February 2010 Archives

A New Year!

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Dear Diary...I cannot believe it's been so long since I last wrote in you... 

Almost a whole year has passed since I last wrote.  I am not surprised that I did not write again in the summer, since once the students arrive in Rome, things get really hectic.  I know I spent last May getting ready to go and buffing up my courses. 

I was thrilled with the new field trips we added to last year's trip, including the walking tour of central Rome.  Although I had spent many hours walking around there with my kids, I realized how many little nooks and crannies there are that are easy to miss.  I was amazed that a small, seemingly hidden church between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona had a cache of three amazing Caravaggio paintings including the one below, "The Calling of Saint Matthew", which was painted 1599-1600.  There are other Caravaggios in the Borghese Galleria but these three are just in the chapel of San Luigi dei Francesi.  Reading up on this church and the paintings in Wikipedia, I see this church was where Martin Luther stayed when he came to Rome.  I have not found verification of this or the notion that he was on trial at the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (the church of St. Mary built over the temple for the goddess Minerva). 

I started out this blog entry thinking I would write about the new crop of students who I am really looking forward to meeting at the end of the month when we have our orientation meeting at the International Student lounge in Boucke building at University Park.  Then I got distracted by the interesting information about the paintings and Martin Luther and the sopra Minerva church (which has a 'minor' sculpture by Michelangelo!).  I realize again how much I love going to Rome and seeing the layers upon layers of history, both literal and figurative. 

I hope our new students find Rome as fascinating.  In Rome, history abounds and also seems mundane. On top of that history is a thriving city with people going about their daily lives.  There are loads of tourists, but they are easily ignored when one sees a fragment of a statue or building that is easily over two thousand years old.

Dear Diary...or Blog...I promise to write more often again now that I am back.  I am so excited to be going back to Rome and I will definitely revisit the chapel with the Caravaggio paintings.  I have learned a lot about Martin Luther this year from the lecture series on the Reformation that I have been listening to.  I feel better prepared to see those parts of history in my wanderings around Rome.  I can't wait to see and hear what the students learn as well.


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