Archive for the ‘Vado a Italia’ 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.

Dough:

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

Sauce:

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.

And now we’re all caught up with what I’ve been doing in Italy   Leave a comment

Yesterday was a much slower day in comparison to the last few days. I got up slowly, ate breakfast, read some more of the webcomic Freefall, and then went out and did homework.

What I tried to draw:

What I drew:

Ugh, that is terrible. I’m going to go out and find a naked statue and draw that instead. Guh.

On my way back I went grocery shopping. The roommates had all stopped at the store at some point to get groceries for themselves, but for some reason once they came back from the store they were all like “Oh by the way Kelsey we need saran wrap”. So I went shopping for saran wrap, because none of my roommates are capable of buying saran wrap for themselves. I also bought toilet paper because my bathroom is out of toilet paper. And now I can’t find the toilet paper I bought just yesterday, what the heck.

Sarah and I went out and got Mexican food. It was amazing. Italians know even less than we do about Mexico and Mexican food. The cheese was sitting outside of the burrito. All the decorations were Peruvian and Aztec(ian?). The chicken was cooked in gentle but flavorful Italian spices rather than hot Mexican spices, and it was dry (but good). It was just amazing.

Sarah and I were sitting at the end of a table for six. At one point a couple sat down at the other end of the table from us. The woman in the couple was having a rough time of it. She was crying for the first part of their meal. He was obviously trying to make her feel better, trying to say positive things, and kept leaving across the table to kiss her noisily and murmur in her ear. It was really sweet.

We ordered Coppa gelato con frutta fresca, which I translated into “a cup of ice cream with fresh fruit.” Which turned out to be accurate, but the ice cream turned out to be chocolate. So I took out the strawberries and offered my ice cream to the couple sitting next to us. They turned it down.

They left before we did. They made sure to say goodbye to us as they left. I watched them go (I was facing the same way they were going, what else was I going to do). Like half a block away he got down on one knee and said something. I wondered if he was proposing or what the heck was going on, why was he stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to get down on one knee like that. But why would he propose if she was obviously upset? None of my business, but still.

Welcome to the Vatican   2 comments

Okay, so it’s taken me two days to get this post going because Holy Crap did I take a lot of pictures of the Vatican. (did you see what I did there? Ahaha) Anyway I’ve uploaded all the pictures to imgur, which took a very, very long time, so after it was all done I went to bed rather than make this post. And now I’m making this post. Congratulations! You are now up to date on the goings-on in my blogging career.

So my roommates made it home safe the night before. They got in at about 4:30, when I was already asleep. The bar the Italian guys had been taken them to turned out to be closed, so they just went to a touristy karaoke bar they knew was overpriced but good. Nicole was, ah, “not feeling well” so she didn’t go. It was just Ayan, Sarah, Deanna, and me then. Our tickets were scheduled for 1:00, but due to everyone being out late the night before, we showed up at the Vatican around 1:30.

Here is a picture I took on the way to the Vatican, near Argentina, which has a lot of bus stops on it. The street art in Rome is amazing.



First we wandered through St. Peter’s Square. I wanted to stop and take more touristy pictures, but we were On A Mission. I will probably try to go back there at some point and take pictures, but not today. Not Sunday. Not in St. Peter’s Square.




So there isn’t really an obvious route that you’re supposed to take. You walk out into a terrace area and you try to figure out for yourself where to go. I wanted to see the Pigna, so we went to the Cortile della Pigna first. Once upon a time, there was a fountain built in a section of Rome that was made to look like a pinecone. It gave water to the whole district, and so the area was named “pinecone district.” Eventually one of the popes was adding to the Vatican. He realized that the people at the Vatican needed to drink, so he took the foutain from the district and made it the fountain of the Vatican.

Historically, that was a good move. Had there been a chunk of bronze just hanging out, it would have been torn down anyway during the many invasions of Rome in the middle ages. But it was in the Vatican. No one wanted to take from the Vatican. Nowadays the area is still known as “pinecone district” even though there is no pinecone, it’s weird.

Here’s something that I learned fairly quickly. I was excited to go to the Vatican because I wanted to learn about the Popes. I wanted to learn about the Borgia and the historical political institution known as the Papacy. But the Vatican is an art museum. Lots of art has been contributed to the Vatican, they gotta do something with it. That makes sense. But the Vatican museum is a gigantic collection of art. You don’t go to the Vatican museum to learn about the Vatican.

