This fall has been such a busy, creative time that I have fallen behind on telling you about September! It's time to complete the virtual Italy tour.
We spent 8 days in Rome and feel like we barely scratched the surface of this lively metropolis. The first 3 nights were spent near the Vatican next to a quiet residential neighborhood; the final 4 nights were spent in the colorful old Trastevere district. I've already shared photos from the food tour of the Testaccio district (a real highlight for me), and I didn't take many photos of the artwork we saw in museum after museum--professionals do that so much better than I can. Yummmm, Bernini sculptures in the Borghese Gallery, beautiful furnishings in the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, the wealth of objects in the Vatican Museum... these are all available for your Google pleasure.
Let me share the other side of Rome:
I am in love with the small trucks in Italian cities! Although the streets are filled with vehicles, things did not seem as chaotic as the guidebooks warned us they would be. Perhaps living with California traffic has hardened us--and successful pedestrian behavior is exactly like that in Berkeley: Make eye contact, step out intentionally, don't freak out.
And history, too! We had a great guide to the Roman Forum and Coliseum--I think it would be hard to take it in without that perspective. She encouraged us not to try to fit everything into neat timelines but to understand that the history of Rome overlaps, borrows, forgets, remembers over thousands of years.
One afternoon we had a Sketchbook Tour with Kelly Medford (I learned about it on the Cross-Polinate website). We settled in on the Isola Tiberna to draw, using the homemade sketchbooks and supplies she brought for us. Despite being very hot that day, we enjoyed ourselves immensely as Kelly introduced us to different sketching styles and the use of watercolors.
We peeked into this little shop in Trastevere--a featherweight Singer sewing machine had caught my eye, just like the one my grandmother earned by selling subscriptions to magazines during the Depression and that I use today. This charming woman makes ties!
Horribly crowded and not at all like the experience seen in Roman Holiday (one of my favorite movies, but not exactly a good preparation for modern Rome!)--nonetheless, there was something wonderful about tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain, with its promise of a return to Rome!