Sunday, November 9, 2008

When in Rome . . . hang out with the French

Here's the second leg of my fall break: Rome.

I was in Rome from October 30-November 2.  I was fortunate to have made a friend, Reinaldo, in Florence.  Reinaldo, who's portrait I painted (a couple posts ago), is from France and used to live the my room before I moved in.   I've gotten to know him as he was using our apartment as a base while he was searching for an apartment in Rome.  He found one and let me crash there while I was in Rome.

The first night I went to a halloween party with a bunch of French students.  No pics since I didn't have my camera, but it was a lot of fun and I got to practice my Italian.

The next day I spent the whole day in the Vatican city.  
Here's a priest gazing at St. Peter's Basilica.  I don't blame him, its magnificent.  

The columns of the piazza were huge!  It baffles me how they first made these columns and then erected them in the 1500s.  Amazing.

I mainly spent the whole day there because it started raining.  It was a pretty rainy week, but there was so much to see inside the Vatican Museums that I probably would have stayed there for that long anyway.  Besides a whole lot of Renaissance art, I got to see a few Dali's, a Francis Bacon, a Matisse, and a bunch of modern, relatively contemporary art.  

I also got to see Rafael's School of Athens.  This large fresco is absolutely beautiful and impressive.  I was so excited to see it in person after learning about it in art history.  In the front, resting his head on his fist is Michelangelo.  Speaking of which...

The Sistine Chapel.  HOW???  Everyone knows about the Sistine Chapel and it is more amazing than you think.  I snuck this picture.  It was just breathtaking.  I wish I could have laid down on the floor and gazed for an hour.  Too bad there was an obscene amount of tourists.  

Since were going with the Michelangelo theme...
Here's the Pietá.  Its not the real one but a plaster copy of it.  I couldn't get a good picture of the real one, which is inside St. Peter's Basilica.  He did this when he was 24.  24!!  It is just incredible and I can see why no one believed he had made it.  The Pietá is the definition of perfection.

After a long day I took headed back to Reinaldo's place and took a shower.  When I got out his friends, Max, the one in the middle and David (I think that his name) the one with big hair, were there.  We soon got a game of poker going that ended up going until 4 am!  If you know me, you know Im not much of a poker player, but I was that night!  Anyway, these guys are really cool it was a lot of fun.

The next morning I woke up and headed straight back to the Vatican City.  The day before I missed seeing the real Pietá, so I went to see it.  It was finally sunny!  

I waited for 45 minutes to get it, but who can complain when your view in line is this?

I was determined to fit everything in because it was my last day in the Rome, so after the the Vatican I went to the Trevi Fountain. 

This is the famous fountain you always see in movies where people thrown in change and make a wish.  What you don't see is how packed the place is.  I'm not sure if the piazza it was in was actually small or if it just felt like it because of this grand fountain.  

After the fountain I walked a bit to the Pantheon!
Don't let the picture deceive you, the columns are gigantic!  If you were on one side and I was on the other and we hugged one column, our hands wouldn't even come close to touching.  In this piazza was a cool band with a standup bass, a guitar an accordion, and a xylophone playing music that made you feel like you were in Europe.  

After the Pantheon I wandered around for bit and found some cool ruins.
Just imagine what life was like when these things were new!  If you're having trouble, picture what life was like when the Colosseum was new!

It's weird to think of what when on in here a few centuries ago.  

In my way back to the apartment I saw this lovely graffiti.  

Berlusconi is Italy's Georgo W. Bush, but with hair plugs and mafia connections.  Recently Berlusconi visited the US and said that George W will go down as the United States best president.  I think that alone tells you what kind of man is running Italy.  

The next day I woke up early to see Michelangelo's Moses at St. Peter in Chains Basilica.  

Absolutely incredible.  It was originally supposed to be one of 40 (I think) sculptures for Pope  's tomb, but it never got completed.  I'm almost glad it wasn't because this sculpture deserves its own attention. 

So, after a week of traveling I saw amazing art, met and hung out with some really cool people and ate more kebabs than I would ever have wanted to.  It was an awesome week and now I'm back into the swing of classes again.  Something tells me the rest of the semester is going to go by in a flash.

Italian word of the day: motorino - moped


Casey Newlin said...

I'm glad you got to see a lot while you were there. It looks beautiful.

I saw a Michelangelo quote the other day and thought of you,

"Genius is eternal patience."

Dennis said...

Your travel log is fantastic. I don't think we need to visit Rome when we get there in May, 2009. Keep up the Excellent adventure in travel. You must get your gambling genes from you Uncle Gary. Keep well! Dad

Celia Doo said...

Wow it makes me so happy that you have this opportunity to see so many famous art pieces. How awesome to see those columns of the Piazza, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican City, the Pieta just to name a few.
smiles, mom

Gummy Choco said...

nice the columns. jealous. But i'm living it through your hope to see more.