Cannoli Pepperoni

Est. 2013

Posts tagged “Rome

The New Normal

Posted on December 26, 2013

A funny thing happened when I wasn’t looking. I don’t know when, exactly, this city started to feel like a place where I actually live. But it does. A few weeks ago Peter asked me, “Do you still have those days when you can’t believe we live here?” We were making our way down the hill to Trastevere. I turned a corner and suddenly the city was in full view, lit with the golden late afternoon light that still makes my knees go weak. I thought, of course! Isn’t that what I’m supposed to feel? But then the real answer came to the surface. Actually, I do believe I live here. Feelings of awe still come over me, but I spend more time just enjoying a daily…

Natale is Near

Posted on December 7, 2013

Earlier today Peter and I were walking along Via del Corso at dusk. We had stayed out just a bit too long. The street was swollen with people walking in that over-shopped, dazed way that only seems to happen around Christmas. I was feeling tired and ready to be home. As if walking down the crowded street wasn’t difficult enough, a man in uniform darted in front of us and knelt down. He blocked our path, looking skyward with a pained expression on his face. He flipped a switch and we looked up. Suddenly the string of lights that span the entire street were all lit up.

 

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The Bass Garden

Posted on December 2, 2013

In many ways, the American Academy is too improbable to take in on first sight. When my taxi pulled up to the front gate on the day I arrived, I thought I was having a fantastic jet lagged dream. And that’s the way I felt for days! I’m now approaching month three and the place still astounds me, but it’s starting to feel like home. Since the Academy is as important to my day-to-day life as the city of Rome, I think it’s time you were introduced.

Why don’t we start here? My backyard in Rome has a name.

In Saint Paul I never thought to call the 30×20′ plot behind our house anything special, although I love it all the same. The little vegetable garden, the patch of pink peonies and the hearty stalks of rhubarb that miraculously poke through the cold earth every spring are special to me. You can know a garden like this by heart. A name would be beside the point. But of course here everything is different.

The Bass Garden is an expanse of little hills behind the Academy enclosed on all sides by stone walls and a gate. It’s a place for sitting alone with your coffee and your thoughts, as much as it’s a place for meeting a friend (“Meet me at the back gate” is a common refrain.) There are olive and orange trees and a pebbled path lined with fragrant wild rosemary. There’s a bocce ball court and a wood-fired grill. And there’s a beautiful vegetable garden with raised brick beds that produces much of the salad greens (among other vegetables) that we eat.

I’ve loved seeing what the change of seasons brings to this glorious space. This is what the garden looked like on December 2nd. Can you imagine what’s to come this spring?

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The Boxer At Rest

Posted on November 25, 2013

Last Sunday Peter and I ventured off the Academy hill to the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. We’ve been slowly building a list of museums and sights to see in Rome and just as slowly checking things off the list. The beauty of being here for almost a year is there’s no pressure–at least right now–to sightsee. We can drink in Rome’s history like a rich digestif, slowly sipping so that it settles nicely. I’ve never been so aware of stretching out an experience, but that’s what this year is like. It feels like the more gradually I take everything in, the longer the memories will last.

Palazzo Massimo is a gorgeous museum with a large collection of ancient mosaics, one of the most vividly-colored intact frescoes I’ve ever seen, and the haunting 4th century B.C. bronze sculpture, “Boxer at Rest.” Can you imagine what it would have been like to be the archeologist who discovered this wondrous object in 1885? You can see the scars etched on the boxer’s face. You can get so close that he almost looks real (until you set the sensors off, like I did, and are jarred out of your reverie). We wandered through the galleries, blissfully alone in most of them, until we’d had enough. How do you follow up an afternoon of beautiful art? With pastries of course. So we stopped at L’arte del Pane for a sweet nibble and then we got on the bus to go back home.

Il Stormo di Storni

Posted on November 20, 2013

We are in the midst of Starling Season in Rome. We are just a stop along the way to Africa for the thousands of birds making their migration, but at the moment it feels like they’ve decided to stay. I noticed them first outside my bedroom window at the Academy. Typical bird chatter would suddenly grow deafening around 4 o’clock, when they’d all come to roost in the Umbrella Pines across the street. It’s a throbbing hum so loud it goes through glass. It goes right into your head, too, so good luck trying to concentrate on anything. The birds congregated for no more than half an hour, but then they were off. To where? I couldn’t tell. But I discovered their roosting spot…

Going Up

Posted on November 15, 2013

We live on top of one of Rome’s many hills. The view is incredible, but there’s a price to pay. If you head down the hill you must go back up (sometimes several times a day). Before I show you what our view looks like, I thought I’d show you some of the staircases we’re becoming well-acquainted with.