The Italian government periodically declares “cultural weeks,” when they offer free admissions to some state-run museums, which is a nice way to make some of its cultural treasures available to the poor, etc. (The Vatican Museums also offer free days—more frequently than the Italian state, I might add—but the lines have been prohibitively long every time I’ve tried to take advantage of those opportunities.) Last week was one such week, and since two of my classes were cancelled last Friday, I decided to swing by the Capitoline to see the museums there.
I passed by an art museum on the way, which had a Caravaggio exhibit on display, and decided to make a brief visit. I bypassed the ticket counter, but then was told at the entrance to the exhibit that even though it was free, I still needed a ticket. Fine. So I went down to the entrance to the ticket office and found there was a rather obscene display of what some might call art in between the door and the actual ticket counter. I was not about to subject myself to that, so I left. Oh well, no big loss.
I then proceeded to climb the Capitoline Hill, only to find that the entrance to the museums was not free. Nor was entrance to the Forum. I also found out there was a strike scheduled for noon, so I stopped and prayed at the nearby Basilica di Santa Maria in Aracoeli and then headed back to NAC, not having accomplished much of anything. But sometimes that sort of thing just happens in Italy, and I have come to accept that.
But the morning wasn’t a total loss. I stumbled upon the Campo dei Fiori (a popular outdoor vegetable market) on my way back, and looked for some fresh mint for the purpose of inaugurating Mint Julep season. And I found some very fresh mint: they were selling the plant itself! So I bought one for a very reasonable price, and it should supply all my mint needs for the foreseeable future (as well as keep my room smelling nice!)