Roma--quatro

From my journal July 17, 2012

4pm. Galleria Borghese.
I am nearly dead. I feel that Rick Steves must be some kind of superhero that he thinks it is sensible to walk here from anywhere, really. It's just too hot. And too far. I intended to take a bus from Largo Argentia, but weirdly both sides of the street seemed to feature buses going the wrong way. I asked a guy where to get the bus to Tritone and he told me I should just walk.

So I did, mais ce n'est pas evident du tout since everything involves piazzas and it's very hard to figure out where streets actually go. Plus, I have one of those hotel-style maps which involve the bare minimum of streets. And then there's the sign thing they do here--for these major tourist sites, they will have a small sign with an arrow on a major street, after which I guess they figure you'll just intuit your way through the twisting cobbled streets to find it. Perhaps several signs? Just an idea. In any case, I did finally happen upon the Pantheon, which has an opening at the top through which sun streams in. It's quite impressive. Then, by some miracle, I found the Trevi Fountain. And there it was being famous. And there I was seeing it. I made a wish.

From there, it is a significant walk to get here. It's strange to walk up what is basically the Champs Elysees of Rome (complete with Harry's Bar) while sweating profusely and feeling like an almost-bursting tomato. I'm not quite as bella as I imagined I'd be. Meanwhile, actual Romans look sexy all the time. They appear not to sweat.

*******

The Galleria Borghese proved to be filled with breathtaking pieces. That Bernini knew a thing or two about sculpture, as it turns out. Also, I'd say, a thing or two about human emotion. You know who else was no slouch? Caravaggio. Si. È vero.

God bless whoever came up with the reservation system so that only 350 people are allowed in for a two-hour period. This allows you the physical space to actually see things and (dare I be terribly Californian about the whole thing?) the psychic space to actually feel something about what you're seeing. Ahem. I'm looking at you, Vatican Museum.

Also, as a bonus for small-breasted, very white, round-stomached women such as myself, a trip to the Borghese leaves you feeling that it's not so much that you're out of shape, it's more that you're out of step with the current ideals of, say, fitness-obsessed San Francisco. You are classical in form. Indeed, you would have probably been quite the dream girl of the 1600's.