Saturday, September 06, 2014

Catching up - Italy trip

Catching up on my Italy trip from last June

Day 4:
On the fourth day, we took a train to Naples and a bus from Naples to Positano. The drive was so beautiful it made be sick (or that was the switchbacks and my tendency toward carsickness...luckily no longer being on the bus = no longer having a stomachache).

We ditched our stuff at the Hostel Brikette and grabbed lunch at the pizza place across the street (margherita pizza, caprese salad, and white wine). Then we walked down ALL the stairs to the beach and back.

Our feet in the sea

After we walked back up ALL the steps (daunting!), we grabbed dinner at a grocery near the hostel (cheese, bread, salami, salad, and olives). We ate on the hostel's patio and sat there while the sun set. We also made plans for the next day (Sentiero Degli Dei!).

Monday, September 01, 2014

Catching up - Italy trip

I'm continuing to catch up my blog by writing about my trip to Italy from last June.

Day three:

We started the day at a round, originally Pagan, church named San Sebastiano.

This is a model (of something), and there are chairs in case you'd like to sit by it.

If you look closely, you can see that the painting includes a handy key - they've labeled all of the different gruesome deaths with letters that correspond to the descriptions below.

Flowers outside San Sebastiano

Then we went to the Villa Celimontana. I loved the orange trees and the water fountains that looked like wolf heads (which I drank from but didn't get a picture of).

After that, we went to the "church with the layers" (aka Basilica San Clemente) which, to steal some info from a Fodor's Travel review, is a "12th-century church [that] was built on top of a 4th-century church, which in turn was built over a 2nd-century pagan temple to the god Mithras and 1st-century Roman apartments" (Fodor's Travel).

It was so amazing to go from one church down into another and down into another - and to think that rather than eroding with time (which is what I generally think time does), Rome just keeps getting more and more built up.

If I was picking, I'd say this is THE church to go to. It combines the regular church-y stuff (frescoes, religious art, beautiful tiled floors) with underground exploration and getting to feel (a little bit) like Indiana Jones. Seriously, it can't be beat.

My photographs don't do it justice - it's very, very cool.

Then, we spent some more time underground. 

For lunch, we had a prix fixe meal at L'Asino d'Oro, which serves Umbrian food - so delicious. We also stopped in a few shops in the neighborhood.

Next, we took a train to Ostia Antica. If you'd like to be surrounded by ruins (rather than people - especially people trying to sell you stuff), and if you'd like to feel (somewhat) like Indiana Jones (again), Ostia Antica is IT. We were there for hours, saw a handful of other people, and barely got halfway through the place.

Brenna and I also spent a bit of time pretending to be "bogus tour guides" and making up stories about the various buildings, statues, and mosaics.  I'm wishing I could remember the stories (I can't), but I have a feeling that dragons were involved.

They were *serious* about their tiled floors. 

 So many ruins, so few people

More crazy blue sky

This was as far as we got. Ostia Antica is HUGE!

We headed back to Rome and had pizza at Li Rioni for dinner.

Catching up - Italy Trip

Day two:
We went to St. Peter's Square and Basilica.

Inside, we saw the PietĂ , and I failed Brenna's quiz about whether anything seems odd about it (answer: Mary is weirdly big compared to Jesus). We looked at the markers on the floor showing all the not-as-big cathedrals, we talked about Renaissance rivalries, and I rubbed St. Peter's toe to guarantee that I would come back to Rome.

Size does matter?

The doors were pretty. 

After getting sandwiches for lunch and walking over the Angel bridge (which was also pretty, but I'd had it up to HERE with people trying to sell stuff - no splat animals or mini-Popemobiles for me thanks)), we caught a bus to Trastavere - a beautiful medieval neighborhood and home of my first Spritz. 

The outside of the Santa Maria in Trastavere is decorated with chunks of old tombs. This little bird was my favorite.

More pictures from walking around Trastavere

Next, we went to the Colosseum. I couldn't get over how blue the sky was.

Next, we went to MACRO, a gallery located in a former meat packing plant (you can see the hooks and cables along the ceiling). The show in their main building (below) was Soft Work by Sterling Ruby.

The main reason we went to MACRO was to see the Big BambĂș by Doug and Mike Starn. Brenna had written about visiting (and climbing around on it) on her blog, and it was definitely on my TO DO list. Unfortunately, they weren't allowing people to climb on it because it was too windy.

As we left MACRO and walked out onto the sidewalk, there was a musician practicing trumpet in the building next door and the sun was starting to set - one of those perfect moments. 

There was even more prettiness as we walked to dinner

We had delicious, delicious trapizzini at 00100. I had a chicken one - so good that I wished I'd had the stomach/appetite/fortitude to eat more than one. I did manage to save some room for more gelato from Fatamorgana in Monti - orange/chocolate and pistachio this time.

We walked by the Colosseum again, and I spent most of my time there bracing my camera against railings, sign posts, and stone walls, trying to get a steady shot. Success! :)