I love travelling. I always learn a new things everywhere I go to see. And because I am a person who gets unhappy when they get through one day without learning a new thing, I can say that I always come back pretty happy from almost all of my travels. In this section, I provide information on the places where I have travelled.
My trips are extremely dynamic and culture-oriented. I try to spend my time as mobile as possible where I go, this way, I get to see more things. I especially try to learn about what kind of a life the local people lead, what they eat and drink, what they listen to and what they collect. Surely I am no master traveler. I am not even a travel blogger. But I will be happy to share my own observations here, with those who are interested. As you can see in the sections below, I love going to museums because of my enthusiasm for art and history. And therefore, I will be giving more info on museums in particular.
I would like to kick off my travel blogs from Rome, because for some reason, Rome’s tone has always felt more emotional and accumulated to me compared to many cities where I have travelled. I do not know whether this is because of the unique masterpieces that fill up the city museums, or the works of art that has infiltrated almost everywhere in the city, or because the city has a pretty deep-rooted history, like Istanbul. All in all, it has been a really productive and memorable trip for me.
I want to make the least of my expenses for my accommodation everywhere I go. Clean and safe will do for me. Because with the money I safe from that department, I can have 1 or 2 nice dinners or enjoy an unforgettable musical feast at a chic concert hall.
I got a room at an old building near the city center in Rome and stayed there. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.
The most impressive venue for me in Rome was Villa de Borghese. Villa Borghese is a palatial that is located in a beautiful park with the same name. Inside this park is a pretty pond and statues, and if you have the time, I would suggest you walk around the vicinity before going into Villa Borghese. Villa Borghese is one step ahead of all of the museums that I have seen so far, because; you will see spectacular mosaics when you look down on the floors, whole another masterpieces when you look at the walls, and frescoes that are as good as the ones in the Sistine Chapel when you look up at the ceiling. The devils portrayed on the ceiling are so realistic that they look like they can jump down on you at any second.
And there are all these precious statues in the center of the halls. I think the prettiest one is the Daphne of Bernini.
I took the photograph above. I would tell you to sit down and watch when you see this work of art but unfortunately there is no place to sit. The halls are relatively small but they are filled with unbelievably beautiful works inside.
Speaking of Daphne, we should also talk about the story…
According to the epic; that Apollon was mocking Cupid’s god mission one day. Cupid got really mad at Apollon and he shot Apollon with a magical arrow of love in order to show him how what he did was actually extremely important and also to punish him a little. Right away, Apollon fell in love with the fairy Daphne who was passing by there at that moment with Cupid’s arrow. Apollon started to chase after Daphne, unable to resist the fire of his love,
but because Daphne was a holy maiden, she could not reciprocate Apollon’s love for her and thus started to pray to the gods: She asked the gods to save her from Apollon’s love. Just when Daphne was exhausted from running away and was about to surrender into Apollon’s love, the gods came to her help and turned her body into a Laurel just when Apollon was about to grab her. Thus, Apollon suddenly found himself hugging a tree. However, Daphne’s lips were still distinct even though she was a tree. Because Daphne actually wanted to reciprocate Apollon’s love but could not do so because of her divine mission. With the fire of his love, Apollon kissed and kissed those lips that were drying but still pink… After that day, Apollon wore a crown of Laurel leaves on his head as a souvenir of his love, and Laurel becomes a holy tree because it came from Daphne. We could define love as the inability to meet, and in this case, these two legendary heroes who met at that most impossible moment are, for me, one of the best ways to define love. And this statue renders the moment when Apollon got a hold of Daphne. The fine craftsmanship in the branches coming out of Daphne’s fingers in particular are incredibly impressive.
I think you could visit Villa Borghese even just to see Daphne.
