Monday, September 2, 2013

When in Rome

Go into Sant'Andrea della Valle, the basilica that Giacomo Puccini featured in the first act of Tosca. Sit in a pew and let the soft golden light streaming through the windows caress your face. Remember the many times you have sung Puccini's glorious music at the New York City Opera and be grateful. 

Find San Luigi dei Francesi balisica, and the three jaw-dropping paintings by Caravaggio there. Drop a coin in a box to see them properly. When the timer goes off and everyone stands around thinking the power is out, smile to yourself and drop another coin in the box. 

Find this beautiful dome off the Piazza Navona and take a photo. Don't be surprised when one of the faithful runs up to you, and motions in sign language that you shouldn't be taking pictures. Smile politely and nod, then walk left into a smaller room (where the photo police can't see you) and snap this photo. Think about going to confession to report your transgression, but then remember you aren't Catholic.

Find this kinda-sorta naked muscular Christ by Michelangelo at the only Gothic church in Rome - the basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, which is right next to the Pantheon. Think about why he's covered up with a bronze modesty cloth, which was not the great artists' intention. 

Walk a few paces to the left and find the tomb of Fra Angelico, who had the distinction of being turned into a saint by John Paul II. Have nothing snappy to say about this. Just appreciate the art.

Travel due Northeast to the Galleria Borghese. Don't dream of taking pictures of the interior. Nope. Not allowed. You can, however, snap a photo or two of the statuary on the porch. When you go: make sure you obtain your ticket online weeks, even months, ahead of time. Then show up early. If you are lucky, you'll be able to get in early and have more time in one of Rome's highlights. 

When you get home, dream about being in Rome. 

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