Sunday, March 19, 2006

Week 8 in Rome


Spring break was good. Though I did do some work in the studio, I did
take a break from research and more academic pursuits.

After the trip south, Nathan, Valerie, and I explored the Catacombs of
San Callisto. Of all the catacombs in Rome, this is the the largest by
far with over 500,000 underground graves including some of the
earliest popes. We went down to the 2nd level 20 meters below ground.
There are two levels farther below that. It was very damp and cool
down there, but with the modern renovations, fortunately very light.

My friend Al came into town and we explored the Vatican museums and
some new collections I hadn't seen in my previous visits. I found a
room that isn't usually open that had micro mosaics in them. If you
checked out the pictures I sent earlier this week, there was a picture
of one next to my pinkie finger. They were truly amazing things. It
was also nice to just wander at will through the museums. Of course
it was pouring rain outside so it was nice to have the excuse to stay

We found a few good restaurants here in Rome. The roman institution
of Il Baffetto on Via Governo Vecchio where the owner sits you where
there are empty seats, regardless of people already being at the table
and yells out orders to the back room. Its not really a place to
linger as there is usually a line out the door by 7:45. Fortunately,
we beat the crowd and had some great wood fired oven pizza and had to
fight our way out the door.

We explored Campo de' Fiori by day with all the market stalls and had
an excellent cornetto (probably the best I've had.)

I excused myself from being a tour guide for a day and spent some much
needed time in the studio, yes, even though it was spring break.
Masterpieces don't paint themselves I guess. I thought I paid the
elves enough to get some work done, but they must be on strike with
all the Italians. It was a rare and lovely day spent completely alone
in the studio with some Miles Davis on the stereo. It was definitely
much needed. The lights did go out at the end. Italian electrical
panels seem to have definite personality.

The next day was spent taking Al around the shopping districts and
marveling at all of the men in kilts wandering the streets of Rome.
This week was the big rugby tournaments in Europe and Scotland and
Italy battled it out. Scotland apparently won in the last few minutes
of the game. Whew!

Of course I did my weekly pilgrimage to the Porta Portese market this
morning looking for untold treasures. I got 4 new pairs of socks and
a couple scarves. No big finds, but I'm also becoming more aware of
how I'm going to get all my stuff home. Though there were some pretty
amazing seashells that were being sold today for insanely cheap
prices. There were some the size of a football that were absolutely

I'm looking forward to getting back into class and resuming research
activities. We'll see how this next week goes. We will have a
visiting artist from the DC campus in this week. I'll be interested
to see how my work is received. I'll give you all the update next

In the meantime, I hope you are all doing well. Hope to hear from you soon.


P.S. I bought my tickets home and will be coming in the 31st of May,
via Ireland!

I want to live my life not by the regret of "what if", but by its
possibilities. -ME

What lies behind us and what lies before us are nothing compared to
what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson