Jan. 21-23

January 23, 2009

Friday, Jan. 23rd

On Wednesday the 21st I had one new class: Late Antique/Early Byzantine Art and Architecture with Professor Jan Gadeyne. I really enjoyed it–I think this will be my favorite class. My advisor at Duke recommended him, and I can see why now! He has a very entertaining lecture style and a great accent (he’s Belgian). I also bought my textbooks.

Thursday morning with Professor Gadeyne we went to two museums: the Palazzo Massimo and the Palazzo Altemps. We met up first at the Piazza Repubblica, pictured below. In the museums we looked at classical Roman sculpture and some Late Antique sarcophagi to see the difference between them, and how Late Antique art grew out of changing social/political conditions in the late Roman world; this will be the theme of the class.

Today, Friday, we went grocery shopping and did laundry (we don’t have classes on Friday) and this afternoon visited La Sapienza, the main campus of the University of Rome. The University of Rome has 250,000 students (!), however, only about 40% of each class of incoming students actually graduates with a degree. The theoretical track is 3 years of undergraduate plus 2 years of master’s degree-level courses (primo grado and secondo grado), but most students take much longer, sometimes 10 years or more to finish their secondo grado. The current university buildings were constructed under Mussolini and definitely look like it. The statue is of La Sapienza, apparently a Greek goddess of wisdom/knowledge.

Tonight we experimented with cooking: I made pan-fried chicken, honey-glazed carrots, and rosemary-garlic potatoes in the oven. Then we made a chocolate cake from a box. The dinner came out great, although I managed to burn the one oven pan we have. The cake we had to make in the same pan, which was far too large for it, causing us to burn the top of the cake. It was also kind of dry. But everyone who came in our room said it smelled delicious, and it tasted pretty good for kinda-burnt-cake-in-a-big-roasting-pan. Hurrah! Cooking here in milligrams and Celsius and gas-burning stoves has been very challenging, but entertaining!