One of the advantages of our scouting mission to look for an apartment in Croatia was that the cheapest airline tickets I could find to get there flew into Rome and out of Venice, and that Venice is just a short trip across the Adriatic Sea to Croatia. So of course we had to stop and visit both these incredible cities. What a chore, you say as you roll your eyes. I mean, really, looking for a new home is a tough job.
As much as I had heard about Rome, the City of Love, nothing really prepared me for what I encountered. The old adage, “Rome was not built in a day,” seemed like an understatement as we explored.
Every church you walked into was jaw-dropping magnificence. Every corner you turned had some ruins built in another century; every museum you walked into held a dizzying array of treasures from some of the world’s greatest masters. The streets were filled with piazzas or public squares that held fountains with sculptures that entranced and beguiled visitors. And the food wasn’t half bad either.
The incredible Trevi Fountain was selfie-central with visitors from all corners of the world snapping photos and flipping coins over their shoulders. Walking through the Vatican with countless treasures from ancient times, then entering the Sistine Chapel and the mesmerizing St. Peter’s Basilica, I began to feel not just a little proud of my quarter percentage of Italian ancestry. I mean, I knew we created pizza, but this city, O mio Dio! Santa Cielo! I was in love!
But nothing prepared me for Bernini. I mean, when you can mistake stone for soft flesh, an artist becomes not just an artist in my eyes but a magician. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian sculpture and architect from the 16th century who created the baroque style of sculpture.
“What Shakespeare is to drama, Bernini may be to sculpture,” says a prominent scholar on his contributions.
Looking around the city of Rome, Bernini’s influence is everywhere from the famous fountains found in the piazzas around town to the baldacchino of St. Peter’s Basilica. However, it is in the Galleria Borghese where I saw his sculptures that I realized what a genius he was. The Rape of Proserpina and Apollo and Daphne literally took my breath away. I just stood and stared at them entranced. And as magnificent as pictures are of the sculptures, they don’t do the them justice.
The mattress for the Sleeping Hermaphrodite looked so soft, Mike couldn’t believe it wasn’t a statue laying on a real mattress. And so, our trip to Rome culminated into a love fest for Bernini. After I left the museum, everywhere I went in the city, I would find something awe-inspiring and sure enough, Bernini was involved in some way. So if you have a chance to visit Rome, keep an eye out for Bernini. You might just fall in love, too.