Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tuesday, February 16

The skipping around of days is simply due to the enthusiasm I am exhibiting toward my studies. Plus, it's been raining everyday (with only a few exeptions) at least at some point. So on the particularly damp and overcast days..one tends to snuggle up on the floor with some blankets next to the radiator and get through some assignments. oh wait..that's just me.

Well today was one of the raining days that we had something scheduled to do.
ilovegortexilovegortexilovegortex, and my Merrell hiking books and my waterproof-rain-jacket. and if one more person with their cute shoes, and teeny umbrella with their cute sweater complains (no one in paticular! just in general)...i will no longer keep the laughter to myself. Umbrellas are weapons. with people crammed onto sidewalks, each with an umbrella with pointy ends..who designed those? honestly.

We met with Dr. Szabo at the Pantheon :) I don't even care that it was raining...because for class I went to the Pantheon. *jaw drop*
Standing there in just the entryway was incredible. The pillars (maybe 40ft?) were brought here to Rome from Egypt. So was the obilisk outside the pantheon in the piazza.
Walking inside of the building gave me chills (and not from it having too much airflow... the only natural light that comes in is from the doors or the oculus, which is 142 feet above you! and the opening is 27 feet across. Though looking up you would never know!) The rain came sprinkling down, seemingly misting by the time it made it to the floor where the water was drained into the original pipes of Rome.
Initially the Pantheon was a temple to all the gods. and a massive statue of Jupiter sat at the far side which, at a certain point in the day, the sun would shine directly on the statue, lighting it up. It then became the first pagan temple to be used as a church for Christians.
Also there was Raphael's tomb!!!! This italian painter from the high Renaissance was one of the great masters. I think my heart skipped a few beats when I realized who was buried there. His paintings are everywhere, even today! (yes, i will be seeing some in real life! and i will have a tissue for when I either drool over the beauty of it..or perhaps cry from excitement) Engraved on his marble sarcophagus in elegiac distich reads: "Ille hic est Raffael, timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori." which means "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die."
Maybe I was just hopping off that cappuccino...but it seems so divinely worded..
The Pantheon was a ridiculously awesome architectual achievment for it's time. The proportions are perfect. It also used a technique with heavier building materials poured into the super thick walls (xx feet)at the bottom, and they higher the building,the lighter the materials use.

The non-structure aware side of me is totally enthralled.....






Could not get the picture from the outside of the Pantheon due to the small monsoon..and these few pictures inside,of course, do not capture it. The one to the left and the center pictures is where the statue of Jupiter once was, and is now the alter for the church services. and the stunning facial expression can only be explained as "silently screaming in excitement" it was so dark in the pic you can mainly just see the oculus and not the rest of the ceiling.


I highly recommend standing there, or just walking slowly around. Without a heavy bag or anything because it will just hurt more with all the twisting around to get a look at everything and bending halfway backwards to see the majority of the building above eye level.
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As the group was walking, we paused briefly at Piazza Di Sant'Ignazio, a church with absolutly amazing paintings decorating the walls and ceilings. The building was meant to have a dome but ran out of funds and instead has one of the best illusions of a dome known. When we go back and visit, there WILL be pictures. unless your standing directly under the ceiling...for all appearences there is a dome raising in the center of that ceiling. mad-whoa illusion!


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Basilica Papale Santa Maria Maggiore! When it was first built it was called "Santa Maria ad Nives" ...St. Mary of the Snow. Because on August 5th in the..fourteenth(?) century two people had a dream (or something) of St.Mary telling them to build her a church where the snow falls. and the next morning the top of Esquiline Hill (one of the major 7 here in Roma) was covered in snow. The name was changed by a later pope due to lack of proof of this event, but I thought it was pretty rad. Snow in August!!


Walking inside was, like all the churches here it seems, breathtaking!







The first picture is from near the alter looking back. Notice the circular stainglass?and there are paintings and mosaics under and around those windows! the ceiling..looks like just squares of shiney paint si? THE CEILING IS MADE WITH GOLD BROUGHT BACK BY COLUMBUS FROM AMERICA TO QUEEN ISABELLA! let that thought sink in... the second picture shows the ceiling area behind the alter (in the apse) which has a mosaic (with gold coated pieces) of Jesus annointing Mary (i think) and all sorts of beautiful elaborate designs around it. including angels with wings colorfully tipped! and on the walls surrounding were different stories of Jesus and the disciples. The third picture is just another area in the church (I think St. Matthew's body was there too!!!)

I did not get a good picture of the alter, made of a rare, red marble. Below that was a (supposed) piece of the Holy Crib. Since a good part of the reason behind building this church was to remind people that Jesus was born by a human mother, a reminder that He was not just divine by human as well.

Also buried there is Bernini...a master Italian artist! ( I run past one of his fountains each morning. and it still puts a bounce of excitement in my step to see the figures shapes with the spouting water) His work is everywhere, he was primarily a sculptor as well as an architect and painter. He was part of the intro into Roman Baroque style... Anyways, despite all this greatness, he is buried in this church under an engraved slab of stone in the floor. That is all. I almost liked him better for it... though was still shocked at the simplicity and humbleness.

Headed "home" for some quick food and a thaw out time under the blankets before going to church for english classes. It was fun :) with level 3 again, and we stayed for dinner afterwards with the teachers/missionaries! so worth facing the damp and chill for! (and I'm not only saying that because we stopped for gelato on the way home) <3


1 comment:

  1. Hi Anna.......It's Pam Meinert!!!!! Your mom told me about your blog.....What a fabulous thing to start a blog to capture your trip through Europe.....I loooooooove it for you!!!!! I can't wait to peek around and read it all....I've been to Italy several times and can't wait to go back some day........keep the posts coming!! I have a blog too.....check it out when you get time! Have a blast!!!!

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