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The Eternal City

The Galleria Borghese is a gorgeous villa set in Rome’s most beautiful park. It houses arguably the most impressive collection of Bernini and Caravaggio in all of Italy. Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne and The Rape of Proserpina, are particularly noteworthy for the immaculate artistry clearly evident in their creation.

When we left the Galleria, we continued along towards the Spanish Steps, a set of steps that connects the Piazza di Spanga and the Piazza Trinità dei Monti. The neighborhood surrounding the steps is a popular hangout among the younger scene of travelers and citizens alike. Considered “hip” by most standards, it has grown from its humble beginnings to become a cultural mainstay of Rome. Most Americans will no doubt recognize it from the film Roman Holiday. After a brief introduction to the area, we gave the students the chance to wander around and see for themselves what the Spanish Steps were all about.

Our next stop was the decidedly grim but moving Capuchin Crypt, also known as the Bone Cathedral. Constructed in 1631, the crypt houses thousands of bones all artistically arranged in decorative and symbolic motifs. The display immediately has an effect on all who bear witness to it and there is something decidedly spiritual surrounding it. While initial reactions by many would be to shudder and label it “macabre,” the monks insist that it is meant only as a soft commentary on the swiftness of human mortality.

We concluded our evening by splitting our groups by gender and having a boys and girls night out respectively.

 –Jamie Lansdowne

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