Thursday, June 15th

Today we got to sleep in a little and get a later start than the last couple of days.  I'm not so sure that it helped all that much because I woke up at 6:30 anyway.  Plus it is definitely getting more humid here and it was not as comfortable at night as it has been since I have been here.  There is great excitement because we are heading to Florence tomorrow morning for the weekend and get to stay in an air conditioned hotel!  I'm not sure that living without air conditioning will change my habits back home though.  I will say that I am grateful to be leaving on Monday because it is only getting hotter.  Today was a sticky 87 degrees (I personally think it felt a lot warmer than that, but that was because I was smashed on a bus...more to come on that one)

Today we visited a part of Rome that I haven't been able to get too yet, so I was excited about that.  The area is called Trastevere.  While we were there we visited two different churches.  The first one was the Basilica of St. Mary in Trastevere.  This is one of Rome's oldest churches.  It was made a  basilica in the 4th century AD, when Christianity was legalized.  It is said to have been the first church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The entire area behind the altar is covered in a extraordinary mosaic that is fully intact.  I have included several pictures of the basilica under the AP Studio Art tab under Student Work.  I was able to draw from the mosaic while we were there.  I really love the elongated figures of both Jesus and Mary.  

The second church we visited was Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.  We had a very nice surprise when we entered the church.  There was actually a wedding going on.  It was really lovely to see one of the churches that we have been looking at for its art and architecture still being used for its original purpose.  We were still able to visit the crypt under the church where the remains of St. Cecilia's house have been partially excavated.  She was killed in her home.  And the church is built the remains of her home.  Her story is a pretty gruesome story.  If you are so inclined, I would recommend looking into it.  We were able to go up to the church when the wedding ended and I was able to get a few pictures that are also under the AP Studio Art tab. One of the pictures is of the graphic altar sculpture of St. Cecilia (1600) by the late-Renaissance sculptor Stefano Maderno. The pavement in front of the statue encloses a marble slab with Maderno's sworn statement that he has recorded the body as he saw it when the tomb was opened in 1599.  It is a very moving image.  And certainly another reminder of the strength that those early Christians must have had.  

After the church we were able to have an Art in Rome class lunch at a lovely restaurant just steps away from St. Cecilia.  (first and last...)  The name of the restaurant was Roma Sparita. This is the place Anthony Bourdain went to on his No Reservations show to have the cacio e pepe in a cheese bowl.  I have to agree with Anthony Bourdain.  It was fantastic!  How can anything be bad when you put it in a cheese bowl?! 

Everything was lovely until we headed back to the JFRC...public transit.  If you remember how I mentioned one time last week how I felt like I was in a cattle car?  Today was worse than that. It probably didn't help that it was 87 degrees or more outside and I was really thirsty after all that cheese and garlic- normally I wouldn't say that was a bad thing.  I think I would like to describe today's bus ride as closer to a clown car from hell.   I don't think anyone was actually on the ceiling,  but it sure felt like that.  I was lucky enough to get a seat for the second half so it was not nearly as bad as most people's experiences today.  I believe the air conditioning was working, but there were so may people shoved into the bus it didn't matter.  At one stop there was quite a bit of yelling in Italian because we think (not always sure) that people thought more people were trying to get in and that was an impossibility.  When we all got off of the bus at our stop it looked like we had all been in some sort of a fight.  This is definitely not something I will miss when I get home.  Did I mention that it took 2 buses and almost an hour and a half to get home?  I know what my purgatory/hell would be- riding the 913 in Rome over and over again...

We came home to rest and recuperate before heading out this evening which hopefully will be occurring soon.  I will get back to you with some photos later because I think it will be great.  More to come!  

Just got back.  It is after 1 in the morning so I will fill in tomorrow night!  I did update the pictures though.  See you in Florence!

Mileage by Andrea:  9.89 miles!