I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in the ancient Egyptian exhibition hosted at Reggia Venaria…yes, there were some magnificent colossal statues, and the one in the last room was splendid…but I had expected to be absolutely floored by the reproduction of the underwater environment…and…well, that just didn’t happen. The “underwater” part of the exhibit consisted mainly of a series of darkened rooms…one in particular was a dark narrow hallway displaying artefacts behind small glass “portholes” positioned at various heights. Under normal circumstances, bending over to peer inside a “porthole” would not have been a problem…but on Saturday afternoon the place was crowded with hot and tired tourists wandering around aimlessly in the very stuffy darkness. I had to be careful about not bumping into them. That was a rather unpleasant experience, yes, especially whenever I heard someone cough nearby (YIKES!). I don’t suffer from claustrophobia, but if I did…well, I’d have scampered out of there like a rabbit fleeing from hungry lions!
In conclusion, I just didn’t enjoy the exhibit as much as I thought I would (my B.A. is in Social Anthropology, you see, and at one point in my life I really really wanted to be an archaeologist…archaeology remains one of my passions). To be fair, thought, there were some stunning pieces in the exhibition…so in the end it was probably worth the nine-hour round trip. I just wish we hadn’t been so oxygen-deprived in the exhibit, and that my expectations had been a bit lower.
After the exhibit, we went through the royal palace. Well, after seeing what is considered to be one of the most splendid examples of Baroque architecture (certainly in Italy), it’s clear to me that the only thing I like about that entire period is the music: Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Purcell etc. Nope, Baroque architecture is definitely not my cup of tea…but, certainly, very grand!
The palace gardens. Ah, again, a bit of a disappointment. But it is also true that Saturday afternoon was very very hot and humid, so wandering through a garden offering very little shade certainly didn’t add to our enjoyment. I did think the rose bush garden was lovely, though. But why were all the roses white? I would have preferred to have seen rose bushes in different colours…
Oh bother, today I must seem like Mary Mary Quite Contrary…yet I am actually very happy and excited, since my parents, who are still in the U.S. right now, are arriving tomorrow afternoon in Florence. Tomorrow morning I am going to work as usual but will leave in time to meet their flight…at 2 PM. Unfortunately for them, Florence is on red alert right now…one of the hottest cities in Italy (quelle surprise!). An unusual heat wave for the month of May…luckily the heat is supposed to end a few days from now, and temperatures are supposed to go back to normal. I really hope so. I am about to melt!