Roman Holiday

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More like Roman weekend! On Saturday morning I hopped onto a train in Milan central station and by 9 o'clock I was in the heart of Rome, ready to explore. I have just read "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown (I'm trying to read the whole saga before uni starts!): I found it brilliant and I couldn't wait to visit all of the places Robert Langdon went to in the novel. I decided to take a "Bernini tour" around Rome, to see this genius artist's major works of art.

First up was Santa Maria della Vittoria, with the famous and very controversial sculpture: the ecstasy of Saint Theresa.

On my way to the Quirinale square, our president's residence, I stumbled upon this really weird church facade. I remembered my art professor talking about it in class: this church was built by Francesco Borromini, Bernini's biggest rival. While they were both baroque artists, Bernini had more of a classical influence, while Borromini preferred structures to be extremely eccentric and flamboyant, as this church clearly shows!

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane
Piazza del Quirinale
A pretty "vicolo"
And as I got to Trevi square, prepared to be wowed once again with the beauty of the fountain, look what I found... Luckily, italians are inventive people so they left a small basin-like thing on the ground with a picture of the Triton statue for tourist to throw pennies in! Lol!

The fountain of Trevi ;(
Then I arrived at piazza Montecitorio, which hosts the government palace. It would take a whole other post to talk about the Stamina case (you can see protest banners in the bottom of the picture), but I was really disappointed that people still don't and don't want to realise how it's all a scam and the stem cells used are really harmful and cannot cure their diseases.

 And now to my favourite square of Rome: piazza della Rotunda, with its beautiful Pantheon.

I was getting quite tired of walking around by now, so I went to my favourite gelato place and asked for a medium coppetta. The guy serving it was really nice (in Milan everyone is so cold and distant!!) and put me an extra two scoops in. Must say I was really satisfied with my lunch.

My banana, blueberry (my fave), crème caramel and stracciatella gelato!
The Pantheon's oculus
Piazza Navona: where Bernini's Four Rivers fountain is located (fountain in which Langdon nearly drowned by the way!). The fountain is right in front of another Borromini church. I had a lovely time in this square, as this guy was playing and freestyling Santana's Europa on an acoustic guitar. I stood there watching him open-mouthed for a good five minutes, he was that good!

Church and obelisk in piazza Navona
Castel Sant'angelo (Illuminati lair!): all the statues on the bridge are Bernini's

Saint Peter's square
Finally, after getting to iconic Saint Peter's square I got into the Vatican museum and barricaded myself inside for a good 4 hours. I already had been there last year, but I just had to see Raffaello's rooms and the Sistine Chapel again. Here are only a few of the things I saw:

Aedipus and the sphinx 

The map corridor
La scuola dei filosofi - Raffaello
With the black beret on the right is Raffaello himself!
I only had half a day on Sunday so I had to literally run from place to place! I visited one of the first christian churches built in Rome (Santa Maria di Trastevere), then rushed to Villa Farnese to see some other frescos by Raffaello and hiked on the Giannicolo (one of Rome's many hills, this one was particularly steep) where the view was just stunning. Before going back to Termini station at 12 o'clock I passed by Saint Peter's square and there was the Pope at his window, praying with all the people and speaking reassuring words of peace regarding the many conflicts that are going on right now. It was the best way to end two hectic, but amazing days in Roma.

Santa Maria in Trastevere
Villa Farnese gardens
The rooftops of Rome
Apollo and Psiche's wedding - Raffaello 

A lemon tree in the gardens

The pope praying from his window!

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