Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Agenda for Day 19, 06-05-15

Dear Writers of Rome,

Yes, you read that right: Day 19. Unless you've made other arrangements with Dr. Spinner and me, this is the day that you'll post your final blog entry, the envoi.

As noted on our Writing page, the purpose of the envoi is to give you an opportunity to say some final words as a Roman writer:
An envoi is the conclusion of a written work, which often includes the author's parting words. Your envoi will be your final blog entry, posted 48 hours after the tour is over, where you will look back on your Roman tour and bring your writing of it to a close — for now.
Also, if you have outstanding blog posts, please make sure you have entered them before you post your envoi. Following this, Dr. Spinner and I will re-read everything, confer, and send your grades to the registrar.

For now, I hope this post finds you happy, healthy, and satisfied. Travel well, Romekids.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Agenda for Day 16, 06-02-15 (evening)

Dear Writers of Rome,

The agenda for our final evening in the Eternal City will be as follows.

(1) Gather in the Common Room at 7:00 p.m. sharp with your audio devices ready to be redistributed to those flying back to JFK on. If possible, please repack your device in the original bag(s), with the batteries removed.

(2) Also at this time, we'll review the check-out procedures, which we posted previously.

(3) After these preliminaries, we'll make some closing remarks and ask you to fill out course evaluations. Our peer mentor will collect them and mail them to the Classics/Religion administrative assistant upon landing in the U.S.

(4) At 8:00 we'll head out to our farewell dinner at L'Osteria Centouno. Thanks to the euro being in our favor, your personal allowance at the restaurant (excluding alcohol) will be 50 euros.

(5) Finally, bear in mind that those traveling to New York with Dr. Spinner will depart via shuttle at 6:30 a.m. the following morning.


Agenda for Day 16, 06-02-15 (morning)

Dear Writers of Rome,

As you are aware, tomorrow is the country-wide Festa della Repubblica, which commemorates the nationwide referendum of June 2, 1946 — the date on which Italians voted to abolish their constitutional monarchy and institute a full parliamentary system of government.

It's a national holiday akin Independence Day in the U.S. Nowhere are the celebrations grander than in Rome, the capital. Here's both what you can expect regarding transportation and other services on your last day in Rome, and how we plan to observe some of the festivities.

First, buses and the Metro will operate on the reduced-run festivo schedule; in fact, the Colosseo Metro stop might be closed the entire day to accommodate the ceremonies near the Wedding Cake.

Second, many archaeological sites (such as the Forum) will be closed, as will many other shops — though not all. You'll still be able to visit quite a few museums, churches, and other destinations for your solo excursions; and you'll still be able to shop. The important thing is to do your research before you head out.

In Rome on Republic Day (as we call it in English), there are several events of interest to us as a class:
  • 9:15 a.m.: The President of Italy will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (as described in Kristen's site report);
  • 10:00: There will be a military parade on the Via dei Fori Imperiali from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum;
  • 11:00: Fighter jets will release tri-color smoke and create an aerial Italian flag.
  • In the evening, there will be fireworks.
The parade is a fitting culmination to our study of Rome. We have often noted how power and authority are publicly displayed in spectacles. Ancient triumphs and medieval processions were continued in Mussolini's parades on the Via dell'Impero. Their spirit survives into the present day every June 2.

We invite you to join us for any or all of the above. Tomorrow morning Profs. Curley and Spinner will be stationed on the the Capitoline Hill between the new wing of the Capitoline Museum and the Palazzo Senatorio, overlooking the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Look for us there by 9:30 if you want to meet up. Otherwise, feel free to find your own place to sample the spectacle.

Note that attendance is optional, but we hope you'll make the most of this Italian, and uniquely Roman, holiday.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Agenda for Day 15, 06-01-15

Dear Roman Writers,

Here are the most important things to know about our visit to the Vatican Museums on Monday, June 1:
  • We will leave at 9:00 sharp from the Common Room. Vatican reservations (ours is at 9:30) are very strict.
  • Please have your Skidmore ID (to verify your U.S. student status), your Blue Guide, and your tour equipment.
  • Be dressed for church: the Vatican likes appropriate dress in the museum and especially at the Sistine Chapel.
If you are late or do not have the appropriate gear, we will not wait for you. Although we won't be running to the Vatican, we'll need you to stay with the group, since we'll be using the audio devices to fill you in as we walk.

More tomorrow,


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Agenda for Day 14, 05-31-15

Dear Roman Writers,

Our agenda for Sunday, May 31, are as follows:

Meet at the Common Room at 9:00. We'll take the Metro to Piramide, and then the regional rail to Ostia Antica.

Once at Ostia, you can explore the remains of Rome's ancient port city mostly on your own. This visit will help you envision what ancient Rome was like, before it was built up over the years. At a prearranged point we'll meet at the theater and from there move on to the ancient synagogue.

