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The adventures of the Mel

Rome, sweet Rome.

ITALY | Saturday, 25 September 2010 | Views [565] | Comments [4]

For a trip that has involved so little rushing around, I sure have been slack at keeping you guys informed. Perhaps I just don't want to rub it in your faces. Perhaps!

I'm sitting at my window watching and listening to Rome wake up, the noisy little bugger that she is. The perils of staying at a place near Termini, eh?

So....after I left you my good readers I was mourning the construction works on the Pantheon. Still am, but have visited a couple of new places for me which has helped my grief along. Wednesday afternoon we visited Piazza della Reppublica and the adjacent church, Santa Maria degli Angeli. How is it that I have never been inside this church before? How is it that the Lonely Planet guidebook gives it a single line? It was absolutely stunning - my novel highlight so far. You walk into the church (after pulling your skirt down over your knees) and you enter into a small domed area. You look up at the oculus to be greeted with the vivid blues, purples and yellows that combine to represent the cosmos. Wowee. We could have sat there for hours (well we almost did last night)! You start looking a bit further and all the modern art housed within the church becomes apparent. An angel twisted into an almost skeletal form points the way deeper into the church. You want to go in, but you are taken by - yeah, that's right folks - JESUS ART! These wispy beautiful pieces adorn the walls throughout the church and are (in my opinion anyway) a wonderfully gentle contrast to the ubiquitous Mary and Jesus paintings everywhere.

Further into the church and we realise that there is an exhibition here on Galileo. Indignation over hypocrisy aside, it was freaking awesome! A plethora of information cards littered the church and were aided by a few contraptions to illustrate some concepts. I was 'in heaven'. There was also a meridian line which, as part of the design of the church, has a beam of light move along it at certain solstice times of the year from a dedicated point close to the ceiling. Bar the Pantheon, this is officially now my favourite church.

On the way home we passed another great monstrosity of a church – Santa Maria Maggiore. Looked impressive enough, but didn’t go in.

The following day I took Tessa to the Colosseum and Roman forum. She enjoyed it, though find the audioguide stuff a little dry. I mostly wandered around and basked in the glorious sun. You tan that pasty white skin, baby! Afterwards we headed to the Roman forum, but unfortunately my leg started playing up and Tessa got tired, so we moved on through and went home for our midday rest.

That afternoon we strolled along the river Tevere and went and had a sit in a (or the, not sure) piazza in Isola Tiberina. It was amazingly tranquil and we sat there for about two hours in the afternoon sun, chatting and reflecting on life. Mmmmm....sun. On the way home we decided to stop in at Piazza Navona, and found the area to the west of this to be absolutely delightful! Tall buildings, narrow streets – it felt a little like Spain or even Venice (except the streets were much wider – enough for a parked car and another car – they’re still narrow in my book).

We got to Piazza Navona as the sun was setting, so we sat down and watched the sun go down over the back of an old building, highlighting the Fountain of Four Rivers and the plethora of people (tourists and locals) there that were mingling amongst the adjacent markets. I even swear I saw my old Italian tutor there, but by the time I matched the face she was gone. Bugger!  

So, onward to the Pantheon where we ate WAY too much for dinner (stupid Italy), but got to enjoy the face of the Pantheon (construction work included) and I conversed with the waiter – it is slowly coming back. I hear words and am building up my vocabulary every day, thank goodness!

Damn this post is getting long! Sigh.

Yesterday we went to the Vatican and it was lovely to watch the awe in Tessa’s face firstly at beholding St. Peter’s Square, but then also inside the Basilica. It was a bit of an adventure to get there – we hit the walls near the Museum (and the line was already ridiculously long at 8 am) and then kept going to get to the Basilica entrance.....but I’m afraid we went in the wrong direction. So now, we’ve circumnavigated the Vatican City. Woohoo. Adventure! Needless to say we had a bit of a sit down after we arrived.

After our midday rest we headed off to the Crypt of the Capuchins (thanks Dad), a crypt that is lined with the bones of hundreds of monks. It was one of the most remarkable sights I’ve ever seen. Thousands upon thousands of bones, all arranged into ‘pretty’ patterns that adorned the walls and ceilings. You couldn’t help but feel that although the place was said to be holy that it was somewhat sacrilegious. You didn’t know whether to be in awe, be creeped out, or laugh inappropriately. We were tugged at all sides, I tell you. Mind you, it didn’t help that when we got to the part where one wall was covered with skulls and pelvises that my brain went “Wow, that guy’s pretty hip” and neatly followed it up with “I hip, I’m with it, dukka dukka dukka dukka...whoaahhooohh” Thanks brain. I really appreciated that. That’s not inappropriate at all. That said, it was a sight to behold, despite whatever my brain wanted to do with it all. Unfortunately I have no photos as you are not supposed to take any (though that didn’t stop some people). Just imagine a kitsch interior decorator gone to town with every single bone of the bodies of hundreds of people (a few were even children, which was a little disquieting. Mind you, so were the ones that were still in robes that sometimes still had skin on them. Yeah, that was definitely creepy).

And so ends our merry tale thus far, benevolent reader. This morning after we shower and stuff we are off to Assisi, so until we meet again....enjoy the cold! :p


Rome, sweet Rome.



Well, I'm not stir crazy with envy because I'm watching the G.F.

  Sally Sep 25, 2010 3:49 PM


Yeah...the GF is totally better than Italy....

  mel_mel Sep 25, 2010 4:22 PM


Love reaing about your doings, and we are NOT watching the G F

  muscat55 Sep 25, 2010 5:00 PM


Tessie Bear looks like she is enjoying herself....repubblica is that bloody big roundabout near Termini - but I've never noticed the church because I've been watching the traffic and wondering when the cars would hit the bus I was sitting on.....

  Peter Sep 28, 2010 5:38 PM

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