CAS Rome Josie

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wrapping Up a Summer in Rome

This is a blog dedicated to my personal experiences during my seven weeks of summer in Rome. You can find my adventures, my inquiries, my lessons learned and my advice throughout these pages. The three topics that I’ve focused on are the Pantheon (the single most amazing place in Rome – in my opinion); the heartbeat of Rome itself, Tiber River; and one of the pinnacles of Roman art, Putti. These are three topics that I chose when I arrived in Rome and have discussed, questioned, debated, and learned about throughout my entire stay in the Eternal City. I hope you’ve enjoyed (or begin to enjoy) my adventures and my stories all about these three very special things that are found (for the most part) only in Rome. My three topics were really personal for my interests and for my experiences of the city. I would encourage others who are visiting a city like Rome for an extended period of time to do something similar with a place or a theme and see how it changes, and use it to reflect upon how the city has changes you. As you'll notice in my most recent few blogs I've explained some of the ways that I see myself through these places and themes and how they've helped me learn and grow. It's funny how a city like Rome can't help but change people, it's like the wise old grandma (how fitting, the city of ancient ruins) that teaches you to appreciate the things you have and how to welcome the differences in others.


I took my first stroll past the Pantheon at night on Monday (before I did my final walk along the river) and it is truly a different place at night. The doors are closed and there isn’t a single sole in the center of the Piazza della Rotunda. The restaurants that were open weren’t very busy at all and the portico of the Pantheon is bare. It looks as abandoned as a 1900 year old building should look and it gives off an eerie aura of superiority, pride, and enchantment that only the Pantheon could roll together. During the day whether the huge dome is illuminated by sunlight or dripping with rain it is still welcoming and full of energy. In the moonlight, without anyone watching it seems mischievous and waiting to burst with energy once again. I would strongly recommend to anyone that has the pleasure of visiting Rome to take a walk to the Pantheon and see her in all her glory all by yourself, in the dark, for a truly unique experience.

Putti in Venice

Thursday I arrived in Venice and I wasn’t sure what sort of art or architecture to expect there after seeing so much of the Roman style. I didn’t see nearly as many Putti and I would have in a typical day in Rome but there was one that struck me especially interesting. I was in the Violin Making Museum in Venice (behind Piazza San Marco) and I saw a painting of a Putto playing a harp. The painting was so dark that you could hardly make out the image in the oil, the colors were black and a washed out peach skin tone that almost blended like the sea into the night. It was so fascinating to me because every single other Putti I’ve seen thoroughly jumps out at me. This particular one, I couldn’t even tell was a Putto until I got exceptionally close. I’ve begun to see myself through all of my themes that I’ve chosen to focus on in Rome and I feel like I love the sweet innocent angel images because they look so happy and pure. It was an interesting day for me to see the first one that looked really depressing because I wasn’t feeling well at all and was having a really difficult time getting around and this Putto seemed to be relating to how I was feeling perfectly, just as the first Putti that I saw in Rome were equally as excited as I was then. (I tried to take a picture to show you, but it just turned out looking like a black canvas.)

Final Walk Along the Tiber

I realized when I took my final walk along the Tiber River on Monday evening that this has been a fantastic place for reflection, contemplation, and personal growth. There is just something about how the river rushes by you that makes you feel someone insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But at the same time it is representing your personal life, and how fast it can slip away from you if you don’t hold on to every moment, and even when you do it still moves along at a surprisingly rapid pace. I can’t believe my seven weeks in Rome are coming to an end. It has been such an amazing and challenging adventure full of new lessons learned and the beginning of acceptance and understanding of other places outside of the United States. It was hard for me to imagine what Italy would be like because I’ve never been outside of the US before and the experiences I have had here are so well represented by the fast paced, loud, and choppy river exploding with fun (when the summer festivities began) and sometimes distress (with floods and large objects being stuck in the current) that all ends up being smoothed out with time as the water passes through.

Attempts at the Roman Civilization Museum

Last week we had the opportunity to visit a Roman site of our choice at the expense of the school rather than personal and I chose the Roman Civilization Museum. After attempting to see the same museum the week before and failing due to an unforeseen early closing time I decided to give it one more try. This time I did my homework and I read my guidebook and I knew the last entry was at one in the afternoon and I even took the recommendation of the book to call and see if they were open on that particular day and they said they were. So after class I hurried to the metro and jumped a train to EUR then I rushed down American and up a side street to the museum. When I arrived, I couldn’t find the entrance. It didn’t seem like there were any open doors. When I finally found one that was just barely cracked I realized there was a glass door behind it that was locked. There happened to be a lady lying on the patio in front of the museum and she promptly informed me that the museum closed at 12:30 today. I quickly looked at my watch, 12:34. This couldn’t be serious. I tried to ask the lady why but she didn’t speak enough English and I didn’t speak enough Italian to understand what she was saying. So after taking some pictures of the beautiful structure I was turned away again with an upside down smile and a sad disposition. This was a museum that I had really wanted to see and it was seemingly just not meant to be. I guess I’ll have to see it next time I’m in Rome. :-)

Piazza Walk- Monday June 23, 2008

Today we had a very fascinating but long and hot walk around the Northern Piazza’s that seem to be visited much less frequently. We began at Piazza del Popolo and then walked up the giant staircase to walk in front of the gardens on our way to Piazza di Spagna. At the top of the steps we saw some more shooting of Angels and Demons, which has been a fun experience every time. Today they were filming a chase scene and they had a camera strapped to the back of a car so it could capture the car behind it speed around a tight corner above the Spanish Steps. After we were allowed to pass through the set we walked down the Spanish Steps and off the Piazza Barberini. It was a scorching hot day and we were all drenched with sweat by the time we arrived but it was still enjoyable to spend a few minutes appreciates the unique sculpture in the piazza. Then we continued up a hill to the Piazza della Republicca where our walk ended. Piazza della Republicca was certainly the most busy and bussling of the piazzas we visit today and it was interesting to see the different atmosphere there in comparison to Piazza Navona. Piazza Navona is also often very busy but it’s more focused on entertainment and recreation while Piazza della Republicca seems to be full of people on the go.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I met an American family when I was at lunch the other day and the mother was asking me advice about what to see in Rome and I started telling her my favorite things (the Capuchin Crypt, St. Giovanni’s, etc.) I mentioned the Pantheon and she said they had already been there and her younger daughter was a little creeped out by this dead guy they saw so she tried to tell her daughter that it must be someone really important otherwise they wouldn’t be in the Pantheon so she shouldn’t be disturbed by it. I asked her who it was that they were seeing and she said she wasn’t sure but she described it to me and it didn’t take long for me to realize that she was referring to Raphael. When I told her I thought she was going to faint. She had no idea that he was in the Pantheon and she clamored on about how much she loved him and Michelangelo and how fantastic it is that he is buried there. I just had to laugh, it is really crazy to think how people don’t even realize (myself included) some of the most amazing things they’re seeing, especially when it is the things that are especially interesting to them and if nobody told them, they’d never have the experience that was right in front of their faces.