Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A meter deep in dirt

Today was our second official day of digging. I have been assigned to the largest trench and we have been digging and digging and digging. Which also means carrying and carrying and carrying buckets of dirt to the spoil heap (aka the used dirt that will eventually be put back in the hole at the end of the season). my whole body aches and unfortunately i forgot to bring my trusted icy hot! Today, we dug about half a meter and we still have half a meter to go until we reach the one meter that the report told us we would need to go before finding the first remnants of "stuff." today we found an exciting development of a clay surface...I will keep you updated on its status.

Today was someone in the group's birthday so they had "cake" but let me tell you it was NOT cake. i was horribly disappointed. especially since I got my hopes up and everything. however, i have become infatuated with hazelnuts which are in everything. i buy lots of chocolate with hazelnuts and eat it, but i convince myself its okay since i am doing so much manual labor everyday, all day.

I have also developed a very fashionable tan line despite by spf 80 sunscreen. Also, everyday when I go home I have a dirt tan since the dirt coats my body as a thin layer making my skin look a shade darker than it really is. I have officially given up on salvaging my dig clothes and decided that smelling bad is just a part of daily life for the next 18 days.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Head in the Clouds




I know its been a while since I posted, but the Internet has been scarce. So, for a recap last week consisted primarily of digging up dirt, sorting through it for rocks and digging up more dirt. It was nice and very tiring. this weekend, we moved into our permanent apartments, mine has a sweet sloping roof that I hit my head on everytime I stand up so it will take some getting used to. Yesterday some of us went up on top of a nearby mountain, but I forgot my camera, so no pictures, sorry. Today, I went up to the top of Mt. Vesuvius! it was great. You take a bus part way up and then you hvae to walk the rest of the way to the rim. Its pretty cool and you can see all around the bay. I put a picture at the top of the post. I have also posted a picture of me in the act.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Warning: Do not read this post if you suffer from heart problems, the shock may cause you to collapse

I am going to make this short and sweet: today I shoveled. Like with a big spade or whatever its called, I shoveled dirt from a huge room in Pompeii into wheelbarrows and then moved them and dumped them into another room. AND I sorted through that dirt WITH MY BARE HANDS (okay, that's a lie, I wore work gloves) to separate the dirt from the rocks. It was a very long and very tiring day and we hardly even dug more than three inches. I guess this is what excavating is like...

Anyway, I'm sure my whole family is getting a great laugh out of this right now. Laugh on all of you, laugh on. Don't worry, I will document this at some point because I know you don't believe me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And the fun begins

So we arrived in Pompeii yesterday very late because our trains got all messed up. Our apartments are about twenty minutes walk from the actual site of Pompeii so we have to walk there every morning and afternoon. Its not too bad, but I am sure it will be worse once we actually start digging. The rest of our team doesnàt arrive until Thursday so we went to the site today with one of our supervisors and saw where we will be digging and then walked around Pompeii a bit. Then we weeded. No joke mom, we weeded. We have to weed the area where we will be digging. After lunch we organized supplies and stuff like that and then I saw my advisor from UVA because he works on Pompeii stuff and is here for a week. He and I and another student in the program also from UVA went around Pompeii for a bit looking at some houses and paintings. It was nice. Now, I am trying to catch up on stuff. Internet is more than spotty so, entries will be few and far between.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Watch out Disney World...







I made it home from my weekend trip to Florence and it is the place where dreams come true--art history dreams that is. Forget the magical world of Disney, this place made me so happy in just one day I cannot even explain it. Most of it has to do with good luck and low expectations, but that is perfectly alright with me!

