New President? No Problem!

Buongiorno!

Anyone keeping current on the politics of Italy?

This past weekend, while we were in Florence, Italy elected a new president. I found out about the political shift late Monday night as I was researching the Quirinale for my term project. Sergio Matarella, age 73, was elected president of the Italian Republic, succeeding 89 year old Giorgio Napolitano who resigned earlier in January. Although this position is not as significant as the Prime Minister, I still thought that it was a pretty big deal, and it went virtually unnoticed among our group.

Monday afternoon Lucy and I were doing some drawing on our site, and we noticed the abnormal amount of news trucks surrounding the Quirinale palace, which is the Italian presidents residence, like the Italian White House. We were curious what was going on, so we decided to ask a guard (in our broken Italian) what was going on. He spoke only Italian, and we only understood nuovo presidente della Repubblica Italiana to be something about a new president of Italy. We left curious what other stuff he might’ve told us that we didn’t understand.

When we returned to the residence at night, I decided to look into the current political structure of Italy, because I was not very familiar with it, and hoped it would be useful to our project. What I found out was fascinating: On Tuesday morning, Matarella would be taking the oath of office at the Quirinale palace, which was only a block away from San Carlo alla Quattro Fontana, which is where we were supposed to meet with Professor Saloojee in the morning. I texted Ozayr to make sure that we would still have our visit to the church, because that is by far my favorite in all of Rome! He confirmed our visit, which would prove to be a logistical nightmare for us to get to in the morning.

Due to the inauguration happening, the road from Piazza Venezia all the way to the Quirinale was closed off to traffic. The entire group ended up suffering massive delays in the morning because all the busses became stuck in a massive traffic jam, and ended up re-routing pretty far south of the Quirinale. We made it to the Church with just enough time to see some commotion with guards, who had the Quirinale palace on lockdown. Although we missed the presidential motorcade coming down the Via Quirinale, we did manage to catch a parade of flamboyant guards riding horses into the Quirinale palace.

The inauguration of the new president occurred behind the doors of the Quirinale, and we were unable to see it, however, it was still really cool to be so close to such a big event, and just by chance! Our visit to San Carlino (by Borromini) and Sant Andrea’ Al Quirinale (by Bernini) was spectacular. I am so grateful that I will get to include both of those churches into my drawings, and I am a huge fan of Borromini’s architecture, and have a huge appreciation for Bernini’s sculpture.

Rome is truly amazing. It is such a large city, with so much to offer. We’ve been here for two weeks now, and I have learned so much! The history is absolutely amazing, and so rich, I can’t even begin to talk about all the fascinating things we have learned and discovered by being here. I hope you all enjoy the images I have included from our visit to the Borromini and Bernini churches, as well as some amazing Bernini sculptures that we saw at the Borghese gallery on Wednesday. I could literally talk for hours about the amazing time we’ve had in just the last two days, but I suppose I’d better spend the time working on our term project instead! Less than three weeks left in Rome, and I am already looking for apartments so I can move back here one day! This city is so spectacular!

Ciao!

Jack Grover

P.S. French Fries with mayo- pure bliss. It’s a thing here that we have discovered. I don’t know why it doesn’t exist in the states. When I get back I’m going to start a food truck that sells French Fries with amazing sauces (If Architecture doesn’t work out).

At the Borghese Gallery, Bernini's take on David (famously done by the great Michaelangelo)

At the Borghese Gallery, Bernini’s take on David (famously done by the great Michaelangelo)

Steps into the crypt at San Carlino

Steps into the crypt at San Carlino

One of Bernini's amazing marble sculptures

One of Bernini’s amazing marble sculptures

One of Bernini's amazing marble sculptures

One of Bernini’s amazing marble sculptures

Borromini's dome at San Carlino (San Carlo alla Quattro Fontana)

Borromini’s dome at San Carlino (San Carlo alla Quattro Fontana)

Borromini's Staircase

Borromini’s Staircase

Bernini's staircase

Bernini’s staircase

Facade of Borromini's Masterpiece

Facade of Borromini’s Masterpiece

When the president was being sworn in

When the president was being sworn in

Aqua Felice

The spanish steps early in the morning before it has been over run with selfie stick vendors and tourists

The spanish steps early in the morning before it has been over run with selfie stick vendors and tourists

Horse Parade for the New President Sant Andrea al' Quirinale

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