It’s been a full immersion baptism into planning for Rome, not just a sprinkle of water and swipe of oil. I am now a Patron of the Vatican Museums, dues paid and paperwork submitted. It took contacting the central office (Vatican City) the local chapter (Atlanta), and a delightful chat with the North American Chapter President, but the deed is done. They have been, one and all, very welcoming. I’m receiving a pin and packet of introductory material. If only there was a magic decoder ring too. If you are wondering if going to these lengths is worth it, take a gander at the Vatican’s Youtube Channel – it is a goldmine of inspiration.
I’ve asked for and received tentative permission to sketch, though they are asking which pieces, exactly, I have in mind. I sent a polite and humble email in response, the gist of it being, can I let you know after I’ve seen what is there? I admitted a preference for sculpture, still life and animals. I attached a photo of one of my sketchbooks because, yes, it’s worth a thousand words.
I assured them I am the soul of discretion and not disruptive. I have a feeling there will be some knots in this skein of silk, but once I am there and the guards have seen me at work, I don’t expect any real difficulties. All good thoughts to that end appreciated.
I’ve been moving all the pieces (venues) around on the board (calendar). I was dithering over tours, when Context Tours sent an email announcing a 20% off flash sale. I ended up booking a day trip to Tivoli, Hadrian’s Villa, and gardens of Villa d’Este close to the end of my trip. Should be warmer weather then, and less chance of rain. I’m joining a group tour, but they limit their groups to six and have very qualified docents.
I pondered several food tours, but the descriptions (mostly sampling gelato, espresso, and pizza ) just weren’t that compelling. I’m betting that between the people I know, the ones I meet, my three hosts suggestions, and apps like Katie Parla’s Rome and Eat Italy by Elizabeth Minchilli, I’ll have all the recommendations I require to dine well. Over the next few days, I’ll add places to eat to my homemade Rome Google Map.
The other tour I picked up from Context was the Palazzo Colonna, which I had no idea existed. Somehow it was not on my radar, but oh my word.
Seriously, how could I have missed this? Besides private tours, it’s open to the public on Saturday morning. I got tickets to see it the first Saturday in Rome, because once will definitely not be enough.
Stumbled across Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit a 2016 BBC documentary on Youtube. I love these indomitable, fierce, British bluestockings. I’ve been listening to her SPQR, A History of Rome on audiobook. Fascinating stuff. Puts that extra spring in my step at the gym I am in training for those seven hills.