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. Like...it 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 just...in 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 just...so 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.