What We Did On Our Holidays

scattered reflections on travels in the U.S. and abroad, 1971-present

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Italy: Layers Upon Layers

Down the block from the Pantheon is the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, so-called because Rome's only Gothic church was built above a temple to the Roman goddess. Out in front is an Egyptian obelisk, mounted on the back of an elephant (!) sculpted by Bernini; inside Michelangelo, Fra Angelico, Filippino Lippi. The body of of St. Catherine of Siena lies beneath the altar (her head stayed behind in her home town).

Bonus: as we admired the elephant/obelisk, a Roman lady strolled by with a cute little Newfoundland bitch. (Yeah, I'm using little as a relative term here.)

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

Rome's Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli was built on the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian.

Italy: Crowded?

Holy smokes, if this is the off-season....!

And you know, going during the school year exposes one to a special risk: the school field trip. Whether church or museum, Rome, Ravenna or Florence, there were school groups everywhere.
The Italian teenagers behaved like middle-schoolers anywhere else: the boys horsed around noisily, the girls chattered incessantly, and at most, one or two per group seemed to be paying attention to the teachers or guides.

Would You Go Back?

Oh, good heavens- we only just scratched the surface. You could spend three days at the Uffizi alone, a week at the Vatican Museum.