Sunday, March 27, 2011

Italy Day 3 {Rome: St. Mary Major; St. Praessede}

Tim and the boys select cold cuts for lunch, to be eaten with fresh bread picnic-style.
Pilgrims' picnic lunch outside St. Mary Major, Rome

Mosaic @ St. Praessede, Rome

Bernini's "St. Teresa in Ecstasy" at St. Maria Vittoria

Escalator ride inside Rome's Metro; a tremendous amount of vertical ascending and descending is required to get to and from the trains below the city.

Sleeping soundly through breakfast, our slow start gave us the energy we needed to cover a vast territory on this sunny Friday in Rome.  Advice to be out and about before 8AM aside, we still took time to chat with Luciano, who appeared to be waiting outside the garden gate for a visit as we departed.  A very sweet gentleman; an artist and a former executive with Alitalia Airlines, we were blessed to make his acquaintance.

No longer any baths, but a beautiful church in the place of the Baths of Diocletian, St. Maria degli Angeli: our first stop.  The brass rod in the floor, used with a pinhole in the wall to tell time and keep a calendar was truly fascinating.  Also fascinating was the tremendous crowd gathering out front, and the riot police, and the media circus.  A protest of some sort, but not related to the reformation; rather to some water or nuclear power issue.  When we inquired of locals about the meaning of the protest, they informed us that there is always a protest in Rome, this was nothing out of the ordinary it seems.

Stretching for miles and most of the day, the noisy protest had gathered steam and was mobile, greeting us as we exited St. Mary Major (built in 432 AD).  We stopped to pray near a piece of the manger from Bethlehem (yes, THE manger!) and saw Bernini's tomb and outstanding mosaic art.  From there we visited a local grocery store for simple lunch ingredients and ate in the (noisy) sunny courtyard outside St. Mary's before forging through the protest to reach St. Praessede.  The mosaic art at St. Praessede was breathtaking, and also on display was a small part of the column/pillar at which Jesus was scourged.

A Bernini masterpiece, The Ecstasy of St. Teresa,  on our must-see list, was well worth the walk across town amidst map reading challenges.  With persistence, we were able to find St. Teresa inside St. Maria Vittoria in the early evening.  Across the busy street, at St. Susannah, we attended a Vigil Mass for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, in English.  The deacon (a student at North American College) gave an outstanding homily on the graces of Lenten fasting.  We visited with him after Mass, and thanked him for his inspirational message.

Flashy, loud, trendy, and slightly not-age appropriate, our dinner stop at White restaurant did not impress.  The food was OK, but the music, night life scene, and slightly lewd art in the hall near the bathroom were all good reasons not to go back.  But then... we did go back, after our stop at the bustling Trevi Fountain, for gellato "to go" on our way home via the Metro (subway).  So starting now we're never going back.

Another swollen finger in the family, but this time it's Peter's; we suspect from 'trigger finger' repetitive motion taking SO many photos.  Peter's been shooting like a madman, taking volumes of photos, some of which are looking like keepers.

  • Zac's quote at White restaurant, "If they have enough money for these fancy napkin holder packets, why can't they afford a seat for their toilet?"
  • 5 people sharing one bathroom can complicate bed time routines
  • A vandalized statue of an angel can give hours of awe and make lasting memories for young eyes
  • Oranges grow on trees; but if you attempt to pick one in Rome, the locals will quickly warn (with sign language) you that they are not edible.
Day 4 {Rome: St. Peter's Basilica}follows.

1 comment:

toadlaketeacher said...

So glad it's warmer. Any pigeons joined your picnic? (Spell check seems to be working.) Enjoy the noteworthy notes.