deal because it connected the Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinità dei Monti. It is also the widest staircase in Europe.
We walked to Fontana di Trevi from Piazza di Spagna, and I can’t seem to find the name of this statue (monument?), but we all loved looking at it.
It is said that if you throw a coins into the Trevi Fountain and drank water from it, you would come back to Rome. I didn’t see the later part and just threw in a bunch of coins, so I guess my Roman future is still up in the air.
Apparently, around 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain everyday and it’s being used to subsidize a supermarket to feed Rome’s needy. I wonder if there are enough coins thrown into the Trevi Fountain, in total, to get Italy out of debt.
A lady sitting in the Pantheon. I don’t know why, but I expected to see a lot of Renaissance renditions of old pagan gods and goddesses in the Pantheon, but I did not.
Piazza Navona is a city square that’s flanked by three fountains, the center one (called “Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi” or “The Fountain of the Four Rivers”) made by my one of my favorite sculptors, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. I learned quite late that my favorite work of his are housed at the Galleria Borghese, which requires pre-booked reservations, so I’m happy I got to see this fountain, at least. It’s supposed to represent the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Platte—great rivers of territories or continents where papal authority had spread.