Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Italy Series: Capitoline and Other Miscellania

WaaaBAM!  Capitoline Hill in your face!

Sorry, I'm a bit excited about the fact that we'll be walking around in 80+ degree weather tomorrow (Athens), so the world is all neon orange and fuchsia beach-drink-umbrella colors for me right now.

But, anyway, to finish our first Roman day, we hiked up the stairs to the Capitoline Museum.  Our mission?  To see this....

Exhibit from the Secret Vatican Archives
And, I'll be straight with you, it was pretty rad.  

Ever wondered what a 350-year-old letter written on birch-bark from the Iroquois looks like?  

Well, I don't anymore.  

Ever wondered how many wax seals were at the bottom of Henry VIII's letter to the Pope?  

Well, I still do, because I didn't take the time to count.

Oh, and on top of that, we saw some fancy statuary. 

What's left of Constantine from the Basilica Novo
Paul and Cicero

Goat and Paul, both rather excited about grapes

Then, skirting around the hill heading back to our convent/hotel, we took a quick glimpse into Trajan's Market (i.e. The Roman "Mall of America").   

And finally, one last stop...

St. Peter in Chains church to see Michelangelo's "Moses."

(Sorry, Buonarroti, but the neon colors were just going to happen no matter what on this one.  Because...I mean...Athens you know?)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Italy Series: The Roman Forum

Basilica Nova

Once upon a time (good lord, it was almost ten years ago...TEN!), I took a humanities course wherein we spent two and a half hours learning about this single building.

Read "The Roman Forum as Cicero Saw It"

Once upon another, very similar, time, Paul took a "Golden Age of Rome" course wherein he spent an entire semester reading Cicero.

Home of the Vestal Virgins

Therefore, there's a 99% chance that we were the two most excited people within a fifty mile radius of the Roman Forum on the day this photograph was taken.  Also, this post is really difficult for me to create without typing out very, very, very long, explanatory (with links!) captions to everything.

Temple of Vesta
It's physically painful for me, actually.  I want to tell you all the things!  But I won't.  But....I might still include links (in the photo captions)... I need some kind of outlet, people!

Temple of Caesar (where Julius Caesar's body was burned)

Because, you know what? The Roman Forum was awesome.  And I'm not saying that in a surfer-dude kind of way.

The arch of Septimus Severus (remember how we saw his palace on the Palatine Hill?)
and the triumphal Via Sacra (think of it like the Macy's parade route of the ancient world...but instead of balloons there were, like, thousands of captured slaves being forcibly marched in front of battle chariots?  ...)

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Italy Series: Palatine Hill

Sara has inspired me with her post on her trip to the Cinque Terre to resume our glacial review of our own Italy trip (and hopefully, someday, update you on our latest trip to Bavaria).

Also, my life feels less like I'm about to die from deadlines every two seconds, so breathing is now an option (and, consequently, blogging).

Aaaand, now we'll continue on from the Colosseum....

Palatine Aqueduct

If you ever happen to find yourself at the Colosseum and you think, "Well, I don't really feel like going to the Roman Forum yet...."  Just take a stroll up to the Palatine hill!  

There you will find the great symbols of Rome (or, what I always think of when I think of Rome):  Aqueducts, Umbrella Pines, and Emperor's Palaces.

Palace of Emperor Septimus Severus
And, as a nice topper to our walk around the Palatine, we found ourselves wandering through an orange and lemon tree-filled garden overlooking the forum.

Plus, it had one of the best ancient drinking fountains we saw in Rome (they're everywhere--thank you, smart Romans!)

So, all I'm really saying is, you should check it out. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dunnn, Dunnn, Duuuuuuuunn!

The family members cometh...

Just a quick 37,000 hour trip and they'll be here tomorrow.

Hence, there shall be limited blogging till later in May,

When we're back from Bavaria--the land of lederhosen.

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