A Month Remains

The days left on our Rome calendar are getting fewer and the weather seems to get warmer every day that passes. The flower petals have fallen from the trees in the recent rains and the rush toward final projects and exams seems to be accelerating.

We had a very relaxing couple of days over the Easter holiday. Most things were closed so we stayed in. Patty wasn’t feeling well so a slower pace for a few days was good for all of us.

This week’s drawing class was at the Centrale Montemartini. A former diesel fueled power plant that has been turned into a museum with ancient sculpture, much of which has been found here in Rome. The sculptures and the setting were perfect for my photography project, but I didn’t get enough time in our ten minute break during drawing. So the next day, Gwen, Pat and I went there after classes and spent a couple of hours. Gwen enjoyed looking at the giant engines and machinery, especially since she is all “statued-out” from so many museum visits. Pat missed drawing class so she sketched a couple of pieces and I shot about 350 images in here. The clean lines, the interesting backgrounds and eye level placement were exactly what I have been craving in this project. We were there as the sun started down and the dramatic lighting just added to the geometry in my images.
The Centrale Montemartini Museo

Friday morning Gwen and I were at Termini station at 6:30am to catch a train to the coastal town of Formia. We went on a weekend trip to the island of Ventotene. It’s a tiny island off the west coast of Italy and part of the Pontine Archipelago. The ferry ride was over two hours. It’s still off season, so our little group of 13 were the only people at the hotel. In fact the cook came over on the ferry with us. There’s not enough work there in the off season for him to live on the island. The population is about 300.

We spent about an hour after we checked in at a wonderful black sandy beach. The Pontines are volcanic in nature and the dramatic rocks off the coast reminded me of the Azure Window on Gozo in Malta, but made of darker rock.
steps in the surf
Saturday we took a couple of fast dinghies to the Island of Santo Stefano where were toured the remains of a bourbon prison that built in 1797 and in use until 1965. It was a beautiful island with an interesting past. It is a labor of love for Salvatore, the man who gave us the tour. It’s a constant struggle with the elements and bureaucracy to save this piece of history since the Italian government has no money to support the project and hopes to sell it. According to Wikipedia, there’s a 20million Euro price tag, which doesn’t include the prison.
Prison on Santo Stefano

The rest of the day was spent relaxing with a little swimming although the water was pretty chilly. Late afternoon, we had the opportunity to join the chefs in the kitchen and prepare our Cena (dinner) under their guidance. It was a fun experience that I hope to use when I get home.
Barca Vela
On Sunday, we chilled and walked the island until the 3pm ferry back to the mainland. A few hours later we were back here in Rome. With only a month remaining this was a lovely respite from the city.

While Gwen and I were away, Coriander and Mason returned to Rome from Florence on Friday. Patty’s husband Woody flew into town from the states on Saturday. This coming week is busy with the school talent show, an Italian test and trips out of town at the end of the week. Gwen and I both have papers due, exams to study for, final projects and critiques. Even with all this we are still hoping to see more of Rome in our time remaining.

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