Monday began with our typical history lecture, followed by Studio in the afternoon. We were supposed to have a lecture during the evening, but it was cancelled because of some unforeseen planning issues, so I had time to work in the evening. We spent the entire day on Tuesday at the Vatican, going through the museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. My history professor’s husband is the Superintendent Architect for the Vatican, so he was able to give us not only a thorough history, but also a detailed description of current restoration projects. He was able to take us into some special access areas like Bramante’s spiral ramp, which we were fortunate enough to visit last semester, too. He also brought us into the apse, allowing us to get closer to the Throne of St. Peter, one of Bernini’s fabulous contributions to the church, than the normal tourists. When we existed, he brought us through the transept into the Vatican City, allowing us to see the exterior of the church. I had been in this area last semester when I went on the Scavi tour, but it was interesting to see it again. This time I saw the outside of the building where Pope Francis lives (not the typical Papal Apartments). When we were standing in the Vatican City, the theology professor that some of the architecture students have drove by, noticed us, and turned around to say hi. He works as a lawyer for the Vatican.
On Wednesday we had our history class on site on the Capitoline Hill. We went in the church of Santa Maria in Ara Coelli and inside the Capitoline Museum! After class, Bri and I spent more time exploring the museum, seeing fantastic artwork like the original equestrian sculpture of Marcus Aurelius that used to stand in the middle of the Campidoglio before a replica took its place in order to preserve it. I also got see part of the foundations of the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, one of ancient Rome’s most important temples. I was excited to see it because I had written a history paper on it last semester. We also got to walk through the Tabularium, an archive building from ancient Rome which has a beautiful lookout over the Forum. After we finish in the museum, we went to Pastaficio, a pasta-to-go restaurant that has been HIGHLY recommended to us. For only four Euros I got a good-sized portion of pasta that was better than most of the full service restaurants where I’ve eaten.
After lunch and relaxing on the Spanish Steps, we went to Villa Medici, where we toured the gardens and three of the rooms for Studio. It was nice to see the grounds during the day and to see some of the interior rooms. On our way back to the RGG, we took a detour to get gelato at a place that has also been heavily recommended to us recently. I got a chestnut flavor that was one of my favorite individual flavors so far! Once we got back to the RGG, we had our first preparatory lecture for our upcoming Paris field trip. After dinner I was busy working in Studio.
Thursday began with our watercolor class where we went to Trajan’s Markets to paint. I spent the afternoon and evening doing schoolwork. On Friday morning our Garden and Villa class met at the museum in Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. After class I ran across the street to go inside Santa Maria degli Angeli, a Catholic church that was built in the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian. The church stands in what used to be the frigidarium, the large central hall with cold water pools. Michelangelo was one of the men responsible for converting the ruins to a religious structure. I was busy Friday afternoon in Studio, and that night we celebrated my friend Vicki’s birthday. Saturday and Sunday were busy work days, both in and out of Studio.