It’s been a week since my last post about Rome – nothing too significant has happened. Last Wednesday for Arch 528 (Italian design) we visited Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis Museum which currently has an exhibit on Italian industrial design. In lecture beforehand we discussed how many everyday consumer products came about through integrating designers into production. Quite interesting.

Friday in the morning was the weekly urban history walk – we stayed fairly close to studio in the Field of Mars area and visited the Crypta Balbi Museum. Our professor / guide Linda emphasized how this area in Rome has essentially been continuously inhabited since the beginning, contrary to common belief that Rome was near deserted during the middle ages. Rome did lose political significance in the Roman Empire with Constantine making a new capital Constantinople (Istanbul), but the city itself still remained largely intact.

Saturday I did a little bit of shopping on Via del Corso before the national saldi (sale) ends. On Sunday Jamin and I went to church and met more interesting folks during coffee following the service. We talked to Peter and Carmella from Australia, a friendly older couple that work on organizing Bible fellowships. Peter asked me how big my church was at home, having heard of the large new churches we have in America. Afterwards Jamin and I went out for lunch with Sooba at his favorite Chinese restaurant. It was quite good and inexpensive too.

This week now is a bit of a transition point in the semester. The Italian language course concluded today with a final exam, and Monday was our last former drawing session. Today we had an introduction to studio and a tour of the Jewish Ghetto area (our neighborhood by studio) with a guide from the Jewish Museum of Rome, located at the synagog. This area has an incredible and dynamic history from ancient Rome up through the 20th century. We have already learned much about this area from urban history (Jan’s lectures) as well as the Italian design course. For studio we are doing four short week-long projects, focusing on this area through the four elements (earth, wind, fire, water), to be followed by a larger final project.

On Thursday and Friday we have a class trip to Perugia, followed by a three day weekend. I am going with three others up to Norway. We are flying to Oslo early Saturday morning, taking “the best train ride in Europe” to Bergen on Sunday, flying back to Oslo Monday morning, and back to Rome Monday night. It should be a fun week of traveling – I’m looking forward to seeing more of Italy outside of Rome and especially excited for Norway.