As you can see, there are a lot of statues. So many that instead of taking serious pictures of statues, I just took pictures of the few that amused me.

Haha, check out this guy’s moobs.

BEHOLD THE MOOBS.

I took this picture to make a joke about “ahaha she’s going to take your soul” but now I’m looking at it. I know the dark spots are holes in the eyes. What was there before? Was it gems or precious metals? Was this statue looted, the body tossed aside? Now looking at this statue makes me sad.

I forget why this statue amused me. Maybe because it looks like it’s snapping? I don’t know, but look at that hand. That is some fine detail work.

This baby frightened Ayan.



Speaking of frightening children.

Okay we’re done with phantom childen.

This statue is all “LAD-AYS.”

I have to tell you that there were a lot of statues like this one, based around the story of Ganymede and Zeus. Ganymede was a beautiful boy. Zeus was Zeus. He turned himself into an eagle and stole Ganymede away for some, ah, Zeusing.

A lot of these statues were damaged in some way. This picture was weird to me, because either the statue head was completely reconstructed (horribly) or the head is all mildewy. Eww.

You could say that the sculptors had some phantom limb syndrome. Actually for serious, this one is shown with an arm around its shoulder and I liked that.

We’re done with the statues now by the way.




Okay, this struck me as weird about the Vatican. Absolutely none of the statues that hung over doorways looked happy to be there.




NONE OF THEM.








It was around this time that Ayan and I realized that we had lost Deanna and Sarah. So we decided to just hang out for a bit and wait to see if they would find us. You see, we were in part of a loop, so we hoped that they just hadn’t exited the loop yet.

So we waited. Eventually Sarah found us. We didn’t find Deanna for a while; she had wandered off completely on her own. She got to see the Borgia apartments and I didn’t.

What is going on with these statues, I don’t even.

“So I says to Mabel, I says”
“Dude you’re not even hitting the plate with your water jug.”
“Haters gonna hate.”

HE-EY

I guess even the great art preservationists have to use tape.

I’m not entirely sure why, but imagery of dudes kissing baby Jesus’ feet always amuses me. Generally speaking, the person doing the kissing is the guy who commissioned the art, which is I’m sure are important things to note, but mostly I just think it’s funny that old dudes are always kissing a baby’s foot.

2000 years before CGI, there was Jesus, doing the Dreamworks face.

(yes I know the tapestry is like 400-600 years old, not 2000, but I was making a joke)

Anyway look at this foot.

Anyway look at this ceiling.

It is a very pretty ceiling.


I took this picture because haha, dudes kissing. But Ayan turned out to be really interested in this tapestry. I looked at the tapestry more closely, and I realized that it was depicting Holy Thursday. It was separated into three panels, represented by the walls of the building that the Last Supper took place in. I pointed out what about the second panel indicated that it was the Last Supper — Jesus with a ring of holy light, the apostles blatantly getting drunk and falling asleep. Then in the third panel, I explained why St. Peter was holding a sword and a dude’s ear was falling off, and why it was significant that Jesus was kissing Peter. I felt bad about secretly taking a terrible picture because it was funny, because this is an important piece of early sequential art.

Anyway on to the Sistine Chapel. I took pictures inside the Sistine Chapel, because you’re not allowed to take pictures of the Sistine Chapel. I understand why they don’t want pictures taken (actually I don’t, I can only guess it has to do with copyright). I just wanted to break the rules. So I won’t post pictures of the Sistine Chapel.

Here, have a picture of a cow instead.

We actually found Deanna at the Sistine Chapel. It was funny. We were worried about her, but after waiting around we decided to just go ahead to the Sistine Chapel. And there she was. And the first thing she said was, “I found your friend!” It turned out that Sarah’s friend who was supposed to join us yesterday was in the Vatican eating a pastry at the little cafe just off of the Sistine Chapel. Life is full of surprises.






I took this photo because hahaha buff babies, but actually this is a pretty vase.

In the Vatican, even the exit is pretty.



I was a little disappointed though. I know nothing more about the Papacy than when I went to the Vatican. I was hoping to buy a book on the history of the Papacy in the bookstore at least, but no dice. Nothing but books on the Sistine Chapel and Botticelli and Michelangelo. I did buy stuff — their price for prints was really reasonable — but it was all art history.

