Sunday… holiest of cities

A page from my personal journal dated June 13th, 2010.

The apartment in Roma, located just steps from the piazza, was a second floor walk up with three fairly large bedrooms, a living room, two kitchens, a beautiful outdoor garden terrace, nicely appointed.  The third floor had a bathroom, complete with bidet and shower, two bedrooms, one with a kitchenette and small washer, both looking out into the garden. terrace. The floors were all carerra marble. Kelly and I were the first to awake, take showers and dress as we sipped our Earl Grey tea. The blow dryer had serious issues and could only run for around three minutes until it suddenly turned off to avoid catching fire. It took a little while for Kelly, I and oh yes, Bob to blow dry our hair, not liking electrical  issues.  The three of us ventured out into the streets in search of a morning cappuccino and some deli meats for lunch back at the apartment when the girls would awaken hungry and hopefully rested from their transatlantic fight the day before.

We found a wonderful place for espresso and cappuccino and ordered three.  The froth was dark brown and sprinkled with chocolate, and the espresso was wonderfully strong. Italians order cappuccino only before noon. Even if you aren’t sporting cargo shorts and a camera they will know you are an American tourist because they order them any time of day or night.

After sitting a while, we decided to look for a market and happened upon a Despar….the local grocery chain.  It was clean and efficient with just two aisles and a great deli in the rear with fresh meats and cheeses.  Kelly ordered some ham and salami, a nice white Gouda and some Swiss, while I found some tomatoes, fresh basil and grated parmesan for bruschetta and a bottle of white and red wine.  We were just steps from the apartment .  At home we prepared our feast and set the small tables out on the garden for lunch.

Emma, Paolo, Katie, Bob and Kelly listening as Paolo explains the architecture of a building.

Around 1:30 Paolo greeted us with hugs and smiles. He had not changed  from 2004 when I had seen him last.  He was taking us on a  walking tour and he began just outside our door. We walked  through the heart of the medieval city, stopping at several churches and public villas as he showed us the many types of architecture and explained how Rome has been built, destroyed, rebuilt and restored.  It truly is built atop ruins around buildings from the middle 1500’s and atop ruins from before Christ.  We walked thru Piazza Navona with it’s 2000 year history where it was a stadium and racetrack in AD86 built by Emperor Domitian.  Around each corner we saw more statues and beautiful buildings.  He explained the fresco process and pointed out the differences in ages of parts of the buildings.  How you could see where the old buildings were below the ground and new construction built on top.  It was remarkable.  Then around a web of tightly warren streets Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain, of “Three Coins in the Fountain” fame.) surprised us. In earlier

Trevi Fountain

days it lay at the end of the Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct built by Agrippa in 19BC.  A virgin discovered the spring, hence the name. The pose of Oceanus, the central figure and the two giant tritons and their horses drawing his chariot is one of the most recognized fountains in the world.  The story goes, toss one coin in the fountain to return to Rome, when you return you toss in a coin to find true love, and the third coin to return to Rome with your true love. How romantic!

We enjoyed our tour and ended with a yummy gellato and a good recommendation for dinner.  We bid Paolo ado until tomorrow.

After a couple glasses of wine and freshening up  we walked to the corner church for 6:30 mass.It is said you can hear church bells ringing on every corner in Rome and I believe that is true.  It was wonderful to experience the mass in a traditional Italian church and spoken in Italian.  After mass we ate at Renato e Luisa.  The place was obviously patronized by locals.  We chose fresh fish dishes, beef, pasta and insalada as well as two nice bottles of wine, one red one white…of course!

We walked back to our apartment and the girls eyes lit up when I pulled out my bag of dice and told them to get their euros out for some fun.  We played till Bob and Katie won all of the euros.  It was a beautiful day.

I had been scheduled to leave the Baxley’s on Monday morning and take the train south to Naples and Sorrento, but they offered for me to stay longer and I happily accepted.  Tomorrow is the Vatican tour and I am excited to see it once again.

So I will close for tonight and want you to know I am having so much fun and enjoying my time here, but I am missing my loves back home.  I love you all so much.

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