Remind me sometime to write a brief paragraph or two about the pronunciation of “ciao”. I’ve lived in Italy for almost a year and I STILL can’t say it right. That and arrivederci. And anything with a rolled R. My grandma always said that you can’t pronounce “N’awlins” properly unless you’re from there. I think “ciao” may be kinda the same. I’m getting there.
So here are some photos I took of Piazza Barberini.
Barberini has a super-convenient Metro stop. This is almost directly in front of the Capucini Crypts and the Hamburgheria in my next post. According the sign, it stops running at 9pm.
See that tiny little sign? Piazza Barberini. According to Wikipedia, Piazza Barberini was used for the public display of unknown corpses for identification. This practice continued until the 18th century. The Piazza was also home of the Palazzo Barberini, the home of the family of Pope Urban.
This poster has been all over Italy this summer. It’s for a Dutch movie called The Broken Circle Breakdown (in English or Alabama Monroe in Italiano). I haven’t seen it yet but it is on Amazon Prime. Part of me was really sad to see the billboard in such a beautiful square. It’s better than grafitti at least.
This is Fontana del Tritone. He was sculpted in 1642-1643 by Gian Bernini. Remember how I mentioned Pope Urban? This fountain pays tribute to him and to his family. See that object that sorta looks like a beehive? That is the papal tiara, the crown of the Pope. The bees are from the heraldic symbol of the Barberini themselves.
This photo illustrates how Rome masks construction from the public. If the giant advertisement was missing, you may not even notice the huge painted tarp.
Directly adjacent to the piazza, you can find the Cappuccini convent. I honestly cannot talk about this place enough. It was fantastic! Since our trip to Rome was interrupted by real-world responsibilities, our plans to see the Vatican and Colosseo were canceled. (Pope Francis, if you were less cool I’d feel pretty upset about the wasted reservation money, but luckily, you rock so I don’t mind making a donation.) We arrived in Rome at 2am having no clue what to do with ourselves while our friends adventured without us. Luckily an American lady at the breakfast bar recommended the convent to us.
This is the only picture I have. It is directly next to the hamburger restaurant. It begins with a museum dedicated to the lives of the Cappuccini monks. Reliquaries, items, histories, it’s all there. We even were fortunate enough to see a Caravaggio painting. Wow. The husband and kiddo got to see an actual monk entering the secret sanctuary. I was engrossed elsewhere and missed him.
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the sign above says ossuary and may have noticed that I said “crypt” earlier on in the post. What a crypt! At the end of the museum you pass through a hallway lined with a number of signs requesting silence and respect. The crypts are a holy place, after all.
Silent it was. The air was cool; the rooms were dim. Behind waist-high metal fencing, split into six chapels, were the remains of approximately 3700 monks. This wasn’t pile of bones, as you would find in the Parisian catacombs, but artistically arranged sculptures. Had I been permitted I would have taken 1,000 pictures of the crypts (I am an x-ray tech after all so bones really move me), but since photography was verboten, I abstained. If you really want, you can do a google image search to see photos, some taken illegally, and some official. Honestly, if you’re ever planning on visiting, I recommend NOT looking before you go. Go check it out for real! It’s stunning (and really and truly it is not morbid or disgusting. I could feel the love and care that went into these arrangements.) In case you need any extra incentive to visit the crypts, it was previously visited by the Marquis de Sade. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s a ringing endorsement, but it did feel strange to know that I was walking down a hallway that his royal awfulness had walked centuries prior. Maybe “incentive” isn’t the right word.
To the right of the Hamburgheria? Yet another new favorite doorway. A monkey. A giant grimace. Texture galore. Right up my alley. And inside? Nakedness alert, everybody- It’s Rome. Statues ain’t gotta wear clothes.
I walked in to take some pictures and the guard leapt out of his chair and rushed toward me. I held up my camera, pointed at the statues and said “Fotografia è va bene?” He stopped and smiled and told me that the statue wasn’t real. It was a reproduction. So here you go- a fake Apollo Belvedere (The real one is in the Vatican. Of course it is.)
To the right of fake Apollo, a giant tapestry. I can’t remember if it is real or not, but whether it is or whether it isn’t, it is real impressive, as they say.
I have no idea what is in this building. People kept coming and going. Residential, perhaps? Whatever it is, it has some fancy decor…
Across from fake Apollo- fake Artemis. You’d have to to go to Paris to see the real one. She’s at the Louvre.
Here’s the guard. Nice guy.
Here comes the end of the post. I’m trying something new. I’ve been avoiding posting pictures of us, just because this is the internet and we’re people, but since more family members have been wanting to see pictures of us, I’ve decided to start posting some. I may change my mind about this as time passes. But for now, our debut-
My guys. This is one of my favorite pictures of them because it captures them so well. The kiddo is a dreamer. He’s often staring off into the distance, thinking about worlds I’ll never visit. My husband is a talker. He likes spreading knowledge and explaining facts and details to anyone who will listen. See the bracelets? We were had by a street “vendor”. I use the term “had” loosely since we really weren’t had too hard.
Let me ‘splain. This has happened to us three times now. An African fellow will walk up to you to show you his wares. It might be carved wood sculptures, jewelry, or toys. You tell him no. He asks if you’re sure. You assure him that you are. He holds out a beaded bracelet or a tiny carved elephant or turtle. You say no. He insists and tells you it’s free. You decline once again. He insists some more. Fine, you finally say, taking whatever item he’s holding. Then he says “So can you spare some money? I just became a father today.”
Could the man be a brand spankin’ new daddy? Sure, he could be. Is he? Probably not. Do we mind giving him 2-3 Euro just in case? Not really. Ask me how many elephants and turtles we have… No wait don’t. (It’s 6.)
Honestly, the African gents are almost a pleasure to deal with. They’re always smiling and polite and they speak English quite well (because English is spoken in many parts of Africa). The guys from (I think) the Middle East are less pleasant. They will shove items in your hands and then insist that since you touched them you must pay for them. I’ve heard of women having thorny roses thrust into their hands and then forcibly removed from their grasp when they refused to pay. I haven’t experienced that luckily, but they are very pushy. You don’t have to be mean to them, but you can just walk away or firmly say “NO.” until they leave. I forget sometimes and I’m polite to them. They see politeness as an opportunity. They’re not very nice guys.
Finally, here’s all of us with our good friend Triton. See my wrist? I have a bracelet too.
Allora, questa è la vita.