We awoke to a beautiful morning and a substantial hotel breakfast with a plethora of pastries and many beverages to choose from (thanks, Best Western!). Afterwards, we set out to explore the basilica of San Clemente, where saw the modern church built in the 12th century. The adventure continued as we traveled beneath the crust of the earth to discover a 4th century basilica built in the Middle Ages. But the fun did not stop there as we delved even deeper and found the remains of a Roman pagan church from the 1st century AD. There we found a spring that connects all the way to the Tiber River and drank from its fabled healing waters. After reemerging and once again feeling the light of day, we grabbed a quick lunch and made our way to the Roman forum where we paid homage to Caesar and admire Trajan’s Column.
Our next stop was the Domus Romae, an extremely well preserved house from the 4th century AD that is now an underground exhibit. We got to go on one of the guided tours of the house, and were astounded by the use of lights and projection to outline certain features and give us a picture of what the house would have looked like in its prime. Outside, we met up with a Winsor alumna studying abroad and walked our way to our next stop…the Pantheon.
When we (finally) arrived at our destination, we were greeted by the suave sensation of street music. There was an opera singer in a blue velvet tux singing in Italian in the square and selfie stick sellers roaming the streets. In the Pantheon itself, we found a very different form of art and wonders of architecture. There were oil paintings on every surface and statues in the alcoves. The ceiling was a compilation of geometric patterns with perfect circles and squares. Upon emerging from the Pantheon, we were greeted by the sound of a new street musician, this time an electric guitarist (and singer) who performed two Pink Floyd songs (to Dagny’s great delight).
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at a statue of Julius Caesar and reenacted his murder and Mark Antony’s speech afterwards (as written by Shakespeare), starring Fiona Duckworth as Caesar’s corpse and Babette Kania as Mark Antony.