Travel: Italy (Day Seven & Eight)

Yesterday was a day of travel from Florence to Rome via Italo (train), fun, and food. It is about a two hour ride, so once we arrived we took a cab to the VRBO and this one was an upgrade over the last (although the last was nice).

During the cab ride, I did “cross the Tiber” but was only there a short while before darting back across another bridge. We then went out in search of fun and food and found both. In the process, I got myself a bit of Italian ink, but you’ll just have to wait to see that one. Dinner was at a restaurant recommended by Enid friends and they were so right! Ristorante Ambasciata D’Abruzzo. Delicious. We had a nice bottle of wine and I ordered the lamb. Should you find yourself in Rome, don’t miss out.

It was early to bed so that we could be up and out the door by 7:30 this morning. At that time of the morning, the streets are clear and the sky is so blue. The fountains are the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. The water is clean enough to drink and was one of the main source of water for the people early on.

There’s not much that I can add about this next place: the Pantheon. It is massive and imposing and beautiful and in the midst of it all there is holiness and simplicity. Each column is a single piece of marble that was brought up from southern Egypt. They are each 39 nine feet tall and weigh 60 tons apiece. The height to the oculus (hole in the ceiling) and the diameter of the base of the dome are equal: 142 feet. From that distance, the oculus looks small, but it is 30 feet in diameter.

Leaving this place we walked a few blocks and came across an elephant. A Bernini elephant with an obelisk on its back. I found the right spot for the sun.

Confession: there is a street in Rome that has multiple clergy candy shops and I bought some candy: a new zucchetto in the store where the Pope and Cardinals (and all the lesser folk) shop and a bit further down came to a smaller shop and picked up a VERY nice handmade cassock at a very reasonable price. For the record, I’ll now have to purchase another inexpensive suitcase and check my bags. Poor baby… I know.

This was followed by a two hour lunch which was delicious and then on to the Francesi (another beautiful church) where I saw the Caravaggio’s of Matthew. I’ve studied these paintings in the past, so it was moving to see them in person.

I forget when (maybe after the Pantheon) I stopped in Stan’Ignazio of Loyola Church and after looking around for a bit, stopped here and prayed my Rosary for the day. At first it was noisy, but then the voices receded and there was peace.

Up until this point I have been very intentional in not looking for the Vatican. I don’t want simply a glimpse. I want to take it all in at once and tomorrow is the day. I will cross over the Tiber River via the Ponte Sant’Angelo (The Bridge of Angels) built in 136 a.d. and adorned with angels sculpted by Bernini. Once across, I will turn left and look up and I will see. My tour of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel begin at 7 a.m. so I’m off.

Have a wonderful and peaceful night.

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