Monday, 9 July 2007

Rome--Day 2

We woke up and met for breakfast at 7:30am. I had a little less sleep since I had woken up to call Nick. Unfortunately, my brain was a little too tired and, although, I woke up an hour early, I still thought it was time to call him. Oops. I just spent some time reading and showering.

Breakfast was much better than I had expected from a free breakfast included with the hotel room. I had scrambled eggs and toast every morning. I had plenty of fruit, yogurt, and pastries.

We purchased day subway passes. The subways in Rome are filled with graffiti and are not nearly as nice as their London counterparts. However, it was nice to be dropped off so close the Vatican. When we started walking by the line for the Sistine chapel, we were a little amazed. We kept thinking it was going to end, but it was a like a sea of never-ending people. I think that all of us were about to give up and do something different when I asked a tour guide about what he was selling. He was working for one of the groups that had special access to the Vatican Museums which connected with the Sistine chapel. It cost us 30 euro but it was so worth not waiting outside in the line of over 1000 people. Plus I loved the things that our tour guide told us. Some of the most interesting tidbits are listed below.

Michelangelo loved human anatomy. At 13, he was allowed to watch in on the dissection of male corpses. However, the heart and brain could not be touched as that is where the soul lies. He was not also not allowed to see females being dissected. The believe this is why that his female characters have beautiful faces but manly bodies.

DaVinci used the same man to paint both Jesus and Judas in his painting of the Last Supper. These paintings were done several years apart. While he selected his subject for Jesus after hearing him singing in a church choir, he did not select him for Judas. His commission was overdue and people were breathing down his neck to finish the work. So he sent his students out to find the worst, smelly drunk that they could find. The brought him back to the studio, propped him up best they could. When he woke up for his drunken stupor, the man looked at the painting and instantly recognized himself as Jesus when he was a happier man. It wasn't as much of coincidence as it sounds as DaVinci didn't travel far from home to find either subject.

There are so many things hidden in the Sistine chapel paintings that my mind is blown away. Some of my favorites were:

He changed the picture of the temptations so that Eve was sitting there after an apparent act of fellatio and watched as Adam picked the apple from the tree. I think if we hadn't been on the tour, my mind would have flipped it to the story that I always thought that I would see.

Also, the intricate details in the creation picture. Who is the women wrapped in God's arms? Surely, she isn't Eve as Eve's body is clearly present in Adam. As I told you early, Michelangelo was fascinated with human anatomy. Therefore, why does he have two knee caps? Also, his leg is cleaved with muscle where there should be none. When you look at all this together, it is clearly the body of woman, starting with breasts. Very cool....

Also, I love the fact that Michelangelo did not like the Pope. After one of their more bitter fights, he painted an ass on the robe of angel that is flying away from God. The Pope was quite enraged after this painting and order Michelangelo to be taken off the job and to start chipping away at the works that were already up.
When the Pope saw the beauty of the entire ceiling, he begged him to return. It took him three years to convince him, but it he ended up returning to finish. Today, they are missing a large section of the ceiling because even though Michelangelo repaired it, it was a weakened ceiling and fell during one of the bombings in Rome.

Finally around 1:30, we were out of the museum. We stopped at this delightful little pizza place. We must have done something very American, but none of us could figure out what it was. We know that we did it because we had the local giggling at us. Oh well. The food was wonderful.

As you all know, I am a water baby. I thought it would be delightful if we could do a boat tour along the river. Bad idea! I didn't think about the fact that the river was so far below the river walls. It made seeing any real scenery impossible. All we really saw was the sad fact that people have chosen to destroy the area with graffiti and that Rome's homeless population spends a considerable amount of time on the river. We did see some advertisements for gay dolls, which surprised since we were in town that is 98% Catholic.

Next, we set out to see the Trevi Fountain. Along the way there, we walked into a thriving plaza. There were several artist selling their paintings. I loved them all. I caught slack from the Norman's about loving all the flower paintings. Probably a good thing or Nick would have ended up with more flowers in the house. Instead, we found this locally famous artists whom we all loved. His actually paintings were far to expensive, but I was able to pick up a couple of prints relatively cheaply. I am plan to get them framed and hung on the wall. They are going to look stunning in our living room.

The Trevi Fountain was great. I found a cool, noise making bubble gun for Jarett and some rubber stretchy things for my classroom. They are hard to describe. Street vendors are everywhere in Rome. I liked some better than others. The biggest scam is to try to give the women, who are with their mates, roses. After the "gift" they ask for money for them. This happened to us and we just gave back the roses. The guy acted disgusted. Oh well, I was disgusted at the trickery.

We made our way back to the hotel. finding more great Italian food along the way, and decided to move breakfast to an hour later. We needed a good night's rest.

No comments: