One of the nicest things about being somewhere for a semester rather than for a vacation is that one doesn’t feel compelled to go out in the rain.
Rome is showery today – and since I don’t have anything to do before Italian lesson at 2:15 (no HWS classes on Fridays, now that the students are out of Intensive Italian), I can stay home and read!
I just hope one of those sunny moments happens about 2 . . . .
Wow – I feel a good bit better this morning (I’ve been battling a head cold this week). And today is without students – my only commitment is Italian lesson. I’ve done a lot of talking this week and I need some rest.
I’d go that far.
In service for the Food and Culture in Italy course (being taught by our GustoLab partner, Sonia Massari) we visited Eccelenze Campane, which is kind of hard to describe. The name means Campanian Specialities or Excellences. It’s a foodie paradise for organic, fresh, and local stuff in Campania – a combination of grocery store, restaurant, and production center. We watched people making mozzarella and ricotta di bufala – and then got to eat it. Wow. We watched people making pasta – and some of us ate that for lunch (I had alici fritti, myself – yum, yum). We watched and helped people making pastries – and you see me eating a sfogliatelle with a filling made with fresh ricotta di bufala. It was over the top good, and I finally understand how they get all the flaky layers!
We had a cloudy, showery day until the late afternoon, and Vesuvius never cleared off. But then again, it didn’t do this, either, for which I am profoundly grateful.
John Wright of Derby, Eruption of Vesuvius in 1774. Wikimedia Commons
and LOTS of pictures to file and post.
Also, commentary on the young man from Bates College who died last week.
Christine, my colleague, asked me some day this week if there was anything in Rome I was over (though she put it more gracefully). I had to admit that I don’t go to the Colosseum except with students. You come visit me in Rome, I’ll point out that the Metro stop is called “Colosseo” and that admission to the monument costs €12 – but your ticket will get you into the much more interesting Forum and Palatine.
I dunno – it’s structurally very interesting, if you’ve never thought about that kind of thing before; Romans had been building things like this for more than a century, since the Theater of Pompey. The gladiator shows and beast shows tell us a lot about the unpleasant side of the Romans (human sacrifice and animal-torture?). The only thing that really interests me are the legally established seating arrangements – if you walked into the Flavian Amphitheater you would see senators (and Vestal Virgins) down front, the Equites (Knights) behind them, and then regular citizens. Slaves and women to the rear!
I could explain that at any number of sites, but I will say that everyone seems to enjoy at least one visit to the Colosseum. I just kind of wish I didn’t have to go, too! I hope that didn’t come across – unlike the poor fella at Rutgers who explained he was not teaching the “Human Aggression” course voluntarily, because it isn’t really his field. Never admit your weakness! You always know more than they do. God knows I know more about the Flavian Amphitheater than I care to tell my charges. On to the Ara Pacis tomorrow! THAT I care about.
I’m feeling much better – I had a cold (I wish I could blame the tour of the Fori Imperiali, but I have spent too much time walking in the rain this semester to believe that!). Lots of sleep helped. And Friday I wore sunglasses for the first time this semester; not that there haven’t been some days when I could have used them, but I had gotten out of the habit of shoving the case into my bag. Yesterday my hyacinth (I guess) bloomed, too – one of those little things that makes a rental apartment in Rome feel like home.
NOW I’m cranky. I woke up at 5.30 this morning with a dry mouth. I had a drink of water and went back to bed – having noticed that it was not raining. My alarm went off just before 7. I was still lying in bed when the DOWNPOUR began.
7.32 and it’s still raining hard – and I have a rendezvous with my class at 9 a.m. at the foot of the Vittoriano to walk around the Imperial Forums. Couldn’t it have waited until 11, when I would be home and Christine’s INDOOR class would be in session?
Ah, the lovely column base of Antoninus Pius – it was the base for a triumphal or commemorative column, and shows the apotheosis of Antoninus Pius (emperor 138-161, between Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius) and his wife Faustina. I’m always charmed by how unconvincing I find their pose on the back of the winged figure flying them to Olympus. And . . . in restauro.
We’re beginning to see the sun occasionally!
Sunday late morning – lovely mist!Monday morning. What?
I live close to the river, but on the fourth floor. But someday this rain will end.
High water – look at the far bank - it’s usually about 4-6 feet above water level, and it was lapping the edge that day. There were some places it was up onto the running track.
. . . and ended in the sun! That was our visit to the Roman Forum. Morning rush hour on Monday proceeded in a downpour. By the time we got into the forum itself I was wet from the knees down (though not my feet!). Then the rain stopped! Well, mainly. I re-opened my umbrella a few times. But the forum as as empty as I have ever seen it.
And the students held up without any grumbling – an excellent first class day! As I told them, the weather is unlikely to get any worse than that. Though it did snow in 2012!
Wow – our students arrived last Thursday. They received their January bus passes on Friday. I was escorting one to a pharmacy this evening and we were checked by the transit police – she didn’t have hers (and admitted to me that she couldn’t find it this morning). She also told me that one of her roommates has lost hers already as well. €35 apiece down the drain – and now they have to cover themselves till February 1!. A monthly cost €35. A weekly cost €24. I think a day pass is €6, and a one-time-ride is €1.50 (I know the last one is right because I bought her one to get home – then she decided to take a cab because she’s not sure of the connections in Prati). I loaned her the cash to pay her €50 (otherwise it turns into a €100 citation to be payed at a post office later).
But you know, it’s all better if it happens in Rome!
I’m feeling physically tired, a little put out with the organization on the part of our Italian partners, and a little apprehensive about the weather for outdoor teaching this week – but this helps a lot on a Sunday afternoon.