Last Saturday was Europe’s annual night of museums. Throughout Europe thousands of museum are open as late as 2 am and cost only 1 Euro. After getting a long list of participating museums from Gianni, a friend of mine placed all of them on a map. A group of us got together and decided to head to cluster of them between the Colosseum and the Pantheon.
Originally we planned on taking the Metro all of the way to the Colosseum, but it was such a nice night we got off a few stops early and walked. No walk would be complete, however, without gelato. We have quickly become very picky about where we get our gelato and passed several shops before finding one. With some delicious kiwi gelato, we began our walk again.
Once we arrived at the area with most of the museums, we were met with something much more than just museums open late. Streets were closed to cars as crowds of people walked every which way. Ruins were lit up by projectors preparing to play movies for people in the packed stands. Music filled the nights from groups near all of the museums. With so many museums to choose from we decided it would best to pick one at random and ended up at the Trajan Market.
Near the Colosseum, the market is both incredibly large and well preserved from ancient times. Throughout the inside are statues and other artifacts; although interesting, this is not what set viewing the museum at night apart from viewing it at day. The market is several stories high and has several balconies to view the city from. It must be impressive during the day, but at night it was absolutely spectacular. From this view, we could see the entire market lit up, as well as hear live music from below us. The surrounding area included the Monument to Victor Emanuel II, an absolute enormous building dedicated to the first king of Italy.
After exploring the market, we walked back to the residence. Although a long walk, it was very enjoyable through the cool Rome night. We passed by several ruins, as well as Saint Peter’s Square. Overall, it has been a very successful week. I continue to see more of this amazing city from nights like this and my History of Art in Rome class. Last Thursday we met at the Capitoline Hill. This is the hill city hall sits on and was designed my Michelangelo. Going here as part of a class was much more beneficial than simply going by myself. My professor explained details I never would have discovered on my own. For example, Michelangelo envisioned a statue of the the Tiber River god in front of city hall, but none survived from Ancient Rome. In order to do this, a statue of the Tigris River god was taken and the tiger was recarved as the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus.
The rest of the week promises even more culture and excitement. Tomorrow we are meeting at the mausoleum of Constantina, which I have learned has some of the most beautiful mosaics from the Constantine era and Friday we have a day-long excursion to Hadrian’s villa. I still have plenty of free time though. I have learned it is best to keep my schedule flexible, ready to go places like a museum at 9:00 at night or a new gelato shop at a moment’s notice.