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Published: June 21st 2009
The weather has finally started to agree with me!
After a solid month of clouds, rain, and cold, I can finally say that it is too hot to wear pants. Shorts are a necessity, and no matter how much walking I am doing, thongs (this trip has been an immersion in Aussie culture, and they call them thongs not flip flops) are being worn. My skin tone is no longer a sort of opaque cream, and I can finally dress how I do back home...such a relief!
I would like to start the debriefing of Rome by apologizing to my Catholic friends. If my short anecdotal of the history of Rome and its Churches that was my last post, affended you in anyway I am...actually, you know what, im not apologizing, this has been a long time coming. Consider this reimbursement for the incessant Jewish jokes.
In order to help you understand the magnitude of Rome, I feel a simple history lesson is in order. All you need to do, is take a look at the map here, and realize how much they conquered:
Rome, being the capital of this huge empire, consits of many magnificent objects and stuctures stolen from these conquered areas. So, I will surmise Rome by narrowing the city down to three items:
1) Magnificent structures from before the Catholic immersion of Rome:
The Roman Forum. The Palatine hill. Circus Maximus (where chariot races and other events were held). The Parthenon (the most amazing pagan temple from 200 that is smack dab in the middle of the city, that was converted to...a church) The spanish steps. The platforms and temples where Socrates, Plato and Sophocles (to name a few) philosiphized. The senate building where the first democracy was created. The spot where Julius Caeser spoke and died. The Colliseum were Russel Crowe Fu$%!e(MISSING)d sh!t up, and countless pillars and walls surrounding every area of the city.
Walking through these historic buildings it was very easy to imagine how beautiful these marble beheamoths once were, and how unfair it was of the Catholic Church to essentially destroy them.
2) Catholic Church and Vatican City:
Vatican city is a magnificent complex. The city is essentially St. Peters Basillica, the sistine chapel, some apartments for the men of the cloth, and a huge museum of accumulated works of art from thousands of years and hundreds of different places.
There are, however, some strange things about this city.
For one, it represents the Catholic Church, yet you find thousands of Pagan statues and pieces of art. Everything from statues of Greek and Roman gods, to frescos painted by Raphael and Michaelangelo (Leonardo and Donatello join them in Florence), depicting the foremost thinkers of the world. I found this startling because these thinkers (i.e. Aristotle, Gallileo, Socrates) were Pagans who did not follow relgion, but science, something that I have always thought contradicted the very premise of religon.
Art is a central theme in the city. As you walk through the buildings, every wall, every ceiling, ever floor is ordained with the the most beautiful works of art, from frescos and tapestries, to statues and mosaics.
The one thing, however, that stood out the most for me (besides what I will say about St. Peters Basillica), was private study room of a previous Pope. This Pope ordered Rapheal to paint the two walls with two polar opposite frescos. Just like the contradiction I mentioned above, one side was painted depicting all the philosiphers, scientist and thinkers of the world, and the other was the creation story, the old testament, and the coming of JC. Very contradictory, no?
The tour guide said a quote that "justifies" these seperate items being one, I will paraphrase it."The Catholic Church views Science/Philospohy, and Religion, as two branches leading to the same tree. "
Doesn't something simple like the story of creation make this impossible?
Incidentally (does this word work here?), I would like to mention some facts about the largest church in the world, St. Peters Basillica:
Fact: IT IS HUGE, no building needs to be this big.
FACT: All of the marble, and bronze that make up the grandeur of this Church was stolen from all the ancient Roman temples and buildings, like the Colliseum, and the Parthenon.
FACT: I WOULD HAVE MUCH RATHER SEEN THE COLLISEUM AND ROMAN FORUM ETC... IN ALL ITS GLORY THAN A CHURCH BIGGER THAN QUALCOMM STADIUM.
3) The last thing that I would like to say about Rome is... Fat Joe:
Walking up the Spanish Steps I saw Fat Joe (who was performing in Rome ), walking around with his posse. It was really funny, because they are so fat they were having some trouble making up the steps. It was strange that I was the only one to recognize him, because I definintely do not know or like any of his stuff, but it was still funny to see him.
So, that was Rome. Big city, lots of churches and ancient buildings, fake designer clothes, and amazing pasta.
Today is my last day in Florence. I have enjoyed the city of the Renaissance, but not as much as I thought. The best part of the city is that Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Raphael, all lived here and painted by day, and fought Shredder by night.
(Why is Splinter not a famous painter, where did they come up with his name?)
Also, the city is full of young college girls studying abroad. Im not complaining, but once again, I did not come to Europe to hang out with American girls.
I am glad im here, but in all honesty, the city is for women. I appreciate art, and respect the artistic qualities of clothes and accesories. But I can't spend three days visting museums and looking at designer handbags...this city is for women, and wealthy, metro men.
If it was not for the hostel I am staying at I might have left for Rimini a day early. With a steam room, sauna and pool, I can, will, and have entertained myself this way.
I leave for Rimini tomorrow. It (supposedly) is where all the German and Northern Europeans go to vacation. I will be on the beach for three days, then in the swiss alps, and finally Paris.
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