We have spent our days in Rome studying the rich history and culture of the city. Saturday consisted of a day at the Capitoline Museum, where we walked around as a group and Monica explained the stories behind many key pieces. After the museum, we went to the Colosseum. We had previously talked about what went on in the Colosseum, so being within the walls was the perfect way to fully visualize those activities.
We spent Sunday in the Borghese Museum. This museum is–by far–my favorite that we have been to. While there, Monica assigned each person in our group a piece of art to examine. I was given Apollo and Daphne, a marble sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The sculpture stems from an Ancient Greek myth. Essentially, Apollo fell in love with Daphne, who did not return his feelings (in fact, she detested him). Apollo continually chased after Daphne, eventually reaching her. Terrified of what he could do to her, Daphne begged her father to help her. He subsequently turned Daphne into a tree in order to prevent Apollo from ever being able to marry her, which is what Bernini is depicting in his sculpture. I was able to learn about the fascinating story behind the sculpture while actually staring at it in person–something that I have never been able to do before in school.
After the Borghese Museum, we headed to the Cripta Cappucini, an eerie crypt filled with bones. The bones are that of Capuchin friars from the ancient days, and they decorate the floors, ceilings, and even light fixtures. We discussed the connotations of the church: it is meant to serve as a reminder that we all will die at some point, and there is no way to stop that from happening.
Today, Monday, has been mostly a free day. In the afternoon, we went to the Spanish steps, where we shopped for a few hours and ate delicious gelato. We also visited the Pantheon, which we weren’t able to do the first day. The dome of the Pantheon was exquisite; apparently, it is the biggest of its kind. After discussing much of the history behind the Pantheon, we trekked to a park with a view of the entire city. We ate a group picnic of fish, ham, bread, fruit, and sweets, then took hundreds of selfies with the city behind us.