Italy, Rome – Day 2 – Colossuem, The Forum, Capitaline Museum, Keats/Shelley House

Very busy agenda today and another 9 hours of walking – so much stuff to see as a newbie to the city.

First stop the Colosseum. It has the same effect as the Opera House in Sydney – you want to photograph it from every angle to try and show the sheer scale of the place. Magnificent – and worth doing the underground tour too. The more I see of Rome the more I realise that there is as much under the ground from Roman and Medeival times as there is above.

The Colisseum and The arch of Constantine

Below the Forum (and note the menorah in the carving on the interior of the arch to Titus). This was a carving of all the things brought from the holy land to Rome. Btw, how are these structures still standing after all this time? Those Romans were marvels at building.

The Forum, Arch of Titus and the Palatine Hill

And being a museum geek I am loving the opportunities to visit many of them while here. Today I kept with the Ancient and Medieval Rome themes and visited the impressive Capotiline Museum. Note the picture entitled the Fortune Teller and Michelangelo.Actually the fortune teller is palming his ring while he stares at her oblivious – love it. The Romulus and Remus sculpture is of course about how Rome was originally started but I think the boy with the thorn in his foot is just stunning – my favourite.

Exhibits from the Capotiline Museum

Last quick stop at the end of the day was the quirky British owned Keats/Shelley House at the foot of the Spanish Steps. A lovely homage of letters and a library for the romantics among us. All very sad as both were talented but died in their early 30s. I am staying at the top of the Spanish Steps – and as you can see they are a popular place to hang out.

John Keats being creative while living at the foot of the Spanish Steps

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Italy, Rome – Day 1 – The Vatican and Trastevere (and Gelato flavour of the day)

Well no prizes for guessing where I have landed – my first ever trip to Rome but as everyone I know has been before I have been given loads of recommendations of things to do and places to eat. 

Day 1 was a crack of dawn walking tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica followed by a leisurely afternoon exploring the Trastevere area and the lovely little church of St Cecilia. The collections of statuary, tapestries, frescos and paintings are outstanding – I think you could spend days visiting this place and never see the same thing twice – but you have to be ok with crowds – even at 7.30am.

Gelato flavour of the day was TIRAMISU – will aim never to repeat a flavour!

First up – the externals of the Vatican, the delightfully decked out Swiss Guard (oldest army in the world) and the Borgo. The collections of statuary, tapestries, frescos and paintings are outstanding – I think you could spend days visiting this place and never see the same thing twice – but you have to be ok with crowds – even at 7.30am and with a bit of rain.

Both Gods and mortals make good models for statues. 

Statues of Gods were big in Ancient Rome

These are painting are by Raphael. What is interesting is that he put quite a few of his friends (and rivals) into the fresco. So the guy on the left of the cut out is his mate Leonardo Da Vince and the guy at the front with the compass is his rival Michelangelo – he was made to add him in my the pope and that is why he is wearing his boots – something he is supposed to have done but ws looked down on by others. Nowadays those boots would be very trendy.

Raphael paints his mates and some of his rivals too


The Sistine Chapel does give you a crick in your neck especially as you try to disguise photo taking but note in the photo below that everything is painted flat so the illusion of dimension is just that – an illusion. Brilliant. And Michelangelo did this when he was in his 30’s – and I expect he needed a chiropractor for the rest of his life!

There are so many things to see at the Vatican it is hard to pick and choose but the photos below show a relief in a door of Peter being crucified upside down, the interior of the magnificent free standing dome and a statue of Peter (his remains are buried under the Basilica) 

Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Dome and St Peter depictions

 
After all that sumptuousness it was nice to wander around Trastevere – which is a kind of bohemian area and not at all full of hordes of people.


And here is St Cecilia’s Church (Cecilia  had all sorts of horrible things happen to her before she was martyred but when her body was exhumed many centuries later it was untouched and hence the marble statue reflecting how she appeared when exhumed – allegedly). All the other pics are things that are under the church. Quite a surprise and quite spectacular.

UK,London

Always something to see here as you just mooch around town.

This is what a £99 ice cream looks like. Salted caramel, edible diamonds(!) & the man at #selfridges let me taste it – gold leaf and all.

Not a Harry Potter convention just a bunch of people strolling

down the Embankment in their legal ceremonial robes – as you do.

And this is the lift in my hotel. Pretty fab eh.

Australia, Melbourne- Not a surprise that everyone is adoring Dior at the NGV

It’s Friday so I’m indulging myself with this blog on my recent visit to the Dior Exhibit at Melbourne’s NGV. If you live here, you must go if you have even the slightest interest in works of art that you can wear and if you don’t, please get on a plane and see his if you possibly can.

Welcome to a world of fantasy and do feel free to wallow and zoom in to your heart’s content.

A Dress for every Occasion

It’s all about the detail darling

The magnificent designs of John Galliano

Fantasy ball gowns – although who are the people who get invited to places where you could wear something like these???

And finally my personal favourites

Australia, Melbourne – a visit to ACMI to see the          Wallace and Gromit (Aardman) exhibit

Who doesn’t love Wallace and Gromit? I poppped in to ACMI to see the wonderful Aardman exhibit this weekend. It was brilliant and some of the movie clips are hilarious. What these guys do with their modern version of plasteceine is incredible as is the detail of every tiny thing – something you can appreciate looking at some of the sets they built.

I hadn’t realised these guys were behind Morph – a character Brits in my age range will recall from their youth and you will also remember the fab Peter Gabriel video for Sledgehammer – great song and great effects by these guys. But I am most fond of Shaun the Sheep (get it) – must be something to do with all that time I’ve spent in NZ……

Aardman characters. – Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Lady Tottington and Morph