Today we depart the Eternal City – at least until the end of July. What a visit it has been so far! We’d start each day with a vague plan but then mostly just wander into and upon things serendipitously. Because we are coming back with the kids and doing some “official” tours, we wanted to simply experience the city this time around.
For example, after ambling around the Campo dei Fiori, we came across a “big church.” We went in, and it turns out it’s the Basilica di Sant’Andrea della Valle, which has the second-largest cupola (dome) in Rome after St. Peter’s. Here is what it looks like:
Another great feature was a long rectangular mirror that permitted us to view the frescoes on the apse in their entirety without breaking our necks. I made a mental note to myself to remember to bring a mirror when we visit the Sistine Chapel in July.
I’ve traveled quite extensively around Europe, and I have seen many remarkable cathedrals, both inside and out, but the sight of St. Peter’s when approaching from the Via della Conciliazione is simultaneously spectacular, exhilarating and, in a way, intimidating. I’m sure that is exactly the impression one is supposed to have on the approach. I would have liked to go in, but after drinking a bottle of wine with lunch, there was no way I was going to stand in line for an hour or more in the hot sun with the hordes. Another day perhaps…
Yesterday we ambled a bit more purposefully because we wanted to see the Pantheon. Even so, we randomly entered the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva and came upon what was described in a guide book as a “lesser known” work of Michelango – Christ carrying the cross. Well, it may be a “lesser” work, but how many times do you happen upon a Michelangelo in the regular course of walking around? Pretty amazing.
What struck me the most about Rome, though, is the way the ancient, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and present day are all smushed together and yet somehow make a unified whole. Likewise, in a taxi the way to dinner in Trastavere, with an orange sunset staining the Colosseum and the Forum Romanum an ethereal rose pink, I heard the music of Rome – a mix of church bells ringing, horns honking, Vespas hissing, and music from a live band playing on the bank of the Tiber.
P.S. I somehow managed to publish this post before it was final, so I apologize if you read an earlier version and found it rather an abrupt ending. Also, I had planned to upload more photos, but the Internet connection here in the Riviera is MUCH slower than it was in Rome. I’ll have to try to work around that some other time, but for now, I am molto stanca (very tired). So – until next time…Categories: Italy, Travel · Tags: Castel Sant'Angelo, Italy, Pantheon, Roma, Rome, St. Peter's Basilica, Travel