We had the morning off while those taking the course for credit took their final exam. I started by getting a haircut (which is slightly traumatic in a foreign country, but it seems to have come out okay). I then visited Villa Farnesina down between Trastevere and the Vatican—there is a fresco of the Triumph of Galatea by Raphael on the first floor and a painting of the Marriage of Alexander and Roxana in Chigi’s bedchamber, among other things. It was a nice place to visit because there were not any crowds, so I could look at the paintings and walk in the gardens in peace. I then finished some shopping for Jamie before heading to Palazzo Barbarini. Unfortunately, I got there a bit late (I had to meet our group at 3, and I got to the museum around 2), and also had trouble finding the correct staircase to access the actual collections. So, I will have to go back later this week before I leave Rome (but that’s okay because it is free with our tesserae).
This afternoon we visited the Basilica of S. Clemente, which has a couple original Roman levels, a 4th century level, and a medieval level. We delved down into all the levels, which got a little claustrophobic at times (we weren’t allowed to take pictures). There was a cool quote from Leonard Boyle (a former Vatican librarian) on his grave there: “Omnia disce; videbis postea nihil esse superfluum; coartata scientia iucunda non est,” which means “Learn all things; you will see afterward that nothing is superfluous; constrained knowledge is not pleasant.” A number of us headed up the street afterwards to visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran (part of this church includes the Baptistry that Constantine built, and the church used to be the headquarters of the Pope before the Vatican was built). The church also has the original bronze doors from the Curia Iulia.
I then took the train back to the Centro; I grabbed some wine on the way from a neat place that lets you taste straight from the large metal containers and then get a full liter for a few euros. That went well with a tasty dinner of green beans & carrots, pesto pasta, chicken with cheese & potatoes with sundried tomatoes, and a coconut-chocolate cake.