From: Emily Date: January 12, 2006 2:31:53 PM EST Subject: Moving into Rome
This seems like a good time to write again. We’ve explored, begun class, and met some more people. We have taken to hitting up the market at Campo di Fiori several mornings a week, picking up what we need for the day, for me mostly being oranges. They have bags of spice mixes for various recipes; I bought one for pasta sauce and it smells like everything Italy encompasses. Mix it in with some sauce over fresh made ravioli and there is no reason to ever want to eat frozen dinners again. Class has pretty much been the death march of Rome, Monday and Wednesday walking for 3 hours each to see both the sites we will be working on and others to compare them to.
Tuesday night we went out to explore Trestevere again and discovered that Tues is perhaps the least happenin’ night of the week. I went home to sleep while the other roomates met some Italians at a very Bohemian bar. We had two of them over for dinner last night, one who speaks English very well and sings like a canary (as in too much) and another who knows about as much English as I know Italian. It was amusing trying to converse back and forth, quite a struggle, but interesting being able to have two totally different knowledges of the English language to talk to, learning bit by bit of Italian. One thing we are learning about italians is that their idea of time is totally different from ours. It takes a half hour to say goodbye and they don’t understand that whole overstaying your welcome thing.
The more I walk around Rome the more I think Trastevere is the best place to live. Yes, I am becoming a Trastevere snob. I hope the Christmas lights stay up along the streets for awhile, it ads some more of that Bohemian character to the area. We are slowly trying more places, restaurants, bars, ect. Yesterday I got gelato “pinoli” that had pine nuts in it and was AMAZING.
Today we woke up late and L, Kelly and I decide to go to the gallery at Pallazio Barbarini; we literally power-walked two miles to get there in time. Luckily it is still the off-season so there weren’t many people there. We were there for only a few minutes when an old man named Alessandro who worked there started talking to us and gave us a private tour around the gallery. It was fantastic because it made the visit mean so much more, actually understanding what they meant instead of just looking at them. The ceiling of the main hall is the famous “Triumph of Divine Providence” by Pietro da Cortona, which took 7 years to complete. I believe it is in most of the art history books, look for the ceiling with the three gold bees, the crest of the Barbarini family. The first thing that took my breath away there was the paintings by Carravagio. It was just too bad that my art history class was 4 years ago!
Just up the street was the Church of San Carlo delle Quattro Fontane. There were two men at the front of this tiny church playing an organ and pipe whistle, sounding like we just stepped into the Middle Ages. The inside is a bright plaster-white, the light enteing from glass windows in the dome and gold details highlighting the paintings. Carved flowers adorn every nitch and doorway.
Up the road is the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria which houses the Ecstasy of St Teresa by Bernini. Gold and marble of every color and pattern adorn every surface. Cherubs and angels climb the arches and play on the cornices. Candles sit and lamps hang down- I wish they were real because I can just imagine the erie casts of light they would make against the gold. Theresa is on the left in her own theatre, the men watching as the firey arrow of God pierces her. Simply amazing. Across the street is Santa Susana, the American church in Rome where they conduct services in English. I think I may want to go there this weekend, it is a much bigger church, comparatively.
Back from our church exploration we walked past all the government buildings of Rome and realized for the first time that all the police carry machine guns. Terrified me rather a bit…. walking by the second time L smiles and says to me “See? They didn’t even shoot you!” Well, thank god for that.
Saturday our class is doing a tour of the villas around Rome then we are meeting some of the Italians from the other night to hang out.
Ema (as Alessandro spells it!)