Our efforts in walking and riding across Roma yesterday caused an outbreak of sleeping in, despite the strongly irresistible hotel breakfasts and aided by our unusual move of closing the shutters on the window the night before. We had sussed out a cultural activity for today and happily discovered that it was (literally) around the corner from our hotel in the Palazzo degli Esami – Van Gogh Alive! The Multisensory Art Exhibition.
We made it to the exhibition by around 10am, purchased our tickets and headed in to what was basically a large format, high def slideshow of Vincent’s works that slid from era to era accompanied by period appropriate music. It was in a large, dark series of rooms and the producers had attempted to camp it up by (fortunately sparingly) animating some of the components of the artworks being projected, but, all in all, it was a lovely experience. Multiple large screens and a classical soundtrack which included Eric Satie’s Gymnopédies and Saint-Saën’s, Danse Macabre (which I’m glad was Saint-Saën, because I couldn’t figure out the relationship between Van Gogh and Jonathan Creek – Ich bin ein philistine!) we spent a lazy couple of hours immersed in the immersive experience, before heading out and over the road and into Trastevere for a walk through the old parts and a search for some lunch.
Lunch appeared to us in the form of a classic roman porchetta sandwich, which is exactly as advertised, porchetta on bread, heated for a moment in an oven, wrapped in thick paper and as delicious as hell. The porchetta fuelled us for the run to the sneaker shop (well, the tram and slow walk down via del Corso to the sneaker shop), where sadly, we couldn’t rouse number young son for his FaceTime visit to the store and he had to settle for the shoes we chose yesterday. Shoes purchased and feet sore, we kept slow walking through the posh stores for a while; stopping to admire street artists – actually we were privy to shift change for the guy dressed as a Maharajah floating cross-legged above the footpath. They threw a large black cloth over floating guy and the new guy and proceeded to thrash about like two cats in a bag for five minutes until both emerged as if nothing had happened in plain clothes (the floaty thing remained hidden so as not to ruin the magic).
Another couple of hours in the hotel bar and then out to dinner in the Jewish quarter, aiming for a restaurant that we discovered was closed. Fortunately (or not) it was very quiet in the old town (due to the sub-zero temperatures) and we bounced into the restaurant next door, Il Giardino Romano, which provided us with an adequate repast, though nothing special.