By Jasen Melnick
After an intense first week of early mornings, it was relaxing to have Sunday off from class. Instead we had morning meetings with Louise Fili to get individual feedback on our projects. After critiques the group went out to run errands or get lunch.
It’s not every day that you have an entire Sunday to wander the streets of Rome, and we wanted to make the most of it. Some of us headed out to the Capitoline Museum for its excellent selection of sculptures and ancient Roman carved lettering. At some point I thought people must consider us crazy for taking so many photos of the bases of sculptures and random walls, but the amount of lettering in the museum is vast, with a variety of typographic treatments we had not seen before. They also have an impressive collection of paintings, including several pieces by Caravaggio, Barbieri, and Rubens. One of the most impressive and moving pieces was the ancient equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, larger than life, which stood outside for over 1800 years before being moved inside for conservation. Its strong presence is felt immediately, and gold gilding can still be seen in the details.
Not to be outdone by the Capitoline, we went to take in the view of the Forum behind the museum, with the Arch of Titus and the Coliseum in view. We ate lunch in front of the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento and then later climbed the steps to take in an impressive skyline view of central Rome. The Museo Centrale is a massive building in its own right and I can’t help but imagine all of the ancient ruins carved out of similar shining white marble. Between the Museo Centrale and the Capitoline Museum is the beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara coeli, which also boasts an impressive view and respectively tall set of steps.
Most of our group met back in the hotel lobby in the evening, and we headed out to beautiful Trastevere neighborhood across the Tiber River. Some of the group went for drinks and the rest of us checked out a local spot, Carlo Menta. Our meals were amazing, with large portions and three courses for a very low price. None of us could really finish but we certainly tried. We headed back to the hotel after dark, and I wrapped up the evening with a delicious espresso from Sant’ Eustachio because why not, I’m in Rome!