On a school trip to Rome and Florence in the spring of 1972, I, along with a few hundred other high school students of Latin III and IV from south-central Pennsylvania, trudged through the Vatican, the Forum, the Uffizi, and one or two galleries that now escape my memory. Much of it passed before me in a blur, but I do remember the tip of my teacher’s shoe as it pointed to a place on a stone floor in the Forum. She was drawing our attention to a coin that in ancient times had melted on that very spot and become embedded in the rock. I dabbled in coin-collecting, and that perhaps explains why I remember the scene. I felt a bond to an artifact, and was fascinated by its transformation into a formless jewel-like verdigris. None of the great art I saw later that day in the Vatican stands out so much in my memory.
How to Visit a Museum
Wearing the right shoes and other tips for getting the most from our palaces of culture
HUMANITIES, Summer 2016, Volume 37, Number 3