Touched by the past

Old friends, new acquaintances and lots of beautiful things ornamented our day. We visited two museums, one church/Roman bath, and got some new views of the Roman Forum.

Let’s take the day in categories, starting with the bronze Terme Boxer, whose wonderful hands are shown above. Having studied him this year in the archaeology course I took at Hunter College, it was great to finally meet this exhausted fighter, and see how he bears his battle scars. He had been buried for almost two thousand years on the Quirinal Hill, and he must have been awfully glad to see the light again.

He shares a room with another bronze, this one a warrior. While Greek bronzes are far fewer in number than their Roman marble copies, it was nice to see some both Greek and Roman examples today, including good old Alexander the Great, and Marcus Aurelius, triumphant on his horse.

Works in marble abound, by which every hero and scoundrel of the Roman Empire was immortalized. We particularly like the grouping of Hadrian with his lover Antinous on one side and his wife on the other. What a great menage.

Other notables included Myron’s Discobolus, the Dying Gaul, the ever-popular hermaphrodite, and endless celebrities of their day, with monumental-sized sculptures of Constantine prominently featured.

And then there were the gorgeous mosaics. Can we just have one, please??? Surely they could spare just one…

Okay, if we can’t have a mosaic, what about a fresco? We would promise to take very good care of it, and would put up velvet ropes and everything. We craved all these, too.

The most outstanding ones came from the lower floor of Livia’s villa – rivaling Monet’s Water Lilies in my humble opinion. Livia, of course, was the very nasty wife of Augustus, around whom heirs to the throne had a habit of dropping dead, until at last her son Tiberius – step-son to Augustus – just happened to be the last man standing. Hmmm. But she sure did have a lovely rec room.

So we were very entertained at the Palazzo Massimo, the Baths of Diocletian (now a church), and the Capitoline Museum on this beautiful day. We also got some different vantage points over the Forum and happy crowds in general. Old and new all rather blended together.

Don’s Food Corner

Leaving nothing to chance and somewhat numbed by the amazing array of spectacular art objects we looked at all day, we decided to return to the restaurant across from the Roman Forum that had treated us so well on Thursday.  Named Angelino Ai Fori (for those who might visit Rome and are looking for something reliable and reasonably priced at the same time), we started off with some refreshing Aperol spritzes.  We shared the ravioli special of the day that promised to be “homemade” — filled with spinach and tossed in a tomato/cream sauce.  I don’t know if it was really homemade, but you could fool me and it certainly didn’t taste like it came out the freezer at D’Agostino’s. We dove in before the picture could be taken, hence the messy plates.

Jo went on to sample the restaurant’s version of saltimbocca and I had the veal limone with a side of roasted potatoes. Very nicely done.  But, of course, with apologies to vegetarians and animal activists, this is veal “season.”  That means the best quality veal is available right now and we’re going for it in all its various forms!

2 thoughts on “Touched by the past

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