I did not stop at night and continued to explore the city, even though I spent lots of times in the streets of the city and went on long walks during the day. Again on a night like that, when I was lost in the streets of Rome, I found myself in Campo Dei Fiori, that is, the Field of Flowers Square. Apparently a bazaar where they sell local products is set up almost every day in this square during the day, and it is a much calmer place at nights. That night, the sky was clear and there was a beautiful full moon. It was really joyous to walk around the city under the full moon light, and I took several shots of amazing photos making use of the full moon. Some of them can be seen below. But the photo that is the most notable to me is the photo of the statue above. First I examined the statue, I did not know whose it was, and I did not understand the writing because I do not speak Italian. I thought it would make a great photo if I had the moon right behind the statue’s head. But right at that moment, I was even more curious about whose statue it was because I would be kind of blessing this honorable person with a halo of light coming from behind his head. I bewailed, “They must have put up a priest statue here again,” to myself. Because I absolutely did not want to perform such a blessing to someone that does not deserve it, even in a photograph. But finally, my desire to take the photo prevailed this concern of my and I took the photo. Then I thought to myself, “I do not know who you are, but I hope you are someone who deserves this halo of light,” and walked away; and forgot all about this photo. Until months later, one day, I saw this statue in an article that I was reading online. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out who that statue was until that moment.
The statue belonged to Giordano Bruno who was born in 1548 and who was burned at stake in this square with an Inquisition decision. Bruno told about the universe model that is known today about 400 years ago. That is, that the Sun was a star and the earth was a planet revolving around it. He said that there were many stars in the universe just like the Sun and that there are other planets around these stars as well and that there could even be life on those planets. Of course, the conservative reverends of the time never cared for these claims and they imprisoned him in the dungeon to abandon his thoughts. He was kept in the dungeon for 8 years. It is said that he was subjected to severe torture during that time. He would be pardoned by the Inquisition if he abandoned those claims and repented, but he stuck with what he thought was right.
And he said: “GOD USES THE GOOD PEOPLE ON EARTH TO REASSERT HIS WILL, AND THE BAD PEOPLE ON EARTH USE GOD TO REASSERT THEIR OWN WILLS.”
Seeing that he would not give up on his claim, the Inquisition Court rejudged his body that was now dying for having stayed at the dungeon under extremely bad circumstances for 8 years, and ordered that he would be burnt at stake at the Field of Flowers. He said to the judge reading out the execution decision, “YOU ARE MORE SCARED THAN I AM RIGHT NOW WHILE YOU READ THIS DECISION”. He chose to die for the sake of truth, instead of denying what he knew to be right and save his life, like Galileo. And he said: “I HAVE FOUGHT BRAVELY, THINKING VICTORY WAS ACHIEVABLE. UNFORTUNATELY, THE POWER OF MY SOUL IS WITHHELD FROM MY BODY. I BELIEVE THAT THE FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL PREFER FIGHTING FOR THE TRUTH OVER ALL THE JOYS OF LIFE.”
And it now says on the statue, under the name, in reference to this statement:
” TO BRUNO, FROM THE GENERATIONS THAT HE FORESAW WHERE HE WAS BURNT”
I must admit that I was ashamed for my own ignorance after learning and reading about these. And now I am glad that I made a halo of moon for Bruno that night, albeit unknowingly. However, I am grieved when I see that the luminaries are also being slaughtered even today, just like this precious person who was burnt 400 years ago in the name of “faith”. I wish that one day, a generation that fights in the name of the TRUTH dominates the whole world and humanity rises more purely on the path toward SCIENCE AND ART.
After learning about Bruno’s story, I wrote down the following lines, thinking about how little I actually knew.
People notice how little they actually know the more they read and learn
And how little they have actually seen the more more they travel
Thus, the one who reads little and travels little thinks they know everything.
One must mention the Vatican when the topic is Rome. The Vatican is a tiny little country that has technically no borders, even though its borders are defined. We could call it a large building complex. The San Pietro Basilica is without a doubt the most famous structure of the papacy. Imagine a church with its dome from Michelangelo, and its yard that is the work of Bernini, and there you have the San Pietro Basilica… But I liked the interior of the basilica more than its exterior because it is filled with extremely valuable works of art of the Renaissance artist. Some masterpiece statues that art enthusiasts often see online are in this church. Like the Pieta statue of Michelangelo.
