As part of my Rome subject, I am required to have read (and understood, because the one doesn't necessarily imply the other) not one but four course texts. And while I am totally looking forward to this subject and all it entails, articles on the development of ichnographic maps are really failing to win me over. Imagine the dryest article ever written, and then decrease its relevance by 300 or so years. Maybe this is a case of the lady doth protest too much, and maybe I'm not giving it enough of a chance -- but really, how can my course readers stand a chance when I'm comparing them to much more interesting reading, both on unusual and alternative things to do in Rome, by way of Lonely Planet's "Rome Encounter" (yes, actual goodness from LP, now I'll believe anything) and Jonathan Boardman's "Rome" from the Cities of the Imagination series. Boardman writes about lascivious Borgias, dodgy Roman papal families, and even makes a case for the emperor Nero being a man of his times whose reputation suffered due to bad historiography. Cristian Bonetto, author of the LP encounter guide, writes of underground student bars and brand new independent art galleries in suburbs that my much larger Dorling Kindersley guide doesn't even mention. I have been writing a list of interesting laces to go, yet with each thing I add I feel a little glummer because the chances of me having enough time to see it all get slimmer the longer the list is. Having already been to Rome and seen the "important" sites, I assumed I'd have a much better opportunity to see a new side of the city...but now as I look at my photos, circa 2004, I feel like I can barely remember being there at all.
But, of course, I was. I do remember that I particularly liked Piazza della Repubblica (bottom image), despite the fact that it was near impossible to get across the damn thing. Photos provide proof when it all becomes a bit unreal -- but then again that shoe photo is Roman fantasy in a nutshell.
Because I am a) a nerd and b) a nerd who likes street art I am particularly pleased to have found (via LP) Sten, a stencil artist based in Rome. His work seems to be mainly around Termini station, but he also pops up in Venice and London. I guess the tricky thing with scoping out street art in a place like Rome is that the more interesting the work, the dodgier the area and the darker (and stinkier) the alley it is hidden in. That combined with the fact that our itinerary is ridiculously packed - we have a total of five free days in the course of a month, and these are not "free" in the true sense of the word, they are "kept free" so we can go to temporary exhibitions and spend time doing research - means my chances of finding Sten are pretty slim. In the meantime, I have contented myself with hunting down images of his work on the web.
Progress on the job front means my brief dalliance with unemployment is all but over, and as a result, so is the abundance of free time I found on my hands a few weeks ago. I still have many a photo I want to take, and many backdated photos to post, not to mention galleries to visit and the aforementioned tome of Rome-reading. I am starting to think this will all fall by the wayside, as for girls who dream of going to Rome, cashflow takes priority over cultural edification and navel gazing. As such, apologies in advance if this blog is sadly neglected in the next month. That's right, month. Maybe I need to get one of those counter gidgets..? It truly is starting to feel real now.