Friday, May 29, 2009

Romance and the Dead

Today we didn't have class so we decided we would do a little exploring on our own. We went to the Milvian Bridge. I had no idea it was so far but it ended up being about a four mile walk. So the bridge has been very prevalent in Rome's history during the wars but that is not why we went to see it. In 2006, it became a place for couples to go and express their "everlasting love". It started with a movie "Ho Voglia di Te" that was popular among Italian teenagers. In the movie a young couple took a padlock, wrote their names on it, and locked it up with a chain around a lamp post. Teenagers then started doing this same thing on the Ponte Milvio. They started with a lamp post and the lamp post got so heavy that it almost fell over. So the Mayor of Rome took down the lamp post and put up posts along the bridge for people to put their locks on. So all along the bridge are these posts covered in different padlocks with people's initials and various sayings on them. People then throw the keys into the Tiber River to symbolize their "undying" love. The whole bridge is covered in graffiti with people's love notes to each other.

After we saw the bridge we stopped by the Crypt of the Capuchins. I had no idea what to expect but it was an indescribable site. The Capuchin friars have buried their dead in this "cemetery" underneath a church. But instead of just burying their dead, they took their bones and displayed them in various ways and designs. So there were six rooms in total: The Crypt of Resurrection, the Mass Chapel, the Crypt of the Skulls, Crypt of the Pelvises, the Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones, and the Crypt of the Three Skeletons. There is a main "display" and then there were bones all over the walls and ceilings arranged in different shapes and designs. Even the chandeliers were made of human bones. There are 40,000 monks buried in the crypt! It was actually pretty gross and a little bit disturbing. We weren't allowed to take pictures out of respect for the dead so here is a picture from the website. It was truly an unusual place.

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