The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More on Our Cruise: One Day in Rome

After our stop at Livorno and our brief excursion to Siena, our cruise ship, the Norwegian Jade, continued south along the Italian coast and arrived at Civitavecchia early Wednesday morning. Diane and I had arranged for seats on a bus that would take us to Rome, drop us off in the city, and pick us up later in the day for the return trip to the ship.
The Italian tall ship, Amerigo Vespucci, in Civitavecchia
There were, however, two problems. First, the bus' schedule would not get us to Rome in time to attend the Pope's Wednesday audience. But we had expected this, and had resigned ourselves to missing it. The other problem was rather minor, although an irritant nonetheless. The folks in charge would not tell us where in Rome we would be dropped off until we actually boarded the bus. Being a bit of a compulsive planner, this bothered me no end.
The twin "Santa Maria" churches of Piazza del Popolo

As it turned out, the bus would take us to Piazza del Popolo, a reasonably central location and a little over a mile walking distance from the Vatican. And so, when we arrived Diane and I strolled to the Tiber, crossed one of the bridges and made our way first toward Borgo Pio, the pedestrian street right outside the Vatican walls. Along the way we encountered a thunderstorm and quickly ducked into a local cafe where we waited out the storm with a cappuccino (for Diane) and an espresso (for me). After finally arriving at Borgo Pio, we found the pleasant restaurant we have enjoyed on previous trips and had a nice, relaxing lunch together. We then stopped by a small shop we have also patronized in the past to buy our granddaughter a First Holy Communion gift. While there I asked about albs and was shown a very nice, extremely light-weight alb at a great price -- perfect for our Florida weather. Of course I bought it and added another item to our ever expanding luggage.
A priest giving and a priest receiving advice on Borgo Pio
Diane and I then made our way to St. Peter's Basilica, successfully negotiated the checkpoints and spent perhaps and hour in that magnificent church. Sadly, this was all we had time for. Later, as we strolled along the Via della Conciliazione, the rain began again, this time in ernest. And so we grabbed a cab and headed back to our gathering spot in front of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo.
Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica

Because of the cab ride we had a little more time than planned, so we stopped by a sidewalk cafe on the piazza (Once again the rain had stopped.) and treated ourselves to a delayed dessert of pastry and coffee. We strolled along one of Rome's great shopping streets, the Via del Corso, and then visited the "twin" churches at the south side of the piazza: Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Finally we  made our way to the north end of the piazza so we could spend some time in one of my favoirte Roman churches, Santa Maria del Popolo. It is a marvelous little church -- little by Roman standards -- with a facade by Bernini and providing a home to a number of spectacular works of art. These include paintings by Pinturicchio and Annibale Carracci, as well as two of Caravaggio's brilliant works: the Conversion of St Paul and the Crucifixion of St Peter. One other piece of art, an unusual, macabre momento mori sort of piece also attracts a lot of attention from visitors. (I've included a photo below.) But in addition to all the art, it's just a neat church. On our last visit Diane and I attended daily Mass there on a few occasions.

A "momento mori" in the church of Santa Maria del Popolo

By this time the young lady from the bus was gathering her flock outside the church and we were forced to leave the Eternal City after a far less than eternal visit.
Shoppers on Via del Corso
Bridge crossing the Tiber
Interior of St. Peter's Basilica
Sanctuary of church of San Carlo del Corso, along the Via del Corso

Diane in St. Peter's Square
A Swiss Guard keeping the Vatican safe from unwanted intruders

1 comment:

  1. Hi Could I use your picture of the "momento mori" at the church of Santa Maria del Popolo in a short movie on our website about the history of the Second Vatican Council ( Thanks in advance for your reply.