Now that we are entering the last stretch of the semester, many start to enter this semi-panic mode. You become so worried and obsessed with whether you have enough time to see all the places you want to in Rome. Maybe for the first part of the semester you have been focused more on traveling outside of the city, or maybe you had kept putting off going to some of Rome’s most famous sights, but these last few weeks are the best time to experience more of the city.
When I had planned out my schedule back at the beginning of this experience, I wanted to make sure to leave time for myself in between class or at the beginning of the day to go out and about in the city. My biggest lapse in time during the school week is Monday mornings, as I scheduled it so that I do not have a lesson until 3:20 PM. So, for the last few weeks I have been getting ready in the morning and going out for the day to do some fun exploring before going back to school for class. I wanted to take advantage of the time I have left to go to places within Rome that I have been debating about going to, but had not committed time on the weekend to go to.
Last week I went to three galleries and one church all before 1:00 PM on one of my Monday morning adventures. I went to Villa Farnesina, Galleria Spada, la Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi, and Galleria Doria Pamphilj. Even though these are not common places that tourists go to, they were important to me, so I made sure to set aside time for them. Time is precious in studying abroad, and you should make sure you spend it doing what you actually want rather than what people tell you to see.
The Villa Farnesina was mainly frescos by Raphael with a special exhibition on the x-rayed colors and composition of the paints of the frescos. It was also a really cheap ticket for a student, so it felt very worth-while for a college student budget. To get to each of the other locations, I had saved their addresses on GoogleMaps so I just had to open the app and tab my next location for directions. It is very surprising how walkable many parts of the city are. You find yourself walking to your destination, but on that walk, you stumble upon so many interesting shops, restaurants, and old architecture.
The Galleria Spada and Galleria Doria Pamphilj were very fun and exciting collections! Like many small galleries in Rome, they are usually in old Baroque and Renaissance buildings, and are composed of some once private collections. There are just hundreds of paintings and sculptures all over the place; you become fully immersed in the artwork in these historic buildings. I would definitely recommend going to either of these places. The Doria Pamphilj Gallery is especially cool because it has a smaller scale ‘Hall of Mirrors’ which is a replica of the hall of the same name at the Palace of Versailles.
The reason I wanted to go to the Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesi was because of the artwork in its side chapels. This church captured my interest because this is the location of some paintings by Caravaggio. Even though this was my main reason for going, I ended up liking a lot of the other artwork and architecture here. This was another one of those exciting moments when I was finally able to see some of my favorite artworks up close and personal. These types of moments are what really make my adventures in Rome worthwhile and much more intimate and personalized.
My main point of this is that there are so many small events and locations in the city to go to, that you can visit by utilizing your down time between class. Taking just a couple hours to myself on my hours between class makes each day more meaningful and exciting.