We were all starving so we went to a cafe close to St. Peter’s Square to eat, and who should join us but Sarah’s friend? I am seated away from the crowd because after about forty minutes of sitting in direct sunlight your neck starts to get hot and you start to worry about getting burned.

I think I’m going to go sleep and worry more about this in the morning   3 comments

My twin sister, Lacey, told me a story once. I think she was just telling me the storyline of a short film she watched. A middle-aged midwestern woman had always dreamed of going to Paris, and she was finally able to get the vacation of her dreams. She was finally able to go to Paris. She spoke French fluently and had studied up on where to go, etc.

So the woman finally gets to Paris. She walks into a clothing store, and says something in French. The French people can immediately tell that she is American, and begin speaking to her in English. She wanders the streets of Paris alone for a while. She buys a sandwich and sits on a bench in the middle of a park. She eats the sandwich silently. “At last,” the narration says, “I found Paris.”

When Lacey told me this story, I was confused. Obviously Paris was meant to represent something bigger than just a city with close-knit cobblestone streets and romantic street cafes serving disgusting food, but what? What could this woman possibly have found in eating a sandwich in a foreign country all by herself? For years this has confused me.

Tonight I went out with my roommates. They wanted to go out drinking and dancing, and explore what else Rome has to offer. They wanted to meet Italian people and learn more about the culture. And this sounded like a fine idea. I can study history anywhere; I need to experience Rome.

So we all got prettied up and headed to the Campo di Fiori.

I took a picture of myself on my computer just to commemorate the occasion. I wore make-up and a pretty dress. I wanted to get a picture of my roommates looking pretty too, but I forgot to put my memory card in my camera before we left. Oops.

Deanna and Nicole had met a guy last night, Paul, who worked at an Irish pub called Abbey’s. So we first headed to Abbey’s. Paul was not working, but we stuck around for a bit anyway. Ayan and I sipped water while Sarah, Nicole, and Deanna tried various cocktails (I think they had three each). We also had cheese fries and fried shrimp. Then we paid and headed to our next destination.

The next destination was at the Campo di Fiori. I got excited when we showed up at the piazza, because I had heard about this place. My professor for Rome to Augustus had mentioned it in one of his lectures, when we were learning about the Teatro di Pompey.

“If you go to the Campo di Fiori — which I know you guys have, it’s the main hangout spot for study abroad students — you can still see part of the theater,” my professor had said. “If you stand facing the statue in the Campo di Fiori, you can see some buildings behind it that are round in shape. That’s because those buildings are built on the foundations of the theater,” which was round in the Grecian style.

So I stood there in the middle of the square and studied the buildings behind the statue until I finally saw the round buildings. There it was. The shape of Pompey’s theater.

Unfortunately, my search progress meant that I had lost the girls. Fortunately they had just ducked inside the bar and were looking for me as well. The bar we visited, the Drinking Ship, was just an American bar. It was filled with study abroad students and a few Italian men looking to score with a drunk foreign girl. Loud hip-hop music played, most of which I didn’t recognize; the “window to the wall” song played, I think (is that a real song?), and a few others.

I wasn’t exactly sure what we were supposed to do. Actually the longer I stood in the bar the more I became terrified. I have agoraphobia, and loud music just makes it worse; I can’t hear myself think properly, I can’t calm myself down. I was immediately uncomfortable, and the longer we stood there the more I became terrified. Deanna immediately had a drink and started dancing and disappeared for a bit. Some businessman started hitting on Nicole and Sarah, and then just Sarah, pretty hardcore. Nicole found some friendly guys to chat with. Ayini and I stood there. She tried to dance and sometimes joined in with Nicole’s group of guys.

“Are you doing okay?” they asked me a few times, and I assured them I was fine. I examined the architecture; it was a small bar, and the door to the bathroom was tiny. This was probably a historical building of some kind. I couldn’t get any more than that.

A couple of times, Nicole and Sarah’s guys tried to include me in the conversation, but all I could manage was monosyllabic answers. After a few tries, even Sarah’s guy gave up on me. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to leave the bar, which took a few minutes, despite the tininess of the bar. I told Sarah and Ayan that I would just be by the fountain and to not worry about me. I stood by the fountain, cried a little bit, and then started fiddling with a fallen bunch of fake flowers that were just floating in the fountain.

