Saturday, November 24, 2012

Le Cose Antiche

Today I did what I came to Italy to do, i.e. to see old things and to speak Italian.  I went with Léa (I'm spending as much time as I can with her because she returns to France next week...and because she's fun to hang out with, of course) to Villa Giulia, which houses the Etruscan Museum.  It's a grand three-story building featuring the art, history, and language of an Italian culture even older than that of the Romans.  And it's literally a five-minute walk from my palazzo.  I've passed it many times on my way to Villa Borghese (which is a little bit like Central Park in NYC) but I've never ventured inside.

The courtyard of Villa Giulia.

Colonnade.  Each panel features some different Greek god.
The visit began auspiciously (to borrow an Etruscan way of thinking) when I got the half-price discount for EU nationals 18-25 years old.  The man asked if we were students, and Lea said no, but (in her French accent) that she was 25.  I said mournfully that I was 26 and he said, boh, it was close enough, and promptly handed over the tickets without even asking to see an EU identity card.  Hooray!

I geeked out at the museum with my Italian dictionary in one hand and my little spiral bound notebook in the other hand.  There were sooooooo many artifacts there it was a little overwhelming, even though we had plenty of time to browse.  Amongst the highlights were original Etruscan and Phoenician inscriptions on gold leaf, many many fascinating Greek vases, beautiful jewelry from almost every era of Italian history, and a typical Etruscan terra cotta sarcophagus.

Famous terra cotta sarcophagus.

Fountain in the gardens of Villa Giulia.

Temple in the gardens of Villa Giulia.
We went home to change and then met up again for a delicious but inexpensive dinner in Trastevere.  Then we climbed the Janiculan Hill, the highest point in Rome, stopping at the top to talk and enjoy the view of the city.  Finally, we returned home by way of Vatican City.  There wasn't actually much to see at that time of night since the gates were closed, but Léa pointed out that the pope makes an address in St. Peter's Square almost every Sunday at noon.  I think I'll try to go one Sunday soon.  I also realized that I hadn't actually been to St. Peters during my three months here.  I'll need to remedy that soon.  Maybe a tour of Roman churches can be my next adventure.

2 comments:

Laura Heckmann said...

I can just picture you geeking out with your dictionary and notebook:). I would be doing exactly the same thing. What a thrill that must've been! Love the pictures.

Katie Becker said...

When I discovered that I had the notebook in my purse, the level of fun increased 200% :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Le Cose Antiche

Today I did what I came to Italy to do, i.e. to see old things and to speak Italian.  I went with Léa (I'm spending as much time as I can with her because she returns to France next week...and because she's fun to hang out with, of course) to Villa Giulia, which houses the Etruscan Museum.  It's a grand three-story building featuring the art, history, and language of an Italian culture even older than that of the Romans.  And it's literally a five-minute walk from my palazzo.  I've passed it many times on my way to Villa Borghese (which is a little bit like Central Park in NYC) but I've never ventured inside.

The courtyard of Villa Giulia.

Colonnade.  Each panel features some different Greek god.
The visit began auspiciously (to borrow an Etruscan way of thinking) when I got the half-price discount for EU nationals 18-25 years old.  The man asked if we were students, and Lea said no, but (in her French accent) that she was 25.  I said mournfully that I was 26 and he said, boh, it was close enough, and promptly handed over the tickets without even asking to see an EU identity card.  Hooray!

I geeked out at the museum with my Italian dictionary in one hand and my little spiral bound notebook in the other hand.  There were sooooooo many artifacts there it was a little overwhelming, even though we had plenty of time to browse.  Amongst the highlights were original Etruscan and Phoenician inscriptions on gold leaf, many many fascinating Greek vases, beautiful jewelry from almost every era of Italian history, and a typical Etruscan terra cotta sarcophagus.

Famous terra cotta sarcophagus.

Fountain in the gardens of Villa Giulia.

Temple in the gardens of Villa Giulia.
We went home to change and then met up again for a delicious but inexpensive dinner in Trastevere.  Then we climbed the Janiculan Hill, the highest point in Rome, stopping at the top to talk and enjoy the view of the city.  Finally, we returned home by way of Vatican City.  There wasn't actually much to see at that time of night since the gates were closed, but Léa pointed out that the pope makes an address in St. Peter's Square almost every Sunday at noon.  I think I'll try to go one Sunday soon.  I also realized that I hadn't actually been to St. Peters during my three months here.  I'll need to remedy that soon.  Maybe a tour of Roman churches can be my next adventure.

2 comments:

Laura Heckmann said...

I can just picture you geeking out with your dictionary and notebook:). I would be doing exactly the same thing. What a thrill that must've been! Love the pictures.

Katie Becker said...

When I discovered that I had the notebook in my purse, the level of fun increased 200% :)