Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rome Day 2 (27 Dec 08): Churches, Museums and My Aching Feet

There is waaay too much to see in Rome. I tried to distill all the must sees into a list, and divided these into each of the four days we had to go sightseeing in Rome. By 11:00 a.m. on the second day, L and I already had a back log of about three sites – we just kept on getting lost and bumping into churches and buildings which just cried out to us for a peek. Take this church, for example, which we saw when we got lost on our way to the Pantheon:

It’s the Basilica di San Ignacio, on the Piazza della Ignazio. L, of course, just had to see the inside. Good thing we did go in, because we saw this when we looked up:

It also had the tomb of Aloysius Gonzaga: 

as well as that of John Berchmans and Bellarmine (the buildings of the Jesuit university I went to were named after them, so, it did give me a nerdy sort of high).

We eventually made our way to the Pantheon, of which better photographers have taken better pictures. Here’s another one anyway, for posterity:

Another Jesuit church got us sidetracked, and this time, it was the mother of all Jesuit churches. The Chiesa del Gesu, which is the oldest Jesuit church in Rome. Check out the amazing ceiling, which I couldn’t understand:

It’s 3-D, but its so well-made that I couldn’t tell which part was painted, which part was sculpted, and which part was engraved, giving the illusion of everything just hanging.

In the mid-afternoon L and I made our way to the Galleria Borghese, which was one of the most amazing museums I’ve ever seen. Photos weren’t allowed, so here’s a picture of the outside of the museum:

It’s a Bernini extravaganza! My favorite was his sculpture of Apollo and Daphne. If you're familiar with the story, seeing the sculpture from behind gives the impression that Apollo is running into a tree. However, by moving slowly to the front the tree turns out to be Daphne-turning-into-a-tree. You'd never think marble could be made so malleable.

After the museum, L and I walked to the Spanish Steps and the via Condoti, filled with hundreds of tourists like us:

Our dinner was at a wonderful trattoria nearby named La Buca di Ripetta, where we ate fried artichokes with melted tellagio cheese:

a seafood sampler plate with fried shrimp, baby octopus and raw salmon:

black pasta with octopus (we had more than this – but this was all that I was able to salvage from L’s plate):

Grilled Turbot:

 And to drink, a Sardegna:

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