After a few minutes, Ayan and Sarah came out of the bar too. Sarah complained that the bar wasn’t very good and wasn’t her scene, it wasn’t hopping enough. They started joking about Italian guys. We started talking and joking. Ayan and I sat on the edge of the fountain. I started telling some stupid story; right in the middle of it, some guy walked out of the bar, came over to me, shook me as if he were going to push me into the fountain, then laughed and walked away. I continued telling my story without a pause. Sarah and Ayan just laughed at the whole thing.

Eventually Deanna and Nicole emerged, Nicole on her second drink from the Drinking Ship and Deanna on her third (girl can put them away). They agreed that there wasn’t anything interesting at the Drinking Ship. We all stood around trying to figure out what to do next.

Some guys approached us and started talking to us. They just sort of fell into the group. Their names were Said and Luca. When we said we were trying to find more of a club-type place than a bar. Said said that he knew where one was. So we agreed to go with Said and Luca to the club.

We walked all the way from the Campo di Fiori all the way to the more touristy, historical parts that I was more familiar with, the Area Sacra and the Palatine Hill. Then we weren’t there anymore. We were in an unfamiliar part of the city with men we barely knew, without having any idea what our final destination was besides “it’s near the Spanish Steps”. Not to mention that once we got there, the best-case scenario was more throbbing crowds and deafening music. The empty animal of a crowd.

I started to panic again. I wanted to go back to the apartment. I wanted James. I wanted to cry. I didn’t.

“Are you okay?” Nicole called to me. She was in the middle of an e-cigarette with Luca. “You’re so quiet. You normally don’t stop talking.”

“I’m fine,” I said.

But as we continued farther and farther down, until even the other girls started to question where we were going, I realized I wasn’t fine. I didn’t want to do this. I was going to leave the first opportunity I had. I couldn’t walk home — I didn’t know where I was, and home was a far ways away — so I would just take the bus or get a taxi, whatever I got first.

It was a struggle to hold back tears when I finally managed to get a taxi, several blocks on. 18€ or 19€, and I would be back at the apartment, where I was safe and could be alone. I don’t know where the girls and Said and Luca ended up going.

The taxi driver had horrible English and was obviously very relieved that I could give him my address in Italian and understand the rough financial transaction in Italian. He was also happy that I wanted to be quiet. At one point he turned on the radio to an English pop channel. It was just Coldplay, but I was so happy to hear a song I knew.

He drove past the Palatine Hill, where I saw the Piazza Venezia, towering over the skyline. We took the Via del Mare home. My class had been walking along this road just a few hours earlier; I saw the Teatro di Marcello, built by Augustus in honor of his nephew, Marcello, as part of his restructuring and beautification of Rome. I saw Church of St. Nicholas of the Prison, which had the remains of three ancient temples sitting in it. My professor had taken us into the basement to show us the vault and the prison. We passed by an ancient temple of Hercules, where legend has it that Hercules, exhausted from stealing cows from a giant as one of his Labors, had taken a nap.

We crossed the river, and now I found myself in really familiar territory. This was the road that sold lots of automobile parts, and on Sundays became a street fair. I was almost home. I almost cried again.

The cab driver sat outside the apartment building and made sure that I was able to unlock the door and get in safely. I took the elevator upstairs rather than the stairs, as I figured it was late and the noise of me walking up the stairs might wake up the other residents. I walked inside the apartment, sat down on my bed, and finally cried.

Why am I here, if I don’t want to get to know the inhabitants of the city? Why am I here, if I don’t want to experience Italian culture? And I realized the wash of comfort and excitement that I had found in seeing Pompey’s theater and Hercules’ temple. The excitement I felt everywhere. Sure, I’m enjoying urban living, with its convenience and walking, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m not here to experience modern Italian living. I’m here for ancient Rome. I’m here for history.

That, I think, is what Rome is for me. History.

This is one of the few times I can legitimately say that I walked to Argentina.   Leave a comment

I am sunburnt. My forearms are going to be a toasty brown, as will my chest. If I don’t burn too hard, then it develops into a tan. Fortunately I realized what was happening and started hiding in the shade. The worst is actually the tops of my feet. They are actually a little sensitive, but they’re already looking better. It’s kind of funny, I have sandal lines on my feet.

