Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

Archive for June, 2009

The Arrival

Posted by Ben on June 28, 2009

Post for Friday 6/26/09:

This was going to be a long day.  Our bus left this morning at 6:30, so we were all up bright and early.  The bus ride itself was fairly uneventful with most people sleeping for a large portion of it.  We made a couple of quick stops along the way for stretching and lunch, and eventually made it to Rome around 3 pm.  Our bus driver got a little lost in the city so we got to ride around for a while before finally getting to the Grand Hotel Palatino.  After a short time to get settled in the rooms, the learning commenced again.  We went across the street and up some steps and arrived at the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, which houses the chains of Saint Peter.  The church also contains Michelangelo’s Moses, originally to be part of the Tomb of Pope Julius II.



From there, we walked down the street and suddenly were presented with a view of the Colosseum as we turned a corner.


We didn’t go inside the Colosseum this afternoon, just walked around the outside until we made it to the Arch of Constantine.


From there we went to the Circus Maximus to have a short lecture about some of the sites we had already seen.  Making a big loop around the outside of the Forum and the Palatine Hill, we came to a small courtyard right outside the Mamertine Prison where we sat and watched a performance of “The Life of Michelangelo” by The Miracle Players.  Here’s a picture of the character of Pope Julius II


The play was very good and really funny.  We then headed back to the hotel for dinner.  After that, a few of us went out to look at some of the monuments that were lit up at night.  This picture of the Colosseum is one of my favorites so far from this trip:


Tomorrow is the Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill, and Capitoline Museums!

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The Respite

Posted by Ben on June 27, 2009

Post for Thursday 6/25/09:

Today offered us a brief pause in our adventures.  Before our class, which had been scheduled for 10 am, I went out into the garden of the Villa to take some pictures.



During the morning section, we analyzed a brief passage from Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic Wars.  We then went across the street to the church to see the ancient inscription there


In the middle of the stele, you can make out a reference to the ancient name of the town: Primo Subinus.  We also saw the baptistry in the town, which is the oldest standing ecclesiastical building in Switzerland.  After a short break for lunch, we headed back to the Temple of Santa Croce in town for another class session


After class, we had a little bit of free time before dinner, so a friend and I explored Riva a little more and found a cemetery up the street.  It was beautiful and seemed much more well kept than the typical American cemetery.


I used most of the rest of the day to catch up on some reading and other assignments for class and fell asleep pretty early, knowing that the bus for Rome would be leaving at 6:30 the next morning.

Next will be the trip and first afternoon/evening in Rome!

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Posted by Ben on June 27, 2009

Sorry folks, I’ve been really busy the last few days and haven’t had time to put up anything new.  Don’t worry though, more is on the way.

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The Inscription

Posted by Ben on June 24, 2009

This morning, after breakfast, we got on the same train to Como that we took yesterday.  After making our way through the heart of the city and past the Duomo, we got to the Museo Civico, home to a number of remarkable ancient Roman inscriptions.  We were given a scavenger hunt of sorts and asked to find different portions of inscriptions throughout the museum.  Once this task was accomplished, we were given some time to explore the museum on our own.


There was a really pretty statue in the center of the courtyard of the museum


We then walked though some of the exhibits in the museum, including some pre-Roman artifacts, even an Etruscan inscription from the Como area.  One of the coolest things there was a bust of the Emperor Augustus


We also took a nice group shot in the gardens before leaving the museum


By the time we finished at the musuem, the Duomo was closed until 3pm, so we decided to have lunch at a square down by the lake.  After lunch and feeding the hordes of pigeons, a friend and I decided to take the Funicular train up the side of the mountain.  It was a little wierd as there were two trains running on a single track which you think you’re going to collide with until you get close


The 4.5 Euro cost for the round-trip ticket was definitely worth it, the views from the top were spectacular.


You can kinda make out where the ancient city walls were.  They are marked by the long rows of trees around the center of the city on three sides.  After going back down the mountain, we made our way over to the Museum to Alessandro Volta


By this time, the Duomo had opened again, so we all convened there.  On the facade of the cathedral, there were statues of the two Plinys, both from Como.  There were some very impressive statues and stained glass windows inside the cathedral


We still had a little time after exploring the cathedral, so a friend and I walked around the city and found one of the ancient towers


After this, we finally met up again and headed back to Riva on a train.

Tomorrow we have class in the Villa again, and I plan to explore Riva a little more since it will be our last day there 😦

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The Surprise

Posted by Ben on June 23, 2009

We found out late yesterday afternoon that we’d be taking an unscheduled trip into Milan today.  We left the Villa right after breakfast to catch a train to Como, where we’d switch to one going to Milan.  We got to Como with no problems, but once there, found out that our connecting train was running late.  We waited for about 45 minutes, but eventually it did arrive.  The train was packed when we got on, so most of us ended up standing for the entire ride, even though we theoretically had reserved seats.  All of the trouble was worth it though.  The Milan train station was very cool and had some great relief sculptures up on the walls.


After a short ride on the Metro to the Duomo station, we emerged into the Piazza del Duomo, which had a really cool statue (of Vittorio Emanuele II) nearby:


However, the true draw of the Piazza was the Duomo itself.  The Duomo is a huge Gothic cathedral built over the course of several hundred years.  Construction began in 1386, and wasn’t really complete until 1965.


Here are a couple of close-ups from the front:



Unfortunately, cameras weren’t allowed inside the cathedral, and I didn’t have my handy (and sneakier) pocket sized camera due to pickpocketing concerns, so I don’t have any photos from inside.  To make up for this though, a few of us went up to the top of cathedral.  We took an elevator up and came out right below where the flying buttresses come out of the outer walls.


We were able to make it all the way up to the roof of the cathedral which was really cool and was apparently being set up for some sort of opera performance.


One of the coolest things though was that there was so much sculpture, even up here where no one would be able to see it from the ground


We decided to take the stairs back down, which was quite a trip.  Walking down the street past some of the shops, we came across a Roman sculpture with two Latin inscriptions


One of our last stops of the day was the church of San Babila, built in the 11th century.  It had a cool mosaic above the main entrance:


We all managed to make it back to the train without any trouble and headed back to Riva in time for dinner.

Tomorrow we travel back into Italy to visit Como!

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