My favorite stop was the Leonardo da Vinci museum. It is small, but the information was so inspiring. da Vinci was so intensely curious. His mind came up with design that gave us the car, the bicycle, diving equipment, and so many other machines. After walking through the museum, I felt inspired to be confident in being deeply curious about the world. We need more curious minds.
Of course I visited the Colosseum, a place famous for Gladiator fighting and other violent spectacles. Me being who I am, I found the place disturbing, knowing that fighting to the death was once a form of entertainment. That being said, the structure was mind boggling. How did they do it? How did they build that structure in 80 A.D.? There is so much I still don't understand.
The Pantheon was another mind boggling place. It was built originally as a Pagan temple in the 1st century. Again, my amazement in our human capabilities was overwhelming.
My only criticism of Rome is I only hear American music. I don't understand this. Italians have such a rich history of producing great music. In school, we only studied Italians for the first part of every music history class. The Romans invented musical notation. The greatest composers were Italian until the Viennese took over that title. Growing up, we listened to a lot of Opera, and in school, I studied Italian Art Song for 4 years, competing and translating, making sure every note was perfect, and every accent correct. Italian music, classical and folk, is gorgeous. I wish I could hear more of it. Even the spoken language has a musicality to it. When I listen to the locals converse, they all seem to speak in the same musical key. There is a melodic quality to their speech. It feels like music. I can see why music comes so naturally to this culture.
The most wonderful thing about being in Italy, for me, has been identifying with a culture I always felt I belonged too. Stepping off the plane, I looked around and thought I had stepped into a family reunion. There is something very comforting about recognizing all the faces in one city. I have never had that before. The most Italians I have ever been around where in Philadelphia visiting my sister, and that was still very different from this. Here, I recognize the mannerisms that have continued to be passed down into my American version of the culture. The hand movements, the projected voices, the appreciation for beauty, and the appreciation for good food. My cousin, Peter, told me that the first time he visited Italy, he felt like he was coming home. I have to say I agree. It's nice to be home.