Friday, March 30, 2018

Classical Italy Day 10: Last Adventures

The day started with the most relaxing morning thus far. After a supposedly easy morning time of 9:00 am - that proved not to be so easy with the approaching enemies of daylight savings time and automatically locking rooms - we walked down to Piazza Navona to enjoy some free time around Rome as it was the first truly nice day of the trip. Once we regrouped (and after we went over our purchases which included books, movie posters, and expensive jackets) we were rushed back into the fast pace of the trip as we quickly walked to our next sight: the Domus Aurea.

Constructed in 64AD by the 5th Roman emperor, Nero, after he burned down most of Rome, the Domus Aurea (or Golden House) was meant to be a spectacular palace. However, it was buried by the emperor Titus when he constructed his baths and it was forgotten for centuries. This is the state we got to see the site in. Currently under restoration, the site is incredibly exclusive and being underground was incredibly cold (though we mostly enjoyed this due to the day's heat). Exploring the underground rooms and frescoes was absolutely amazing as we got to see both what the Domus Aurea looks like and what a site looks like while being restored. Sadly, though, we were only able to spend about an hour and a half there before we were whisked away to our next site on the Metro.

Inside the octagonal room of the Domus Aurea
After a successful metro ride we found ourselves on the Pincian Hill, a beautiful park that we were able to enjoy as we waited for our 5pm museum reservations for the Borghese Gallery.

Once we got into the Borghese gallery we had approximately two hours to wander and enjoy the amazing artwork including the Bernini sculpture of Apollo and Daphne that is absolutely breathtaking. We then met downstairs at the museum's cafe, where we hopped on a bus to our bittersweet last dinner on the trip.

Bernini's Daphne and Apollo statue
Dinner was fabulous. We were able to eat in the ruins of Pompey's Theater and enjoyed each others company for one more amazing and delicious night. After appetizers, pasta, meat, and some lively discussion, we said goodbye to the restaurant. Overall, the day was the perfect way to end our trip. The mix of free time and the beautiful and fascinating sights topped with the same amazing Italian food we've come to love was an amazing way to say goodbye to a country we are sure never to forget.

Dinner at Da Pancrazio in the basement, which was once part of Pompey's Theater
See you soon America!

-Abbie Henshaw

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