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Showing posts from January, 2009

Almost a Little Bit Proud

Hello avid readers!

On Tuesday of this past week (the 27th) I visited the Doria Pamphili Gallery with my Baroque Art class; I was proud of myself because I managed to get there and back to school without having to consult my map a single time. I'm becoming pretty good at navigating the metro/bus system here. And tomorrow (Sunday the 1st) I finally get to start using my new monthly pass, so I can take the bus as much as I want! The gallery was interesting because it's a private collection only recently opened to the public--about 10 years ago--and is still organized and looks like a private villa with art covering the walls from mid-wall to the ceiling, frescoed ceilings, and a late-Baroque gallery based on the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. To the Pamphili family belonged Pope Innocent X, of which there are several busts by Bernini and a portrait by Velazquez.

Thursday my Late Antique/Early Byzantine class went to see the imperial buildings of the late Antique emperors Diocl…

A Walk Around the Walls of Rome

Every weekend here in Rome is a long weekend, because we only have class Monday thru Thursday. So after our tour of La Sapienza on Friday, on Saturday we went to see the Baths of Diocletian museum and the Crypta Balbi museum. We also saw the church that's built into part of the baths and that was having a weird exhibit on Galileo. At the baths is an extremely large and extremely boring museum of epigraphy (sorry to all you classics majors), essentially a museum full of pieces of marble with stuff written on them in Latin. After we suffered through that and glanced vaguely at the wing about early Roman/Etruscan daily life, we found the part of the museum where you actually get to go into a room of the baths. It was awesome! The room was labeled Aula X, and it was originally one small room of the immense complex, and is now the only part open to the public (or at least open that day). See the picture.

The Crypta Balbi museum had a small section on daily life in Rome through th…

Jan. 21-23

Friday, Jan. 23rd

On Wednesday the 21st I had one new class: Late Antique/Early Byzantine Art and Architecture with Professor Jan Gadeyne. I really enjoyed it--I think this will be my favorite class. My advisor at Duke recommended him, and I can see why now! He has a very entertaining lecture style and a great accent (he's Belgian). I also bought my textbooks.

Thursday morning with Professor Gadeyne we went to two museums: the Palazzo Massimo and the Palazzo Altemps. We met up first at the Piazza Repubblica, pictured below. In the museums we looked at classical Roman sculpture and some Late Antique sarcophagi to see the difference between them, and how Late Antique art grew out of changing social/political conditions in the late Roman world; this will be the theme of the class.

Today, Friday, we went grocery shopping and did laundry (we don't have classes on Friday) and this afternoon visited La Sapienza, the main campus of the University of Rome. The University of Rome …

Todi, Titignano, & First Week of Class

January 20, 2009, 11:06pm

On Sunday, the entire school (there are about 200 of us) traveled by bus to the medieval hill town of Todi, and from there to the estate of Titignano. This is apparently a traditional trip for the Temple Rome program. Todi is located in Umbria, a region with rolling hills and farmland. The town was surrounded by a medieval wall and is up on the top of a hill; we had to take a lift to get up to it. The town was very quiet on this Sunday morning; we got a cappuccino and a cornetto con crema (an Italian version of the croissant with cream filling) then walked around the town for a couple hours. The views of the countryside from the town were very nice, and the little squares and churches were very pretty.

After leaving Todi we got back on the bus and went to Titignano, a former noble estate that's now an agriturismo, a working farm estate with the mansion converted into a bed and breakfast. There we had a traditional Italian "wedding feast," a multi-…


Saturday, January 17, 2009, 4pm
It’s Saturday, and everything is finally starting to come together.I’ve figured out the metro stops, found the grocery stores, and this morning experienced the outdoor market.The market is crazy—hundreds of little old ladies pushing you aside to get to the produce.The market closes at 2pm and isn’t open on Sundays, so when we got there at 12:30, most of the best produce was already gone.By 1:00, when we had had time to look around and decide what we wanted to get, most of everything was gone!We only managed to get onions and some cashews, then had to go to the regular grocery store for the rest of what we wanted. Below is a photo of our school in the Villa Caproni: Fortunately, all the Italians I’ve interacted with have been very helpful and patient with me.At the grocery store, someone helped me find the right button on the scale so I could print the sticker for my broccoli… the lady selling nuts had to explain that they were 1.5 euro per 100 grams (un …

First Day

Roma, Italia, 23:36 CET

Hello from Italy!
Last night I finally arrived at the apartment after spending two hours at the airport trying to file a claim for my luggage, which didn't follow me when my flight got moved up by an hour out of Dulles. Fortunately, it arrived tonight around 10pm, so I only had to go one day without it.

Our apartment here at the Residence Medaglie d'Oro is quite nice, with two bedrooms, one bath, a sitting room with a day bed and adjoining tiny kitchen area. It came furnished with plates and cutlery and a few pots. Our greatest excitement of the evening was trying to cook dinner on the gas-burning stove: none of the four of us had ever lit a stove like this before! We had to ask the porter to come up and show us how. The weather here has been overcast and a little rainy, but not too cold; almost exactly like weather at Duke usually is in the winter. Maybe a little warmer here than at Duke. But the scenery is obviously very different! On the shuttle here fr…

En Route

Heathrow Airport, London, UK
Wednesday, January 13, 5:37 EDT (Sarasota), 10:37 GMT (London), 11:37 CET (Italy)No matter how many times you “cross the pond,” the experience is different.Perhaps one day I’ll manage to sleep on a flight, but this time followed what seems to be my routine: watching a movie then closing my eyes and pretending to sleep while actually just thinking.This flight I started out with three seats to myself, but then a man from the front of the plane came and took one, so that I couldn’t fall asleep across three seats as I’d hoped.Oh well!I watched “Eagle Eye” during dinner—I don’t recommend it—and then “Flight of the Conchords” in the “morning.”At least the flight was quiet and uneventful, and less cold than I’d anticipated. Please excuse the following generalization.The British: efficient until their machines break down.I arrived in Dulles at a quarter to nine, ran to where I hoped my gate was (it wasn’t on any of the monitors because the monitors only showed Unit…

Cellular Odyssey

It's only six days until my departure, and I'm suddenly faced with all the preparations that I should have been completing throughout break! Today I worked on finding cell phone service while in Italy. It appears that TIM has the most reliable service in the country, so I considered buying a TIM Italian SIM card, only to discover through complicated testing that my current cell phone is locked so I can't use it with a different carrier. From here it gets more interesting: I can either a) try to get AT&T to unlock it for me, which by all online accounts is something they try to make as frustrating as possible; or b) buy a new unlocked cell phone starting at $99 for a quad band phone; or c) pay a sketchy online company anywhere from $3 to $69 to unlock my cell phone remotely.

I think I'm going to wait until I get to Italy to get a phone... and hope for the best!

This means that you should get in touch with me via Skype, if at all possible! Skype is a great free pro…