Monday, December 31, 2012

Ciao Roma! ... The first day

My first stop, on my recent Italian adventure, was Rome, my favorite city. I planned, I made lists, (what to pack, what to do, apps to download) and tried to be prepared for anything. 

Of course, you can never quite be prepared for airplane food. 

I flew Lufthansa from LAX to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to Rome. For my flight into Rome it was easy to spot which gate my plane would be leaving from. There were at least 15 nuns sitting with their carry on bags, awaiting the flight. 

On the first flight (12 hours? I can't remember) I couldn't really sleep. I got maybe an hour of sleep, which was about enough time to get a neck ache. The second flight I ate my little Lufthansa snack (above) of smoked salmon and potato salad (so German and so well organized!) Somehow, thank the Lord, there were two empty seats next to me, so I threw my coat over my head, comforted in the knowledge of flying with many a nun on board, and passed out for the hour and a half flight.

I love traveling, but flying? Not so much. Although, I do love seeing that first glimpse of a place I am about to visit. Italy had been having a lot of rain (understatement) so it was very, very green. I had been checking my weather channel app for two weeks prior to my trip, so I knew what weather I was in for.

Fortunately, the rain subsided for the time it took me to haul my luggage out of the metro and up the street to my little pensione "Golden Rooms." It's not really a hotel, and there's no real lobby. There is a space for a desk, with a computer and things like extra towels and t.p., carved out of a hallway, which happened to be next to my little room on the 5th floor. 

In Italy, it was considered the 3rd floor because they didn't count the 1st floor of shops or the next floor which is 0. Yes, there was a skinny little lift that went from the 2nd floor ... or actually floor 0, (make sense?) so that was great for the luggage, and later my tired feet! 

Anyway ... I had a cute little terrace, just deep enough to stand on, but it made the place feel much bigger. I will show the rest of the room later, but the location was fantastic and only a few blocks east of the Spanish Steps.

It took a while to get settled because my credit card wouldn't work. Yep, I'd called to tell them where I was going before I left but after 3 or 4 tries (you pay at the beginning of your stay at this little joint) I had to make a 20 minute call to Visa (at 99 cent a minute) to take care of it. Finally, I got "Try splitting the amount in two." It worked.   ??? By the end of the Visa hitch, the guy running the desk was asking me if I like red wine and would like to join him to drink some. No thanks, I already had other plans. I did, I'm not making that up.

After settling in, I took a cab to meet a friend of a friend, Michele, for a dinner, at a cute little place in Monti. (basically, south of where I was staying) She's an American who's been living in Rome for a year, doing 3 different jobs, one of them teaching English but more on that later.

On the way home I realized how close I was to the Metro stop in Monti and took it. Much cheaper than a cab obviously, and that would end up being my main transportation in Rome, other than my feet! The Metro only has two lines which means it's very easy to figure out, but that also means also that it doesn't go everywhere. Thus, the walking. Great, not only for getting around, but for working off copious amounts of pasta and other foods of the white flower variety!

The closest Metro stops to Golden Rooms, were Piazza Barberini and Piazza di Spagna. I used Barberini, and here is the piazza, below. As you can see with the scaffolding, Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fontana di Tritone, (1642-45) has been having a bit of a facelift. 

Up the street to the hotel ...

I fell in love with these little black patent leather shoes the first night, then had to walk by them every day! The 139 Euro price tag was a bit out of reach, but I had a lot of fun window shopping.

This window was a fun display of all sorts of goodies! Can you imagine taking one of those busts home?!

Though the rain was pretty constant on my visit to Rome, it sure made for pretty cobblestone photos! I'm not sure why the rain and thunder seemed so loud at night, but one Roman told me she thought it was all the hollow spaces of ancient Rome, under the present city, echoing. Kind of creepy but very very cool.

Buon Giorno Roma!!! Time to start my first full day!

Because there was no restaurant or kitchen at my little place, they give you vouchers for an Italian breakfast up the street. That's my building (below) and my room was on the right side, on the level where you see the more detailed wrought iron terrace.

Heading up Via Francesco Crispi ... 
There was a cute little market with meats, cheeses, wine, juice etc. where I picked some things up to keep in my little fridge. Very handy.

