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 Clemente; copy of the shroud of Turin in Santa Croce

Imitation Etruscan temple superstructure at the Villa Giulia (National Etruscan Museum); at right, Bramante's Tempietto at San Pietro in Montorio

Renzo Piano's Auditorium in the Parco della Musica

At the end of last week was the Student Show with artwork from all the art classes offered at Temple Rome. I had a few prints in the show, which was quite well attended and full of interesting artwork! I have really enjoyed being at a school with lots of art students and where art is the focus of most students' studies instead of a hobby or vague interest.

Photography, Advanced Printmaking

Painting, Sculpture

I think my favorite part of the semester, aside from my trip to Tunisia, was learning how to cook Italian food and wandering around the Baths of Caracalla on a sunny day. When the weather is nice in Rome, the city is really beautiful. And I have discovered that I never get tired of Italian food! Rome has been great, but I'm glad to be going home after four months of travel. See you soon!



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 passes have probably been the best purchase we made for the semester!

This week (April 20-25) are final exams. I'm planning to go visit more sites in Rome and hopefully to go Tivoli on Saturday, and then Sunday the 26th I return home to Sarasota. I'll post a couple more posts with the pictures from this week, but after that will be the end! I hope you have enjoyed my blog this semester; stay tuned for the final posts!


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 Quattro Fontane; lantern of Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza)

Baroque sculpture by Bernini, most popular artist of the Baroque (Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria; Fountain of the Four Rivers, Piazza Navona). Bernini and Borromini had a persistent rivalry.

Illusionistic ceiling frescoes were popular Late Baroque decorations; this one is by Andrea Pozzo, church of S. Ignazio

Ceiling frescoes are meant to deceive you into thinking that the angels and people depicted are really falling into your space. This one uses 3D stucco figures, as well as architecture and fresco, to create an illusion that's very convincing when you're there! Church of Il Gesu, ceiling by Baciccio.

And now the amusing pictures:

Left: Giant foot of Constantine, in the Capitoline Museum
Right: Elephant obelisk by Bernini. Bernini had a sense of humor, and this whimsical elephant is an example. The obelisk is probably just 8 or 10 feet tall, the smallest one in Rome, so he sculpted a tiny elephant to go with the tiny obelisk! The sculpture is much smaller than life size (for an elephant, of course, not a human).

Left: ! (Need I say more?) In Florence.
Right: In Italy, McDonald's sells Italian breakfasts: cappuccino and a brioche, or cornetto (basically a croissant). I thought it was funny to see Italian food advertised on a McDonald's sign!

And more locks. I've been taking pictures of the locks wherever I go - I've seen them in Florence, Milan, Naples... these are from a church in Rome across from the Trevi Fountain, a popular hangout place, hence the large number of locks! (See my earlier post, 2/14, on Everyday Life in Rome for an explanation of the locks)


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 palace in the Piazza dei Cavalieri.

We then wandered back through town, stopping in the Piazza dei Cavalieri to eat an ice cream, and got on the train to head back. It was a nice day to be outside!