I woke up around 8ish in order to have a very busy day of visiting museums and churches today. I arrived first at St. Ignazio. It was just me and one guy enjoying the inside. I love the optical illusion on the inside ceiling. I had to move around the center in order to get it to be perfect visually.
Headed to Palazzo Colonna. On the way I met a gentleman raising money for a Roman drug rehab center. I asked him some questions. He had been clean for two years. I congratulated him and gave him a few dollars. He thanked profusely. It is moments like these that, despite not being glamorous, really give you a feel for the city and brings to realization that a place you fantasize about is not a fantasy world. I also saw the balcony where Mussolini gave his famous speech. Palazzo Colonna would have been better with a tour of the apartments, but without advance reservation I wasn’t able to visit them. There is a huge main hall in which a large cannonball is wedged into the center of the steps. So incredibly exciting and quirky! Apparently it was fired by the French from Janiculum Hill in 1849. Outside they were trimming a palm tree, which I had never seen before.
I received a free audioguide at Palazzo Doria Pamphilj which is all read by the Prince who lives on and off in the residence. His stories were cute. There is one about how his mother would scold him and his siblings for rollerskating on the marble floors and causing scratches in them. It was beautiful and the commentary was completely worthwhile.
I visited the Pantheon, but it was only worth it because it was free. There were so many tourists. I basically walked in and walked out. I would have liked to have been there at high noon or when it was raining so the oculus was more interesting to view.
I went to the Ara Pacis which wasn’t worth the entrance fee. It was beautiful but I could have seen it from outside of the building and been satisfied.
I walked along the Tiber to find a place to eat but every main drag had obviously touristy restaurants and when I went to the side streets there were no restaurants at all. I ended up going back to my neighborhood to find something. I went back to my room to grab my jacket because the shadows between the buildings cause a bit of a chill.
After lunch I went to the Shelly-Keats Museum. It was worthwhile, though small. I saw the death mask and the room he stayed and died in. It is a shame that they burned everything from the room due to tuberculosis related laws of the day. They had some locks of his hair on display, which I am proud to saw are the exact color as my own. Finding similarities in others help you relate more deeply. The view from his window was worthwhile. The entire time I was in the room I was remembering a movie I saw with a friend about Keats life called Bright Star. It made me miss my friends. I learned a lot in his house. For example, he didn’t open any of Fanny’s letters and they were buried with him…unopened. How romantical.
I went back to my room for a nap and to do a little more research of places I could visit. I would like to mention that I realized at this point that I stopped taking pictures of food. It wasn’t worth perhaps being caught being the weirdo taking photos of her food.
In the neighborhood I keep seeing very cool graffiti. For example, Mario Brothers mushrooms, religious symbols, and a ‘no-entry’ sign made into a man carrying a surfboard.
I hear more of every other language around here than I do English. It makes me wonder if the American reputation is all its own, or a mix of other nationalities that have our appearance. For example, people of almost every country have no idea about sidewalk etiquette. They take up the entire sidewalk and don’t allow others to pass. They all take the token tourist photos and all of them are at the same level of annoying as any other nationality. It isn’t about where you come from, its about your manners and your respect.
I decided I wanted to buy my sister a kitschy gift from Italy for Christmas. A few years back I bought her a “Nuns Having Fun” calendar and I think she liked it, so this time I decided I would buy her a “Men of the Vatican” calendar. I went to the gift shop and quickly picked one up and paid for it even quicker as if I were purchasing porn. I didn’t want to be “that person” buying such a strange product. When I got back to the hotel I realized that in my embarrassment I purchased the 2011 calendar without noticing! Now I had to go back for another embarrassing trip to pick up the 2012 version. Serves me right. Now I had to relive the experience again.
I went to a few other museums in the afternoon. All worthwhile, though unplanned stops.
I climbed the steps of the Vittorio monument at sunset and took the elevator to the top. It was awesomely beautiful. I stayed up there for a while.
When I headed back to the convent the film fest was playing again. I tried to call mom and dad, as I have been frequently, but haven’t had much luck with phones lately and when I find one that seems to work its a strange hour of the day to call them with the time difference. I’m sure dad is worried to death and is probably distributing the photograph he took of me at the airport to all news media.
I had dinner at Osteria 16, which was delicious and entirely too filling. I was craving a meat and potatoes type of experience and it fulfilled it. I sat at the table and thought out my plans for tomorrow. I had some things I for sure wanted to do and then some roaming time. Next to me was a man who was obviously on a solo trip as well. It made me think again about whether I want another person in my life in a romantic partner way. I am not sure what the answer to that is at this point (and still am not) but I know that if I do decide for sure on it that I want it to absolutely be the right person or it would only bother me. I think Jane Austen had it right with, “Only the deepest of love could induce me to matrimony.” Ain’t that the truth! She died single, and I don’t think it would hurt me any either. I suppose my next solo trip will help me broaden the thought process and perhaps lead me to a decision. The 20s are hard for their very own reasons, and relationships are a part of that I suppose.
When I return to the piazza I notice there is a grape fest! There is free wine, but as I don’t really enjoy the taste of alcohol I skipped that. I did however enjoy the spectacle of individuals dressed up in costume and a band leading them in a parade. There is also a little concert with a guitar player, electric violinist, and singer. Pretty good, and the violinist wasn’t too shabby to look at.