I hope you enjoyed my little video tour of Sapienza. My friends and I spent a while filming all the little clips, including parts on the beach in Sicily!
This will be my last post on my year abroad blog. Everyone warned me, but my year abroad went by so quickly. It really feels like only yesterday I posted the farewell picture on Facebook and boarded the plane to Italy. With my final exams over (and successfully passed), I had some time to see all the final bits I wanted see in Rome. Friends came to visit me to celebrate their graduations/my end of exams and together we saw some of Rome’s ‘best bits’.
There is a statue in the gallery called ‘Apollo and Daphne’, sculpted by the world famous Bernini. I first saw this statue on the front of the Penguin copy of Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses‘ and I was amazed by it. For the last 5 years I have been hellbent on seeing it, but it was only during my last 2 weeks in Rome that I ventured to the Galleria Borghese. The statue in real life was incredible and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to see it. The rest of the bottom floor of the gallery is filled with more of Bernini’s statues, each of them just as amazing as the next. Another favourite was the statue of Aeneas’s escape from Troy.
Ostia is a little town outside Rome, with a metro style train running through it from Rome’s centre, so it is nice and easy to get to. It is split into two parts, old and new. The new one has a very popular beach and at the weekends the train is packed with parents clutching beach umbrellas and children holding footballs. The old one is the one I was more interested in, of course! Ostia used to be Rome’s major sea port, connecting the city to the Mediterranean basin. Although the sea is now a few kilometres out, the ruins of the town still stand and it has been turned into a tourist site. The best way to explain it is as a less famous, more rustic version of Pompeii. The site opens at 8:30am, so if you go then like I did, there is no one around. The tour guides don’t bother you, there are no hordes of tourists with cameras, or queues to get into buildings. When we went, there was some rubbish around the site and the statues in the mini museum could have done with a good dusting. However it didn’t detract from the magic of the place, or how surreal it was to be able to walk through the ruins of a temple alone, early in the morning, with nothing but sun and grass all around you. It felt like we had the whole town just to ourselves. There was also a fantastic rainstorm, wind, and 20C temperatures. After 3+ months of Italian sunshine, drought, and regular 36C heat, it was more than welcomed!
“Another day, another museum”sums up my final weeks in Rome. I was interested in the Capitoline museum because, in my opinion, the Capitoline hill is one of the most beautiful places in Rome. There is a long staircase leading up to the hill, flanked by the twin statues of Castor and Pollux, leading to a wonderful view over the Forums. So naturally I had to see the museum that is up there too. It was much bigger than the Galleria Borghese, and there were fewer statues I recognised in there, but all the same it was more than worth the 2€ I spent to get in. They had the original statue of the she-wolf with babies Romulus and Remus, which was good to see. That little image is stamped all over Rome, along with the title SPQR from the days of the Empire.
So, there it is! Thank you for reading and following me on this whirlwind year abroad. It has been such a rollercoaster, more incredible and fun than words can do justice to. I will DEFINITELY be back to see Rome and all the amazing people I’m leaving behind very soon.
Ciao a tutti xo