We thought we’d get an early start and go see the Popes’ Vaults under St. Peter’s.
Ha! You wouldn’t believe the lines. Miles and miles of people waiting to get into the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s. So, we just hung out at a café until it was closer to our reservation time for the Borghese Gallery, which we were going to that afternoon.
Repeating an earlier tip: Get reservations for museums when you can. I got reservations for the Borghese online a few weeks before we went. When we got to Italy, there weren't any reservations available, so get them as soon as you know you want to go. We missed out on the Uffizzi Gallery because I didn't request reservations early enough--they needed to be at least a month in advance.
That afternoon we went to the amazing Galleria Borghese.
It houses the collections of Cardinal Borghese, who was an early patron of Bernini’s.
I’m not very good at describing art, so I won’t even try. But it was at the Borghese that I got a new appreciation and love of sculpture.
Bernini was the master of capturing emotion in stone. I could stare at these forever. The photos are from the Borghese website and the links take you their description:
Apollo and Daphne He captures Daphne turning into a tree after she begged her father to turn her into something less attractive to Apollo. His hand is around her waste which is already formed into a trunk. And her hair and finger tips are turning into limbs and leaves. It's amazing.
David This David is very different from Michelangelo's David. This one is full of action and determination.
The Rape of Proserpina was my favorite. You can see the way her hand is moving the skin up as she is pushing him away and the dimples created in her skin by how tightly he is holding onto her, plus the tear on her cheek. It’s moving and breath-taking.
There were also, as you can imagine, some amazing paintings.
Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love
Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath
The Gallery is on the Villa grounds, which are beautiful. It was nice to have a green area to walk around in for a while. When you’re in a large city like Rome, there aren’t that many green spots.
That night was very special. We went to a concert of opera arias at Chiesa di San Paolo Entro le Mura, or the Anglican Church of St. Paul's in the Walls. The concert was presented by I Musici Veneziani.
I know a little about singing but I don’t know much about opera, other than the biggies, which luckily they sang. We heard arias from Figaro, the Barber of Saville, La Triviata, La Boheme, Carmen, and Rigoletto. This was one of the highlights of the trip. Here's the inside of the church:
The next day we were heading for Venice. Our first train ride in Italy! I almost couldn’t sleep I was so excited. I love trains. And I was really excited about seeing Venice.