On Monday for class we were studying Renaissance architecture so we walked literally three miles around the city and looked at different buildings
. Honestly, it wasn't that exciting. I actually wanted to go inside these buildings (because most of them were museums) and look at everything. But that was not the case. It was also hot and sticky, and our feet hurt. Did I mention it was uphill most of the time? But it was okay, no one minded that much, because we do get to walk around Italy for class! I took some random pictures of the stuff we saw so I'll post those. After class though, I did go with one of my friends to the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita
) in the church Santa Maria in Cosmedin
. There were a lot of tourists waiting in line to stick their hands in the mouth, because there's a legend that if a liar sticks his or her hand in the mouth, it will get bitten off. Don't worry, I still have mine. I did get to see Bramante's Tempietto
though, which was pretty cool! It's in the courtyard of the church San Pietro in Montorio
. The church was built on the site of an earlier 9th-century church dedicated to St. Peter's Basilica.
Wednesday was a crazy day. We went to the four main churches in Campo Marzio
and Piazza del Popolo
. I was so exhausted after that. Since I have an onsite class, it's hard to believe I'm here to take class because it feels like I just take tours of the city almost every day. The first church was San Luigi dei Francesi
. This is the French national church in Rome, built at the end of the 16th century
. My favorite part was the Contarelli chapel, because it has three amazing Caravaggio
paintings, all from scenes from the life of Saint Matthew. The second was Sant'Agostino, which has Raphael's Isaiah and another Caravaggio, Madonna dei Pellegrini. Sant'Ivo all Sapienza
was next, and it's dedicated to the patron saint of lawyers. Sant'Andrea della Valle
was the last one, and probably my favorite out of the four. The facade and the dome are the largest in Rome apart from St. Peter's and they were designed by Maderno. The dome fresco is breathtaking; it's Lanfranco's Glory of Paradise. Piazza del Popolo reminded me of Paris because it has so much open space. It's probably one of the most impressive piazzas I've seen especially because no traffic is allowed inside. It's always been one of the main entrances to the city, but it gets its name from the church Santa Maria del Popolo
. This church was pretty cool because apparently it was built on top of the tomb of Emperor Nero, and when Pope Paschal II found out about that in the 11th century, he dug up the gravesite, threw the bones into the Tiber, and dedicated the church to the Virgin Mary. The church has been rebuilt many times but what's left today is the 15th century Renaissance version. Also, apparently a couple of years before he posted his 95 these in Wittenberg, Martin Luther boarded here in the monastery, but it no longer exists. The Cerasi chapel has two Caravaggio's dedicated to the life of Saint Paul. So much Caravaggio!
I went to the Capitoline Museums
on my own time, which is one of the world's oldest museums
. My favorite part was the parts of the large statue of Constantine that stands in the courtyard. The statue used to be in the Forum. I also went to the Villa Farnesina
. This is a gem of Renaissance architecture. It was built for a Sienese banker named Agostino Chigi in the early 1500s, and he commissioned many artists to paint everything with scenes from Roman mythology. I wasn't really sure what I was expecting, but when I walked in the first room I was bombarded by Raphael's Galatea. I think my favorite was Raphael's Loggia of Cupid and Psyche right off of the garden on the ground floor. I looked up at the ceiling fresco for so long my neck got stiff. Upstairs there are three rooms with frescoes by Peruzzi and Bazzi.
This is the Italians' equivalent of "The early bird catches the worm." This is relevant to my life because I wake up so, so early every day to go to class. My on-site class starts at 8:50 (I know why couldn't it have been 9) so I have to be out the door by at the latest 7:30 every day to get there on time. I have never seen worse traffic in my life as I do in Rome. So I wake up around 6:15 to shower and get ready. It sucks, but I always say to myself that I'm in Italy and I can sleep when I get back to America. I feel like since I get up so early, I have so much time to do everything I want to do! Sadly, I only have eleven or so days left in Italy. I had a minor freak-out today and made a list of everything I still have to do before I leave, like museums or churches I want to visit. It's crazy, but I think I'll be able to get it all done!