I would recommend you to view the inside of the basilica carefully since there are so many details. You can also go up to the dome but climbing through narrow corridors can be exhausting. I went up to the top but I do not have a spectacular view marked in my mind or anything. I think the energy and time that would be used to climb would be better of they were reserved for the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Museum is a really filled museum that contains the work of art of many Renaissance artists. One of these works of art that I remember the best is Rafael’s fresco of the School of Athens. By the way, fresco means wall painting. Because they are painted on the walls, they cannot be carried and moved from exhibition to exhibition like paintings. If you want to see the original of a fresco, you must go to it. I do not know if there are better ones in terms of frescoes but the ones that I have seen in Rome were the best wall paintings. As for the School of Athens, everyone is at that school. From Plato to Aristotle, from Averroes to the scientist who was murdered for reasons similar with Bruno in Egypt, Hypatia (Agora is a beautiful movie about Hypatia’s life made in 2009). Many important people, from Heraclitus to Rafael himself, and even Michelangelo from his time, have been painted here. There is a nice article on this fresco, those who want to read it can easily find it by Googling it.
We must refer to the Sistine Chapel if we are talking about the Vatican. It is Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling are what this place is famous for. The artist worked for 4 years and made an area of about 1000 square meters in this hall completely into a fresco. Think of it this way, this is a large hall with a ceiling that is 20 meters high, and the walls and the ceilings are filled with wonderful frescoes there. The most popular one of those is surely “the Creation of Adam” but I liked the other fresco groups very much as well. They are all so beautiful, you will be looking up at the ceiling for so long that you will feel your neck aching. There is a place to sit down on the corner in the hall but the hall gets so crowded that you barely get a place to stand let alone sitting down. And because once people see them, they cannot get enough of them so they want to stay for a long time. Announcements are made constantly in the hall, they say “welcome” in almost every language of the world. They said it in Turkish, too, and I liked it so much. But taking photos are strictly forbidden, so I will never be sharing a photo of this place on here. It is not something you can explain, anyway, and it is definitely not a place that could do with just a few photos, one must absolutely see it. I could not view it to my heart’s content because of the crowd. I went back to the hall soon before the museum closed. It had gotten a bit emptier then, I even found a place to sit and watched until the employees chased me away…
I had to have coffee in Italy. Thanks to my researches online, I found out that Caffe Greco, which is located on the street right under the Spanish Steps, was one of the most famous cafés in Rome. The Italians really know this coffee business. I do not have a passion for coffee, but I cannot remember enjoying any other coffee like the one I had there. Although, the prices are a little higher at the café compared to the market, but the ambiance is pretty nice in there, too. It is a truly elegant environment what with the walls full of paintings which are all masterpieces, polite waiters in bow-ties, classical music constantly being played in the background. It gets pretty crowded not inside of the café but in front of it because of the prices, since you pay almost half the price if you wish to have your coffee standing up. So the front of the café gets filled with people drinking coffee.
After all of this, I would like to briefly mention the Rome Cuisine. I liked the artichoke pizza very much. I suggest you absolutely give it a try if you find it. I think they are also quite good at seafood pasta. The Da Francesco restaurant (Via del Corallo) was the best place that I have been. But reservation is a must. And, it opens at a specific time in the evening, you wait in front of the doors at the time of opening and can only go in when your name is called out.
It would be such a shame to go to Rome and come back without having listened to the opera. So, in order to avoid that shame, we heard La Traviata at S.Paolo Entro le Mura, which is a relatively small church. I say heard instead of saw because we cannot exactly call it an opera. Because the artists sang the piece with a small orchestra. But it was still a really pleasant concert.
I hope that I can go back to Italy some day. Though it seems like it may remain a dream of mine for a long time with this EURO rate, but I would love to watch the following piece live in Italy Verona at Romeo and Juliet’s sanctuary. It is an amazing piece that I would recommend you listen to in full. It says “Ama E Cambia il Mondo” in the title which means, “LOVE AND CHANGE THE WORLD”
how happy it is for those that love