Latest adventure: traveling through the Jewish "Ghetto" of Rome. There were once walls that separated the religious sector of the city from the Catholic majority. Pope Paul the IV put them up in 1555 with hopes to convert the Jewish population. His attempts failed. The Jewish population actually grew and attracted refugees from Spain and Germany. The walls were torn down in 1846, with cool left over ruins as markers and memory, and this part of the city is now full of valuable real estate, kosher delis and markets and a serious sense of community. There are delicious bakeries and fun gift shops that make it a great destination spot for tourists and Romans. The Jewish sector lines a series of ruins including the Portico d'Ottavia and Teatro d'Marcellus, both built by Augustus I for his niece and nephew, respectively. The streets here are narrow and winding, making it an easy place to get lost.
Nearby is a really interesting Roman National Museum containing the Crypta Balbi and cistern and a series of layers of buildings piled on top of on another. This is a great example of Palimpsest that exists everywhere in Rome. Layers of materials and history compounded through the ages, telling us stories of architecture and social hierarchies. Antonella told us the importance of knowing these different materials. This "Cheat Sheet" is posted at the museum. The column seen in this image is also at the Crypt. It is in different stages of remaking, to show how the column would have been placed within the site. The historical imagery here is amazing and really inspiring to me as I go forward with my drawings and sketches. Layers and Layers just laying below the city waiting to be discovered.
So this weekend we are going to take a train trip to Florence. I will be really busy exploring this gorgeous city and visiting the Uffizi Gallery.
Until next week,