Friday, October 18, 2013

Borghese Museum and Saint Teresa in Ecstasy

This morning we had two things going:  1) a National Transportation Strike which meant that getting anyplace could be a real problem and 2) we had reservations to tour the Borghese Museum.  On the first item we have a huge surplus of police in the city because of the March and Rally that are taking place. 
The people feel that too much preference is given to the wealthy people and are doing an organized protest today.  They estimate an extra twenty thousand people here from all over the country for this event. 
Our second event was easy; we got a taxi to the Museum and actually walked part of the way home before reaching a Metro that was running even though the sign on the entry said it was closed.  The Borghese Museum is one of those “must do visits” when in Rome and is located in the center of a beautiful park.  It is by appointment only and one must check everything; purses, cameras, etc.   You have a two hour window with your appointment and must leave at the end of the time scheduled.   So…no photos inside! 
  My favorite is Pauline Borghese Bonaparte….yes Napoléon’s relative; relaxing on a couch that looks so soft that if you touched it with your thumb you would leave an imprint.   The sculpture is by Canova.   We took advantage of the whole two hours to see the entire museum in depth.  Easy for me to do as I’ve been there four times before.
After leaving the museum we walked down through the park through the ancient city walls to Via Veneto, a street of very expensive hotels, shops and restaurants that have glass enclosed eating areas on the sidewalks.   Always fun to walk down; at the head of the street is Harry’s Bar; it seems like there is one in every major city in the world these days.   There were twice as many police in this area!   But since they are protesting the distribution of wealth this would be an area that they might target.
We walked all the way to Piazza Barberini where we found the Metro Station.  The sign said it was closed but since a few people were coming up we went down.  Yes…there were trains running and we caught one to Termini Station.   There are very few buses running today.  Normally the streets are packed with buses but not today.  The main bus station outside of Termini was almost empty.
Walked to the Hostel where Mary was waiting for her outing; she’d been to the Borghese Museum in 2009 and decided not to go this morning.  Bonnie and Jane were off by Metro to the Colosseo.  Mary and I walked several blocks to visit two different churches.  The first one was the Church of Santa Maria Delia Vittoria that has the famous altar by Bernini with “Saint Teresa in Ecstasy”.  
The angel has just pulled out the arrow that had stabbed her:  “God’s arrow of fire”.  Very interesting.  The patrons that had paid for the altar are part of the scene as they have box seats on each side of the altar; admiring the scene before them. 
Our second church was located in the ancient Baths of Diocletian on the Piazza Repubblica.   Michelangelo at the age of 86 years worked on plans for making these ancient ruins into a church; it was one of his last projects.  It was years later that the church was actually made inside of the mammoth structure.  These were the largest baths in the Roman Empire according to the accounts that we read.  Mary and I had attended Easter morning Mass here in 2009. 

Back to the Hostel for some time to rest and relax.  Thought about going out to see the city sites with the lights on but have decided to play it smart and wait until tomorrow night.
Hope you enjoy the slide show: 

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