Tuesday, 20 March 2012


So what does me studying building conservation in Italy have to do with Brazil............well more than you can imagine. Actually I made a stop in Brazil on March 15th. How would this be possible you say, well that is easy. Rosilene the class representative from Brazil was asked to be a guest of the Brazilain Ambassador. How then does this affect me and the rest of the class? Well we were all asked to be guests of the Ambassador to attend a piano concert at the Brazilian Embassy and the pianist was a Brazilian woman. So after class we head out to Piazza Novona where the Brazilian Embassy is located. This is also the location of Bernini's fountain of the four rivers just as a reference point. Anyway, I was digressing from the story. Since the concert was not until 8 pm, we the class decided to have our supper in Trastevere near the church of St. Maria in Trastevere. It was an all you can eat buffet for 2 euro as long as you purchased an alcohlic beverage for 5 euro. You don't have to twist this girls arm twice. So this was the beginning of what was to be a very memorable night.

St Maria in Trastevere on our way to supper

After supper we hiked it across the river to Piazza Navona. The Embassy takes almost one complete side of the square. There was a cocktail party preceding the concert. We enter the courtyard it is a warm night. There are statutess and a stairway leading up into the building.

My classmates

We climb the stairs and then circulate in the anti-chambers waiting to be admited to the reception hall where the cocktails will be served. The painting on the coffered ceiling leaves me speachless. There are statues and crests and beautiful millwork everywhere I look. One crest in particular catches my eye and I realize that this building at one point in time was a Pope's palace. How do I know this, well if you see crossed keys and a pointy hat that is the crest of a Pope. Thank you Barbara the representive from Vatican City and fellow classmate. The symbols in the coat of arms indicates which Pope it was.

The Pope's crest over the door

I know that you are distracted by the ceiling, but if you look over the door you will see the crest I was refering too. At this moment I can't remember which Pope this palace once belonged too. Anyway at some point in history the Vatican sold the property to Italy and Italy sold it to Brazil and now it is the Embassy. Not bad digs if I do say so myself.

 At around 9 pm all of the guests of the Ambassador were asked to move to the concert hall. Everyone slowly moved out of this magnificant space to head to the concert hall where a grand piano was waiting on a slightly raised stage for the Pianist who was going to entertain the audience. Just being in some of these rooms was amazing and yet the night was going to get even better.
The Brazilian Ambassador introducing the Pianist

The Pianist - Linda Bustani

To say the concert was unbelieveable would be such an understatement. I don't really know how to put into words the experience of being in such a magical place with the most gifted and skilled pianist to entertain and mesmerize us would not do this experience justice. Being accepted to this program was more than I could have hoped for, to be in the company of such amazing, gifted and warm people who were and are my classmates, but are now so much more than that and then to be able to attend a concert such as this is so hard to describe and put into words. The concert lasted approximately 1 hour. We heard Brazilain music and then we were entertained with Chopin.

At the end of the concert we headed back out into the night and back onto Italian soil. It was almost 11 and the Piazza was busy. The group spent the rest of the time taking fun pictures around one of the fountains and debating on where to head for a drink before catching the tram and heading home to Ponte Bianco.

Yes I did join my collegues for a beer and a visit. The friendships that are being formed on this night and many that have followed I am sure will last a lifetime.

School tomorrow so home by 12:30. I have been moved beyond words with the unbelieveable night that I have just experienced and shared with my new friends. I know that tomorrow will bring hard work and more learning, but really tonight is one of those times that will forever be etched on my heart.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing experience. I would have loved to hear the pianist, that is if I could have pried myself away from that beautiful ceiling. And good to know how to recognize the Pope's crest in future - just in case he sets up shop in Regina :).