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Showing posts from 2009

Last Week in Rome

I leave Rome tomorrow! It has been a really great semester for me here in Italy; it's hard for me to believe that I have been able to visit most of the major sites of Rome, Venice, Milan, Ravenna, and Sicily while I've been here, plus went to Tunisia for a week and went to Naples, Pisa, Orvieto, Florence, and a few other small towns outside the city. I've seen Italy from top to bottom, plus a little of Africa!

This past week, amid and after finals, I've been trying to see the last few things on my list. Here are some of them:

The Ludus Magnus, gladiatorial training school next to the Colosseum. At right, view of Trastevere from S. Pietro in Montorio

Moses statue by Michelangelo; silver and gilt statue of St. Ignatius in Il Gesu. Having seen Moses, I can now say that I've seen all three of the Michelangelo statues in Rome!

The Ara Pacis, Altar of Peace built by Augustus, now in a modernist Richard Meier building

Details of the Ara Pacis

Medieval mosaic from San Clem…


This past Saturday the 18th we went to Orvieto for the day, our last train trip outside of Rome. It's very close, only an hour and a quarter by train. The town was founded in the middle ages, and is located on top of a steep hill in the countryside of Umbria.

The duomo is really interesting, with striped stone walls

Other civic buildings in Orvieto

One of the best parts of Orvieto is the view from the city onto the surrounding countryside. All around Orvieto are these hills and farmlands.

We walked down into the Well of St. Patrick, a deep well with a heliocoidal ramp built by Antonio da Sangallo in the Renaissance to provide a secure water supply for the town. The second picture above is the view from the bottom, looking up.

At right you can see the steep fortified side of the hill on which the town is built.

We walked around for a few hours, ate lunch, and then went back to Rome - a nice break from the city! Going on day trips has been really easy thanks to our train passes; the …

Around Rome and Amusing Photos

Here are some pictures from my class excursions over the past couple of weeks. I've been studying the high and late Baroque and the end of the Late Antique period in Rome, just before the beginning of the middle ages. But first, here are some pictures from the Roman Imperial-age villa of the Quintili on the Via Appia:

These ruins were all part of a single enormous villa complex that included its own private bath complex (think giant swimming pool, hot tubs, etc), mini-amphitheater, gardens, and more. It was so impressive that apparently an emperor killed off the family who owned it and took it over for himself. The villa is just a five minute bus ride outside the city, but in ancient times it would have been a country-side retreat.

Apse mosaic in SS Cosmas and Damiano: a Late Antique mosaic. Most of my other pictures from this class aren't as interesting, so here are the Baroque pictures!

Architecture by Borromini, tormented genius of the Baroque (dome of San Carlo alle Quat…


On Pasquetta, Easter Monday, classes were cancelled so we went to Pisa for the day. We took a slow train so we spent a lot of time on the train, and not much time in the city, but the city is small so we had time to see everything we wanted to see while we were there. We started with the Piazza dei Miracoli, home to the famous Leaning Tower, the cathedral, baptistery, and several museums.

Left: the Piazza with all three monuments; at right: the Leaning Tower. All the tourists there were taking their pictures as if they were supporting the tower; we just took pictures of them taking pictures!

The duomo, facade and interior

The baptistery, exterior and interior, view from the second level (gallery)

Here you can see better how tilted the tower really is, compared to the (relative) vertical of the cathedral. The cathedral, too, seemed a bit tilted. The ground of the piazza has settled over time, causing the buildings to pitch.

Left: inside the monumental cemetary (Camposanto); right: a pa…