Thursday, 19 May 2011

Rome the seventh

So I just realised that my first Rome post got eaten. Luckily I found a draft and hopefully managed to slot it into the correct place, and here it is if you missed it. Because everything I post is unmissable. UNMISSABLE.

Today I objected to anything that involved doing anything. Including moving. But at the insistence of the bells at the next-door church (which play something that sounds a lot like the New Zealand national anthem, or are my ears just homesick?) I managed to get out of bed.

I dragged myself over the Quirinal Hill to the Spanish Steps again, where, in the spirit of the Grand Tour, I had scones at Babington's Tea Rooms. That horse, he's like the guys in gladiator costumes outside the Colosseum, posing for your photo and then demanding payment. Luckily he was more than happy to accept my offering of the sugar I stole from Caffe Florian in Venice.

Babington's is adorable. It's all dark-panelled wood, and tableware in turquoise with pink accents, and the waitresses in full 1950s-style turquoise skirts. There were no waiters on duty at the time, but I wonder if they have to wear turquoise pants. Because I would tip lavishly for that spectacle.

From there I pootled down to the Ara Pacis, which is what's inside that super-modern piece of architecture I was surprised by my first day in Rome. Apparently there's widespread dislike for the building, but I thought it was magnificent. It's practically made of light. That's where the Vatican Collection should be, rather than lurking in those dark rooms.

And this is the Ara Pacis, the Altar of Peace, built to commemorate the peace that Augustus brought to the Mediterranean region through the waging of extensive wars. Heh, my eyes rolled involuntarily as I was typing that. It's a pretty cool thing in itself though, and the rope there is misleadingly angled, because you can walk through it. You could even get up on it and mime slaughtering some sacrificial cattle. In the name of peace, of course.

All these carvings are of actual Augustinian celebs, and are so well done that historians have been able to identify a bunch of them by comparing them with other known likenesses.

A sign went up in the elevator today saying that the hotel's rooftop bar is open for the summer. So that's where I'll be. For the rest of the week.

1 comment:

  1. That Rome post was AWESOME. It seriously nearly killed me and I am not even lying.

    Also that building DOES look delightful. And sacrifices are my favourite pastime!