After four trips to Rome, Tempietto was finally open. I was told last year that renovations to Bramante’s jewel would, alas, preclude me from entering. No amount of begging would persuade the docent (who actually mimed a small violin playing with his fingertips as I told him I had come from the United States and had been unable to enter the courtyard three years running). Today, though, it was open. I spent a morning there, drawing and sketching, listening in to the various tour guides who shuffled tourists and students through the gate. The weather was beautiful today in Rome (with apologies to our Minneapolitan friends and colleagues), and there stood the little temple, its door ajar, its courtyard quiet. It was worth the wait.
The students are in the homestretch now, about 10 days left until Istanbul and a week or so until final reviews. After a day of working, we visited the Castel Sant Angelo and sketche some city vistas from the rooftop, the sun setting behind San Pietro, reflecting off the walls and campanile of San Pietro in Montorio in the distance, illuminating the Eternal City in a glow replete with Tuscan oranges, Venetian reds, Roman umbers, all under a deepening blue sky. The 19th century French writer, Mari-Henri Beyle – Stendhal – said that “The light that reveals Rome’s monuments is not that to which we are accustomed; it produces numerous optical effect plus a certain atmosphere, all impossible to put into words. The light strikes Rome in ways that I’ve never seen.”