The little Cafe I where I ate, for my 9 mornings in Rome.

My first Italian style breakfast of Cappuccino, juice and brioche. 

The men who worked there where pretty nice but like teenagers everywhere, the girl who worked there didn't crack a smile until my last morning in Rome!

There were regulars I saw in there almost every day, as I sat people watching. The man I bought my sliced meat from, a few doors down at the market, would recognize me and said hello ... I miss it. And I miss having someone make me cappuccino in the morning! (Who wouldn't though, right?) 

Ah well, such is traveling. Experiencing another world and another way of living. Of course, if I'd been a local I would have stood at the counter and downed my espresso with a chaser of sparkling water, not sat at a table writing my postcards and jotting down my experiences in my travel diary! 

My first day, I went to three churches that were in my art history book, saw another famous piazza and basilica, and went to a huge Vermeer and Dutch Masters exhibit at the Scuderie Quirinale. But, that will have to wait for my next post.  Until then ...

Happy New Year!!!!!

The standard of success in life isn't the things.
It isn't the money or the stuff.
It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel.

Can't wait to come around and see what you all have been up to!
Blessings and light and much joy for the next 365!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Italy "Instagram" Preview!!!

Ciao Tutti! I'm am back from my Italy adventure! I hope you all had beautiful holidays! It was an amazing trip but it was great to come home and spend Christmas with my family. 

I took somewhere around 3,500 photos, and that was with occasional editing of the memory card on my little Canon Powershot during the trip! These are photos taken with my iPhone and edited in the beFunky app  on my phone and/or Instagram.


View from my window in Rome

After the rain, downstairs from where I was staying ...

A gorgeous day after a lot of rain, on the Palatine Hill ...

Piazza San'Eustachio

The Pantheon

Via Condotti

Borromini's breathtaking Sant'Ivo

My first magical morning in Assisi

Basilica of San Francesco with a life sized Nativity!

Upstairs sitting room at the Hotel Palotta where I stayed

Piazza Santa Chiara

Piazza Commune


Olive grove walk, from Assisi to San Damiano

Genova on the roof of the Palazzo Rosso

Afternoon drive ... Portofino

Genova Aquarium

Side Trip ... Boccadasse 

Genova streets

At a party (no it's not a museum) in Genova that was like being dropped into a Fellini movie!

Well, that's the just a tiny bit of of my adventure! Just an appetizer, if you will. An ... Antipasti! ;) 

There is much much MUCH more to come and I hope you will join me!

I see my path, but I don't know where it leads.
Not knowing where I'm going is what inspires me to travel it.
~Rosalia de Castro 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Federico Severino at the Chiesa di San Vitale Rome

Two and half years ago, while browsing the Franco Senesi Gallery in Positano, my parents and I came across the work of a sculptor I'd never heard of, Federico Severino, born in 1953. The work was passionate and emotional, with movement, and a wonderful rawness and organic nature about. Much of his work in that gallery was based on mythology. 

Come to find out that not only was he commissioned to create an altar for a church in Rome, Chiesa di San Vitale, they were showing additional (more biblical) pieces there, as well. We were heading back to Rome so this was perfect! We also found out he was currently working on another commission at that time ... sculptures for the 12 stations of the cross ... for the Pantheon in Rome!


The Altar

Eve ...

Eve looking toward The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse!

Uh oh ...

Here they come!

To see videos of his process in making the stations of the cross for the Pantheon, check out these videos. Yes, it's in Italian but it's worth the watch!! :)

To Read Federico Severino's Bio and see more of his work, click here.
To see each of the stations of the Cross that he created, click Here and Here.

I'm leaving soon for Rome and can't wait to see his work in the Pantheon in person!!!

I found this on the Gaiam website blog ... Love the Sufi poet Hafiz!!! 
Somehow it seemed to fit with this man's great art. 

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
I have come into this world to see this: all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul,
a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this:
every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine's womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,
every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as
for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching -
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.
I have come into this world to experience this:
men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
an unkind
men so true their lives are His covenant -
the promise of

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands
even at the height of
their arc of
because we have finally realized
there is just one flesh
 we can wound.

Hope this finds you all happy and healthy!
Blessings and light!
And ...
Happy Holidays!