The Borghese Gallery and the Spanish Steps

Today we ate a delicious breakfast and took a bus to the Borghese Gallery.

Here is what Jonathan Ennis said about the experience:

“The Borghese gallery was the fun-sized version of the Vatican. With all the fun-sized, multimillion dollar classical art pieces that mimicked its king sized counterpart to the best of its ability. We saw many 2nd most famous art pieces at the old renaissance villa turned museum. The 2nd most famous statue of David, the 2nd most famous rendition of “the last supper”, etc. Though there were a few notable statues such as “Apollo and Daphne”, and “The Rape of Persephone”, the works that stood out to me were made by the master of shadows and father of tenebrism himself, Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio. The works that this painter made were on everything from baskets of fruit to young women graphically beheading people. All of them displayed Caravaggio’s talent at painting shadows, and the range of things which interested him.”

After the gallery we visited the Column of Trajan and took a tour of the ruins of some buildings near it. Once our tour was finished, we headed over to a Sacred Heart School at the top of the Spanish Steps. Then we explored the bougie and luxurious shopping area for two hours before going to dinner.

Vatican City

Today we visited the Vatican City, which is its own tiny country!

Here is what Jonathan Ennis has to say:

“Have you ever watched the reality tv show ‘hoarders’? Well that was what walking through the first art gallery in the Vatican reminded me of, but instead of the hoarders accumulating large piles of things in their houses, the religious rulers had accumulated more wealth in art than many small countries did. I saw incredible works of art, paintings, statues, and frescoes. Many of them were priceless and had been created by famous artists such as Michelangelo, and Raphael. As a group we moved through many galleries and saw art the church has picked from many different eras, we saw everything from statues made in Roman times, to modern sculptures from the 1990’s. Everything about the 44 hectares of land called the Vatican that we saw was the embodiment of beauty. The art, the architecture, the stunning view from the top of St. Peters Basilica. It was incredible, it was beautiful beyond words, and it was decadent beyond anything I have ever seen.”


Ari Nagle says:

“Today was probably the busiest and biggest day because we visited the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. At the Vatican museum, we saw the gradual shift from medieval to renaissance art in the huge galleries. The most amazing gallery in my opinion was the Raphael room. There, we got to see the School of Athens up close. Afterwards, we visited the Sistine chapel, which was painted by Michelangelo. The immensity was overwhelming because the whole chapel is painted on every side in such great detail. After that, we moved on to St. Peter’s Basilica. This was very exciting because we climbed up to the top of the dome and walked around the side of it. The letters around the dome are six feet tall! We heard some interesting stories from our guide Megan in the Vatican. Then we went to dinner and had some free time to walk around. Today was very busy, but we got to see lots of famous things in detail.”

We ended the day eating delicious gelato and traditional Italian cuisines.

Onward to Italy

Next week, Convent and Stuart Hall students will embark on a trip to Italy, seeing the sites in Rome, the Bay of Naples, and more. The trip organizer and lead chaperone, Dr. Scott Roos has an additional note:
I’m super-excited about the upcoming trip, and I have even been using Anki to learn some Italian before we depart.  Italian, after knowing Latin, is easy, because much of the language is simply Latin in the Ablative case.  On our first few days, we’ll be reading Latin (and some English) about the sites that we visit:
Day 1: Cumae – Ovid’s Metamorphoses. XIV.129ff – description of the Cumaean Sibyl’s rejection of Apollo and T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland – epigraph refers to the Cumaean Sibyl
Day 2: Herculaneum/Vesuvius – Statius IV.4 – about 10 lines lamenting the fate of the townspeople
Day 3: Pompeii/Naples – Petronius 29 – describing the “Cave Canem” fresco.