Skip to main content

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 Diocletian, Maxentius, and Constantine. We walked around the area that was originally the Baths of Diocletian, now only partially preserved as the Piazza Repubblica, several churches, and the Baths museum; walked all the way downtown to the Forum to see several monuments erected by Diocletian, and the Curia building that he restored; and then walked over to see the Basilica of Maxentius (commonly referred to as the Basilica of Constantine because he completed it) and the famous Arch of Constantine. Professor Gadeyne requires a lot of walking, and I could only barely keep up because of my ankle, but he told us in his characteristic way that he was "almost a little bit proud" of us for covering all the sites without complaining. And when he noticed me limping he even slowed down a bit, but said I should get better or he'd have to chop my ankle off. I finally got an Ace-type bandage for it, so I should be ok now.



Yesterday, Friday, Sara and I went on a day-trip organized by the school to see some sites along the Via Cassia. We visited a pretty well-preserved Roman amphitheater (see above) near the town of Sutri; the amphitheater was carved out of a large outcropping of tufa, volcanic rock, making it actually a sculpture rather than a building. In the town square they were filming scenes for the musical "Nine," which, oddly enough, we had seen them filming in the Piazza del Popolo during the wall walk tour! We will have to go see this movie when it comes out. After Sutri we went to the town of Caprarola, once controlled by the Farnese family of Pope Paul III. There we saw the Palazzo Farnese (not to be confused with the one in Rome that's now the French Embassy) with lots of interesting frescoes. After lunch we went further to the town of Viterbo, originally a medieval town where the popes would escape to during unrest in Rome.

photos from Caprarola


photos from Viterbo

Finally, on Friday night we and two friends went out to dinner, the first time we've been out instead of cooking for ourselves! It was tasty but the bill reminded us why we're cooking in the first place--it's much cheaper to cook!

Food and culture notes: The best dessert to get in Rome is crostate, a kind of jam tart that's like a pie but with a crust that's closer to a cookie and much more delicious. You can get them in the vending machines at school and of course in bakeries, but they're good even from the vending machine! You can also get good hot chocolate and cappuchino from the vending machines. One of the most expensive food items here is peanut butter, which has to be imported from the US. We finally indulged ourselves and bought a jar today. Of course, Nutella is everywhere, and that's a good substitute for me, but a lot of the other students here miss peanut butter. I personally miss barbeque sauce a lot, as well as salsa and fried chicken. Today we're planning to make lasagne, which is harder to make here than one would expect; the grocery store doesn't sell lasagne noodles dried, apparently, and it's hard to get large enough quantities of ricotta and mozzarella to make it since everything is sold in such small amounts. We'll find out if it's just too hard to make! We also had to buy an appropriate pan because our kitchen didn't have one.

One thing I do really like here is the number of different juices available: pear juice seems to be really popular, as well as blood orange and apricot. We get a couple different kinds whenever we go to the store. Eventually I'll post pictures of the different kinds of ingredients we have here to cook with! Today I finally got a wooden spoon, which is apparently mandatory for cooking sauces and noodles; I'll find out soon if it's really that much better than the metal spoons I've been using so far. I also like the hot chocolate here from the bars, since it's much thicker than the kind served at home, and the cornetti, Italian croissants, filled with cream are just delicious.

Coming up: We're hoping to go to Tunisia for spring break! One of the professors at school is organizing it, and it sounds really amazing. More on that to come. Also, we made a reservation to go to Milan in March, where we're going to a Verdi opera at La Scala, thanks to Sara's perseverance in ordering tickets. We're also hoping to go to Venice and Sicily on overnight weekend trips, and Pisa, Tivoli, and Florence on day trips by train, all TBD. Tonight, lasagne, and tomorrow we're going to the Vatican to walk around. Beate noi (lucky us)!

Comments

  1. Cory and I watched a movie with Diocletian in it!
    Sort of.

    Anyway, we misses you, Roline!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Vertical Bike Rack

The work of our hands!


A little backstory:  We bought two bikes as soon as we could after moving here, so we could both bike to work.  After a few uneventful months of chaining up our bikes next to our car in the carport of our apartment building, Justin's bike was stolen.  (Mine was mysteriously left behind, together with Justin's pannier, which the thieves helpfully folded up and placed on top of my bike.  My only guess is that the chain holding my bike was harder to cut than the chain on Justin's.)  Since then, we've kept our bikes inside, hauling them up and down two flights of stairs to our third-floor apartment every time we take them out, which is usually a few times a week.  Ugh.  Better than buying a new bike every few months, though.

We needed a rack that would keep the bikes off the floor, off the walls, and in as small a footprint as possible, without requiring us to drill into or otherwise damage the walls (or floor or ceiling).  This proved a challenge t…

Book Review: "Theory and Design in the First Machine Age"

Reyner Banham's Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1960) is an engaging overview of the important theoretical developments of the early 20th century leading up to the "International Style" of the 1930s-40s.  Banham does a fairly good job, in my opinion, of avoiding excessive editorializing, although he has a clear viewpoint on the Modern Movement and finishes with a strong conclusion.  In opposition to his teacher, Nikolaus Pevsner, whose own history of modernism came out in 1936, Banham dismantled the "form follows function" credo that became the stereotype of modernism, arguing instead that formalism (a preoccupation with style and aesthetics) was an important, if not overriding, concern of Modern architects.  Two sections of the book struck me in particular: his analysis of Le Corbusier's famous book Vers une architecture (Toward a [new] architecture) from 1923, and his Conclusion (chapter 22), where he breaks the link between functionalism and …

LEED Green Associate

Today I am pleased to report that I have passed the LEED® Green Associate exam, so I am now officially a LEED-accredited professional.  I have a few thoughts on this process that might be helpful for others looking into getting their own LEED Green Associate credential.  While I'm certainly in support of sustainable building practices, which is why I went to the trouble to get the credential in the first place, I don't think it's inappropriate to take a critical stance toward the whole enterprise in order to challenge the profession (and the industry) to be more self-aware.

The preparation: I passed the exam by using only resources that were freely available to me through my school library, including an e-book version of the LEED Green Associate study guide by Michelle Cottrell and the USGBC LEED Core Concepts Guide.  (Although I asked the library to obtain a new copy of the official USGBC LEED Green Associate Study Guide since the one they had was lost, they still haven&…