Back home and ‘best of’ Italy list

Back in Colorado, back to work, back to a routine of days… but Italy (Rome especially) keeps popping up in my head. So here’s a random list of what has stuck in my memory:
Best outdoor vista: The view from our agriturismo terrace at La Selva. (The ruins of Pompeii are a close second.)

Nancy takes in the view from our terrace at the farm.

Nancy takes in the view from our terrace at the farm.

 

Best indoor space: The Pantheon. As mathematically perfect as humanly possible. A perfect spherical space with only one light source. And built 2,000 years ago.

The Pantheon oculus with afternoon light.

The Pantheon oculus with afternoon light.

Best ruins: A toss-up between the Forum and the Diocletian Baths. Both are charged with history and prey on my imagination (“How did they really look? Am I really standing here?”).

Shirley creates her own shade against the relentless Roman sun.

Shirley creates her own shade against the relentless Roman sun.

These baths covered many thousand square meters.

These baths covered many thousand square meters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best art: I am still trying to absorb everything I saw. Any opinions out there? (Here’s a picture of the Libyan Sybil from the Sistine Chapel — one of my favorites. Her foot is as long as one’s forearm.)

The Libyan Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel.

The Libyan Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel.

 

 

Best umbrella: Cathe’s “dome”.

Cathe poses with her best find -- "Il Duomo" as an umbrella.

Cathe poses with her best find — “Il Duomo” as an umbrella.

Best on-the-fly supper in Rome: On the Pantheon Piazza… notice the different strategies for eating.

Stormy's supper.

Stormy’s supper.

 

Shirley's supper.

Shirley’s supper.

 

 

 

 

 

Best pasta: Fresh made in Giula’s kitchen.

Giulia places the pasta through the 'wringer' as Nancy watches.

Giulia places the pasta through the ‘wringer’ as Nancy watches.

 

Nancy and Cathe prepare the pasta for cutting.

Nancy and Cathe prepare the pasta for cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll add more things to this list as they occur to me. Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback and comments!

Rome Day 8 – The Vatican

It’s our last touring day in Rome and we visited the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica with a tour group. I’m really glad we didn’t try this on our own — it is very complicated and crowded to get into the Museums. We started at 8:00am and spent a good amount of time trading our receipt for a scan ticket and then going through airport style security, our guide giving us stickers for our shirts and taking a GPS device for herself (I think to keep her on time). It’s quite a production.
Once we were in the galleries, the art wonders just rolled out before us. Greek, Roman, (we missed the Etruscan and Egyptian items), mosaics, tapestries, paintings, frescoes, maps, and more were above, below and around us. The pace was fine but always moving. Dozens (hundreds?) of other tour groups were ahead of and behind us. The guides did their best to keep distance between groups and gave us good information on the major pieces as we sailed by them. I’m glad we had studied the art books back in Colorado so that many objects were already familiar.
The 35 rooms we visited culminated with our entrance to the Sistine Chapel. I have no words to describe it. I was reduced to saying ‘wow’ over and over to myself.
The second part of our tour was of the basilica of St. Peter. I took a couple of pictures, but I’m not sure they can give any sense of the space.

A side chapel in St. Peter's basilica gives a sense of the intricate marble work.

A side chapel in St. Peter’s basilica gives a sense of the intricate marble work.

 

Bernini's bronze canopy over the high altar at St. Peter's. Some of the bronze came from the Pantheon's dome.

Bernini’s bronze canopy over the high altar at St. Peter’s. Some of the bronze came from the Pantheon’s dome.

 

The sublime Pieta by Michelangelo now sits out of reach behind bullet proof glass.

The sublime Pieta by Michelangelo now sits out of reach behind bullet proof glass.

This is my last post from Rome. I hope to see you all soon! ciao

Rome Day 7 – Food Wonderful Food

We had a nice Continental breakfast again this morning: Cappuccino, croissant with butter cream, hard boiled eggs with olive oil, yogurt, cheese, sausage and more.
We set out for a birds eye view of Rome from the top of the large Victor Emmanuel monument. It was early enough in the day that there was no line at the elevator to the observation deck, so it was fun to see all the domes and trees. We decided to have a snack while we enjoyed the view.

Some fruit is a perfect snack on the observation deck.

Some fruit is a perfect snack on the observation deck.

We wanted to go to the Tevere (Tiber) river again, this time via the Campo di Fiori market and piazza. The market was wonderful and Shirley purchased some beautiful tomatoes and other items. The Campo is also known as a martyr site for Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake here in 1600 for heresy. (He thought the Reformation had some good points.)

A statue of Bruno can be seen peeking beyond the sunflowers in the market.

A statue of Bruno can be seen peeking beyond the sunflowers in the market.

Our other big find here was a cafe serving Bufalo Mozzarella pizza with basil and tomato.

Bufalo cheese pizza. Yum.

Bufalo cheese pizza. Yum.

We then walked into a new area (for us) and made it to the Ponte San Angelo. Very historic in both good and bad ways.

The Tiber flows past the Castel San Angelo and its bridge. Built as Hadrian's tomb, it used to be covered in marble.

The Tiber flows past the Castel San Angelo and its bridge. Built as Hadrian’s tomb, it used to be covered in marble.

We then had gelato at Piazza Navone, and dinner at the trattoria across the street from our hotel. Let me see if this post will hold two more food pics.

Rome Day 6

We are (I am) wearing down with all this sightseeing, so we planned a leisurely morning with a walk to the river Tiber. The plan was to stop by the Campidoglio Piazza that Michelangelo designed and quickly realized that it was a major historical area. So here we are at the Capitoline Museum with giant pieces of Constantine.

In the foyer of the Capitoline museum.

In the foyer of the Capitoline museum.

We did get to the river and were refreshed by the sound and coolness of the water. Large Sycamore trees are planted all along the stretch we visited, so it was shady and quite lovely.
On our way back, we happened upon Sacro Argentina, a quirky square block area of Roman ruins that is also a cat sanctuary. It was mid afternoon so all the kitties except one were hiding.

The sign has been placed by the neighborhood residents who feed the kitties.

The sign has been placed by the neighborhood residents who feed the kitties.

 

This kitty was the only one in sight, but he managed to find a comfy spot in the shade.

This kitty was the only one in sight, but he managed to find a comfy spot in the shade.

Another highlight today was to find a major exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s work. The show beckoned because of the air conditioning, but was well-presented and curated. It included pages of sketches, early work, and even some color home movies of Frida and Diego Rivera. An additional treat! I feel like I’ve been eating too much art — Michelangelo in the a.m. and Kahlo in the p.m. No wonder I have a headache (just kidding).

Rome Evening of Baroque Music

We had spotted a music poster of a performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” in front of — drum roll — the Episcopal Church in Rome. We made plans to attend but weren’t sure we had deciphered enough of the Italian to make it. The one change we needed to make was the venue — it was actually at the Methodist Church in Rome. But we were able to attend and it was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Musicians take a bow after performing Vivaldi. Notice the period costumes.

Musicians take a bow after performing Vivaldi. Notice the period costumes.