I left at 6;30 (I cannot find the colon on this Italian keyboard, sorry readers!) and arrived three hours later in Florence, just as things were beginning to open. Right away I could tell that it was significantly quieter than Rome, a nice change. I had been g-chatting with my cousin before I left and he said to expect a quieter, slower environment, but I kind of did not believe him too much...he was definitely right! Its also so much smaller so you can walk around the whole city without getting tired. Right away, I went to the Bargello Museum (free admission for me!) where I ran into a friend from my program at UVA! She is in Florence doing research and her husband tagged along for the ride so we made plans for dinner. Next, I headed over to the Monastery of San Marco, which is really cool! You get to look in all of the rooms of the monks where Fra Angelico painted individual scenes for meditation. I had images of the monks playing dice to decide who got which room every year (fighting over the annunciation and the crucifixion scenes). Next, I went and found my hostel, which was adequate but I would definitely not stay there more than one night--I guess you get what you pay for!
After a quick lunch, I headed over to the Accademia, which is where Michelangelo's David statue is. Normally, you have to make reservations or else stand in a super duper long line, but I thought I'd see what I could do and low and behold I was able to get in! (free again!) It was really great, there are several Michelangelo statues and they were juxtaposed with photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe. Then, I went to the Duomo and decided to try my luck and getting in to the Uffizi (again, you're supposed to make reservations). Once again, I was lucky and was able to get in! Its a huge museum so I wasn't able to see it all in the time alotted because I got in about an hour before closing time, but it was a good time all the same. I met my friends for dinner later in the evening and we had a great meal followed by gelato.

Today, I started out early to several churches including Santo Spirito, Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella. Unlike Rome, you have to pay a little bit to get in to some of them, but it was generally worth it since the art inside is really great. All in all it was a good weekend trip especially since I didn't expect to get into either the Accademia or the Uffizi and was able to make it to both. By this afternoon I was ready to get back to Rome though, I kind of missed the busy streets and I'd had my fill of Renaissance art.
Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I leave for Pompeii. wish me luck!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Countdown to Pompeii...



Okay folks, tomorrow morning bright and early I depart for my quick trip to Florence (6:30am train departure with return on Sunday night) and I'm then leaving again Monday morning for Pompeii. So, once I get to Pompeii my Internet will be spotty at best--there is reportedly an Internet cafe in the city of Pompeii (the modern city, not the ancient one) so I'll be updating as often as possible. I'm excited and also nervous for the dig because as many of you may know, I am not what one might call an "outdoors person" and this whole 8-5 digging in the sun thing will be quite a new experience for me so, we will see how it goes. I am sure it will be great!

Today, for our last day in Rome, we visited the Via Appia Antica, which is is a road leading out of Rome where many ancient tombs once stood (and some remains are still there) as well as some villas. The road is actually pretty cool because it connects Rome to Brindisi, which is way on the southern end of Italy. In medieval times, many of the tombs were turned into sort of fortresses or I guess you could call them defenses so they were changed and added on to and now they are basically inhabited by pigeons. The villas were taken over in the late imperial period by the imperial family and a decent amount remains, but they are HUGE complexes. 

The Glory that is (well, was) Rome


Today (Thursday), we looked at imperial Rome!!!!! (cue lights and trumpets) Our focus were the imperial fora located in the heart of the ancient area of Rome, which are basically large public areas built by various emperors. Not a whole remains of them today if you don't know have a map telling you what to look for, but they are pretty cool once you realize what you're standing in. They're not normally open to the public so we had a guard let us in and we wandered around the various spaces looking at important features. Personally, I liked the forum of Augustus because I've studied it a decent amount and Augustus is just really cool. We also went into the Forum of Trajan, which is gigantic and has the column of Trajan. I took this picture of me in front of the column. Apparently, its difficult to get permission to climb up in the column, but there are stairs to get to the top so its one of my life goals to make it up there!

After our morning lectures, our assistant director let us out early and i spent the afternoon at several museum (yes, with my museum pass!). I was super exhausted though so I went home pretty early and some of us went to yoga led by a fellow here at the Academy. Then, the most memorable event of the day happened: dinner. It was really awful--which is unusual. They served us pork with anchovy sauce. No one ate it. To remedy this situation, we were forced to drag ourselves to the local gelateria and order gelato. It was a tough situation and I know that everyone was forcing it down only as a form of sustenance, but it had to be done. I had Sicilian chocolate, which was chocolate with orange and was it ever good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sculpture!


Today we continued our quest into medieval Rome visiting the church of San Clemente which is interesting because the twelfth century church, which is visible today, sits on top of an earlier basilica as well as an ancient mithraeum. The worship of mithras was popular in Late Antiquity and rivaled Christianity, but eventually died out. Basically, we went under the church to see the structures of these two other buildings. Then we had a nice break for lunch and later met up with our professor at the Trevi Foundation before getting delicious gelato at San Crispino, a famous gelateria. I had pistachio and caramel, again not the best together, but delicious by themselves. Afterwards, I went to two museums (with my cool museum card!). First, I visited the Palazzo Altemps, which is mostly Greek and Roman sculpture and is a relatively small museum. It was almost empty so it was nice. Then, I went to the Museum of Rome, which had a lot of eighteenth and nineteenth century paintings of Rome before it was actually excavated so it was cool to see the city in that stage. I'm trying to get as much use out of my museum pass as possible, plus I like flashing it at the ticket desk :).

Other than that, I'm starting to get a little bit tired. Its exhausting walking around so much and learning all kinds of new and exciting things all the time. Two more days in Rome and then on Saturday morning I'm going to Florence early in the morning and returning on Sunday night to Rome before heading to Pompeii mid-morning on Monday for the next four weeks.

pic: detail of a sarcophagus from the Palazzo Altemps

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Dead People


Today we made the switch from imperial Rome to medieval Rome. The first stop on our trip was the catacombs of San Sebastiano, which are located under the church of San Sebastiano. This is rumored to be the location of St. Sebastian's tomb as well as the previous burial site of both Peter and Paul (believe what you will...). We went down in the catacombs with a medieval archaeologist and they were really cool! We walked down into the ground and you could see all the holes in the tufa stone where the bodies were once located. They used to put the bodies in the holes and then seal them with tiles of stone, but it still smelled really bad. We also got to see Roman tombs that were located there and they were so cool! They still had decorated stucco ceilings and painted walls that were pretty well preserved. Unfortunately, I couldn't take any pictures.

After our time at the catacombs, we had a few hours of break and I headed to the Capitoline Museums because our museum passes finally came in ! The passes are really cool, they look super official and they get us into all national museums free. Later, we met our professor at the Crypta Balbi Museum, which is a museum of Late Antique/Early Christian archaeology. He showed us around the museum for a couple of hours.

In other news, this weekend brings some bad news for the world of archaeology. The director of our program is leading an excavation at Gabii and half of the students from our program are going their to dig while the rest of us are going to Pompeii (including myself). Anyway, over the weekend at Gabii some thieves dug holes at Gabii and potentially stole some antiquities! This is relatively common in Italy and archaeology, but its really sad! Luckily, the Italian government has a special "Art Squad" to rescue the art!!!!!! so, hopefully anything stole will be recovered soon.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Augustus and Bones

We started off our final week of site visits in Rome with a day full of Augustan building projects. I happen to love Augustus myself so I was totally happy with everything we did today. We started off at the House of Augustus where we saw some great paintings and looked at the architecture on the Palatine. Then we moved to the Campus Martius which is an area of Rome that Augustus built a lot of buildings on as part of his building program.
 We ended up at the Ara Pacis which was unfortunately closed! Luckily, I've seen it before and the building its housed in (which I think is beautiful itself, although a lot of people hate it, its pictured above) is mostly glass so we could look through it and still talk about it. Then, we went to theMausoleum of Augustus and got to wear hard hats! All in all, it was still a great day.
After that, I went with some of the girls to the Capuchin Crypt, which is this very strange crypt located under a church in which the rooms are decorated with the bones of Capuchin monks. You have to stand in line and make a "donation" but then the lady yelled at us because she said we hadn't made a large enough donation. She said that a 1 euro minimum was required, which I had met, thank you very much! She gave us this whole spiel about missions in Africa and then when we said "we put in more than 1 euro" (b/c it was a basket so you couldn't really tell how much everyone put in) she said "I want to believe you..." Luckily, I'm Presbyterian so that Catholic guilt didn't work on me. Once we got into the crypt it was horrible! It was literally hundreds of bones just taken apart and arranged all over the walls, ceilings and floors of about six rooms to make designs. I left in less than five minutes ( and I considered asking for my "donation" back, I'd rather send it to a mission of my choosing in Africa, for all I know they're using it buy more glue to keep those bones stuck on the walls). Anyhow, I really can't imagine why this is considered an attraction its really morbid. 

After this disgusting detour, I decided to swing by the Colosseum because I had a free entrance ticket that let me bypass the line and there is a special exhibit there for the summer. The exhibit was very nice, but by that time I was exhausted. Dinner tonight is late--9pm--because there is a reception for an art exhibit (which we are not invited to...).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Best Gelato in Rome


The votes are in folks (my votes, that is) and the best gelato in Rome has finally been found. After days and nights of tireless gelato eating, agonizing over which flavors to choose, whether to get a small cone or a small cup, with or without whipped cream, with or without melted chocolate on top, before or after dinner (or both), sit down and eat or walk and eat (my life has been tough the past few weeks i tell you)---I have finally found the best gelato in the city of Rome.

Now, it has been a close race. "Miami" the gelato place close to the Academy is very good and for free they will dip your cone in melted chocolate and nuts and add whipped cream. I've enjoyed several delicious trips to that gelateria. There are also some really great places by the Pantheon (i honestly can't remember all the names, I just refer to them as "the ones by the Pantheon"). They both have many flavors. You may wonder what my criteria are for judging gelato and they are not too complicated. Usually, I always get one of my flavors as pistachio in order to have a constant (plus, pistachio is my favorite). Then, I base it on the texture, flavor and portion size. I do not like expensive places with tiny portions. Extras like chocolate and whipped cream also increase points.

In the end, today's gelato was a winner. It may have to do with the fact that I just ran across the city of Rome to make my reservation at the Borghese Gallery (which I ended up missing in fact) or the fact that it was a cool 150 degrees outside, but either way this gelato was AMAZING. Giolitti it is called and is located near the Column of Marcus Aurelius, which in my mind makes it even cooler. I ordered cinnamon and pistachio and they were both delicious and very smooth. To make things even better, the stores sells all kinds of candies and pastries, some of which are pictures below.

Other than walk around in the heat and eat the world's best gelato, I went to the Porta Portese flea market this morning. Its a pretty cool and crazy place. You can pretty much find anything there including, but not limited to underwear, sunscreen, shoes, microphones, fanny packs, and anything made in China. I learned how to bargain in Italian and I purchased a hat in order to shield my face and neck from the blazing sun.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Villas, Ostia (again), and a visit from a friend

Thursday our group was scheduled to make trips to two Republican villas in the area of Rome. We showed up at the first site, which is located under a modern day civic auditorium, only to find that there was a small business owners association meeting that day and Berlusconi was making an appearance later in the day so we were very roughly escorted far away from the door by the sleazy security guard who told us that we could not be close. So, we revised our plans and instead went to the villas pictured above, which is located next to a highway (strange, right?). They discovered it when they started building the highway. We learned about late Republican and "classical" villa types.
Friday, we were scheduled to go to a site in the city of Rome, but it was deemed too dangerous as they are building an apartment building next to the excavation site so on the spur of the moment our directors decided to take us to Ostia Antica, which is where many of us had gone on Sunday. Its always nice to go places again, but with less than a week in between we hadn't even had time to miss it. Luckily, we were able to see some new things this time including an excavation by the University of Texas of one of the earliest known synagogues. At one point, we lost part of our group (well everyone in our group except myself, the director and one another student) so we had to climb to the top of one of the buildings and look out over the city. We also saw a group of first graders from the International School of Rome on a field trip and they were very excited about some ancient bricks that they sat on for lunch. I think the bricks may have actually been modern and just set in that location, but it made the kids happy so who really cares?

After we returned from Ostia, my friend Libby arrived. She attends UVA with me and studies Renaissance architecture and is studying Italian for the summer in Padua. She decided to come down to Rome for the weekend so we had dinner at the Academy last night and today we walked all around Rome (literally, I'm pretty sure we managed to walk around the entire city, every street, i'm not even kidding). In the morning we went to visit the Villa Farnesina which has a lot of Raphael paintings and then we went to some churches and in the afternoon we went to the Palazzo Barberini which also has a collection of Renaissance paintings.

After that, we did some minor shopping (mostly for gifts) and collapsed in my room from exhaustion.
Pics:
1-Villa
2-Ostia Mosaic
3-Villa Farnesina

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shoats in the Italian Countryside


The past several days our site visits have been dedicated to learning about Mid-Republican architecture, which is turns out is pretty hard to find. We've been heading outside of the city of Rome itself to lesser known sites. Yesterday, we actually went to two sites, the first of which was the ancient colony of Norba located basically on the side of a mountain. We had to wind up the road that seemed as if it was built in the first century BCE in a eight passenger van. It was a terrifying experience. At the top we were able to look at some pretty nice ancient walls though. The most exciting part, however, was the shoats! It turns out the site is pretty abandoned and so the local people use it for grazing their animals. While we were walking around this huge flock came and surrounded us, but we couldn't really figure out if they were sheep or goats (they were shorn really short--hence the name shoats). Personally, I'm rooting for sheep because I think goats are meaner, but either way they were pretty cool. They even wore those bells around their necks. The shepherd didn't seem too interested as he was talking on his cell phone most of the time. I guess some things do change.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Balancing out all the Gelato

Clearly the reason that the people here can eat so much gelato and pizza and everything without having problems is that they walk  A LOT. For example, Rome has lots of hills. Its known for having seven east of the Tiber River alone. The Academy is located on the Gianicolo, which the highest (i think) in the modern city and is located on the west side of the river. Unfortunately, Rome's public transportation isn't the greatest at least in terms of their Metro system so you have to rely on buses or your feet to get to more residential areas like the Gianicolo. Getting to the the Gianicolo means first walking through Trastevere which has lots of cool restaurants and a pretty church (Santa Maria in Trastevere, pictured above) and THEN begin the trek up the Gianicolo. And let me tell you, it is quite a trek. 

First you walk up these stairs:
Then you cross a street where people are speeding by on vespas and walk up these stairs:
Then, once you're finally at the top, you see this:
and this:

So, I guess its worth it in the end.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Everything is Better in Roma

So we've been busy the past couple of days seeing lots of ancient sites and learning about archaeology: Monday we learned about stratigraphy which is basically the different layers that you uncover as you dig in order to help you date material. Today we learned about a Republican site outside of Rome. Tomorrow we head out to learn about city walls! (I know, it sounds really exciting, but its much cooler in person)

More importantly, I wanted to tell you about a few of the things that I've learned about the past few days. It seems that Romans (and Italians in general) really know how to do it right. Everything is better here! (well, maybe not everything, their "Coke Light" is really not good, the first thing I'm going to do when I get home is drink a gigantic Diet Coke). 
Exhibit A: Yogurt. I bought this yogurt at the grocery store and it is DELICIOUS! its creamy and sweet and tastes kind of like ice cream, but yogurt. Although, for all I know it is ice cream (since my Italian consists of "hello" and "where is the gelateria?"). I look forward to getting up and eating breakfast every morning. None of this low fat, low sugar, no calorie stuff for them.

Exhibit B: Hospitals. In the middle of the Tiber River that runs through Rome there is an island on which there is a hospital. I was crossing the island the other day and I noticed this rooftop terraces with flowers and gardens and little lounge chairs. What a better ways to spend your sick days then lounging in a chair looking out at the city of Rome? This is much better than the pastel painted rooms they give you in the US. (picture above)

I guess that's really all I've got at this particular moment in time, but that seems like a pretty good start to me. Also, I made a stop at a bakery in the old Jewish Ghetto yesterday. I read in my book that the bakery was delicious and so I got some cookies there. When I went in the wall was lined with these old Italian women yelling things at one another and somehow the woman heard me order even though the whole time she was yelling back at the women sitting around her. It was pretty funny. Anway, the cookies I got were really good: coconut filled with almond paste! (on the left) I also got these little biscotti that were pretty good, but I think I'll go back for more of the almond ones....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More Old Stuff..




To spend our free Sunday several of us decided to get up early and head out to Ostia Antica, an ancient city outside of Rome. Its about 45 minutes out by train (which is covered by our free bus/train pass provided by the Academy!) and we arrived early in the morning to clouds and drizzling rain...not the best weather when walking around outdoors at an ancient site, but not the worst thing ever. Its pretty cool, you can basically see the "footprint" of the city through the remains: walls, etc. and you are able to walk around basically everywhere unlike Pompeii and Herculaneum where lots of areas are blocked off. Its pretty huge though and I was really tired so I came home after a few hours to take a nap. In honor of Aaron, I've posted two pictures of the ancient synagogue...they're a little bit tough to decipher, but you can see the menorah on the column if you look really hard in the first picture. 

Since there is no dinner on Sunday we all made our own stuff basically consisting of tomato and mozzarella. I could eat it all the time and I pretty much do! That and nutella (on crackers, on bread, on apples, by itself on a spoon....) We also sampled another gelateria in the neighborhood....always good! If i accomplish nothing else on this trip it will be to refine my gelato palette.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hadrian's Villa



For the weekend two of the other girls and I decided to trek out to Hadrian's Villa, which is located in Tivoli--about an hour outside of Rome. Its a little bit tricky to get to: you have to take the metro then the bus and then walk about a mile or two, but its totally worth it because you get to see the HUGE villa that the emperor Hadrian built for himself. There are lots of pretty cool buildings and I've included a few pictures in my Flickr account for you to get an idea of what we saw. 

On our way back we stopped for a snack and I had a new kind of Magnum bar. Magnum bars are these delicious ice cream bars that are usually covered in chocolate or chocolate and almonds or chocolate and almonds and caramel or some other combination, but the one I had was vanilla bean ice cream with white chocolate coating: REALLY GOOD! They should really sell them in the US, I would totally buy them. 

We don't have meals on Saturday nights so we're going out a bit later, but I wanted to tell you a bit about the food here at the Academy. Its the Rome Sustainable Food Project which you can read about in the NY Times article that I linked. Basically, Alice Waters of Chez Panisse came to the Academy a while back and made their kitchen sustainable meaning they have these huge gardens where they grow as much as they can including vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs and then the rest they get locally at markets and farmers nearby. The goal is to keep the food as fresh and seasonal as possible and keep it in its freshest form. So, this means that right now we are eating a lot of tomatoes, but that is okay because they are SUPER fresh! Like, the best I've ever had. They also make these really good roasted almonds that come from their own almonds I guess and they salt them really well. Its quite delicious. They sell some of their food such as marmalades, gelato, almonds, cookies, biscotti, etc. I may bring some back so everyone can try it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cerveteri and the Forum

The past two days have been busy and I haven't really had a chance to post much, but here is an update. On Wednesday after our introduction to the program and tour around the Academy I wandered around Rome with some of the other girls and we went to visit about five churches. Here is a picture of me at Santa Maria in Cosmedin (with my hand in the fountain from Roman Holiday). On Wednesday at dinner several of the girls and I met one of the fellows who is an landscape architect/artist who is living here at the Academy for the year and working on his art. He invited us to see his studio and his art, which was very cool! He works on scenes of the city and it turns out that his studio looks out over the city. The Academy is located on the highest hill in Rome so you can basically see everything. The fellows who live here are awarded these special fellowships meaning that they (and their family is they have one) come to Rome for a year (or sometimes two) to work or study and they live in the Academy, eat the wonderful food and use all the resources available. Its really cool because so many scholars and artists are here that they get to meet lots of cool people.
Yesterday we had our first day out and we drove to the city of Cerveteri, which is outside of Rome and home to an Etruscan necropolis (burial ground). We spent the morning climbing in and out of Etruscan tombs, which are basically these gigantic mounds of dirt and tufa rock. It was pretty cool, but also a little bit eery since inside the tombs there were spaces for the bodies to rest. After lunch (we brought packed lunches) we learned how to measure spaces in order to make an architectural plan. At first I was less than excited because our director brought out rulers, measuring tape, compasses, etc. and started talking about math, which I HATE, but it turned out to be pretty cool and rather helpful. We had to measure the tomb and then draw a plan based on our measurements. Now I know what goes into all the plans that I see in my textbooks. This is a picture of my group in our part of the tomb with our finished plan. Yesterday afternoon we got back pretty late so I really didn't do much except eat another delicious dinner (complete with peach tart)!

Today, we went to the Roman Forum and learned about work that has been done to identify buildings. After our lecture I walked around with some of the girls and then came home to hang out and rest. Its got SUPER hot today, but I have so far managed to avoid any sunburns! Friday night dinners are earlier and are "kid friendly" so we had delicious ravioli and chocolate bread pudding! Now, we're about to head up to the terrace where we can see the entire city.

Tomorrow, I think I'll be heading out to Hadrian's Villa, which is about an hour outside of Rome itself. So, stay posted.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Academy, Cont'd

The Exterior of the Academy with the fountain....
The Interior courtyard.....
The Courtyard where we eat meals...

So, I wanted to update you on the state of the AAR and give you some pictures. I've also added some to my flickr page under the "My Photos" on the right side of this blog. Yesterday was a holiday in Italy so most of the city was closed down. We mostly just relaxed and later in the day we walked around a bit, got some pizza and gelato (I had pistachio and nutella) and came back for more relaxing. This morning we had our first "lecture" before which we all met at the bar for coffee. I normally don't drink coffee, but its really good here. Now, we're all about to head out for the afternoon to just do whatever we want. I think I'll go to some churches.

Also, good work on the answers to my contest in the Sorrento post. If you haven't yet posted an answer, feel free to post an answer, the contest continues through July 18!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Arrival!

I just wanted to write a quick post to update you all on my status. I arrived at the American Academy in Rome yesterday afternoon to find a BEAUTIFUL villa, which I will be living in for the next three weeks. I will post pictures soon, but right now I'm just borrowing someone's computer so I'm trying to make it short. Anyway, I share an apartment with five other girls, but we drew numbers for rooms and I got lucky with the big corner room with a kingsized bed and double closets all to myself! The apartment is huge with high ceiling, a kitchen, two bathrooms and all the windows open up (there is no AC but its not really a problem). The kitchen is nice and they left us some biscotti and chocolate. We all eat dinner together in the courtyard of the villa, outside and its like a movie set, the tables are set with candles and wine and waiters walk around and bring you the food. Last night we had soup, eggplant, salad and then berries and fresh cream for dessert. Its sooooo pretty. Everyone should come visit me. The food is all grown in th e Academy's gardens so its super fresh and apparently you can volunteer in the kitchen on the weekends where they make their own yogurt and will give you soem....anyway more later!