It's kind of sad how relieved we were to leave Rome. But there was so much to do in so little time. Rome is full of so much. And we had only 2 1/2 days there once Nakita and I arrived. So it resulted in 2 days of walking and walking and walking. Tears of frustration, amazement, and hurt feelings. Stress, hormones, and an itty bitty living space. Quite agonizing actually, yet also so rich and full of so much art. I felt pretty overwhelmed as I reflected on all we saw in such a short time. Nakita and I arrived Monday afternoon, after a 9 hour layover and a 14 hour flight to Rome. We took the train to meet mom and Heidi, stopped quickly by the apartment, then headed out to see our first glimpses of Rome. In my first hours in Rome I was able to see four Caravaggio pieces! And in two little churches just on the side of the street. These churches were amazing in and of themselves! It was amazing after having studied the Baroque in my art history class. They were so beautiful and so intricate. Wow wow wow. We also stopped at the Piazza Navona, where I got my first glimpse of some Bernini sculpture... the central fountain was designed by him. Not quite the Rape of Proserpina, but still beautiful. It's called the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. I also loved all the artists and other vendors around the plaza. Pretty fun. :)
Day 2, my first full day, we woke up early to walk about 10 minutes to the Pantheon. It's amazing seeing these ancient Roman ruins just in the middle of everyday life, The Pantheon is beautiful. And in such good condition it is remarkable that it was built thousands of years ago. From there we continued to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, again it was so cool to see so many ruins from so long ago. It's amazing the ability these people had with no constructive machinery like we have today. Mom was a little crazy... I'm still not sure how she had so much energy to keep running around without the need for any food ;) we were so drained and so hungry, yet she claimed she didn't even need food. She's quite silly sometimes ;). We were hungry and tired, but still had so much to see! So off to a bus and the Borghese gallery I soon found myself in front of Bernini's masterpiece. Oh what an experience that was in and of itself. I still can't quite comprehend that I've seen that piece. We also saw some other beautiful Bernini pieces. His David as well as his Apollo and Daphne. Both of these are also beautiful. We saw so much art and it was quite overwhelming. Wow it was amazing. However, finding the way back to our apartment with a nearly dead phone wasn't quite so enthralling. Luckily we were able to find the right bus stop before it completely died, and made our way back very hungry and tired. We really hadn't had time all day for food. And it was so hot and humid. Rome is awful when it comes to the heat and humidity.
Day 3 we were early to rise once again. Mom and I got to Saint Peter's Basilica by 7 a.m. It was early, but boy was it amazing! There were hardly any people around at all. So we got to enjoy Saint Peter's Square, then enter the church with scarcely anyone else around. The square is designed by Bernini. It makes quite a statement with the wide columned arms reaching around, fountains placed about the square, and the huge Saint Peter's Basilica and Dome standing gloriously at the foal point. It was so beautiful, and amazing as this, too, I had studied in art history :) It was pretty significant for me as I walked around Saint Peter's Square. The Basilica, too, was so beautiful.. So intricate, I can't believe actual people built this with their actual hands. Immediately upon walking in we saw the Pieta by Michelangelo. It's such a beautiful piece. Especially when you really think of the scene it portrays. When you think of Mary holding her dead son. When you think of anyone's love for their savior, but also piled on top of a mother's love and affection for her son. It's pretty powerful and quite a dramatic scene to imagine. Michelangelo portrayed it so beautifully and it's amazing that he created it at only 23 years old! After wandering the beautiful church for quite some time, we headed to the Vatican Museums. Again, we saw so many masterpieces. Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Etruscan, Renaissance, even some modern art. We saw Raphael's School of Athens in the Raphael rooms of the Vatican, and finished with Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. His beautiful Creation scenes on the ceiling, and his Last Judgement painting on the wall. Wow was that amazing. It was so powerful being in that chapel. Knowing all the dedication Michelangelo put into that work, knowing that he had no desire to paint it or be a painter at all, yet gave it his all nonetheless. It really is a beautiful work. Standing there I really couldn't believe what I was taking in. Quite overwhelming. We had seen recommendations to get the "Old Bridge" Gelato just outside the Vatican. I would recommend it. It was such a good deal for so much! Mmm mmm! :) Mom and I climbed the stairs to the top of the dome following our time at the Vatican. We took the elevator half way to save time, but really it was quite easy and had such a spectacular view of Roma. And we got to send post cards from the top :) The day was honestly endless. We hurried home only to get Heidi and Nakita to find some dinner, then from there mom and I continued on to walk to the Trevi Fountain. It's currently under restoration so drained and covered in scaffolding. Still fun to see though, I suppose. It was quite the long day and I was quite tired. There was much more we could have seen, but honestly I was pretty relieved to leave Rome. ;) It was just so stressful. And our apartment was so small that we were pretty much on top of each other the entire time. The stress of such a busy schedule on top of absolutely no space wasn't really the best living situation. I suppose it makes for good memories now though ;)
Our first sight of some Caravaggio... Madonna di Loreto, located in the Sant Agostino church. It's amazing that such a masterpiece is in such a small church off a side road in Rome. The church was beautiful as well. You could definitely see the Baroque influence, in the intricate patterns, different types of marble, and beautifully dramatic painting and sculpture. :)
These next three paintings were all located within the same radiating chapel in the Church San Luigi dei Francesi. AMAZING! I can't believe these masterpieces are in such small churches you wouldn't otherwise think you needed to enter. It was definitely worth it :)
Tired after the first few hours in Rome... yes, I sit on the ground in random areas when I'm tired :)
The Piazza Navona. This fountain was designed by Bernini. The obelisk at the top comes from ancient Egypt... so cool!
Day 2 at the PANTHEON!
The Arch of Titus. Hot, tired, and hungry.
Bernini's David :)
Day 3: Saint Peter's Basilica in the morning. SO BEAUTIFUL. It was amazing to see it without the tourists and after having studied its design by Bernini :)
Castel St. Angelo. Walking toward the Vatican in the early morning :) Notice there aren't any tourists out. It was amazing having Rome almost to ourselves!
The view from the top of St. Peter's Dome looking down at St. Peter's Square. So AMAZING! The climb was definitely worth the views :)
Saint Peter's Basilica. Such beautiful architecture :)
Michelangelo's Pieta. Such a beautiful and emotional piece.
The view of Saint Peter's Dome after taking the elevator partway. Quite lovely from up here!
At the top of the dome
Saint Peter's Dome--Designed by Michelangelo himself.
More Saint Peter's...
And some pictures from the Vatican Museums...
I guess the ancient Romans invented the flirtatious smile after all ;)
A favorite room in the Vatican.. circular with statues of the Gods and rulers.. pretty majestic.
Such a long and cool ceiling. In the Maps Room of the Vatican.
Raphael's School of Athens! :D
Crossing over the bridge by night.. quite a beautiful sight.
Walking the streets of Rome barefoot. Haha oh the look one Italian man gave me as he saw my feet. One of surprise, disgust, and I'm not sure what else... I just couldn't wear shoes another step.