Archive for the ‘jewish ghetto’ Tag

Easy couple of days   Leave a comment

Two nights ago, I decided to stay up late reading Suetonius in bed. Around midnight, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I set my alarm and went to bed.

Yesterday, I woke up at 6:11 and was unable to go back to sleep for the 20 minutes I had left for sleeping. So I laid in bed reading the rest of Suetonius. I was up at 7:10 and out of the house at 8:15. I was ten minutes early for my drawing class in the Jewish Ghetto, overlooking the Portico d’Ottavia and the Teatro di Marcello. I had my mid-term exam for the class; she flipped through my sketchbook and declared my work to be somewhere between a B+ and an A-. We also took a class field trip up the street to visit the famous Burnt Pastry shop.

Fantastic buns. I was surprised that the burnt part didn’t even matter.

I went home after class and ate some gnocchi before heading to school. I showed up at Rome to Augustus on time. In class, I drew a comic based on what the professor was teaching us.

After class I went home, and Deanna, Sarah, and I made a pizza from scratch.

We don’t have measuring cups and so we had to improvise the recipe.


300-400 grams of flour
A pile of parmesan cheese, hand-shredded until Kelsey got bored
Two dashes of olive oil
3.5 mugs of boiling water


6-7 tomatoes, flash-boiled, peeled, and mashed
Dash of all the spices in your cabinet. All of them. And then a little more basil.

Cheese: 2.5 buffalo balls of mozzarella, sliced
Toppings: Garlic, more basil, and prosciutto

Bake at the highest temperature you can manage for 20 minutes.

Results will be difficult to slice, because Sarah likes her dough crispy. But anyway it will be super delicious.

I fell asleep while reading around 11:30. For some reason I was exhausted.

This morning I also managed to wake up on time and get out of the house on time. Even better, I navigated the bus system all by myself! I hadn’t done that yet. I was so proud.

The class sat on the steps outside the Piramide metro station and waited for the other drawing professor to show up (we have one on Mondays and Wednesdays and another one on Tuesdays and Thursdays). While waiting, some old guy walked up to us and started ranting in Italian.

Despite our shouts of “No parlo Italiano!” “Sono di Americana!” “Non capisco!” and “Go away!” he kept going, eventually focusing most of his rant on Chelsea, who was particularly noisy. Eventually he realized she couldn’t understand him, so he did the only logical thing and wrote down what he was trying to express.

He wrote, roughly, ROMA CAPITALE MUNDI E CENTRO NAZIONE, or something like that. It means “Rome is the capital of the world and the center of all nations”. “Roma Capitale Mundi” seems to be some sort of common phrase among all the old people in Rome. Whenever I meet an old person they always tell me “Roma Capitale Mundi.” Well, not that little old lady I helped across the street one day. All the other old people have said that though.

Chelsea was inexplicably popular with Italians this morning. We got kicked off our steps by some street-cleaners. This guy immediately walked up to us and, no lie, the first thing he said was, “I am single! I am single!” Then he gave us more relevant information re: his status. He is a singer. He then gave us an off-key rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.

Sadly we had to go to the Protestant Cemetary and draw rather than continue to be mobbed by all the random denizens of Fermata Piramide.

This guy is Devereux Plantagenet Cockburn. I called him Lord Cockburn. He kept me company while I drew the graves next to him. I feel bad that I didn’t draw his gravestone, because clearly it is the best gravestone.

This is what I tried to draw (I haven’t grabbed the picture I drew yet, sorry).

For a long time we were mostly left on our own to draw. The professor came by and checked our sketchbooks. I definitely have a B+ or an A- as my midterm grade. I “show enthusiasm”, I just need to “show progress” now. I dunno. Anyway, after several hours of sitting on my butt in the mud and the bugs I got tired and walked around and took pictures of interesting graves.

After class I successfully managed to use some Italian. I asked the ticket guys at the station where a bank was (Dov’é uno banco?). I ordered lunch almost entirely in Italian (I slipped up when I asked what the Italian word for “green beans” is, they then proceded to just speak in English to me the rest of the time). After lunch I went down to the meeting point for my next class. I sat on the steps and read and fell asleep. Then I woke up and read some more. Then, because life is rough, I fell asleep again. When I woke up, I worried I had missed class, so I stopped a passing woman and asked, “Che cosa ora?”

Due e diece,” she replied.

Grazie,” I said.

I was pleased. We had understood each other and it was still forty minutes until my next class.

Two girls stopped at my stoop and asked me a question. I could tell by their gestures and a few words I grabbed that they were looking for the Piramide metro stop. I waved them in the right direction.

Two good days. Due bene giorni.

Oggi   Leave a comment

Why didn’t anyone tell me

The Roman Forum!

It was there all along!

I just had to look behind the Palatine Hill

No, seriously, I love this. I love looking at a whole group of ruins, unfolding before you. You can see, just a little bit, how it must have looked to people standing there 2000 years ago.

Also, people were throwing coins at this monument. I don’t really understand why. I actually saw some people throwing coins. It appeared to be an athleticism thing rather than a good-luck thing. It didn’t really answer my question of “why”.

Some other pictures I took on my drawing errand:

“To be, or not to be. That is the question.”

This is the view from the building on top of the Palatine.

This is il Teatro di Marcello, Marcellus’ Theatre. Marcellus was Augustus’ nephew, by his sister Octavia’s first marriage (not to Mark Antony). It sits right next to Octavia’s Temple, which held a temple to Jupiter and Juno. This area also functioned as the Jewish ghetto and the fish market. There are pictures of actual stores being built into the Theatre there. Mussolini kicked the storeowners out and tore the stores down to restore the Theatre to its former glory. Nowadays it functions as part of the structure for the apartment building behind it. Can you imagine??? Living in a ruin? A ruin of a building commissioned by Emperor Augustus himself? Oh my gosh.