Last weekend NYU Florence took us to Rome. It was quite a whirlwind trip but a great one! I really loved the city and it’s ancient relics that were basically everywhere.
The first day we went to the Vatican museum/Vatican. While I would have liked to have time to just peruse every room, it was part of my class so I only saw select paintings. While we spent a ton of time looking at them and by the end they were really old, I loved a set of Tapestries that depicted a variety of Biblical stories commissioned by Pope Leo X (I think…it was definitely a Leo). They were beautiful and made with gold and silver thread. I also enjoyed the large statues from Roman antiquity, like Laocoon. The Sistine Chapel was breathtaking. I kept looking up, walking back a few feet, looking up again to see more of the ceiling. The colors were vibrant and really brought the whole painting(s) to life. After hearing about the Sistine Chapel forever, it was great to see it in person. I just kept loking up and going WOW! Needless to say, my neck hurt a bit when I left. Then on to St. Peter’s Basillica. As I walked in, light was coming at the perfect angle to hit the tabernacle above St. Peter’s tomb. It was perfect. There is no other word for it. Walking out onto the main piazza, I could see just how many people could fit there for special occasions. There were giant jumbotrons set up and speakers embedded in the columns surrounding the piazza.
That night my friends and I headed to Trastevere for dinner at a packed restaurant. The pasta was simple and amazing-just pasta with oil, cheese and pepper. The al dente pasta was cooked to perfection and the pepper added a nice kick of flavor in your mouth. Afterwards we walked along the Tiber where tents were set up for bars, shops and carnival games. It was an interesting combination but really fun! My roommate and I shared some Limoncello-which is delicious for about 2 sips and then not so good afterwards. It’s basically a tart and alcoholic version of lemonade. Then on to the Trevi Fountain. It was beautiful, and not too crowded. The water was a light blue and the lights highlighted the statues’ details that make them so lifelike. The Trevi Fountain was much much bigger than I expected it, and I was glad that I went at night so I could enjoy the fountain and not be surrounded by thousands of tourists. (Warning: Not the greatest photo)
Saturday I went to an exhibit on Giotto, an early Renaissance painter. The exhibit featured artists that most likely influenced Giotto as well as artists that were influenced by Giotto. I really enjoyed the illuminated manuscripts and frescoes. Afterwards we went to the top of the building, Vittoriano. The view was amazing. We could see all of Rome and the Vatican. It was cool to see all of the ancient ruins from above and the layout of the city. Afterwards, I ate lunch at the Pantheon which was really cool! I went inside and was somewhat surprised to see Christian figures inside the pagan temple, but it makes sense since Christians remade all pagan temples into churches. The dome on the Pantheon was so interesting with recessed areas and a skylight that illuminated the entire building. Then I explored Rome and went to Piazza Navona and Campo di Fiori. It was wonderful to be on my own and just enjoy the scenery. Rome is a big city but with ancient charm.
In the afternoon I went on a tour of the Coliseum and Roman Forum. The Coliseum absolutely blew me away. It was giant and just an amazing architectural accomplishment. I wish that there were still shows of some sort in the Coliseum but alas, there aren’t. It’s amazing how they used to host so many different events in that building. Then on to the Roman Forum where we saw all sorts of Ancient ruins from temples to the senate to markets. The weirdest part was the modern art installation that was in the forum, which just didn’t seem to fit in. There were these round sculptures of women holding balls and pristine white columns with holes in them. I did really like to see the Victory arches that are what arches like Washington Square Arch were modeled after-down to the details in the top of the arch. Afterwards we hurried to try to see La Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth, from Roman Holiday) but the line was really long so we took pictures through the fence.