Monday, November 12, 2012

Final Roman Days

We have "done" the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica all of which almost "did" us in but each is, of course, a splendid one-in-a-lifetime vision and we were grateful to see them.  The place was lousy with tourists and I cannot fathom what summer must be like for at least we have temperate weather in October.  I did not even bring a coat to Italy.  As William Beckford (1760-1844) wrote we spent today "prating from fragment to fragment" with a visit to the beautiful Etruscan Museum Giulia in the Village Borghese park to see the dreamy
smiling bridge and groom on their sarcophagus and oodles of red-figured urns as well as drop-dead jewelry but none to purchase.  We then dropped in to the Pantheon, the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world, where the loudspeaker serially in Italian, English, German, Spanish and a few other languages exhorted the jam of people to be silent because it is a "holy place, a church."  M reminded no one in particular that is was not a church, it was the Pantheon.

St. Ignatius Church was lovely and made more so by a young organist practicing Bach.  A quick turn at the Trevi Fountain assured our return although I had to throw my coin over so many heads,  I was afraid I'd miss my one shot.  Lunch at Maccheroni's ranked in our top five, jammed with locals, they serve heavenly tonnarelli pasta with cheese and black pepper (cacio e pepe).
And we continued feasting with almost our last dinner in Rome at Sora Lella on an island in the Tiber River.  The long confusing walk home hopefully ate some of those calories.

Contrary to expectations, I hardly shopped at all in Rome and our last day was Sunday when the shops actually are closed.  I did get the short boots I saw in the window of wonder-of-wonders Louis' Big Shoes and M found a giant kitchen knife to bring home.

While we look forward to seeing Leo and hearth and home, our coins will bring us back to Rome, hopefully soon.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ciao Roma

We are 2 blocks from the Colisseum in a very comfortable B&B (only 4 units) called "Downtown Accomodations" which is run by a helpful couple from China.  Last night's restaurant recommendation from our host was superb, the 313 Via Cavour Enoteca where we ate carpaccio, white beans plus spinach-pear-ricotta salad.  Our first day we ate at a place on Mark's list in Camp di Fiori, enjoying pasta with artichokes and fab soft cheese and afterward we bought a refugee bag for 15e to pack foodstuffs and other treasures for our return.

Galleria Borghese left us awed by the marble walls, mosaic floors, muralled ceilings plus the contents, the paintings of Caravaggio and others, the Bernini sculptures, the 1st Century racing Greek steed.  I wanted to read the Cambridge Ancient and the Greek classics by Virgil and Ovid with tales of Daphne and Apollo [} and Pluto and  Proserpina [] to say nothing of a much-needed Bible history.  But will I do so in this lifetime?

Why does Italy have the best food and drink in the world and the lousiest orange juice?  Every breakfast, we are confronted by a Tang-like reddish-colored beverage better suited to dyeing cloth.  Once in Siracusa, we were able to buy fresh-squeezed but never again.  Ah ha, finally found a $5 glass here in Rome.  And who needs juice at these very low prices for tasty wine?

We have climbed the Palatine Hill for the museum, stadium and domestic remnants of royal life and view of St. Peter's.  We have combed the Forum, guidebook in hand, captivated by the House of the Vestal Virgins, the arches remaining, the stones in the road, caught a quick Mass at nearby church Santa Maria del Soccorso al Monte di Pieta, one of the richest small baroque church interiors in the city,  and now we lay prostrate in our room.  Friday we've scheduled the Vatican Museums and fallen-away M has agreed to accompany me.

For those who recall my delight in finding an "uber grossen" shoe store in Berlin, the equivalent in Rome is 5 doors down from our hotel.  Tomorrow I too will have Italian boots but for now tennis shoes are my friends.  Tromp, tromp, tromp through the marble wonders of the (other) City of Seven Hills.