Friday, August 7, 2009

italia, day 9

My last morning in Venice, the cappucino in the monastery's vending machine wasn't all that bad; a brief walk around Campo Santa Maria Formosa, mostly to find an ATM; then off to the Ferrovia on the vaporetto, taking lots of pics, and finding a few minutes to check out the nearby Chiesa degli Scalzi before hopping on the Eurostar to Rome. Got a single seat to myself, trip took less than 4 hours; had a tramezzino bought at Suve in Venice for lunch and finished Baldunacci's biography of Bernini. View from Florence to Rome was spectacular.

Been getting a lot of luck with B&B's in Rome. La Casa di Amy (Amy being the acronym of the owners' three kids' first names) is tucked away in the crazy Termini district, a hop away from the station (convenient for me, as I catch an early flight tomorrow). The room is elegantly furnished, and looks out on the street below. The B&B is an apartment in an old, elegant building with an interior garden. There's a small but efficient bathroom, and a nicely furnished breakfast area, and when I asked to have my breakfast an hour earlier, they offered to deliver it to my room by tonight, with a water heater. Only catch: what's with Italians and instant coffee? They think everyone from America loves this Nescafe shit. But as though to make up for it, I also got a basket of stuff, from yogurt to juice, fresh fruit, crostata and biscotti, a croissant, Nutella and honey, and nice Ikea cutlery. Gee, and all I wanted was an espresso.... (Via Principe Amadeo 85/A, 00185 Roma.)

Since I only had an afternoon in Rome, quickly did my Bernini research:

Santa Bibiana, where I walked like 2 miles along via Giolitti's seediest quarters only to find it gated and closed (and scrawled all over with graffiti.)

Santa Maria della Vittoria, to take a look at the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa again. Okay, can I take it home with me now?

Santa Maria di Popolo, where as my luck would have it, the Chigi Chapel was closed for restoration. I do remember coming here the last time though, and touching the feet of Bernini's Daniel. Also had a chance to check out Caravaggio's totally homoerotic Conversion of Saint Paul again.

Passed through a bunch of churches designed by Rainaldi, who was influenced by Bernini; you almost couldn't tell it wasn't Bernini until you looked closer--Rainaldi didn't have the master's touch with detail.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, to check out Bernini's elephant and Michelangelo's Savior, possibly the most buff Christ ever created. And this is where all my freaking batteries finally ran out, and where my pic album ends.

Brief stop at the Pantheon. Crowds freaked me out, and I fled. Found a Punto (a supermarket), got myself some Segafreddo to take home. Yey.

Wanted to go back to Cacia e Pepe for carbonara, epecially after last night's disappointing version at Al Nonno, but my feet were hurting (damn these Superga -- they're useless on Rome's cobbled streets) so decided to just have porchetta at Campo di Fiori. Which of course took me forever to find. Last time I was here, Ristocampo had excellent porchetta. Now the place has totally gone commercial, they give you a pinch of pork and tons of add-on stuff, and the girls who serve are just a bunch of young little bitches who probably couldn't find better work for the summer (and who spoke absolutely no English). If you want wine, you have to order it next door, which is their sister bar. There the girls are much nicer. Which goes to show, if you do pork, it's just work; if you do wine, you're fine. Whatever. Word of warning: it's not OK to have picante salsa with your porchetta. I asked for "un pochino solo" but the little bitch slathered it all over like mayo on a Big Mac, and I could barely taste the porchetta until the last bite, when I finally got to the crispy skin. Still a good bargain: porchetta, 5 euros, glass of red wine, 3 euros.

Grabbed the bus back to Giolitti; couldn't bear to stay up; decided to just watch Italian TV at the B&B. But since the stop is just a block away from my fave gelato place, Orso Bianco -- perche no? Had sesame/miel, hazelnut and pistachio while the Santa Maria Maggiore tolled the hour.

Sleep, Gianlorenzo, while I stay by your side.

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