In Rome: In Romeo’s Country…

It's a statue made of marble! MARBLE!

I cannot believe the sheer magnificence of the city’s treasures that I completely missed last time. Today began with a visit to the The Galleria Borghese. The very first piece we, the tour group with a really knowledgeable guide, saw was Bernini’s baroque Rape of Persephone. I have no words to describe how brilliant this piece is. You don’t even have to be neck deep in art history or techniques to appreciate the beauty of Bernini’s statues. I’m not well-versed in such art, but I do know that marble is a hard rock–so for Bernini to be able to depict Persephone’s flesh as soft and sensual under Pluto’s strong but delicate hands is no mean feat. In Apollo e Dafne, Apollo’s clothes flying behind him are translucent. You can actually see light through the marble, so tremendous was Bernini’s skill.

I was dying to see Caravaggio’s works and I was not disappointed. We were only able to see a couple of them since only 2-hour tours are permitted, but, after having it pointed out, it does appear that homo-eroticism and the dark nature of his life come across in his extremely realistic work. He died at 39. One wonders what he would have gone on to do had he lived longer. Professionally and personally.

After a long walk through the Borghese gardens, I came down to Piazza del Popolo. Spending time there in the large square with musicians, children playing, people strolling, unhurried, enjoying the surroundings made me glad once again that this trip is longer than a few days. Otherwise we’re just running around, taking quick pictures of everything that we think we’ll want to remember before moving on to the next old building or statue or fountain without really taking anything in. But, I suppose, there’s so much to see in the world and not enough vacation time sometimes.

While walking down the shopping street Via del Corso, I spotted some colourful tights and had to buy them. I have not been able to find any in Toronto. If someone knows where good-quality tights for petite girls can be bought there please email me. Salespeople appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum: Either they’re really nice and friendly even when you try on 6 different pairs of shoes and leave without buying any or they make rude faces when you say you want 2 pairs of knee-high socks, which you hardly wear in any case, instead of 5 despite their buy-4-get-1-free offer.

Later in the day I got a haircut at a salon that had amazing reviews. I had scheduled it almost as soon as I got into town so I was kinda looking forward to it. The guy who cut my hair understood that I love the curls and want to nurture them and allow them to bloom. He was very enthusiastic about the whole thing, made great conversation and I loved his style–Oh, before I forget, let me mention a little incident that took place at lunch at a pizzeria, where I had a simple and yummy thin crust pizza marinara. The waiter, a young-looking guy, seemed, er, smitten judging by the way he lingered near my table every few minutes making sure I didn’t need anything else and that the food is good, and won’t I please let him bring me some dessert? At the end of the meal I took a picture of his artwork on my table’s paper “tablecloth.” (Is there a word for that?)

After styling my hair, the hairstylist stands me up and brushes hair off me while saying, “You should come back here to get your hair done for your new year’s eve party.”
“I might,” I respond. “I’ll come to have it done before I go back, at least.”
“Okay, good, good. Come back on Saturday though.”
“I probably will.”
“Then maybe we can go for a drink, yes? Oh, you must be busy.”
Awkward silence.
“You must be busy,” he repeats.
“Well, <<name removed>>, I would go but you’re wearing a ring.”
“A what?”
“A ring.”
“A ring?”
“Yes.” I point to the gold band on his left ring finger.
“Oh…”
“Mmhmmm. I assume it’s a wedding ring.”
“Oh you assume it’s a wedding ring…? Heh.”
“Yep.”
He remained nice and friendly though.

So far I have come across, walked by, bought souvenir books from quite a few Romeos. I keep my cellphone’s earphones plugged in with nothing playing. It lets people know not to bother. Oh, except when two ladies needed help with directions to the Trevi Fountain this evening. They were so grateful…I just hope I didn’t send them the wrong way. On a somewhat related note, I’ve been stopped and spoken to in Italian many times now. I’m assuming that means people are assuming I’m a local here; is that correct? That can’t be bad, right?

4 thoughts on “In Rome: In Romeo’s Country…

  1. This is so great!!
    i am so happy you took a relaxed trip and are into it so well.
    Hope to talk to you in Italian when you are back.
    Papa

    1. Thank you, Roberta! I suppose I will be doing the same, with the Galleria Borghese. (Stunning is right!) Two hours are not enough to appreciate the beauty it contains.

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