Rome – Day 3
2:30pm, Galleria Borghese, Rome
At 6am, our entire dorm was woken up by the loudest snoring I have ever heard. Only the snorer remained asleep. Exasperated, a few woke up for the day, and I went to the bathroom. I came back and the snoring had subsided after someone had shook his bed, but I switched ear plugs for extra measure and was able to sleep til 8ish.
My task for the day was to explore Villa Borghese. En route, I had a cappuccino and picked up the usual bread/yogurt/apples, and begun making my way around the park. Itâ€™s a lot like Central Park, with people biking and skating, walking dogs, jogging, etc. The edge of the park provides nice views overlooking the city. Down below, music was playing on the square (I think they were preparing for a concert?). So I ate my brunch and chilled. I had a 3:00 reservation at the gallery so I kind of had to hang around (though there wasnâ€™t much to do). Part of me wished I was out wandering the city instead, but I had a good feeling about this museum and resolved to wait it out.
Oh, I forgot! I visited the Cappuchin Crypt this morning â€“ a cemetery under the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione. Itâ€™s a chamber/tunnel with 6 â€˜chapelsâ€™ full of skeletons dressed as monks, with bones all over the walls and ceilings. There are stacks of skulls and other bones, but theyâ€™re actually decoration for the chamber. Little bones are all arranged to form different designs. Itâ€™s actually really cool-looking, albeit slightly morbid.
7:50pm, Da Tonino al Governo Vecchio, Rome
La Galleria Borghese was a really pretty museum. They only allow a certain number of people in per two-hour interval because itâ€™s a bit small. But I liked how each room was colorful and completely decorated with borders, patterns, and paintings. But it never distracted from the primary exhibits within the rooms. The museum itself is a work of art, and I think I enjoyed this more than I enjoyed the actual exhibits on display. Iâ€™m not too interested in sculpture, but I can appreciate the intricacy and detail of the pieces. I can just imagine the artist chipping away at the stone â€“ gosh, that must take ages. If you mess up, youâ€™re screwed! I liked the pinacoteca (paintings) better. I saw countless â€œMadonna col Bambinoâ€ paintings (as to be expected). There were also a few works made from what looked to be several different pieces of marble stone, kind of like mosaics. So pretty.
The weather is so gross. Itâ€™s in the low-80â€™s but overcast and humid as all hell. It is supposed to rain the next few days, great. I need to do the Colliseum, still â€“ I was going to do it tomorrow to commemorate my Cornell graduation!
Iâ€™m really sick of stupid street vendors shoving roses and crap in my face as if Iâ€™d actually want to buy them and lug them around with me. I was sitting in Villa Borghese on a bench, and the next thing I know, some guy is putting a bracelet on my wrist and a rose in my hand, and keeps saying â€œsomething?â€ with his hand held out. Uhhâ€¦ no?! I told him no and that I didnâ€™t want anything, and he scowled and took the things away. Ridiculous!
More churches seen:
â€¢ Santa Maria della Vittoria
â€¢ Santa Maria della Concezione
â€¢ San Ignazio di Loyola
Iâ€™ve noticed that the coffee in Rome is cheaper, and gelato is more expensive, than in Venice. I didnâ€™t spend enough time in Milan to thoroughly investigate, but I think the gelato is in the middle price-wise, while the coffee there is probably similar in price to that in Venice.
Iâ€™m not sure why, but I feel kind of like I allotted too much time here in Rome. I totally could have crammed in all that I wanted to see within 3 days, but Iâ€™ve spread them out since I have 5 here. I do like it here, but I donâ€™t knowâ€¦ I thought Iâ€™d LOVE it. Maybe it just hasnâ€™t clicked yet, or maybe itâ€™s the uncomfortable weather. At any rate, Iâ€™m trying to see as much as possible, but also relaxing often.
But OH MY GOD, Iâ€™m eating pasta alla gricia (cheese and bacon) at Da Tonino and itâ€™s the best Iâ€™ve had yet! (Editorâ€™s note: I still look back fondly on this dish as the best pasta Iâ€™ve EVER had, 5 years later). They definitely soaked my dish in oil and covered it in grated cheese and I think pepper. But itâ€™s incredible and Iâ€™m trying very hard to savor it. Once again, LP is my god. AMAZING!!!!
Post-dinner, I frolicked around Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, and broke out the tripod. I got some cheesecake and marrons glace (chestnut) at Gelatteria Giolitti, another LP suggestion. This place apparently has 70 flavors and was very crowded, though rightfully so. Delicious.
From there I went through Piazza Venezia and Capitolium, and around the Forum, and then finally to the Colosseum to see it all lit up at night. You see so many pictures of it, and then when itâ€™s finally in real form right before you, itâ€™s so surreal.