(Originally posted on July 3rd on my facebook page.)
day 20-something (I forget)
Try to get in a quick one from the hotel lobby, since our room wi-fi is a bit spotty. After a lot of soul, er...web, searching, we decided to stay in our lil' stinky room near S. Maria Maggiore. it's a very convenient spot for setting out for any part of the city, and the weather is great so we can leave the windows open.
|One of my very favorite Roman era frescos from the Villa della Farnesina. I used the frieze as a model for part of a room I did a few years ago.|
First thing today we headed over to the Palazzo Massimo, which has the creme de la creme of antique Roman artifacts and especially, drum roll please, fresco murals from the Villa della Farnesina, an all time high in wall decoration that was dug up from the back yard of the Villa Farnesina (Raphael's decoration) on the banks of the Tiber. Excellent way to start the day!
|The Baths of Diocletian were turned into a church by Michelangelo, who wisely preserved the original arched windows, which have been copied many times over including at Grand Central Station in New York.|
We got some picnic supplies and ate in a little parklet across the street from the S. Maria degli Angeli, which is built in the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian, converted to a church by Michelangelo. After we walked through those spaces, which also inspired Penn Central and Grand Central stations in New York, we walked down to the Capitoline Museums, another Michelangelo remodel. Great collection of various stuff in a gorgeous setting, and we had a coffee there on the terrace, which gives a fine view of town looking west. Funny how when you can see the landscape without the buildings in the way, it seems smaller. Kind of like when you look at the foundations of a house it always seems smaller than when it is built.
|Michelangelo created these crazy Ionic capitals for the Campidoglio buildings. They are so cartoony, both in shape and in the faces he used as fleurons.|
The foundations of the archaic Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus have been enclosed in the museum now, and it includes some good displays on the early settlement of the Capitoline hill. Really amazing to walk on paving that was in place 2500 years ago!
|Artist's rendering of the Capitoline hill when the Temple of Jupiter Optimus was built- 500 BCE.|
Those museums connect to the Tabularium, a space under the Palazzo Senatorio, that was a treasury of sorts (and later a prison) but has a fab view of the Forum from above and behind. It also has a section of the entablature of the Temple of Vespasian, which is probably the most detailed ornamental stone work anywhere in the world. Really cool to see it up close.
|Unbelievably fine sculpting of the entablature which once graced the top of the Temple of Vespasian in the Roman Forum, now protected in the basement of the Palazzo Senatorio. How they were able to do work this fine on a large temple is beyond me.|
As the sun was getting low, we decided to walk to a Tibetan restaurant Marianne had read about. Went past the Colosseum at dusk, past the park where the Domus Aurea (closed because of water problems) and then up to the very pleasant Via Merulana where we had a great vegetarian meal.
|Beer shrine in the Tibetan restaurant.|
Back to the hotel, with gelati of course! It seemed like they had done something to alleviate the stench of the first day. Like I say, a fine cheese!