Today was the final sightseeing day of our trip. Tomorrow we begin the long slog home, first a short flight to Barcelona, then Friday three legs to Amsterdam, Seattle and finally Portland. Thank you, dear reader, for following along on our adventure. It’s been fun to describe. I have to give Kay credit. Although I took some of the photos, the majority were hers.
Last night we had yet another great meal. This time at Ditirambo near the Campo di Fiori. We started with a glass of refreshing prosecco. For the primi we both had pappardelle with a rabbit ragu paired with a glass of great chianti. The pasta was fresh, the ragu was thick and rich and the Chianti was robust. For the contorni it was a salad of fennel, orange and pomegranate. Kay finished it off with a chocolate pudding with hazelnuts. I had a shot of Calvados which finished me off.
Today we saw the Ara Pacis, a first century B.C.E. altar built by Augustus to commemorate his subjugation of the “barbarians” to the north. It was an amazing piece of imperial propaganda with reliefs connecting him to the mythic founders of Rome and establishing his dynasty.
After a great lunch at a little trattoria we headed for the Borghese Gardens, Rome’s Central Park. It was a pleasant break from the traffic of the city. We had a coffee at a little outdoor café and enjoyed the placid scene. Our ultimate destination was the Borghese Gallery at the north end of the park. It contains three of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s most amazing baroque masterpieces, David, Apollo and Daphne, and the Rape of Persephone. At age 25 Bernini’s genius is fully evident. Unfortunately no cameras allowed so once again you’ll have to find an image of them. Apollo and Daphne is particularly mind bending. It captures the moment when Apollo grabs Daphne as she turns into a tree. Apollo seems to float in air his robe billowing. Daphne’s fingers and toes turn to branches and roots. Her legs become bark. In typical over the top Bernini style the piece captures all the movement, tension and emotion of the moment. It’s hard to believe it’s stone. Another highlight is Caravaggio’s painting of David with Goliath’s severed head. The face on the head is Caravaggio. What a morbid sense of humor that guy had.
On the walk home we went down the Spanish Steps. Crowded as ever it felt like a great way to end our trip. Kay’s in the picture somewhere. Can you find her?