Good day, i miei amici! First, a few administrative announcements. As I have fixed the computer situation, I am able to go back to inserting a few of my favorite photos from the day directly into my posts. In addition, I will have a full score of photos up on Flickr when I get the chance. Admittedly, my motivation to do much in the way of blogging while on vacation is difficult to maintain…so hopefully I’ve not disappointed you thus far 🙂
Today brought two of Rome’s most important, historical sites: the Borghese Gallery and the Vatican. My brief descriptions, along with some selected photos from my phone, will follow:
Borghese Gallery – No amount of stress I had this morning (following a 30 minute ordeal to find a cornetto e cappuccino and an unexpected medical emergency) remained after seeing the splendor and beauty found within the Borghese Gallery, as well as the Borghese Villa itself. This vast, green garden houses an intimate but opulent museum with a decorative scheme that is just as impressive as the Classical and Baroque masterpieces it houses. Although we were not allowed to take photos within the Gallery itself, I was able to get a few of the Villa, which is just fine: the Villa is breathtaking. Reservations to the Gallery are MANDATORY and your visit is strictly limited to two hours. We booked about 3 weeks in advance, though I think you’re fine with one unless there’s a holiday coming up.
The first floor, which contains mostly sculpture, is the most interesting, although the Pinacoteca on the second floor contains some notable paintings (such as the famous Amor Sacro e Amor Profano) as well. I highly, highly recommend the audio tour as a supplement to your visit if you’re at all interested in the history of the museum or, in particular, the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The Vatican – My first reaction upon seeing the line to the Vatican:
Needless to say, we found a tour guide.
Of course, it was about 55 €/person and we did it with about 20 other people, but at least we skipped the main line. It was still extremely crowded in the museums (yes, the Musei Vaticani is composed of multiple mini-museums, rather than one big one) and the Sistine Chapel, while less so in St. Peter’s Basilica. I have a few pictures (below) of the museum’s pre-Sistine portion, but I’m honestly glad we weren’t allowed to photograph it. Truly, photos do not do it justice. No photograph can capture the visual inundation of figures, color, and beauty that is Michelangelo’s magnum opus. Our tour guide, Angelo, was especially knowledgeable of the life of Michelangelo and regaled us excerpts from his diary after completion of the Sistina. These insights into the mind of such a genius, in effect, helped make the tour.
The Basilica is also a wonder, and probably the most grandiose thing I’ve ever seen in mah lyfe. Indeed, it is the biggest church in the world, and, to no one’s surprise, has effectively been under construction for 500 years. The most beautiful and impressive part, in my opinion, is the High Altar, seen below:
While some people think the main event here is the statue of St. Peter, I find the above wayyyy sicker. Not that I don’t love mushy feet.
We had lunch after the Vatican at a nondescript trattoria (do not eat near the Vatican…that is all). However, our dinner was delicious and sooo much fun. My review of our restaurant is below.
REVIEW – Antica Enoteca
ambiance – dark, cavey, with an almost medieval quality, but at the same time upscale. Focal point is the bar, for sure. Kinda crowded, but not uncomfortably so. Mostly locals. (5/5)
food – sorry to be boring, but everything was delicious! My eggplant parmesan was to die for, as was the vegetarian pizza my mom ordered. Bruschette, which we’ve ordered at every restaurant thus far, was fairly standard…which means it was freaking delicious. My mom’s salad looked slightly boring, but I’m sure it tasted fresh and good regardless. (4.75/5)
service – Pretty dang good! Our waiter was prompt and a very nice guy. And he (rightfully) complimented mia bella mamma! 🙂 (4/5)
cost – Probably nice for drinks or a casual dinner. ($$/$$$$)
That’s it for tonight, folks! Tomorrow we depart for Bari, the boot-heel port town of our Adventure Part Deux, and tonight I will convince my mom to let me go to the Jewish Ghetto tomorrow…or at least the Missoni down the Spanish Steps.
Okay, fine. Zara it is. 😉
Thought of the day: Don’t be afraid to have a sense of humor. That’s the key to life.