Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Rome, Ellie's Disneyland

Rome. What a dream. It's the light. The golden pure warmth of the Roman light that makes everything glow with ancient wonders and creative possibilities. I was overcome with it and in awe. I want to go back today. Imagine how nice it must be to stroll around in a summer dress with the glow on your skin. Of course my trip to Rome was in mid-December...I was bundled up and freezing. Regardless, you can easily understand why the birth of the Renaissance was here. How can you not paint with this light going on all hours of the day?? (Um, and those clothes! Talk about sleeve-spiration.)
My mom and I arrived by train from Bari in late afternoon. We pulled into the station with the sun about an hour from setting. The gold lights bounces around on cobblestones...as does my mom's poor suitcase while we walk block after block in search of our hostel. Turns out, we were really centrally located just a few blocks from the Barberini stop on the metro. Perfect because it only took two (or three) days to discover that's only 10 minutes from the Trevi fountain. Since neither my mom nor I had cash to throw towards a sim card phone and our fully monopolized country doesn't see fit to stop AT&T/Apple from taking over everything and giving us no sim option (instead, charges ridiculous roaming prices), we have no option but to trust our gut and use a good 'ole map. Yeah, we were lost all the time. Feel bad for her though cause I never mind. Getting lost is the best way to see things you don't expect, but my poor mom's feet were never doing very well. Walking is easier for us New Yorkers.
I knew we didn't have to book much during our time in Rome - city of tourists that it is - with it being winter when I knew things would be pretty calm. One thing I did book was a special private tour of Vatican City. The reason: I had to see the Bramante staircase. It's not open to the public so we had no choice but to join a group. It ended up being a wonderful thing though. We had a great guide who mostly gave us plenty of time to see everything and provided lots of good info. I booked the City Wonders Extended Vatican Museums tour for my mom and I for about $90 I believe. Maybe less. The staircase was fantastic. Beautiful views of Rome and very VIP feeling with just our small group. I found it so easy to imagine a horse drawn carriage lugging the pope up this gorgeous staircase. See it. You have to.
My other favorite was the pantheon. I knew I'd love it because I always loved it in college. Design perfection, situated in this oddly shaped square full of people from all walks of life. We sat on the steps with our gelato listening to a man play the saxophone and watched the light on the pantheon turn from warm gold to soft blue and finally, bright white when the lights turned on.
Believe it or not, this is a tapestry.
Favorite fun fact: Romans painted their sculptures. I cannot believe I have a degree in art, from a very fine institution I might add, and I never learned they painted them! This bust is one of the only sculptures found with the paint in tact. I'm sure they've fixed it up a bit now, but whatever was left was there to guide them. Pretty cool stuff.



And that, friends, is a mosaic,
Gravina on the huge tapestry map
at St. Peter's Basilica
The rest of Rome is really a blur of this sculpture or that fountain but my favorite part will always be just walking along and seeing something magnificent around every corner. Honestly, Rome is Disneyland to me. The only rival is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter because, Harry Potter.

Plus it was really nice to have my mom in tow. She was a real trooper with my art talk and I think she enjoyed seeing the city. I think from here I'll just make a Rome in photos post. I have so many beautiful pictures :)

'till next time,