Saturday, March 15, 2014

La bella vita in Roma!

OK, here's a report on a glorious day in Rome...

Slept late -- although the combination of a busy street, and an open window, kind of interfered with that...

Since I missed the breakfast at the guest house (run by Oblate Sisters of Saint Philip Neri), I figured I could get something along the way.

My plan for the day was to catch a bus down toward Piazza Navona, and just roam from there. So I set out from the guest house, down toward the main avenue where I could catch the bus...

And I noticed the bicycles. Locked up along the street where I'm staying. I'd noticed them before; and they were as I remembered. Do you notice anything odd here?

No, not the seat, although it does look bad. No, look at the back wheel. It may not be clear from the photo, but in person I can assure you: that bike has sat there so long, it's become part of the ground.

OK, one abandoned bike. So what?

But it's not just one:

Again, notice the back tire. It's been flat for awhile.

In this photo, you can't see the details of every bike. They didn't all look equally bad. But several were in the same condition as the first two.

And then there's this one:

Well, it was past ten and I was getting hungry. So I kept going on down the Via Oslavia. I saw a "bar" -- which isn't what it sounds like in English -- and ducked in for this:

Looks tasty, doesn't it? Well, it was! Sated -- somewhat -- I continued my trek...

Before I'd left, I'd considered some places I might go today; or else during the coming week. One of the things that interests me is seeing examples of Fascist architecture. Not that I'm a fan -- but it's a tangible connection.

So then I come to a small park, with this:

Here's a look at the entire fountain:

Now, I don't actually know if it was Fascist; but note the fasces themselves, as well as the invocation of "honor" (and "virtue," not visible) on the pillars. If you look closely, they also say "Imperium." Hmm, which empire might that be? These sure aren't from the ancient Roman period.

Well, all this thinking made me a little peckish; besides, as pretty as that breakfast was, it was awfully small. So I ducked into another bar, and got...basically the same thing. Ah, Roma!

One of the lovely things about Rome is that you can turn a corner, and find a lovely church. As I walked along, I came upon this church.

Simple, but lovely. The picture on the right shows our Lady, with the help of two angels, pulling people out of flames.

Moving on, I came to another church. I don't remember the name of the first one, but this was San Gioccino -- i.e., Saint Joachim, grandfather of our Lord.

I was very taken by this image, showing Saint Joseph in his final agony, being comforted by his wife -- our Lady -- and his divine foster son:

 This is for everyone celebrating Saint Patrick's Day this coming week. Here's Patrick, reigning over the "Ireland Chapel" (there were several chapels in the church, each dedicated to a different country. Canada had one; we didn't). Please note that Saint Patrick is a bishop -- not a tipsy leprechaun.

And this is Saint Remigius baptising Clovis, in the French Chapel:

 So, moving on down the road, I came to a large piazza, named for Camillo Cavour, one of the leaders in the drive to unite Italy. Here's the statue there, with some figures below, which -- according to a sign nearby -- represent virtues:

 Did you notice the extra two figures? They would be a pair of boys who were having a merry time climbing all over the monument. Meanwhile, another boy, much younger, watched and worried, and ran to his grandfather to tug on his sleeve and point all this out. Grandpa looked sympathetic, but didn't do anything. (Neither did I -- should I?)

At this point, I was near the Tiber, and had given up on the bus; it was just too nice a day! So I crossed over the Tiber, and found my way to this:

Yes, that's the Pantheon -- built in the time of the first Caesar (although rebuilt by Hadrian, about a century later). That always amazes me.

It's a church now, of course: Santa Maria ad Martyres: Saint Mary of the Martyrs. It's a lovely church, entirely round. The first two kings of the unified Italy are buried here. It was filled with tourists, resulting in periodic requests over the PA system for silence -- in five or six languages.

I stopped here and had lunch, gazing at this very site. Then I decided to head back, to see if I could go to confession at Saint Peter's Basilica.

Remember what I said about finding a church at every turn? A few steps from the Pantheon, I stumbled onto this church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene.

Here are the mortal remains of Saint Camillus de Lillis:

And, as I was leaving, I caught sight of this unexpected splendor:

So, back across the Tiber, and up to the basilica. On Ash Wednesday the line was huge; today, very reasonable. Soon I was inside, waiting in the line for the sacrament. The way they do it is to have signs on the confessionals, indicating what languages the priest understands. There was one with "English" (also Italian, and I think Maltese) on it. That was for me.

I stayed to pray awhile; then I headed back here and had a siesta. According to Yahoo Maps, I walked just under six miles. But Rome will do that to you! While you've heard of Rome's seven hills, the area where I walked -- where lots of visitors walk -- tends to be fairly level. And it's all so fascinating.

After my siesta (that's when I posted my last item), I headed out for dinner. At the restaurant, I ran into some British folks, who were in town to attend a big rugby showdown between England and Italy. As I told them, I'd seen a lot of Brits all around town, and I joked that they were all wearing the same shirts, plus funny hats. "No," said one of the women, "this is my own hair!" We all laughed -- and I explained how I'd seen a lot of the fans around town with funny hats. I didn't manage to get my iPad out in time for most of them, but I did catch this pair:

Now, the funny thing is, it wasn't this fellow's picture I really wanted. While the princess tiara was a nice touch, the other fellow had some sort of mask on, that kind of looked like a pig face. That's the picture I wanted. But I am sure you can understand why I decided to be happy with what I got.

Ah, Roma!

1 comment:

Eileen Krauss said...

Dear Fr.
Maybe the bikes are artwork,like our big pig gig, we had here a few years ago. I have really enjoyed your blogs about your trip.
Take care,