Searching and Finding

Experienced travelers often look for things off the beaten track and will go to great lengths to find them, sometimes coming up empty handed and sometimes having ridiculous outcomes like looking for something in the wrong place (not having the right address or name) or standing in front of the exact place you are looking for and not seeing it.  In the meantime, you find things you didn’t expect.

So we have walked along the Tiber River every day for part of the time coming and going from the apartment where we are staying.  It’s been a little hotter and muggier than we are used to though I understand No. Calif. has been warmer too and we know Chicago definitely is hot!  So the river breeze is most welcome.  We’ve seen the island in the middle of the river and it has become a landmark of sorts as it is the place we usually cross over or take a turn toward the historic center of the city.  We spent some time looking for a Palazzo that contains an interesting art collection that was written up recently in the New York Times as one of three museums most people don’t go to and it took us two days to find it as we had the wrong name.  It was the Doro Pamphilli collection that includes the portrait that Velazquez did of Pope Innocent X and parodied by Frances Bacon.  It’s hanging in a small gallery in a palazzo that is covered floor to ceiling with art.  We learned that the nephew of the pope got a high position in the government (when the Pope was religious and political leader).  As you might imagine it enriched that person quite a bit and I don’t mean in a spiritual sense.  It’s where the word nepotism comes from- who knew…worth taking the time to find and there were not many people there.  They were also in the process of restoring a very large Caravaggio painting that was interesting to watch but impossible to photograph because of the large lights they were using.

On the way to this Palazzo we found the St. Ingnatius Loyola Church and a few other random views I have included.  We also sought out the home of La Fornarina, Raphael’s girlfriend and model.  This was an example of standing right in front of it and not seeing it, boy did we feel dumb.  We were intrigued because the anecdote is that Raphael had a heart attack while making love to her and died- though his betrothed is included in statue form on his grave inside the Pantheon.   There is a famous portrait of her that is also a parody by Cindy Sherman as a very pregnant woman.  We saw the portrait of her hanging in the Borghese Gallery, more on that later.

One thought on “Searching and Finding

  1. Hi Mina,

    Love your stories, and today’s is especially resonant, the idea of not seeing what’s before our very eyes. I talk about that all the time with students–it’s been especially relevant this semester as I’m teaching a public art class where we’re out in the field for two weeks, and then will meet at school to discuss/process what we’ve seen. I am previewing the sites, and have seen so much I have not taken in before–the first was the Embarcadero near the Ferry building, and then into Justin Herman Plaza (where the Vallincourt Fountain is) and then across into the old Main Post Office, to view the murals. I never really “saw” the murals, but certainly have now! Similarly, we went to the Mission District this week to view murals in Clarion Alley, and made our way to the Wheatpaste wall closer to 24th Street as a destination. So many projects, and it was neat to learn what the students know about the area as well.

    Thanks for sharing what seems to be a rather magical experience with us! I’m going to send this to Harlan as I know he will enjoy them too.



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