While at Ostia you'll do your Writer's Choice assignment (Ekphrasis, Momentary Blindness, Space & Place or Voyeur).

In the afternoon we'll head to the Lido di Ostia (Lido Centrale) and head to the beach. As noted, feel free to rent a chair from a private resort or to use the public beach (we'll show you both options).

Allegedly, the last train back to St. John's is 11:30 p.m. We'll try to confirm that during transit. If you miss the train, you'll have to get back via bus or taxi. I wouldn't stay out too late, though: we'll have a 9:00 start the next day at the Vatican Museums.


Checking Out, 06-03-15

Dear Roman Writers,

Alas, it's time to start thinking about end-of-course matters, such packing up and leaving the St. John's Rome Center on June 3rd.

You might have noticed in the elevator a piece of paper detailing our check-out procedures. The salient information is here.

  • Bag up all trash and remove all personal items. You may leave one bag of trash per person outside your door in the red trash bin. If you leave excessive trash you might be charged an additional cleaning fee.
  • Leave all linens on the beds.
  • Return e-key to the security desk when you depart and sign the "Return e-key log." Failure to return the key will result in a 100-dollar fine.
  • Pick-up by airport shuttle, 6:30 a.m. Drop off your key just before you leave.
  • Check out of the center by 10:00 a.m. Drop off your key just before you leave.
  • Your bus passes will get you to the train station, where you can purchase tickets for other destinations (including the airport).
Please let us know if you have any questions.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Agenda for Day 13, 05-30-15

Dear Writers of Rome,

Tomorrow, May 30, we head to the Protestant Cemetery, where we'll see the remains of many Grand Tourists. Here's our agenda:

Gather in the Common Room at 8:30. Yes, this is early for a weekend, but we want to give you as much time the rest of the day to enjoy the city and make solo excursions.

We'll travel by Metro to the cemetery. The rules for admission call for polite behavior and respectful dress. They also ask us to break into two groups, but once we get into the older part of the grounds, we can stand together.

After our final site report, we'll make a quick jaunt to the Monte Testaccio itself, and admire from the sidewalk the artificial hill that gives the quarter its name. After that, you're on your own.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Agenda for Day 12, 05-29-15

Dear Writers of Rome,

Our agenda for Friday, May 29, is shaping up as follows:

We'll gather in the Common Room at 8:30 and take the Metro to the Circo Massimo stop, transferring at Termini. From there it's a short walk to the Baths of Caracalla, the best preserved ancient baths in Rome. Our principal guide for this excursion will be none other than our beloved Peer Mentor herself.

After the Baths, we'll board the infamous 118 bus and make our way out onto the Appian Way, or Via Appia Antica. We'll have a picnic at the Villa of Maxentius, and then learn about the road itself. Make sure you have, in addition to your must-bring items, some food to eat: facilities on the V.A.A. are both sparse and bleak.

We'll linger in the area, visiting the Tomb of Cecilia Metella (courtesy of our Baths of Caracalla ticket) until 2:00, the appointed hour for our tour of the Catacombs of San Sebastiano. Once the tour is over, we'll head home by bus and Metro.

As if all of this weren't enough, you are invited by our friend Alessandra to attend a reading from her New Anthology of American Poetry: several of the Romekids have volunteered to lend their voices to this event. The reading will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Libreria Caffe N'Importe Quoi, in the former Ghetto. It will be a unique opportunity to observe Roman literary culture in action.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Agenda for Day 11, 05-28-15

Dear Roman Writers,

Our itinerary on Thursday will be another double-header, but it is the second-to-last one of these. As before, we've build in rest and food breaks, and we promise much serenity to go around.

We'll gather in the Common Room at 8:30 sharp for an immediate departure. Please be on time. We'll grab the 70 or 87 bus to the Largo Argentina and walk from there to the Great Synagogue of Rome. There we'll meet our guide, David, who will give us a tour of the former Ghetto, which will also include a visit to the Museo Ebraico.

Lunch will be a group affair, with a tasting menu at Nonna Betta, one of the best restaurants in the Ghetto. The owner, Umberto, has offered to say a few words about the traditions of Jewish cuisine in Rome.

After lunch and a break, we'll hear a presentation on Tiber Island, then head up the Aventine Hill to hear about the Basilica of Santa Sabina. While on the hill we'll also visit the Giardini degli Aranci (the Orange Garden) and write our Momentary Blindness exercise.


Dear Writers of Rome,

The forecast for this afternoon calls for 100% chance of precipitation (scattered showers), so please be prepared.

Beyond that, it looks as if we might not encounter anymore rain during our stay in Italy.

I hope everyone is feeling refreshed. See you soon,