Monday, November 21, 2016

Italy Day 3: Pantheon, Palaces, and St. Paul's Outside the Walls

Today we cabbed (to save our feet some) to the Pantheon to start our day. 

It was so tall!  It is really amazing what the Romans built. 

From here, we walked around the corner to Santa Maria sopra Minera, which was built on the site of a former pagan temple to Minerva. 

(an Egyption obelisk sits atop an elephant by Bernini in front of this church).

It's unassuming front masks that this church is Rome's one gothic church.

It was beautifully painted as it would have been in the middle ages,

with a blue starry sky with Saints and angels.

 This church also has a Michelangelo piece next to the altar,  Christ Bearing the Cross,

as well as the body of Saint Catherine of Siena underneath the altar (but more on her, and her head, when we get to Tuscany).

I saw lots of churches with such relics on this trip, including in the Brasilia Santa Francesca Romana.

This church was built in the second half of the tenth century, but incorporates part much older, including an eight century oratory, as well as newer.

(The façade and this lovely porch are from the 1600s)

Speaking of old, the church houses the Madonna Glycophilousa, an early 5th century hodegetria.

A small crypt accessible from the altar holds the body of Santa Francesca of Rome, dressed with a book in her hand. 

We had actually already visited the church on Day 2 as it is right outside the Roman Forum, but we could not get into the crypt so we decided to add it to our planned activities for Day 3.  As it was a bit of a detour, we stopped into one of the planned churches of the day, the Gesu church--the center of the Jesuit order, consecrated in 1584, on our way down.

This church was very interesting from a historical standpoint, both because its façade is a precursor to the baroque style of church, but also for the art inside, which is full of symbolism of the Catholic counter reformation.

The ceiling, the Triumph of the Name of Jesus, was particularly beautiful, the cross with the Jesuit symbol bathes the faithful in light as they ascend, while the infidels fall off on their way to hell.

It had quite a bit of propaganda, including a nun whipping the infidels into shape.

 which is a part of the tomb of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order.

After the detour to Santa Francesca Romana, we headed to my personal favorite of the day, an Italian palace, Galleria Doria Pamphilj.  The family that owns it descends from the nephew of a Pope--thus the start of the family's wealth.

Before touring, we had desserts in the elegant Doria café tea room.

I had a blooming tea and a cassata siciliana (a sponge cake with ricotta and fruits).

This palace had both gorgeous rooms and artwork.

After this we fit in the Church of San Ignazio, built between 1625 and 1650 in the baroque style, so an interesting comparison with the earlier Gesu church, which was its archetectual inspiration.

The most interesting thing in this church to me was also the ceiling, again for its historical interest. 

This ceiling fresco personifies Asia, Europe, Africa, and America as four women. 

(Africa--it looks like she has a tusk in her hand)

(Asia--I'm not sure what is going on here--she appears to be laying on a camel)

America was my favorite, depicted as a bare breasted Native American spearing a dude with a trusty cat creature looking on.
(What do you do when you run out of money before building a dome...paint in a fake (black) one!)

(Bellermine chapel dome)
After leaving the church, we walked up a side streets to some columns that were remnants left of a temple, but had now been built into the side of a wall.  I really was fascinated by the mix of ancient with new(er) throughout the city.

As we stopped for picture, we then looked down a side street,

and saw a cute little pizza place where we stopped for lunch--a personal pizza for each of us (it was huge!  I ended up just eating half).

After this second break (hey we were doing a lot of walking!), we walked up to the Spanish steps for pictures,

before catching the metro to the Protestant cemetery,

for pictures of the graves of Percy Shelley. 

and Keats.

After sitting in the cemetery for a bit looking at the Pyramid of Cestius (built circa 12 BC) and one of Rome's old city gates, Porta San Paolo,

we hoped back on the metro and went even further from the main part of town to see St. Paul's outside the walls, built in AD 340.

It was very large. 

St. Paul's sarcophagus is below the altar. 

This was the end of the sightseeing daytime, and we metroed back to the hotel to rest for  a bit.  We later cabbed to the Piazza Navona for dinner (as we watched street performers dance).

We walked to another Piazza, Campo d'Fiori, were we bought gelato to eat

while we strolled towards the Vatican for nighttime pics. 

(Castel Sant'Angelo)

(St. Peter's Basilica)

1 comment:

  1. Dang, we must have gotten to the Pantheon pretty early for it to have been so empty.

    Your photos of Santa Maria sopra Minerva are great. My camera went all wonky in there and so everything came out fuzzy. >:o. It also looks suspiciously empty, haha. What time did we wake up?!? :-P. Also, I notice that you did not include a photo of the fancy dress + quill pen skeleton that we found in Santa Maria sopra Minerva. :-P. You’re so respectful.

    The Gesu church was ridiculously beautiful.

    LOLing at your descriptions of the ceiling of Sant’Ignazio, especially Asia. (I don’t know what is happening there, either.)

    I ate my entire personal pizza and feel no shame because of the distances we were covering. :-P.

    You neglected to mention THE MOST IMPORTANT THING about the Protestant Cemetery… the kitties EVERYWHERE!! :-D :-D :-D!! Priorities, Carrie.

    Re: St. Paul’s Outside the Walls: “It was very large.” LOL. Understatement. :-P. And the entrance is so annoyingly far away from where you are when you first get to the church. Also, this was where I had a foot pain-related meltdown, so I feel obligated to acknowledge and apologize again. :-P. Coincidentally, this was also the evening I discovered that, if I drink enough wine with dinner, my feet go numb and I can walk for hours. Something to keep in mind for the future.

    Piazza Navona is still my favorite place on this planet even though I know you were underwhelmed and the food we had was only mediocre at best. :-P.

    Your nighttime shots at the Vatican turned out AMAZING.


Thank you so much for your comment! I hope you have a wonderful day :)