Day 24- (originally posted on my facebook account July 5th)
Still in the hovel, but yesterday out by the Villa Torlonia we picked a gardenia and left it in the room so it's a bit better now- more like a subtle mix of clove cigarettes and black mold.
|Marianne holding her favorite flower- a Gardenia.|
I don't even really care though, because we spend the vast majority of our time out and about, though I wouldn't mind a bed that didn't leave splinters in me every time I roll over! Hard as a 500 year old walnut plank!
|I love the way you just stumble upon these little vignettes of courtyards seen from the street.|
Headed down to Trastevere this morning (we're starting to get this public transport thing wired now, buses included) to see another superstar palazzo from the Renaissance, the Villa Farnesina. Built in 1510 for the Chigi family (the Farnese bought it later), it was decorated by a crew of artists including Raphael, Giulio Romano, B. Peruzzi, il Sodoma, and others. It was built as a kind of party pad on the other side of the river from town, and the decoration reflects that. Lot of randy myths and satisfied satyrs. While it's definitely grand, it's a bit more human scaled than a lot of the ridiculously gigantic palazzi and villas that we've seen. It has a very pretty garden too.
|Little hidden message in the garland border of Raphael's fresco of Psyche. The house was built as a getaway for playtime, get it?|
Trotted across the street to check out a small art collection at the Palazzo Corsini, which is home to the Accademia Lincei, a scientific university that includes Galileo Galilei among its alumni. The collection is housed in some fun neo-classical rooms and I had fun dodging the photo police. It's getting to be a game, and i'm getting good at it! Only got yelled at once today, at the Castel Sant'Angelo.
|Trompe l'oeil panel under the windows at the Palazzo Corsini.|
We did stop to eat some lunch before launching into number three. I have to give Marianne her due here- she has been a trooper keeping up with me on my never-ending quest for imagery. I know i'm totally OCD about it, and it definitely motivates me to keep going every day here, though I do try to be flexible about stopping to look at other things and water/food/gelato. Her feet have been getting sore from all the walking we do, but she's getting through it and seems to enjoy my enthusiasm and commentary. Or she's good at faking it.
|Academy of the history of the Sanitary Arts (?) (Actually, it's about healthcare)|
So, on to number three, the tomb of Hadrian, which was converted to a Papal getaway in the 14th century. I was again playing keepaway from the photo cops here, but it was really worth it, as there were a number of beautifully painted rooms with all kinds of ornamental decoration of very high quality. Between them were all kinds of little views of town, culminating in a rooftop terrace that was breezy and had great views almost 360°. The architectural elements of the castle looking down from above seem like they might have inspired movies like Lord of the Rings- lots of curving and concentric walls at crazy angles with crenellations around the outside.
|Looking down from the Castel Sant'Angelo- looks like MC Escher might have visited this before he made his crazy monks' staircase.|
Our last planned stop for the day was the Palazzo Altemps, a fifteenth century house just north of the Piazza Navona. It houses a good collection of antique sculptures, but of course mostly I was looking at the walls, and I wasn't disappointed. The real highlight is the loggia, a porch open to the courtyard that has a really nice trellis with detailed birds painted all over it. My only mistake was in dawdling on my way there, because I missed being able to chat with someone who was up there doing paint restoration on a scaffold. i just assumed she would be cordoned off from the public, but when I got up there, it was all open. Unfortunately she had disappeared already.
|Wish I had been able to chat to this gal about the restoration work she was doing at the Palazzo Altemps.|
Walked down through the Piazza Navona with a gelato (limone) and stopped in to check out the fabulous baroque church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, started by the Rainaldis (father and son) in 1652, then given to Carlo Borromini, and finally returned to Rainaldi Jr. in 1668 to finish. It's a swoopy collection of straight lines and curves that makes it feel like it's waltzing through the piazza, and it's interior continues that dancing feel with a golden dome that lets streaming light illuminate the multi-colored marble interior, clad with a number of flowing figural sculpture panels as well. Poor little Agnes' skull is in a glass box in the back for gawking tourists (like us) to wonder at. BTW- the "Agone" part of the name does not refer to her agony at being martyred but rather is the archaic name from which Navona is derived.
|Swoopy interior of Sant'Agnese in Agone. Or maybe I was just hungry.|
Starting to rain as we took the bus back up the hill to the hovel; when we got out by Termini there was a pretty rainbow, followed by a summer deluge. We waited it out by shopping for groceries in the station, then came back here and did our campout meal in the room.
|Cinematic shower at the end of the day!|