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Italy 2012: Nate (DN) Ritta

Day 0 – Rome

We made it!  15 hours into the trip, and I’ve survived a trans-Atlantic flight, maneuvered through a confusing-only-because-I-made-it-confusing Roman airport, mastered a completely in Italian ATM machine, successfully purchased a meal from a mini pizza shop simply by pointing and nodding my head, and gotten lost while walking around the block.  And for some reason, I have a feeling the adventure hasn’t even begun…

 

Day 2 – May 11th

Bright and early start of 7:30, and we have begun our first official day of class.  And we definitely hit the ground running!  Dr. Erdogmus warned that this could very well be the most difficult day of the entire trip.  But it was well worth our pain!

We headed first to the Colosseum, and spent the entire morning in awe.  The Colosseum was originally built as a completely free-standing structure with no mortar to hold any part of it together; stone blocks were held in place purely by gravity and simple bronze clamps.   There are many different styles of architecture represented, including all four of the architectural orders from ancient Greece:  Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite.  We finished our time here with some time for our first sketches of the trip (woot!), and then headed off to Palatine.

A quick stop at the Arch of Constantine, and we found ourselves on the side of the hill of Palatine looking for a place to picnic.  Cold-cut sandwiches, Italian style:  Thick wheat bread, fresh mozzarella, whole sun-dried tomatoes, and some unidentifiable Italian meat.  Delish!   We toured Palatine, one of the “seven hills” of Rome and the supposed location where Romulus originally founded the city, for the remainder of the afternoon.  The palace, the ancient Roman forum, a few impressive museums, and then back to the hotel to recover from a hard days work.  I should have been on a walking program before I came…

 

Day 3 – May 12th

Today we visited the Vatican museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.  St. Peter’s was definitely the highlight of the day.  I was amazed.  The structure is incredible:  wide, tall aisles supported by massive marble and stone columns and huge barrel arches, mosaics covering every inch of ceiling and much of the walls, a phenomenal dome (third larges in the world), and detail and beauty in every inch of space.  I could have spent days simply staring in awe!

The same can’t really be said for the Vatican museum.  Sure, it was impressive, and there were lots (and lots and lots and lots) of neat things to look at, but after the 500th room of statue busts and tapestries, I could barely appreciate it anymore.  We marched for two hours through the packed museum, often only able to shuffle forward because of so many people.  Finally, our winding and walking spat us out into the Sistine Chapel.  By the time we got there, I’m sad to say, I was so tired and ready to get out that I hardly even enjoyed it.  and it was the Sistine-freakin-CHAPEL!  I’m glad I can say I was there, but the whole Vatican experience was just too much of a sensory overload.

St. Peter’s made everything worth it, however, and it was most definitely a day well spent.

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