June 11, 2009

far from an instant replay

So far off that this is pretty much a week recap. I have failed miserably at updating my blog. Rome is just too fun.

Ok, so last weekend...

I stated earlier that I had plans to go to Pompeii, but unfortunately (not really actually) things changed. Here is the story - So, one of my best personality traits is actually my biggest flaw. I love to do everything, making the most of life. As a result I am a very accomplished person, but then sometimes I am too busy. See the pros and cons? Well, being in Rome I want to "carpe diem" of course... Last summer I was diagnosed with celiac, a serious gluten allergy, and since then I don't eat wheat flour products. This is an unfortunate allergy to have in Rome, but I am still eating loads of wonderful food - caprese, prosciutto and melon, gelato, and more!

However, I know how great the pasta is here and I have been wondering for most of the trip - can I eat wheat for a little bit and still have an incredible time? At the start of my developing allergy, the pain and discomfort was not that terrible. I figured, I haven't had wheat in about a year so maybe a little wheat won't be that bad. So, last week I ate wheat. And guess what, I was horribly wrong. I felt sick the night after and then the morning I was suppose to leave for Pompeii I felt absolutely miserable. I will spare the details.

I'm an idiot. That morning I texted my friends and slept off the pain. I woke up a little before noon feeling better, but I was still depressed I missed the trip even though I have been to Pompeii and I remember it pretty vividly. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to be active and of course, carpe diem!!

So I went to the Vatican again, yes for a third time this trip. There is just too much to see there!

After the Vatican I got back on the metro and noticed that one of the stops went to Appia Antica, the ancient Appian Way! I decided to stay on and get off at the stop, which is way off my map. I had no idea where to go so I stopped in a bar and asked a waiter where to go. He drew me a small map and it appeared that the Appian Way was just around the corner. Wrong again. I ended up hiking, forever! However, it was a nice gorgeous walk. See below.

After about an hour I finally reached the Appian Way, and one of the houses had this tile on the wall (below). So, I made it to Pompeii after all! For those of you that don't know, that cave canem mosaic is a very famous image from Pompeii. On the Appian Way there were many ruins and churches. I visited most of them. Including one with the first catacombs ever. The catacombs of San Sebatian is where the name catacombs originated from. It was very cool to see, but it was also incredibly creepy with tons of small caves. I had to bend down in many of them. A church was built over these catacombs, and in the church is the last statue made by Bernini. It was discovered in the monastery there in 2001. Or something like that. I honestly don't know how you can have a statue that beautiful and be satisfied without knowing the artist and having it tucked away. Plus, by looking at the details I think it is clearly Bernini, but whatever. Thanks tour guide!

After the Appian way I went to several other places around Rome. Like - Circo Massimo, La Bocca della Verità, Museo Castel Sant'Angelo, San Nicola in Carcere, and La Scala Sancta.

Scala Sancta, aka the Holy Stairs, are apparently the steps "that led up to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, which Jesus Christ stood on during his Passion on his way to trial." Pilgrims walk up the steps on theirs knees and pray at each step. 9 years ago I visited these steps with my dad and for some reason I got very eager and wanted to do this. I kneeled on the first step and immediately lost my religious fervor. It hurt! They are wooden stairs. I prayed on the first step and left. I promised my dad I would do the second step on this trip. So, I did. And it still hurt. Not worth the pain. Sorry Jesus.

San Nicola in Carcere was just a random church that I decided to walk into. It looked interesting and it had some ruins around it. When I entered the church, a woman was singing Ave Maria with the organ. It was amazing. I just sat and listened to the music for about 15 minutes. I love days where you just wander around and discover new things.

I finished my Saturday by walking home. It ended up being a great day. Even better than the trip to Pompeii, according to my friends.

Sunday, I met up with some friends and decided to have a touristy day. We started by going to the very top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument. It was an awesome view even though the day was a little cloudy.

After, we took a bus tour of Rome. We sat on the top of a double decker bus and drank Chianti. It was very fun. We got off the bus in Piazza Navona and got something to eat. While there we were intrigued by the henna tattoo artist. Somehow we decided that it would be worthwhile to get a temporary tattoo in Rome. Two of my friends got tattoos with stars and I decided to get a tattoo related to Rome. So, I picked SPQR - Senatus Populusque Romanus. Yeah, kinda nerdy. My friends were confused because they didn't know the meaning (keep in mind we are studying Italian not history), but every local Roman I talk to either enjoys the tattoo or laughs at me.

Monday after class I went to the Vatican for the 4th time, but this time to climb the Vatican. It was a total of 1,102 steps. And some corridors were tight and angled. It was quite the adventure but totally worth it. I don't exercise and I am normally very lazy, but I would climb those steps any time for the view of the dome or the entire city.

Half way up you have a beautiful view of inside the dome. Up there you can tell that the "frescoes" are actually mosaics. They were replaced years ago in order to maintain the detail. Also, while we were in the dome, a small service was going on so we enjoyed some beautiful music while looking at the fine details of that amazing Basilica. The interior was incredible, but once we made it outside on the top, the view was spectacular. Hello Roma!

A few posts back I noted that I walk to school every day from the Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps. In between those two sites is All Saints Church of Rome. I go to All Saints Church in Pasadena so it always makes me happy to see something familiar. Last week I noticed that the church holds Opera nights twice a week with the singers of the Filamonica d'Opera di Roma. I got really excited about this discovery, so I went Tuesday night. This was the incredible program:

Haendel - "Lascia ch'io pianga"
Puccini - "Ch'ella mi creda"
Mozart - "Voi che sapete"
Mozart - "Madamina il catalogo e' questo"
Puccini - "Quando me'n vo'"
Rossini - "Una voce poco fa"
Verdi - "La donna e' mobile"
Rossini - "La calunnia e' un venticello"
Hoffenback - "Barcarola"
Verdi - "Va, pensiero"
Bizet - "Seguidilla"
Puccini - "Si', mi chiamano Mimi'"
Verdi - "Eri tu"
Donizetti - "O mio fernando"
Puccini - "Nessun dorma"
Bizet - "Toreador"
Gounod - "Ah, je veux vivre"
Verdi - "Brindisi"

Below is a video of the "Nessun dorma" performance. It is my favorite song out of the selection. Being a graphic designer I think heavily about composition. I do the same with photography. And with those mediums you aren't usually limited by orrientation. I filmed the video vertically to get more of the beautiful background, but clearly a vertical orrientation does not work for a video format. So, unfortunatly you have to tilt your head to watch the video. The singer was a little tired from his previous songs and made a few mistakes, but overall it was a great performance of "Nessun dorma."

Yesterday, we went to an art show put on by the students of the Rhode Island School of Design. They have an independent study program in Rome that lasts 5 months. It was great to see their work and eat free food.

On top of those things, I am still speaking lots of Italian, visiting fun bars and restaurants, and getting to know more of the people on the trip. I can't believe it is almost over!

1 comment:

UberPilgrim said...

I found your blog while googling for SPQR tattoos. While scrolling down looking for the image I read a few of your posts and I like the way you write, it has the right balance between geeky and funny :-)
BTW, the SPQR tattoo looks great on you!
Cheers from Germany!