The Gateway

The Gateway
The separation between life and death

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Few Days Later

Wow, blogging and journalling: two things I'm terrible at keeping up with! It's sorta been 3 days since I last updated this. However, I'll now attempt to sum up all that's happened. Monday was Coliseum day...and I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it was to remember that. At this point, I've seen so many amazing things, it's all almost blurring together when I try to think of the 'when' I saw it or any specific experiences associated with it. So really, I'll just say what's happened, and leave it to the imagination, since I've already expressed my lack of words to convey my feelings and describe the things I have seen.

As I was saying, Monday was Coliseum day. We toured through the Forums as well, and saw the Arch of Constantine, right next door to the arena. Honestly, I'll go ahead and say that the inside of the Coliseum wasn't as large as I'd pictured it being. Still truly amazing though. I spent most of my time there trying to imagine the screaming spectators, the dying humans on the field below, and the roars of exotic animals let loose to wreak havoc on the sand. It was...unreal. And then that night we made a human pyramid on the front porch of the Pantheon. Jealous? You should be. Check out the facebook picture and I think you'll find you're downright envious. There's really very little to say about this day without rambling on more about nothing, so I'll go on.

Tuesday dawned bright and early, seeing us stationed at the entrance of the Etruscan museum. I highly doubt that's actually the name of the museum, but it's fitting and I'll stick with it. It was (obviously) a museum completely full of Etruscan items...most of which were Amazing. Please note the capital A. I had no idea the Etruscans had been so talented. And seeing the sarcophagus in person was easily made my day. We also visited two other churches that day, one being San Clemente, but the Etruscan museum. Definitely the highlight. It has both pushed me back towards staying an art major and not switching to a minor, and has also made me really want to take the Anasazi class Mark teaches. It's just been a massive inspiration to my life.

And now we can see Wednesday, this morning! ...I say about an hour away from hitting Thursday. I'm probably cutting this a little bit close. Today's agenda was merely the Pantheon, which we have seen on several occasions now, and also the Villa Borghese. Before this morning, I knew pretty much nothing about said villa. But now...I have decided that up to this moment, it is the greatest thing I've seen here. It was like the entire building was one huge set...I've never felt like such a theatre person in my life, not that I can really claim to be one at this point in time anyway. But the walls...every wall in the rooms inside was painted. And yes, that sounds pretty cool but also not too impressive, right? Wrong. They were painted to mimic marble. Not just regular old white marble either....any shade, texture, or pattern you could possibly imagine. It was EVERYWHERE. And not just that, but every decoration on the ceilings and walls was painted too. Nothing was real...but you'd never know it without getting right up next to it and squinting intently for a few seconds. It was mind blowing. Forget the Rape of Persephone, Apollo and Daphne, all of the Bernini statues. They were beautiful and I truly cannot imagine being able to do such things...but the WALLS. I couldn't stop staring at them. I wish so much that I had pictures or words to begin to tell people how amazing that place was...but I can only say that it is the one place I wish to visit again once I'm a much better artist, farther down the road in life. Past that eye-opening experience, we also had a picnic in the Piazza Navono on a bench, enjoying life and Roma. No big deal. After all, we've already had wine on the porch of the what's a picnic in the Piazza?

'Til tomorrow then...once we've been to see the Vatican.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Describing it in Words...

I love to write, really I do. I'd like to think I'm fairly decent at conveying my feelings in writing because of this. However, I really don't believe words can describe the things I saw today. We spent most of our morning paying a visit to the Capitoline Museum, which includes such works of art as the Dying Gaul, the Capitoline Wolf, and the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. Things I've seen in books, recognize on my own, and was incredibly excited to see. I can't really tell you much about the things I saw, because I saw many, many ancient sculptures that I could probably sit and stare at for hours and hours. The best I can say is to describe my unexpected encounter with the Pantheon on Saturday morning. A small group of us (the students who had arrived early) were wandering around after lunch looking for an art supply store, and rounded a corner, not really paying attention, and then just...BAM. Right there in front of us was the Pantheon. was the freaking Pantheon. I fell in love with that building two years ago when I first took art history...and suddenly it was right there in front of me. I was shock. If I think about it now, and probably if I think too hard about it when we go back, I might burst into tears. It was beautiful. To learn so much about a thing and see its picture is great...but to actually be there, right in front of it, almost close enough to touch it...that's what truly makes it in my mind. The same thing happened a little earlier today, though not quite as shocking, when we glanced down the river and saw a corner of the Coliseum peeking out from behind several buildings.

So here's my thinking: it's one thing to go sightseeing, in all kinds of places around the world. You go to France, make sure and see the Mona Lisa! China? The Great Wall - walk it if you're daring. Montana? Go to Yellowstone. There are just all of these iconic things we associate with each place we go and have a desire to see, but in the end, it's just a collection of pictures and fun experiences. I wholeheartedly expect that this trip will continue to be paved with wonderful pictures, great stories, fun inside jokes, and tons of bonding with many people I've never really met before...but more than anything, I believe this to be the first time I've ever been somewhere and felt moved almost to tears by the sight of the history lying all around me. I've always loved Roman and Greek art, and the proof of my sincere love for it is several blocks away from me. My new goal, following this line of thought, is to see things not just to prove they exist or to say I saw them...but to really and truly see them and appreciate everything that went into them. And just to live life as though everything you touch is beautiful.

This might be a bit more in depth than expected, but I don't wish to go into too much detail on museum trips. There's only so much you can tell people who aren't right there with you. However, I wrote this while watching Becca fix my pants, and feel pretty good about the summary I've managed to give. In about 40 minutes, we'll be headed off to the Trievi Fountain, another experience I hope to share more eloquently later.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

And Here We Go...

All right, my first official post since arriving in Italy! I'll also eventually do some sketching to accompany my journaling, but my lack of time and imagination to draw is leading me to stick to text at the moment. To update on my travels, Shane and I both left Billings on Thursday, excited and nervous to begin our adventure. I'm still very anxious not knowing hardly any Italian, but being here for a day and a half has reassured me a little, despite our less than positive experiences in miscommunications. When we arrived in Rome, we had the mishap of not being able to find Becca, who we were meeting, for several hours...and had a very difficult time liking the information and police people at the airport. But we eventually found her and rejoiced! We then journeyed by shuttlebus to our hotel, though it turned out our reservations had never been we traveled by foot to a different hotel! A hotel by the name of Albergo del Sole, which turns out to be the oldest hotel in Rome, dating back to 1462. It was a lovely room with a great view, and the three of us very quickly passed out once we found out the beds were comfortable. And then we woke up and realized: we're in Rome. And so I say again, to emphasize how exciting this is: I'M IN ROME. IN ITALY. It's beautiful here...and the history lying around everywhere is astounding. I'll probably try to post again soon, so ciao everyone~

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A buon intenditor poche parole

And so, I find myself sucked into the world of blogging. This blog will mostly be chronicling my semester travels abroad to Italy and my studies there.


I am currently not in Italy yet, although I have almost completed my preparations, therefore: I'm sure this blog will not be particularly exciting for several weeks. In the meantime, I will probably have to start getting into the habit of blogging, since I'm already terrible at keeping a regular journal.

For now, ciao!