Saturday, 3 December 2011

December in Rome

December in Rome is very pleasant -- even oranges are growing in the trees near my apartment! I'm longing to try to jump up and grab at one, to see how it might taste. Bitter, perhaps? I'm not sure that Rome is actually in the orange-growing belt! But, for a girl from rural Alberta, seeing anything bloom in December is nothing short of a miracle.

I noticed these trees on Saturday, my second full day of life in Rome, as I was walking home from an exhibition of Renaissance painting at the Scuderie del Quirinale. Translated, that refers to the Stables of the Quirinale Palace, an important site that is now the residence of the President of Italy. The Quirinale palazzo once belonged to popes, and when the palazzo and beautiful, large piazza were first constructed, during the 1600s, stables were still a necessity.

Today, the Scuderie, or stables, is used for all kinds of exhibitions and events. The exhibition I saw today, "Filippino Lippi e Sandro Botticelli nella Firenze del '400" focused on the works of Filippino Lippi, illegitimate son of the more famous Fra Filippo Lippi and a nun. I wasn't extremely impressed by the exhibition, unfortunately. There was a lot of information about the times, and about important patrons of Lippi including the Medici and Strozzi clan. But to me, it simply didn't hang together.I couldn't really discern a story line.

But no matter -- it was interesting to visit, and I set quieter pace than I experienced Saturday morning and the day before. (I even had time to explore some random ruins near my place!)

I have put so many kilometers on my feet in the last few days that I have blisters. Oh, how I miss my summer sandals (with orthotics to support my long, elegant feet.) These are what I usually wear in Rome, because I'm usually here in the summer; and they're perfect for long walks up and down the hills of Rome and over the cobblestones.

Friday, I had a fantastic time meeting Slow Travel friend Kathy, who blogs under the name Trekcapri. She was just passing through Rome on her way home to California from the Amalfi Coast -- and Capri! We strolled around the Piazza Navona area, had a few drinks in the very cool Bramante Cloister, and dinner at favourite Sagrastina. It was such a treat to meet Kathy and wander around central Rome together.


Susie L said...

Wow, your first post as a Roman!

Beautiful photos Sandra, I love the quality of the light and the oranges look as if they are ever so slightly glowing.

How nice to have already had a GTG!

barb cabot said...

I'm hanging onto your every word. Loving the photos as well. So happy for your days of exploring and to think this is your neighborhood...well that Rome is your city! Amazing. So excited to hear you were able to spend time with Trekcapri! Cheers, enjoy your time and take care of those feet!

nancyhol said...

Sandra, it sounds like you have settled in well. I hope this post is the first of many from your new home in Rome.

So nice that you and Kathy could get together.

girasoli said...

It is so exciting to read your first official blog post from Roma! What a wonderful adventure you will have living there. Glad you were able to meet Kathy. Looking forward to more stories and photos. Enjoy!!

sandrac said...

Thanks, everyone! Susie, I was so thrilled to see oranges growing in December (I really have lived for too long in cold climates!)

Barb, I had a wonderful time with Kathy. She really is a delightful person and I enjoyed spending time with her. I couldn't believe we wandered and ate until after 11 when she had a 4 a.m. wake-up call!

Nancy, Rome feels a bit different now that I'm looking at it as a potential home rather than just a vacation spot. But I think it will be great.

Hi Girasoli, it's great to hear from you. I'll be thinking of you when I start my language classes Monday morning. Someday, perhaps we can have a conversation in Italian!

Jane said...

Well, Sandra, YOU DID IT! Be sure to call your mom and tell her you made it there. You know she's worrying.

Seriously, this is so exciting to read of you there in Rome. Remember, you don't need to do anything in a hurry now--stroll leisurely, look long, put off until tomorrow when you want to. You're home in Rome.

Trekcapri said...

Hi Sandra, those oranges do look good. Sounds like you had a full and interesting Saturday.

It was so great meeting you. Much appreciation for taking me around to some of your favorite places like the Pantheon and to the cloister to see those beautiful frescos. It was really wonderful to see some of Rome through your eyes. On just your 2nd day, you seem so comfortable in your new home. It was great to share a nice glass of prosecco(s) and conversation with you. I'll have you know that the walk did me good as I slept practically the entire way home on the plane. :) But maybe you had planned on taking me on some of those extra steps for that purpose. :) All kidding aside my trip home was really one of the smoother trips I've had. Hope you enjoyed your walk home after you got me back to my hotel. I am looking forward to reading more on your experiences in Rome. Hope you have a great first day in School on Monday. btw, I miss hearing those bells already. Take care.

LauraInSeattle said...

I am really enjoying your blog and adventure!! Thank you for taking us all along for the experience. I hope it makes your heart sing!

(I go by chachalaca on the slowtrav boards)

sandrac said...

Hello Jane, that's a lovely sentiment. I do rush around too much....time to slow down a little and enjoy!

Kathy, it's great to hear that you made it home safely -- and managed to sleep much of the flight! That would make the long travel hours easier to take.

I haven't yet heard enough church bells -- I have the kitchen window open right now in the hopes of hearing the 9 a.m. bells. That sound is, to me, so intrinsically Italian.

Thanks, Laura, Rome should provide me with lots of interesting experiences to share!

Annie said...

So glad that you are there safe and sound! Orange trees in December, amazing. Glad that you and TrekCapri had a fun time. Cheers, Annie

Shelagh (SJ) said...

You sound like you are settling in!
Taking things slowly, and adjusting to all the differences.
It makes such a difference to see someone from "Home", and share a meal and a drink.
What did the oranges tasted like when you jumped up to get one?!!

sandrac said...

Hi Shelagh, slowly it's coming. I've been really fortunate and have had something social to do almost every day! And my classmates seem very nice so that helps me to feel connected.

margaretlb said...

How wonderful to take the chance and live your dream. I was astounded to see trees full of oranges when I visited during the first week in April! You have to let us know if the oranges are actually on trees for the entire year. I'm looking forward to following your blog and living vicariously:)

sandrac said...

Hi Annie, I am still amazed by the orange trees....maybe this week I'll go by at night and see if I can knock one down and taste it.

Margaret, that's a great idea -- I'll do a kind of an orange-watch and see how they withstand the weather!

Amanda said...

I'm not sure about Roma, but Florida harvests oranges in December/January. If there aren't any on the ground, then they probably aren't ripe yet.

Here in Germany we are waiting for the snow & it's been rainy & cold, so I'm jealous of your warm weather!