Today I had the amazing satisfaction of visiting the Pantheon, St. Ignacio’s Church and the Piazza del Popolo!
The Pantheon was such an incredible experience, it honestly felt like a privilege to even be there. Walking in was breathtaking, and as you walk to the center and start to gaze up, you get an overwhelming sense of hugeness. It was dizzying, terrifying, and beautiful all at the same time. As I walked around the sides of the Pantheon, I read about all the different tombs, but one struck out the most to me; the tomb of Raphael. Reading the little plaque about him, one thing stuck out to me. It said Raphael “whom nature feared to be outdone while he lived, and when died, feared to be outdone herself”. How powerful is that? To have such an enormous presence in people’s lives that that is how they viewed him; very humbling.
From the Pantheon we headed to the church of St. Ignacio and I could have spent all day there. It was truly extraordinary. When you walk in the main room, there is a huge ceiling painting that looks as if the painting is coming out of the wall, a prehistoric version of 3D. The more I looked at it, the more I saw and the more amazed I was. It was like being transported into another world. As for the rest of the church, there were multiple side chapels on either side and each one had their own design and feel to it. Words can’t even describe how in awe I was the entire time. I can’t put into words what I felt, just awe.
I loved the Piazza del Popolo in that it seemed like such a neat place to relax, people watch, or even do work. It is so spacious but there are statues and churches on all sides that make it fun to just walk around. At one end was the northern gate of the city. This meant we literally almost walked to opposite ends of the city (I live in Trastevre, near the Tiber)! I am definitely getting in those fitbit steps (just kidding I don’t even have one). Then on another side, the side that we came into the Piazza from, has two perfectly symmetrical churches except that they have towers on opposite sides. It makes for quite a spectacular view in that the churches have streets on all sides so the churches just tower above everything.
So all of that, I experienced in the first part of my day.
For the second part, I had my first experience grocery shopping. Oops.
Apparently, when you want to buy fresh fruit and veggies, you are supposed to weigh them first before you take them to the register. So with this unknown to me, I take my full cart of groceries to the register and he just throws my apples out! Excuse me? That was going to be my lunch! ( I hadn’t eaten anything all day). He was not very polite and when we were trying to bag up our groceries, he only gave us one bag at first…while these bags are huge, they were definitely not going to hold everything. Thankfully we live a short distance from the grocery store and only had to look funny carrying our groceries for a little ways. Needless to say, we will be trying a different store.
Towards the end of the evening, our class walked up the Janiculum hill which gives you an amazing view of the entire city. You can see the dome of the Pantheon, The Vatican City and it offers you a gorgeous sunset.
Today was truly amazing! Oh and I also had my first Italian class.
Mi Chiamo Karly (My name is Karly)…in case you were curious.