A greeting for us as we arrived which made us feel right at home!
For now we are staying in the San Lorenzo district in a hotel very near the university.
An easy walk for Bill for a few days.
Students enjoying a bit of togetherness out in the rain...
We move to our apartment on the 7th, but until then I am exploring this neighborhood which is just outside the walls near the Termini train station.
I have several projects in mind while I'm here including one to look for color in Rome. I think we often see Rome in our minds as the white of marble and red browns of the ancient walls and the grays of the old stone roads but in fact there is a lot of color here.
We have already seen several friends: Andrea, who was key to arranging this trip for us, and his bride, Daniella, on the first evening, the day after their first anniversary. Lots of talk about marriage, politics and education; lots of fun and so different from the US where Americans rarely seem to talk about politics over dinner. (Maybe it ruins the taste of the food for us there...) Then Angela Taraborrelli stopped by yesterday and I got a chance to visit with her and Anna Laura for a little while. It turns out they live just a block from our hotel! Anna Laura is still quite precocious, as you who know her can imagine. And Angela is excited to be giving the keynote speech at a conference this week in Nottingham, home of Robin Hood. So we don't expect to see them again until we are settled in our apartment.
We also saw the other Andrea briefly last night at the restaurant, Pommidoro, where we went for an early supper of carciofi and wild boar (!); he had brought some students so we didn't get to talk to him much except to receive his blessing on our menu choices, a very important thing.
Of course I have resumed taking photos. Today and yesterday I have concentrated on the neighborhood and particularly the incredible amount of graffiti here. I can't decide what I think about it. Clearly lots of it is simply tagging which I agree is a kind of vandalism. But some is really art by people who have an incredible sense of color and form, real ideas to express and sometimes even a sensitivity to place.
As I walk around looking at it all I can easily understand how disturbing it might be to many of the residents especially as I come to feel that much of it is an expression of alienation from this place and society. Who does this? Why? What do they need or want? And are the taggers really different from the one I think of as artists or not?Angela pointed out that there is a block where graffiti artists were actually asked to paint and I think I found it today. I photographed the whole wall and will include a few shots here. This wall is along the Via Degli Ausoni.
PS: Blogspot is as bad about photos as it was 2 years ago! Arrggggh! If you'd like to see more photos, I will add them to Flickr at this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/charshots/