A Roman Holiday

I went on a field trip to Rome two weekends ago with the art history teacher, Helen. We packed a lot into one weekend and got to see a lot of history. We checked in our luggage at the train station (which took forever because we couldn’t find where to do that) and went to the church of S. Maria degli Angeli, which is built into the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian.    

We then walked through Piazza Republica and saw the Aqua Felice, or Moses fountain, the first of the great fountains put up in Rome since antiquity.  


We then popped into another church with near architecture.   

We then went to the Barberini Palace, which belonged to the family of Pope Urban VIII. The bee was a family symbol. Lots of important frescos and art there.

Judith and Holofernes by Caravaggio

Everything was beautifully decorated for Christmas.    

We then walked (ran, really) through the Borghese gardens to the Borghese Gallery. It was already dark by 5! 

This amazing marble sculpture even showed the imprints of his fingers in her skin!!


This is my new favorite sculpture- Apollo and Daphne by Bernini. It’s all carved out of a single piece of marble, which is hard to believe when you realize her hands are turning into really thin leaves!!!!


Bernini’s David

  We got our bags from the train station and took a bus to our hotel, which was really nice! The next day, Saturday, we had a huge continental breakfast. 

We ended our Friday night by eating dinner together and then i went with a few friends to this piazza to get gelato.


We headed to Palazzo Spada, where there is a perspective gallery by Borromini. Upstairs there is more art. Yay!

This perspective gallery looks much bigger than it really is. The statue on the end is only about knee height or so!


We crossed the Tiber on the first bridge built since antiquity.
  We went to the basilica of S Maria in Trastevere, which has beautiful mosaics.  

  We then went to S Francesco a Ripa to see Bernini’s Death of the Blessed Ludovica  Albertoni sculpture.


We then went to the Farnesina, a villa with magnificent frescoes by Raphael. It was also taken over by Austrian soldiers in the sack of Rome.

Graffitti by Austrian soldiers

We then went to the Vatican! We did the museums first, viewing Raphael’s Transfiguration in the Pinacoteca.    

An unfinished work by Da Vinci


We then saw some famous sculptures from classical antiquity (Greek and Roman).   

We walked through a hall of maps.


Then we saw some more frescoes, including the School of Athens!!

There was also some more modern art.



Francis Bacon

We then went to the Sistine Chapel! Pictures are not allowed, so I had to sneak one of the famous fresco by Michelangelo.

 Then we visited St Peters Basilica and saw the Pietà by Michelangelo, the only work he ever signed. 


We then saw the church of S Maria del Popolo with important works by Caravaggio.

 We walked by the Spanish steps and to the church of S Maria della Vittoria, which houses Bernini’s The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. We got to meet a priest and go in some of the back rooms because Helen hooked us up.

We got dinner together and collapsed in the hotel. Sunday, we got up and ate our huge breakfast, then went to the Pantheon! 


It rains through that hole in the dome


The rain drains through the floor.


Raphael is buried in the Pantheon

We then went to a church designed by Borromini, Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza. It has a beautiful spiral tower.
 We then saw S Maria sopra Minerva. 




Elephant carrying an obelisk outside the church


Risen Christ by Michelangelo

We then walked along the road of the imperial forums, overlooking some amazing ruins. 

Next we visited the church of S Pietro in Vincoli, which houses a statue of Moses by Michelangelo and St Peter’s chains.   

  All that before 11 in the morning! Finally, we went in the Colosseum! It was even crowded with tourists in the off season, so I can’t imagine going in the summer. Nevertheless, it was amazing!  
  Then we had a quick lunch break for pizza. Fun fact: the Fanta here is light orange and tastes like it actually has orange juice in it, rather than just mystery chemicals like in America. Lunch took longer than we planned, so we ate quickly and ran back to meet Helen.
We met at the Arch of Constantine, which was built in 315 AD. Then we visited the Roman Forum, which was beautiful!  

This is the plant that Corinthian capitals are based on!


The temple of the Vestal Virgins, who kept the fire of Rome from ever going out. They would be put to death if they let it die or they lost their virginity, but other than that it seems they lived very comfortably.


Statues of the Vestal Virgins


Where Julius Caesar was cremated


Actual Roman paving stones we were walking on


Helen said this is where both St Peter and St Paul were held prisoner


We left the Forum and climbed the Capitoline Hill, which has a copy of the sole surviving bronze equestrian statue from Ancient Rome. The real one is in a museum.

As we walked down, we saw a big protest going on. As we walked by/through it, we saw it was for environmental issues.  

We then went to the church of St Ignazio.  
  Then we went to the Trevi Fountain, which had just had its scaffolding and fences removed from cleaning. We through some coins in the fountain for a return trip to Rome. Fun fact: the water in the fountain is supposed to be good drinking water.  

We then went to the church of S Luigi dei Francesci, which has more paintings by Caravaggio. We also went to the church of Sant’Agostino which has a Caravaggio and a Raphael. It also has a Madonna statue that is considered miraculous. 

Lastly, we went to Piazza Navona to see the Four Rivers Fountain by Bernini, which represents a river from all four known continents.

We were then treated to some very good gelato as an end to the trip. We picked up our bags from the hotel luggage room and rode several buses to get back to the train station in time to catch our 6:35 pm train. We barely made it, and got back to Florence at 8. It was an exhausting trip, but a lot more fun and not quite as hectic as I expected.     



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