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Were my sunburns worth it?

After all that sunbathing, I headed down to the Area Sacra Largo di Torre Argentina (hereafter referred to as “Argentina”), where my next class was meeting.

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I didn’t see these guys all of last week, and now suddenly they’re at every touristy/historical spot I visit. I have no idea who they are or what organization they belong to. It has to be more than just begging, right? I mean, what’s the point?

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Something about Heracles here made me laugh. He looks like a kid whose mom is forcing him to take a bath.

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Rome is just really pretty.

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I also bought some souvenirs. I have a pewter gladiator at home, and when I saw these bronze gladiators I knew I wanted one. However, they were expensive, so instead I bought a bobblehead to add to my bobblehead collection. I stopped at another souvenir stand to see if there were any less expensive ones there, and the person said, “You want one?” I said, “Yes, but it’s too expensive.” He said, “Ten euro.” Well okay then. I bought it for 10€ instead of 35€.

I tried to get them to look like they were fighting but it didn’t work out.

After walking to the Colosseum, walking all around the Colosseum looking for my class, and then spending several hours in the sunshine drawing, then walking to Argentina, I was very, very tired. I actually took a nap. Like, on the streets of Rome. I bought some grapes and sat in the alley and read my homework for class. I don’t want you to think I was sitting among the dumpsters. I just don’t have a better word for it than “alley”. It was more of like a little street where cars couldn’t go, but it had motorcycles and lots of visibility. I fell asleep in an alley. Yup.

My next class was Rome to Augustus. We started at Argentina and wandered around the Area Sacra, where the teacher gave us some basics in Roman archeology. Did you know that temples were considered the houses of the Gods? Like, literally, their houses, so only priests and priestesses were allowed in. Sacrifices were performed on the temple steps.

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Here is a picture that I posted last week of the Area Sacra Largo di Torre Argentina. It hasn’t changed much from when Mussolini had his architects dig through the area, way back in the 1920s. This is the Sacra part of Area Sacra. There are four temples on this site. Most likely, they were what my professor called “Victory Temples” — generals would pledge to build temples in their patron deity’s honor if they won the battle, either as a personal pledge or as a pledge to their troops. It also had the added bonus of making them look good politically back home.

The streets behind this area — to the left of this picture — used to be Pompey’s Theater. It was the first of its kind, since Romans considered actors to be like prostitutes and theaters to be like whorehouses. Also, theaters were places of gathering and a place for the spread of ideas; they were like little riot factories. Romans did build theaters, but they were temporary theaters, made of wood and built solely for festivals. It was a love/hate relationship, though, because Greeks thought that theaters were awesome and the Romans thought the Greeks were awesome. Pompey justified the theater by putting a temple to his patron at the very top of the theater. He also had a gigantic campus for the theater, which included these four temples that you see in the picture.

Senators were only able to meet in consecrated areas, and because there were so many temples in this area, there was a consecrated area for Senators to meet here. It’s a little off-panel; there’s two white buildings next to that red building. Underneath those areas is where the consecrated Senatorial area was. The main Senatorial area was under renovation in 44 BC, so the Senators were meeting at this consecrated area. Therefore, this is the area where the Senators lured Julius Caesar to his death.

Along our walk we also learned about the Pigna — Pinecone — that served as a fountain for an area of Rome. We learned about the brief popularity of following Egyptian gods rather than Roman gods (after Julius Caesar’s conquest until Octavian’s defeat of Mark Antony).

We ended at the Pantheon.

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One of the few remaining parts left of Agrippa’s bathhouse, yyyyeahhhh (another part is in the Via del Ciambatta, or “Donut Street”, where the bathhouse’s donut-shaped roof still remains.)

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Despite the name — Pantheon, Greek for “all gods”, the Pantheon isn’t really built as a temple. This is a picture of my class standing in the ruins of the original temple. The Pantheon has been lost twice due to fire, and the Romans put high priority into rebuilding it for some reason. The current Pantheon has been around since Emperor Hadrian, who is rumored to have designed the current Pantheon himself.

If you look at the picture, you’ll notice that there are only four steps leading from the foundation to the porch of the Pantheon. This indicates that, for some reason, despite the theological name, this was not a temple in the proper sense. People can look into the temple. People can enter the temple — always could, even when it was first built. Very mysterious.

