Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Rome, home

I am back in the land of speedy broadband, after more than 1000 miles of motorways over the last few days.  Right now, I would be glad never to get in the car again, but it was worth it to get to Rome.

I went with my cousin, Jenny, to celebrate, rather belatedly, our 50th birthdays, and what a great time we had! We only had one full day and a morning, so we stuck to Ancient Rome, and barely scratched the surface of everything there is to see.  

We’d arranged a private tour of the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill and the Forum, which was absolutely fantastic.  No queuing, special entry to the underground and top level of the Colosseum  and a wonderful and entertaining guide in Vito.   Now I want to spend the rest of my life studying Ancient Rome! 

I’d have to write a novel to tell you everything we saw and learnt last weekend, but here’s what I’ll remember most.  More photos on my Facebook page.

The sheer jaw-dropping scale of the Roman remains.  And they were everywhere.  Columns and carvings that anywhere else would merit a museum of their own were just lying by the side of the road. 

Italian ice cream.  I’m not normally an ice cream girl, but this was something special.

A free concert (Bach and Handel) in this church around the corner from our hotel.

Walking on paving stones from the time of Augustus.

Shabby buildings with closed shutters, with incredibly smart shops tucked away on the ground floor.

Prosecco in the sunshine.

Wandering around the Palazzo Altemps with the sound of a Sunday morning service drifting over the courtyard. 

Jenny telling me about an academic article on classical scrotums.  Apparently, it was believed that the left testicle was the source of daughters, the right provided sons, so to indicate virility, classical statues often show the right testicle as bigger.  This meant that we spent a lot of time staring at the genitals on the (wonderful) statues in the Palazzo, puzzled by the fact that there it was the left testicle that seemed to be bigger on most statues.  It might have looked as if two middle-aged women had an unhealthy interest in male genitalia, but we were motivated purely by scholarly research, honest.


The carvings on Trajan’s Column.

Umbrella pines

Gusty sigh .... 

Ah well, it is good to be home too.  I learnt while I was in Scotland that Book 59, the one with Frith and George that caused me so much trouble, has gone through, so that was a big relief.  I only had a few revisions in the end, which says much for the power of self editing.  Now I am contemplating a horribly long ‘to do’ list, on which ‘next time slip’ doesn’t appear until the third page, but after three weeks away, it’s probably time I knuckled down to some work.  

No comments:

Post a Comment