Today we danced (well, at least walked a TON) to “Rome’s Greatest Hits” — spanning aeons of humanity’s artistic triumphs… and great food to boot. Our day began with predictable battles about blogging (last night: “Do you want to do this now, or in the morning?” “Well, ok, but no fighting about it tomorrow, agreed?” Hah). We finally got out the door and took the metro for the first time, easily finding our way to the Colosseo station, and a short walk to Palantine Hill.
We explored ruins of a grand civilization some 2500 years old (some structures were built here ca 700 BC or before), fallen by the wayside. 200 years ago this was cow pasture, but archeologists have unveiled history, now everywhere you turn there are blocks of carved marble, tumble down glory like a child’s block building after he’s ventured to new delights.
Fast-forward a few centuries to the Colosseum, which is quite cool despite the cliché. Then, onto lunch – Taverna Romana (Via della Madonna dei Monti, 79) – finally “the meal” we’ve been hoping for!
You’ll be shocked to see Max’s choice…
Patty had an unbelievably tender veal & pea stew:
After a few more million kilometers of walking, we ended up home with a box of fresh pasta for a mini dinner – raviolli with spinach & ricotta + a mix of caramelle (aspargus & prosciutto ) with a little butter. Caramelle are named after the caramel candy, like a treat wrapped in shiny paper with a twist at each end:
Next we walked another 40 min back to the Vatican (with a stop for FAB gelato, no pix of that though, sorry – but next time you’re in Rome go to the Old Bridge Gelateria) for an art history tour de force. Patty scored tix to a special Friday evening opening of the Vatican museum, and it was stunning. We rushed past an absolute trove of art treasure, and found our way to the School of Athens. Patty explained how Rafael would sneak in to watch Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel and was so inspired by him, that Rafael included Michelangelo in this painting celebrating the height of learning. (He’s center left leaning over the block of marble… the one dressed in Renaissance garb! And Rafael included himself in the far right corner, we found him peeking out!) The kids have been studying these characters and Patty’s stories, and the art work, is bringing them alive.
We finally wound our way to the Sistine Chapel. We’d been warned that we’d just have to “go with the flow” through the space, not really getting to stop. But on this quiet evening, we were able to sit as long as we wanted, watching the light through the windows gradually fading. It’s astounding how dimensional the painting is — as if this sculptor could not be contained by a mere 2 dimensions. You’re not supposed to take pictures, but snuck this one and ended up in it!
Walking out, sated on art, there were still more wonders. Here was a view out the window of one of the galleries — this is the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica — we climbed up near the very top only yesterday!
The guards let us wander back into the Egyptian wing, where we passed mummies (eww) and found our way to the Greek section, looking at the roots of Renaissance inspiration. A highlight was Laocoön and His Sons; the vivid muscles and gripping emotion was a major influence on Michelangelo; we found it in a magical courtyard with flowers and candles under a darkening blue sky. All we needed were waiters passing cool glasses of wine and tasty bites, it felt like a warm spring festival under the Italian sunset.
You can imagine the Renaissance soon-to-be-masters on such an evening seeing this Apollo for the first time and marveling at the flowing marble. Michelangelo would demand to teach himself to drape stone this way, and succeed in his La Pietà (1499), which we saw yesterday in the Basilica.
Just a little silliness needed for a perfect evening… what we’ve REALLY learned on our world travels…
Walking home we were abuzz with the days adventures, and barely able to put one foot in front of the other. It was so bad Emma said, “This isn’t bad, it’s just like after being on pointe for 3 hours.” Ahem. After a wrong turn making the walk even longer, we were delighted to find our way back to our apartment!