Monday, January 18, 2016


We've become pros at riding the bus in Rome!
We started off the day by visiting a Garibaldi monument (and Mike was very enthusiastic about it, as per usual). The monument is located on Janiculim Hill, which is where we spent a large portion of the day. The Garibaldi monument portrays the glory of capturing Rome in the revolution after Pope Pius the ninth had fled (the first war of independence). However, the pope had called on Austria and France to bail him out. Janiculim hill (which has a beautiful view of the city, by the way, with the Vatican on one side of the hill and Trastevere on the other) was the spot where Garibaldi's republican movement was defeated, and the coinciding battle is commemorated there. 12 years later, the unification movement was revived in the second war of independence. The French army continued to defend the Papal States, but when the Prussians invaded France, French soldiers abandoned the Pope and Rome finally became a part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1870.  

We met up at the monument with a friend of Lynn's, Line Engh from the Norwegian Institute in Rome, who led our tour for the day. We also read an article by Line on the image of Mary due today (so she's sort of a big deal). 

We also saw a statue of Anita Garibaldi, Garibaldi's Brazilian wife, who was on horseback and clutching her child while searching for Garibaldi amongst fallen soldiers in a battle. We found out Anita actually fought alongside Garibaldi in Northern Italy against the Austrians (she was sort of a badass). Mike made a connection that the baby Anita was carrying could be a symbol of Italy.

We continued on Janiculum Hill and came across a fountain called Acqua Paola, which used to be an important acquaduct for the community. The waterfalls were actually functional in filtering the water for drinking. We've learned that the water in Rome is pretty excellent (far superior to the nasty taste in Agrigento). Water was a major source of power for the Romans, which is why those who tried to conquer Rome would also try to knock out their aqueducts. 

Line took us to see the Norwegian Institute next. The Institute is connected to the University of Oslow, but students from other schools in Norway also spend time there. It's purpose is to provide resources and space for students to further their studies in Rome and is largely focused on the humanities. We were definitely all tempted to enroll at the University of Oslow just to enjoy the beautiful view from the Institute. 

Because we all just love Garibaldi, we also saw a war memorial where his bones are kept. We noted the fascist font on the monument and recognized that it was a burial place without one Christian symbol. Focused instead on the power of the Roman Empire, the monument features an eagle, lion, and wolf. 

We briefly saw the church of San Pietro in Montorio, which some think is the site of St Peter's crucifixion (but like most religious history, it's highly debated). The courtyard was tiny but beautiful, and while we couldn't enter, we were able to see a small matryium (a tomb) built by Bramante. The dome is actually older than St. Peter's!

Passing the stations of the cross from the 1950s, we made our way down to Trastevere, which used to have a heavy population of Jews and early Christians (it was hard to distinguish back then). A lot of poor people lived in the neighborhood between 1950 and 1990, but since then, it's been gentrified and is a hip area in Rome to eat and drink, especially in the summer. We ended up having our group lunch at a great pizza place and watched Mellen easily consume six slices (it might even have been more...) 

Well nourished, we headed next to Santa Maria in Trastevere (busy day, right???) The church was founded in 350 AD and was dedicated to Mary, likely making it the oldest Marian church in Rome. In the 12th century, the church was torn down and rebuilt. While most churches in Rome turned into baroque churches, this one stayed pretty medieval looking, which I definitely enjoyed. 

We talked a lot here about Mary (well duh, it's called Santa Maria), but in the 12th century, Maryology really exploded! For the first time, Mary was considered almost as important as Christ, and many parallels are drawn between Mary and Christ, referring to Christ mothering us and giving birth to us. Inside, on the apse, Mary and Christ are actually sharing the same throne (pretty big deal). Line explained to us about medieval marriage and some really weird and confusing but cool ways that the apse and Psalm of Songs depict Mary as the church and the people, being embraced by Christ, the divine. We learned that that same throne image is found in Santa Maria Majore, the church where many of us went to mass since it right near our hotel! 

Line told us a lot about this super cool parable of the foolish and wise virgins, which is likely depicted in the top of the church. Lesson learned from the parable: Always be well-stocked with oil (Jk, be prepared for the coming of Christ). 

We finally made our way out of the cold and onto our lovely warm, smelly bus. But first we ventured through the Jewish ghetto (properly called the Piazza) of Rome. This area was infiltrated with Nazis during Mussolini's time, and many Jews who lived there were taken outside of Rome and eventually, to Auschwitz. Those  from the area who lost their lives in the Holocaust are commemorated with bras cobblestones throughout the area. 

On a more positive note to finish, we all also stepped inside a community bread baking oven (no worries, it isn't functional anymore). 

Signing off,
Molly Kearns

Note to self: Wear even more layers tomorrow. Brrrrrrrrrrr. 

No comments:

Post a Comment