Ciao Lettori! 43 giorni until I’m off to Rome!
On a slightly unrelated note to Reading Rome:
This morning, I woke up and the sun was shining in my window, the breeze was warm(ish) and all I could think about was Roberto Benigni’s famous line in La Vita È Bella: BUONGIORNO PRINCIPESSA!
So thanks to the magic of YouTube, I found a compilation of the clips. Totally made my day. If you haven’t seen this movie, rent it right now. It’s a masterpiece. Just make sure you have a tissue box nearby.
With that, back to Reading Rome. We have jumped forward to the 18th century (a huge leap from the Ancient era, I know) and are currently talking about the “Grand Tours” – trips that white, aristocratic males would take to either Paris, Roma, Napoli or Firenze. These excursions were solely for the purpose of becoming a worldly and educated man. The trips would sometimes last a full year, since travel wasn’t as effective as today.
The draw to Rome was the mixture of Renaissance/Baroque art and ruins from the Ancient times. Paris was all about art but lacked any Classics, so it was considered one-dimensional; the same went for Firenze, due to it’s explosion and expansion during the Renaissance. Napoli, which is much more southern than the other Italian destinations, was popular mostly for it’s beaches (which isn’t a bad thing).
There is also an entire chapter in this book (Italy and The Grand Tours by Jeremy Black) that described the experience tourists would have with the food in Italy. Apparently, for British travelers, the pasta and cheese and meat wasn’t to their liking. However, the wine was something they would bring home by the barrel.
These tours made me think about how our expectations will define our experience. Having been fortunate enough to visit Rome once previously, I think that is really shaping my expectations for this trip. I am a different person, see the world through different eyes and know SO much more about the sites we’ll be seeing than I did when I went senior year of high school.There will obviously be noticeable differences in my perception and experiences but that’s why I’m really excited about this trip.
As a project in class, we have to get into groups and “adopt-a-site” that we will want to give a mini tour of while we are actually on site. It’s a really good way for us to get to know more of the details and I like that we can pick a building from any era (with some exceptions). I think my group is looking into the Piazza Navona (one of my favorite places), the Basilica of Maxentius, and The Pantheon. Probably three of my favorite monuments in Rome, and we get to see all of them!
Well Lettori, It’s time for me to grab a panino and face the day.