Thurs., June 8th

Today was a much calmer day than yesterday, so you don't need to hear me rant about crowded buses.  Even though we did have to ride home in a bus that was packed to the max. But thanks to the genius thinking of our student assistant, we got on the bus at the first stop so we all got seats-not nearly as much violation of personal space AND the air conditioning appeared to be working at least a little bit in this bus, so it was a good day!  

We started out the morning by visiting 3 churches.  The first one that we visited was S. Maria Della Vittoria (St. Mary of Victory).  Carlo Maderno designed the inside of the church as well as the facade of St. Peter's Basilica.  He is remembered as one of the fathers of Baroque architecture.  Inside the church is generally considered to be one of the sculptural masterpieces of the High Roman Baroque. It is the "Ecstasy of St. Teresa".  Please see pictures for all the churches under AP Studio Art tab under Works.  We then visited San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (San Carlo of the 4 Fountains).  It is the first church that Borromini designed.  It is considered a petite church. The whole church could fit into one column at St. Peter's.  It was the first church designed on an oval plan, which makes it much more dynamic.  Borromini actually designed the church for free because he wanted to get his foot in the door in Rome.  The final church that we visited was Sant'Andrea al Quirinale (St. Andrew's of the Quirinal).  This was the last architectural work of Bernini before he died.  He borrowed the use of the oval floor plan from Borromini except he turned it on a horizontal access instead of vertical.  

We then walked a little bit to get to the Palazzo Barberini Gallery.  I think this is one of my favorite places (palaces) that I have seen so far.  Architecturally speaking, it is impressive, but it also had a manageable number of artwork that is displayed in a way that is not completely overwhelming.  Back to the architecture- Carlo Maderno designed the palace and he hired both Bernini and Borromini to create areas within the palace.  See the picture of Borromini's spiral staircase (It was also based on the oval) under the AP tab.  The collection has works from Raphael, El Greco, Carravaggio, Guido Reni and even Hans Holbein's very well known portrait of Henry VIII (It's the one you see in most history textbooks).  The best part of today was that we were able to draw form the paintings from over an hour.  It was not overly crowded and it was a relaxing exercise after the last few days.  One of the more surprising things that came up today happened when we were in the Barberini.  The Gallery was hosting the Rome Chamber Music Festival this week and several of the groups were rehearsing when we were there.  So, on top of all the beautiful artwork we were able to sit in on an open rehearsal to hear Beethoven played by some world renowned musicians.  I really feel like we have had some incredible luck so far in this trip. Hopefully, it will continue!   

I did add a picture at the end of today's pictures that really has nothing to do with the art or churches that we saw.  It has more to do with the incredible amount of motorcycles in Rome.  This picture is just one small section of the city where people park their motorcycles.  Today we watched a man in a full suit on a motorcycle with a lady in a business suit/skirt  and heels drive by us when we were waiting for the bus.   There is no way I would want to drive in this city.  The motorcycles weave in and out and in between the 2 lanes of traffic!  It stresses me out!  But amazingly, we have not seen any accidents.  That reminds me that there is a Random thought that I haven't posted yet...

There are crosswalks in Rome, but very few actual lights that say to go or not.  The pedestrians pretty much always have the right of way and most cars, buses and motorcycles will stop for you to cross.  I really need to pay attention when I come home or I may be flattened!  I'm getting in a very bad habit of just stepping out in the street.  I really need to pay attention when I come home or I may be flattened!

 I am going to sign off so that I can work on my sketches.  Have a wonderful evening (in a couple of hours for you!)!

Mileage by Andrea: 7.35 miles