Higher Ground

Elisabeth Hawthorne
May 26, 2015

5:03pm - May 21st, 2015

The buses are getting hotter along with the weather.  Every ride I take smells of sweat and collective misery, but the open air is full of green and light and blue and white, so I’ll suffer selectively this season.

As I write this I’m sitting in my favorite neighborhood bar, where just outside the old men come to play chess and the young men come to challenge them.  They speak gently, tip their heads in consideration, and pull listlessly on their cigars.  I’ve just finished my thank you notes, for I’ve a lot to be thankful for.  The IES farewell event will begin soon; as I remember it from last semester there will be socializing and tears and everyone will hang about discomfited, holding out for the elusive closure.  This is not my departure post because I haven’t left yet.  [If you want my thoughts about reverse culture shock check out my earlier post, Home(s) for the Holidays.]  I’m still in Rome, searching for a retrospect.

I’ve been finding this perspective in Italian gardens.  It’s hard to explain the relationship between urban landscape and green expanse, but the way in which villas of Renaissance-Baroque fortune are integrated within the public life of the city has always seemed to me unique.  They sit on hills overlooking the city, giving refuge in shade and scent.  The Italian garden is a place for family, friends, play, quiet, wine, and introspection.  Walking, reading, cycling, talking, and viewing.  I’m going to seek out higher ground in these gardens and see where that gets me.  In the meantime, and as a prelude to the end, here are some pictures from my recent Roman ramblings:

Monti Barber




Il Canne



Spanish Steps


Pentecost Roses

Il Gatto




Foro Romano

May in Rome


Tortoise Fountain





Acqua Marcia



Trastevere Art


Piazza del Popolo


Chiesa Nuova



Via dei Fori Imperiali


At Spagna

The Thorns


The Cross


The Whips

Michelangelo's Moses


St. John Lateran





Aventine Rose







Urban Skyline



River View


Pantheon Light


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Grazie, Roma! Bella cosa tosto è rapita.

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Elisabeth Hawthorne

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I&rsquo;m your standard artistic mutt, head on the ground, feet in the clouds, brought to you by a serious case of wanderlust. Small-town Minnesota girl, ex-expat of Singapore, international traveler, art history major, varsity fencer, opera singer, aesthetics junkie, curious soul, gelato votary, far from home at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, making distance and immersion my teachers during a year abroad in Rome, Italy. You can follow along as I happily consume art and carbs in la bella città, but be warned I might not stay in one place for long!</span></p>

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Art History
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