Monday, May 17, 2010


It's hard to believe that there can be any more marble left in the world after several millenia of Roman sculpture and building.  They didn't stint; those toes up there are about three feet long.  One can only imagine what the entire body looked like.  This head sitting around bodyless might help to picture it, and the hand just to its right, pointing heavenward:

The weird weather has had us wandering the streets and indulging in caffé sitting in between downpours, but this mutability of weather seems to reflect the mad mix of times, styles, histories in this city.

This morning we went out for coffee in the sun, came back to the apartment to change clothes and suddenly heard rain pouring from the sky.  Go figure.  Two days ago we had a walking tour of Roman architecture in the rain, beginning with the Richard Meier building housing the Augustinian Ara Pacis.  Go figure.

The Baroque churches butting up against the Fascist architecture of Mussolini, and the ancient Pantheon sitting among 16th century buildings.  Go figure.

There are hoards of people around, speaking every language I've ever heard along with some new ones.  It's extraordinarily frustrating not to be able to speak Italian, not to be able to ask for directions, talk about the weather, anything at all.  I've learned a few words and guessed others but I'd gotten used to being able to speak relatively comfortably in France and forgotten the feeling of being an outsider that lack of language gives you.  Learning some Italian will be on the list of things to do before my brain gives up the ghost.

Meanwhile we're part of the gaping crowds wandering from the Pantheon to Piazza Navona to the Borghese Gardens to the Spanish Steps.  Speaking of them, they're barely visible under the rear ends of the crowds sprawled from top to bottom.

I wonder what this fellow thinks as he looks out at the tourists crowding his piazza.

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