Rome part 2, and Turin.
I’m catching up! By the time we’re home 2 months I may be finished, oops.
Our last day was split between the Vatican museum and the Borghese Gallery. Earlier in the week we wandered through an Impressionist, Expressionist and Abstract exhibit at the Galleria Nazionale we were getting a lot of art education. I did a little study of Expressionism at High school, and was excited to see original works from some of the artists I had referenced, but I think D wasn’t impressed. D however was impressed by the Raphael rooms at the Vatican.
The Vatican was extraordinarily busy, full of people shuffling along eager to see the Sistine chapel. D and I were short of time, but opted to take the ‘long’ way to the chapel, which took us into the Raphael rooms and through some galleries full of Matisse and Dali. Imagine the other tourists missing these wonders! The chapel itself was a bit like the Pantheon- the atmosphere that should have been there was obliterated by sheer number of people. Several guards stood watching, with one bellowing “Silence, No photos please” every time the noise levels crept, or someone was stupid enough to hold a camera within sight of him. It saddened me a bit to see such works displayed like this.
The Borghese Galleries are situated in the Borghese gardens and required us to book in advance. D initially booked for 1pm, which was not bright as there was no way we could do both the Vatican and the galleries. He was then too embarrassed to call up and change to the only other available time- 5pm, and made me do it. Silly D! Walking through the park was lovely, and if we had more time I would love to spend a day just here, reading a book or hiring a pedal car and exploring.
We queued up to get our tickets, then queued to check our bag in, as it was a requirement, the line was quite long- 10 mins at least. I know I sound like a grumpy witch, but what grinds my gears more than most other things are people who cut lines. As we reached the front of the line, a woman jumped in the line in front of us, she hadn’t queued at all. “Excuse me, the rest of us queued!’ I said, frowning. She justified that she had gone up to the gallery, and been turned away and asked to check her bag in, which is the lamest excuse- if she was too idiotic to see that no bags were allowed in given that signs said it in English, Italian and French (she was Italian, and spoke English) then she damn well should queue up! Grrrr.
D and I probably spent a little too long reading the information sheets and looking at the works, as we realised that two hours (the maximum time allowed in the gallery) was not enough time to see all the rooms. We both particularly liked the Bernini Statues – he had amazing attention to detail. We were also struck by the Romans fascinations for rape in paintings and statues. Alas, No pictures allowed.
Dinner was at a slightly pricier restaurant than usual but was very tasty, sharing a foccacia pizza, gnocchi and a few glasses of wine (for me of course). Our trip out of Rome was on the train I wrote about earlier, with the crazy arsehole waking us up.
Turin, or Torino is a small city in the north of Italy, which was apparently the capital of the country before Rome. It is rich in history and culture, but by this stage D and I were so tired, we used the city as a rest period and slept. So we did not see much of the history, oops. Since the nightmare train arrived too early to check into a hotel, we left our bags in the lobby and explored the main street where we encountered a military parade. Many different regiments from all over Italy had come to Turin to celebrate 150 years of unification. This is part of a nine month celebration Turin is hosting. Wow, I have a friend who celebrates her birthday for a month, but nine- its celebrating the entire gestation period! I would like to return to Turin one day and explore it properly.
Next stop, Paris!