Wednesday, May 04, 2005

5/4 Day 12: Rome

5/4 Wednesday
There’s a skylight (2, actually) directly over my bed in Rome, so I woke up with the sun for a few hours of coughing fits and intermittent sleep before my mom got up and into the shower. She found out that the water heater was rather small, so I waited about an hour then tried to shower, but still no hot water. Goddam. Indoor plumbing done right is a luxury we take for granted in the US.
The idea was to get on this tour bus, where you can get on and off at 1 different stops during the day. My mother especially was not up for walking. We stopped off at the pharmacy again to get better drugs (the cough syrup the last guy sold me didn’t do shit) and I had an interesting cocktail of croissants, espresso, cough syrup, and decongestant pill for breakfast. Within an hour, I was losing consciousness on the tour bus. Stopped at the Trevi fountain to try for lunch. Unsuccessful. We still haven’t figured out the whole procedure (it’s different in every single place), or maybe they just didn’t feel like serving us. Back on the bus.
Next stop, Barberini Plaza. Lunch at an “American Bar.” The server either couldn’t, or wouldn’t, tell us what made a bar “American.” It was good food, and pricey. Watched the Piazza from our table in the window. Rome is big, dirty, bustling, full of tourists. Too many people.
After lunch, we went to the Palazzo Barberini (beautiful building) to see their collection. Interesting Italian arts, especially late Renaissance. Lippi, Carravaggio, etc. Beautiful ceiling fresco in the first room. Stopped to poke around the Pantheon and Borromini’s Sant’Ivo Church.
Over to the Capuchin Cemetery, at Santa Maria della Concezione, to see their bones in the crypt, arranged into different tableaux. Another stop, we hike over to the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, to see Bernini’s wild Ecstasy of St. Theresa (even more enchanting in person than all the art history slides could have shown). My mother had decided by this point that she was finally catching my cold, and bought some Carmelite herbal cough medicine from the monk there. We’ll see who fares better tonight.
Last stop for us was the Colosseum. I was thinking, I could see the Forum in passing, but wanted to see the Colosseum up close. But the crowds put me off, and we hiked over to the church of San Clemente. Interesting church. On the street level, a twelfth-century basilica, similar to the many others, but perhaps a little prettier. But below that is an earlier church (392 A.D.) with some remaining frescoes. One more floor down are the remains of a Mithraic temple of late 2nd century, along with the rooms of a Roman house built around 64 A.D. And bits of the churches, fragments of statues and memorabilia, even an opening to the underground river. Pretty neat stuff.
By the time we got back, the Colosseum was not really open for tickets, and we were both wore out anyway. I’ve been sick for well over a week with no improvement. Really, all I want right now is a good meal, a warm bath, and some time with Paul to convalesce. Rome just isn’t working for me. Hot water would help, though.

No comments: