I walked into an open door marked Free Entry only because Google wanted me to fly over a stone wall and walk down an invisible road. Military museum, I deduced from the submarine, humongous anchor, and half a dozen young men in camo. I turned right to the first room, just to be polite, and I realized I’d just stumbled across the motherload. Multiple cases with dozens of ornate presentation boxes, some with the documents, some with flags, all with identifying placards. Thanks to a friendly young military man I learned they were commemorative boxes for ships lost in combat. A poster said there’s a downloadable app with guides to the collection in English, but it wouldn’t work for me or the helpful young man. No worries, I’ll tackle it with Google Chrome later.
But let’s talk about the boxes! From the extremely ornate to the sleek, different in size and material. There were six glass cases with three levels of shelves and large base cabinets. Helpful signs with images of all the boxes on display in the cabinet. This was what I searched for in the Vatican, hoping, wrongly, they’d have a deep collection of reliquaries.
This was an unexpected gift, wrapped up and delivered to me. Took some quick photos.
I’ll return to photograph and sketch some of them more carefully. By the way, this museum is the cleanest environment I’ve seen in the city; dusted, mopped, fresh smelling and not one single piece of trash in sight, no so much as a gum wrapper, nothing. Just to say.
Feeling jubilant, and rearranging my travel schedule in my head, I sauntered into the Capitoline museum. I didn’t remember much from my visit back in 2004 – just an impression of musty rooms, the twins suckling the she-wolf, the copy of Marcus Aurelius on his horse, and the colossal bronze fragments of Constantino. Boy, does my memory suck, or there’s been a vast improvement. I’ll start with the iPad guide. It gets full marks for ease of use, and a good balance of entertainment and education. The well-spaced exhibits are attractively presented in a way that makes visual sense. I enjoyed this golden Heracles, and this surprisingly modern-looking fresco of the madonna.
I visited the temporary exhibit on Da Vinci’s research of flight. There were screens with the contents translated for the English language visitor. I confess, I’m more enamored with the artist that the scientist, so I was charmed by this red chalk face in the midst of his Codex writings on flight. I think it might be a self-portrait. I quickly realized the Capitoline would repay multiple visits. More fun. I ate a reasonably edible museum restaurant meal on the terrace, worth is just for the view. I wolfed down mozzarella and prosciutto and figured out I will have more than enough to examine here or at the Barberini until I get on the plane. I briefly regretted I did not get here sooner, but if I had almost everything else would have been an anticlimax, so two weeks is perfect.
I didn’t leave until late, physically worn out from the long day, but happy happy happy.