9.2.09

Walking on a Carpet of Shit: Part Two

Having left off with our hostel, it would seem appropriate to finish the events of the evening. We visited Santa Maria Maggiore which was gorgeous. We learned here about the tricky thing with lighting in churchs: you have to pay for it. If you want to light the church so you can take some pictures, you have to pay a euro and the lights will stay on for two minutes. Luckily people were doing it so we didnt have to pay. 



We had read about some incredible clubs (cages and all) before our trip to Rome so we were planning on going out. Things turned out a little differently than planned however as after dinner we each purchased a bottle of wine to have a few drinks whilst getting ready. This turned out to be a less than a stellar idea as we then woke up at 2 am to italian MTV, our visions of grandeur squashed by exhaustion and vino. We decided it would be best just to sleep and so we rose the next day, rested and ready for our trip to St. Peters. 


The interior of St. Peters was magnificent and oppulent and for some reason i wasnt expecting it to be as grandiose as it actually was. Everything was either gilded or made of some sort of seemingly expensive marble. Everything was coffered and light was pouring in, casting different shadows on the ridiculously detailed floor. The baldacchino was roped off much to my dismay so i couldn't get that close but it looked amazing from thirty feet away. The dome didnt look too high from where i was standing, but i soon learned that i was incorrect as i started to approach the top of the coppola. 


There were many more steps than i originally thought and halfway up, i pretty much wanted to die. I was out of breath, and sweaty and my legs pretty much were going to give out but the view once we arrived at the cuppola was completely worth it. Also, the walls of the dome as you are walking up start to curve with the curve of the dome and it continues to get smaller, creating quite a claustrophobic experience. (but worth it.) About halfway up you are able to walk along the dome's interior, looking down upon the baldacchino what seemed like a thousand feet below. I am not a fan of heights, nor small spaces and both were prevalent as we walked around the dome. This was all made better by the beautiful mosaics strewn across the wall, the intricate patterns culminating into an angels enveloping hand. After this little break, we still probably had 250 steps to go before reaching the top.







As we emerged from the winding abyss, the cool breeze whipped by and the sun hit my face. As i looked out across the city, i spotted a few architectural icons, the pantheon here, the trevi fountain there. It was actually calming to feel so small, with the city encroaching upon every side.






Our descent was much less exciting, but we were on to our next destination: the Vatican Museum. The collection here was outstanding and should not be missed. It could just be the residual Catholic in me, but the amount of religious art was fantastic. I wasn't expecting as much modern art as was there which was a nice surprise. As you are leaving the museum, you travel down a gorgeous staircase, a double helix winding to the exit. 




Our last stop before our departure was the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. I had been wanting to visit this church since before i came to Italy so i was delighted to finally visit this site. My main reason for wanting to visit this site was due to the sculpture by Bernini: The Ecstasy of St. Theresa. Apparently St. Theresa was feeling a little frisky when an angel visited her in her sleep:

"It pleased our Lord that I should see the following vision a number of times. I saw an angel near me, on the left side, in bodily form. This I am not wont to see, save very rarely.... In this vision it pleased the Lord that I should see it thus. He was not tall, but short, marvellously beautiful, with a face which shone as though he were one of the highest of the angels, who seem to be all of fire: they must be those whom we call Seraphim.... I saw in his hands a long golden spear, and at the point of the iron there seemed to be a little fire. This I thought that he thrust several times into my heart, and that it penetrated to my entrails. When he drew out the spear he seemed to be drawing them with it, leaving me all on fire with a wondrous love for God. The pain was so great that it caused me to utter several moans; and yet so exceeding sweet is this greatest of pains that it is impossible to desire to be rid of it, or for the soul to be content with less than God"


Sexy, and a little racy for the Catholic church. The church was beautiful and ridiculously baroque. It was the end of the day, so the light coming in was exquisite, casting a golden glow upon everything.



So that unfortunately was the last stop on my second visit to Rome. I am glad i made a second visit to Rome as i enjoyed it much more this time around. Originally, i felt it was overrated, but after this visit, i would love to visit it again and stumble upon other mysteries of the city. O, i forgot, but some of you may be wondering why i titled these posts walking on a carpet of shit. We learned in class of a german philosopher/writer Getty who when he visited Rome, only commented that he felt like he was walking on a carpet of shit. Initially, i couldn't agree more, but as i learned, you just have to give Rome a chance. 

Ciao for now.

1 comment:

Diana Trushell said...

what a slut, that st. theresa!