To The MAX(XI)

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This weekend, while many other people in my program went to Oktoberfest, I stayed behind in Rome. It was not too much of a disappointment because, well, I was in Rome. It sounds super lame to give up a weekend of partying in Munich, but since I’m on a budget, there are plenty of attractions in Rome that will keep me happy and occupied during the fall. I have been trying to pace myself when it comes to visiting museums though. I want to see as much as I can, but it would be completely overwhelming to go to a bunch of museums in such a short amount of time. As a history major, I want to completely immerse myself in each place I go, and it takes a bit of time to make sure I have had a fulfilling visit.

Rome is known for its ancient history, but the MAXXI is a modern art museum that has some really interesting rotating collections. There was an exhibit devoted to alternative energy and the construction of a post-oil society, which was pretty awesome. I know next to nothing about science-related things, but seeing this futuristic world was still amazing. There was also an exhibit by Francesco Vezzoli who used Roman sculptures with contemporary media to highlight our society’s changing preferences. One noticeable difference between museums in Rome and the museums in America is that you are not allowed to take pictures of the gallery objects. I could take pictures of the outside of the museum though, which was a really cool building. It was designed by Zaha Hadid, who was also the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Here are the few highlights of my trip to the MAXXI:

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This was also an especially exciting week because I visited the Galleria Borghese as well. It was such a contrast compared to the MAXXI. I think it’s accurate to compare the Borghese Gardens in Rome to Central Park in New York City, although I can’t decide which one I find prettier. Everything about the Villa Borghese was over the top and absolutely beautiful. The building and decor were incredibly ornate and expensive looking. The Borghese family was one of the wealthiest families in Rome, and their home collection includes some of the most famous paintings and sculptures in the entire world. There were paintings by Titian, Caravaggio and Raphael and sculptures by Canova and Bernini. Without a doubt, Bernini’s sculpture of Pluto and Proserpina was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Here's the entrance to the Galleria Borghese. Gorgeous, right?

Here’s the entrance to the Galleria Borghese. Gorgeous, right?

I’m not trying to bore people with so much information about museums. It’s kind of hard not to love the historical aspect of Rome, history major or not. It’s so amazing to think that Rome has such a rich and well-preserved background that is so accessible to me. I would highly recommend that anyone who travels to Rome should go to a couple of its world-renowned museums. Rome is definitely unique in that it has a beautiful combination of modern and historical attractions. There might never be the chance to see these priceless artifacts again!

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