It is now a Catholic Church, because Rome.

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The interior is gorgeous. I’ll have to revisit it when I’m not in such a rush. The marble is all-original. The Romans have always put a high priority into preserving the Parthenon. Two walls’ marble facades have been removed to get at the metal bolts that keep it in place, but most of the marble is still there. Gorgeous marble, from all over the territories of Rome. Definitely check this place out if you like pretty things.

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There is something in Rome that is making me obsessed with birds.

All that sunshine and walking around made me exhausted. I spent most of today still feeling exhausted. I took my first yoga class this evening, feeling headachey and just achey all over. Some stretching, some painkillers, and a hamburger from a tourist trap later, and I’m feeling much better.

Time for bed though.

Mantenete Italia strana   1 comment

A correction: I can wear my sandals and my boots. I cannot wear the blue tennis shoes Mom bought for me. They still hurt my ankle. I’m considering figuring out my European shoe size and going shoe shopping. (I’m a 37-37.5, apparently)

Anyway, the last 24 hours have been interesting. At around this time last night, we heard a whole bunch of popping outside our windows. It lasted for what felt like a really long time. Finally I stood up, walked into the living room, and asked Sarah and Deanna, “Is that gunfire?”

“We were wondering the same thing,” Sarah said.

Deanna and I speculated while Sarah was proactive and did research. Meanwhile, the popping sounds continued.

“It’s their independence day,” she reported. “It’s fireworks.”

We all rushed to get our shoes on. Sarah and I were rushing to the door while Deanna struggled with her shoes. Just as the door opened and Deanna finally had her shoes on, the noises

Suddenly

.

Stopped.

Disappointed, we all went back to doing what we had been doing before.

I got an email around midnight that said that public transportation workers would be holding a strike on the 3rd, so I should plan to leave early. This became: I arrived right on time. Although that’s more because I got lost. The tram was working, so I was able to get to the Largo di Argentino (the cat shelter) no problem. Then I turned right rather than walking straight. I almost got to the Palantine Hill before I realized my mistake.

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…Oh, darn.

I turned around and went back to the square, and then figured out the right way to get to the Piazza Navona, where I was supposed to meet my drawing class. Fortunately, it wasn’t far from where the train had dropped us off.

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I’ve decided that Rome is prettiest in the early morning.

The Piazza Novona, according to my professor, used to be a racetrack for pre-Roman civilizations. The Piazza still has the same shape, but various popes and other city leaders have had it filled it and have had fountains put in there. Now it’s a place where artists go and hang out, much the same way that writers hang out in Starbucks.

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It’s also a place where immigrants sell mass-produced artwork to tourists.

Our assignment for the day was to make gesture drawings with sanguine pencils.

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There were rings around all of the fountains. While we drew the fountains, several of us sat on the rings. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was easier than having to hold all of our stuff as we drew. While I was drawing the foot, some police officers came by and kicked everyone off of the rings. There were people sitting on the edge of the fountains, having their pictures taken. They were asked to leave the fountains, even without the pictures taken. They shooed a two-year-old away.

The girl I was next to told me that last week some drunk Americans had bathed in the fountain and even tried to climb the fountain. They were probably just trying to crack down on tourists messing around the fountains.

I got better at the gesture drawing as time wore on. Probably my best gesture drawing was the one that the teacher pointed out in front of the class, the picture of Elly from behind. It’s in the second picture, second from the right. Although the teacher described my technique as “chalky”, she said that I “make it work” and that it “has my unique handwriting.” I dunno I just do gesture drawings like this and so far no one has bothered to correct me. Last time I took a drawing class, I struggled with it until finally I started doing this, and then that teacher stopped complaining, so I just did it again for this class.

After I did the picture of the foot, I was able to leave, and I really needed to because I needed to finish my presentation for my Rome to Augustus class. So with some sadness I left the Piazza Navona.

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Keep it classy, Piazza Novona.

On my walk to school from the Piazza:

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I was nowhere near as prepared for my presentation as I thought I was, but after class I ran home, changed into more suuitable exercise gear, and then ran back to school for exercise class. I ran up to the fourth-floor terrace, and look what I found.

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I never did find my exercise class, but this was worth it.