Tag Archives: Trevi Fountain

The Grand Tour

Hello again friends! I was supposed to write about Rome while everything was fresh in my mind.  You can see that that has happened.  Work, school, moving into a new apartment and the manfriend have all sort of sucked up most of my spare time.  BUT, three weeks later, here is day two of Roma.

Markets of Trajan

Day two in Rome was simply out of control; so much amazing stuff and insane amounts of information to attempt to digest.  Beginning in the 1660s young English and Northern European Aristocratic men would undertake a  journey they referred to as The Grand Tour. The Grand Tour was the name given to the ideal way of obtaining one’s education: they would travel all through Europe, ending in Italy and on into Rome: soaking up the language, sport, art, manners and culture as they went in order to become a “properly” educated citizen of the world.  This day felt like my grand tour and I feel like I did as much in a day that they did in several months to years.

We began at the Markets of Trajan and the Museum di Imperiali.  This location was basically the very first indoor shopping mall.  A large portion of the structure has been turned into a museum.  The really interesting thing is how well they have modified the space to be a working museum without imposing too far on the original material of the structure.  The once open doorways and windows are covered in clear plexi-glass and ramps are built in but not permanent.  By ethical standards of adaptive reuse in historic structures, no alterations should be made that are not reversible without harm to the building.  From the top level of the market we got another excellent view of Rome and the Forum below.

Plexi Entrance Wall

You could really see the effects of time on all the structures, including a part of the market structure where medieval dwellings had been built to create another floor of the already existing building.  Next to the market is the Column of Trajan, spiraled with a beautifully detailed relief telling of the military history of Trajan.  Makes you think, whatever happened to craftsmanship?  So much effort used to go into everything and now we are blessed with things like tin-sided churches.

Column of Trajan

Greeted by two large horse statues, the protectors of the city, we visited Capitoline Hill which is known as the “city center”.  Here you see a lot of Rome’s most renowned sculpture including the classic Julius Caeser on his horse, the over-sized head, hand and foot of Constantine, the she wolf suckling Romulus and Remus and many, many, many more.  Much of this sculpture wasn’t moved to the Capitoline until the 1470’s when the Pope returned them to the city and its people from the papal collections.  At this point the sculpture became one of the first really “public” collections in history. I’m not sure why it struck me so, but one piece I found oddly beautiful in the Musei Capitolini was of the satyr (you all know I LOVE satyrs!) Marsyas.  He made the awful mistake of challenging Apollo to a music competition and for that lost his hide and his life.  This statue is carved from a deep purple veined marble which was to represent the many lashings he received for his folly.  Though sad, the statue is very beautiful and moving in a way.

Protectors of the City

Marsyas

Something I found throughout my entire time in Rome was the fact that in Rome it is IMPOSSIBLE to separate the old and the new, everything is all tossed together and built up next to each other.  I. LOVE. IT.  Rome touches on so many museum issues for me that I could write a million blog posts.  Hopefully posts will come someday about reconstruction versus preservation and also more on the integration of the old and new in Roman museums and galleries.

We did a ton of interesting stuff on day 2 but I can’t elaborate on everything or this would be as long as a guide book.   Enjoy the photos of things we saw/did and I’ve added some external links in if you’d like to read more about something.

Mattei Family Sculpture Garden, an extremely expensive display of self-wealth.

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

Palazzo Mattei di Giove

Piazza Navona includes some AMAZING Bernini fountains/sculptures, that guy was just fantastic at what he did.  Here, this fountain represents the four rivers.

Piazza Navona

The Four Rivers by Bernini

We saw a LOT of churches whilst in Rome and not being my favorite bit I’m not going to elaborate on all of them though I might pop a few pictures in.  We ended up at the Pantheon (Temple of the Gods).  There is still much that is left unknown about this structure and its purposes which made it a little hard for me to get into, but it’s still one of those “must see” sites.

After class hours we wandered off to the Forum, dinner and the Trevi Fountain. You could spend an entire day wandering around the Forum reading about all of the different structures that are there.

After, we ate at a L’Archetto, a macaroni joint that boasts more than 100 different sauces/gravies.  It was delicious.  As for the Trevi Fountain it is enormous and beautiful and I loved it.

The Forum

L'Archetto, YUM!

Trevi Fountain


Keep Your Hands on Your Business

It is now my fifth day in Rome and I’m just getting a chance to write about my first day.  I’m visiting for May term for school and doing an insanely intense 10 day cram of Rome.  It’s been fascinating so far, you know me, I love old stuff!  Arriving in Rome was a typical foreign travel fiasco as expected; screaming babies and coughing ladies on the plane, creepy people on the train and bad directions to the hostel so I ended up walking with my  luggage way more than was necessary.  The hostel is fairly nice and clean and located closely to the train station.  The community bathrooms are fortunately at least combated by a pretty sweet rooftop terrace.

Day one was exhausting.  I left Newark, NJ at 4:50 p.m. and arrived in Rome at 1:15 a.m., 7:15 a.m. Roman time without a wink of sleep.  We started at 3:30 in the afternoon at the Colosseum.  The thing I’m enjoying the most is the fact there can be  bsolutely NO separation of the old and the new in Rome.  There are literally buildings ranging from the year 72 to 2011 standing side beside all throughout the city.

The Colosseum (built AD 72-80) is huge and includes an extremely interesting history.  This structure was originally a huge amphitheater and entertainment arena.  Unlike nowadays where we play football and hockey, they fought bulls and lions and raced ostriches.  So, looking at the photographs imagine a solid floor over the labyrinth of brick walls in the base of the arena.  This is obviously where all the fighting would have gone down and the tunnels below are where the warriors or prisoners and animals were kept between fights.

 

 

Next, we enjoyed a scenic and information perusal up Palatine Hill: which is one of the seven famous hills of Rome.  We saw the Arch of Constantine, the remains of some old aqueducts (always strangely cool), and we went into the Palatine Antiquarium Museum  at the top of the hill and enjoyed some beautiful views of Rome from this very “parkesque” site.

From here my professor and her husband were able to orient us to the city of Rome, utilizing many of the most famous buildings (and places we would be going) as markers.  We received excellent advice from Charlotte (our prof) about riding on public transportation, “Keep your hands on your business!” meaning our purses. Oh, Charlotte.  Last but not least, always the best part of the day was dinner at Maranega’s at the Campo de’Fiori.  I had a spicy salame pizza that was unfortunately nowhere near as tasty as Manny’s.  I have discovered, however, that Manny’s is most definitely a “Roman style” pizza. Long day and a big meal meant right back to the hostel to reenergize for a super-charged Tuesday!