Like I said, Monday offered perfect weather to extend my customary long bike ride. A lot. Instead of stopping at the Raccordo, I had resolved to continue to the sea and come back by train from Ostia. I made it, and I enjoyed it despite some faily hairy passages.
As you drive on the A1 out of Rome (and especially when returning to the city, there is a hugely impressive mountain to the west of the motorway. It rises up, floating on the plain and dominating the landscape. This is Mount Soratte, which Wikipedia tells me is an isolated limestone ridge, about 5.5 km long and boasting six separate peaks. It has been a draw for artists ever since Camille Corot changed landscape painting with his dazzling portraits of the mountain.
Many countries have academies in Rome, the most famous of them probably being the American Academy in Rome. Artists of various stripes enjoy a stipend and a variably good life, generally working on something to do with the city, and the various academies open their artists' studios to visitors from time to time. These are usually great fun, for art and for socialising. Last night was my first time at the Spanish Academy in Rome.
On Saturday I made good on a promise to myself: I went for a bike ride with a bunch of strangers. It was great fun, and while I didn’t make any friends, I did chat to a couple of people and took those first important steps.