The post titel is a quote from one of our professors, Boston-native Tom Rankin. His words are the result of a translating the inscription on what is known as "the Square Colosseum." This palace of sorts was built in the EUR (a neighborhood in Rome) as a key landmark for identifying Mussolini's vision for a new, fascist, rome. The building acts as a symbol for a more progressive, younger, healthier Rome. "The Square Colosseum" isn't pictured below, but I'm sure a picture will surface here in the near future.
This past week brought several instances of realizing both the hyper-modern and ancient layers of Rome. Spending most of our time in Ostiense over the weekend, we were able to document several super structures previously dedicated to natural gas storage, transfer and manipulation. Reused as museums in some instances, the structures now stand as semi-iconic skyline composers amongst the basilica and historic buildings the city is so often identified with. Uncovering newer layers, which I believe my generation might better understand, was a welcome feeling as I often find myself a bit intimidated by the historic significance of practically the entire city of Rome.
This week wraps up our Italian language courses. Since three weeks isn't near enough time to feel confident with the Italian language (especially coming from a German language background) about 7 of us (idea generation by Rachel) ISU students decided to contact Roma Tre architecture students to further our Italian skills. This already seems to be a good choice as their studio location isn't far from our apartments, and they seem have FANTASTIC english.
Interesting gelato flavor of the week: Orange and black pepper (I had mistaken the pepper grounds for cloves....)
The Visit List:
1) Abbey Theatre Irish Pub Rome (Taco Tuesday knockout and fantastic margaritas for all those missing El Azteca)
2) Kuriya - the best food I've had yet! Wasabi Gelato and asian fusion --- also the interior design of the place is wild.
3) Poggi Art Store - finally a worthy supply store, the owner has a great, wood watch!
4) Fosse Ardeatine National Memorial (not pictured below) - this site has a story / design far too complex to be accurately captured in this post. If you would like to know more, check out the official site: here
5) Centrale Montemartini - not too far from the natural gas storage structure, this museum is an odd combination of industrial wheels / engines and marble statues that acted as the proof to sculptures now famous, or too broken to merit space in Rome's well-known museums. An entertaining place to view sculpture as well as sketch!
6) Arch of Constantine
7) Basilica di San Clemente - this is one of the most telling archaeological sites in Rome. A church stands today above remains of a basilica dated to the 4th century, which stand above remains of a 1st century home and mythraic training school / rooms, WHICH POTENTIALLY STAND ABOVE another site ruined during the Fire of Nero. ISN'T THAT FASCINATING? No pictures allowed -- so looks like you'll just have to come visit the ISU Architecture and Landscape Architecture students if you want the grand tour!
Today, we woke up to the sound of the market taking place just below our balcony, once again. The market below takes up about 2 miles of street, with vendors stacked in about three rows --- a bit larger than the Des Moines Farmer's Market!
However, last week brought some of the most exciting days I've had in Rome yet (which is exactly the way it should be, right? Each day getting more exciting than the last and such!) BUT - Thursday was, by far, the most entertaining day I've had yet due to the man in the image directly below this post. Jan Gedayne teaches at several of the American University programs in Rome (RISD, Cornell, Minnesota, etc.), and is known as the "Rockstar" when it comes to understanding and communicating the layers of history that exist in Rome. On our 3 hour morning walk with Jan, we covered almost 7.5 miles of built history from early BC to just a few hundred years ago.
Walking around with Jan is easily one of the true experience types that makes one understand why study abroad is so essential to students today. In a way, 3 hours worth of information from Jan embeds years of knowledge that some Romans will never know about the city in which they live. Power of knowledge is truly an understatement once one truly understands the context where we now live, study, and continue to embrace. It's not necessarily the "power you feel that you suddenly have" once equipped with said knowledge, rather the "power of the impact" upon your perception of your surroundings.
A list of a few things I saw this week!
- Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Alle fratte di Trastevere (free food for us -- "we're regulars")
- La Basilica di San Vitale
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli (Michelangelo's final architectural restoration work -- preservation and scheme for the Bath's of Diocletian)
- Quattro Fontane
- Gelateria Valentino
- Trevi Fountain
- Cappuchian Crypts
- Borghese Gardens
My new favorite places exist in the Borghese Gardens. Everything about the land (architecture, gardens, people, dogs, vegetation) is absolutely gorgeous!
This time last week, I was mentally gearing up for one of the longer plane rides I've had the chance to experience. Hard to believe a week has come and gone in Italy. Tomorrow marks day #7, and we've already had the chance to see the great Roman sites, wander into some truly beautiful space, and figure out how to live amongst many.
In the first week, while the Pantheon was truly remarkable, I found myself most taken by a small Protestant Cemetery in the Testaccio neighborhood. Had a friend of mine not recommended we go there, I most certainly wouldn't have found it by this time. (see photos below)
With reference to the title of this post, however, one interaction in particular sums up the language barrier we're working with. Before embarking on a walking tour of the neighborhood in which studio is situated, a few of us thought we might have time to grab a small portion of pizza to eat before the tour. Working against the clock, we went to the nearest bar and placed our order. After being asked to sit while we wait, we realized a small miscommunication as we hadn't indicated we were looking for this order to be to-go. Apparently, we had confused more than just the nature of the order when the man looked quite surprised about how he was to package our order so that we might take it along.
We soon realized our mistake as three entire pizzas (we're talking 12" in diameter, at least), each folded in half, and placed in a pastry bag to walk with emerged from behind the counter. The more i reflect on this experience, the more I believe we found a calzone's fraternal twin.
The goal of this blog is not to document a play by play, rather subtle findings I find to define my experience here. I plan to primarily document my time in Rome through photographs here. I'll also be adding a second tab dedicated to my sketch book as the semester continues. Day #7 begins in just a matter of hours!
Thanks for checking in!
Days in Italy: 6
Spring Break: 59
Days until the Maltby clan travels Italy together: 114
- jazz enthusiast