This program is exhausting. Even though we consistently have 3 day weekends (if you aren’t in Art History) I still am barely keeping up with the work and I’m constantly tired and needing caffeine. Despite that, this is such an amazing opportunity. Lemme tell ya why…
On Tuesday we did the ancient Triumphal Route around Rome and made it into 2 temples that regular tourists or even some scholars aren’t allowed into normally. Seriously. How cool is that!? We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside so we just stood in there and tried to absorb it all. The 2 exclusive temples were the Temple of Portunus and the Temple of Hercules Victor. Basically this week in lecture we learned all about how the Ancient Romans just really like to show off and, if you could afford it, building amazing temples was the best way to become well known in the political sphere. A lot of these temples were preserved because they were converted into Christian churches in the Middle Ages so there’s Medieval Christian art on the inside of them. Some, like the Temples of Spes, Janus, and Juno Sospita in the Forum Holitorium, just had their foundations and columns built straight into the churches and were preserved that way.
On Wednesday we went up and saw a couple of museums and the Sanctuary of Diana in Nemi. In the last museum there we saw the most amazing sarcophagus again preserved because it was reused and buried in the Middle Ages. The bones of the 9 people who were buried in it in Medieval times are actually still in there. That sarcophagus was easily one of the most fantastic pieces of artwork I have ever, or will ever, see.
Thursday we made our way up to modern day Palestrina which is the location of the ancient Roman ally of Praeneste. There we saw the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia and the museum that exists there now. We climbed up 863 steps and a steep ramp to get up to that temple. Thank goodness it was 100% worth it. With special permission we were allowed to take pictures in the museum!
In between these trips we have classes as well so the first 3 days of the week are pretty stressful. It’s all worth it though. I’m excited for it to start cooling off here! I’m missing my New England fall a little bit.
Next weekend we’re taking a Centro trip down to Ravenna for the weekend. It will be nice to get out of Rome although we’re hoping for some free time to be able to explore a new town. Also hoping for a decent bus ride so that we’ll have time to do homework!
Let me know what you guys want to here about! This program, as my head-professor told us yesterday, is not a ‘holiday’ program so it’s pretty intense academically. Traveling hasn’t been encouraged as of yet so I’m excited for a potential week-long trip to Greece over Fall Break.
Also, I really need to learn some Italian..