Thursday, September 06, 2007

Roma Roma Roma

Day One. The day was fated to be a bad one. Within 30 minutes of waking up (the 15th time, since many of my 7 roommates left early) I discovered my key to be gone (one of those operations where the lights don't turn on unless there is a key in the slot) and no hot water came from the shower. Telling myself it was like a morning swim in a lake and that it would rouse me, I started my day with a shock. I had a meeting at the de Chirico foundation, the whole reason for my trip- I would later discover that although the house was right IN Piazza di Spagna (the center of the center of the world as de Chirico said himself) I was the sole visitor for the whole day. My personalized tour of the museum showed me the layout of the house that has been kept completely intact by Isabella de Chirico, the artist's wife. Giorgio's work covers the walls (his neometafisica done in his late career) and shows evidence of constant thought and evolution, varying in creative ways on an old theme. His characteristic metafisica showcased lifeless mannequins inhabiting somewhat haunted squares and impregnated moments in time. The later work imbues these mannequin figures with bodies part human, part wood and part marble. The statues take on new life, literally. De Chirico also created false copies of his metafisica work and predated it to that era. A painting done in the 70s depicting the castello of Ferrara is dated 1924- a strange way to relive past fame.

But I digress in a pre-thesis exposition; I had been hoping to visit the archives of the foundation. I was told upon arrival that I would need to send a fax to the president requesting permission. I am only in Rome for 4 days- Could I get into the archives by week's end? The tour guide gave me a characteristically Italian shrug and expressed his predicted regrets. Somewhat defeated (although not unexpectedly so), I wandered around before meeting my mom's friend Danda for lunch. She drove me far away from the tourist throngs into the residential area of Rome, high on a hill, to the club of foreign ministers- a type of getaway compound for those in diplomacy complete with red clay tennis courts, swimming pool and cafeteria. Basking in the sun we chatted of film and Americans and Italian bureaucracy. Learning my de Chirico foundation woes and chatting with my ever-persistent mother on the phone, Danda took out her phonebook and made a few calls. Within 30 minutes we had a possible in through a guy who works at the Museo d'Arte Moderna. I wandered the excellently organized Symbolist exhibit before being chased down by two memebers of the museum staff looking for il canadese. Mario, my museum man, ended up telling me the same story: blah blah blah fax blah blah blah president... Since a contact at the Canadian embassy had already helped me out I thought I was set. Later, my ever persistent mother, still persisting, called with an idea: why not get your advisor to send a fax from Harvard? As a knee jerk reaction in my diplomatic, independent, do-it-myself, almost complacent way, I declined (c'mon ideas from your mother can't be GOOD can they?). But 10 minutes later Danda called back and bolstered my mother's idea. If an Italian thought it was a good idea then it must very well be. And off I went to send an email thanking the way time works and the layout of the globe for creating a glorious time difference that would buy me more North American faxing hours.

Day Two. Things were sure to be better. Although 7am construction crashed into an already snoring-interrupted snooze, I woke up hopeful, ready for anything and ready for nothing (like a true Italian). I headed to the centro storico for a morning caffè (not before stopping at the Termini Sephora and spritzing myself with the latest Diesel fragrance [very nice FYI]); I sought my morning cappuccino at Sant'Eustacio already having tried Caffe Tazza d'Oro the day previous. Although deserted and slightly pricier, the two baristas served me a cup of frothy cappuccino that I am still savoring now (11:16am; by hand in a notebook) as I write this all down in Villa Borghese. Sweet but strong, full-bodied and intense. Whoa. Today will be a great day for sure. And just as I went to enter the metro, I got a call: Abbiamo ricevuto uno fax dello Fogga Arte Museoom... And like that I had an appointment by week's end to consult the de Chirico archives.

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