Monday, April 5, 2010

Part I - Rome

From fountains to fettuccine and everything between, we tried our best to do Rome and all that it has to offer. The city is amazing and should be added to your list of places to visit if you never have. We arrived on Monday and visited our first church (Catholic that is) since leaving home in October. St. John's in Laterno was beautiful and the history of the church is incredibly interesting. Of course we indulged in pasta, wine and the always delicious Gelato!

Tuesday was dedicated to all things Roman. Colisseum, the Forum, Palatine Hills, Circus Maximus, etc. The simple fact is that Rome dictated for a very long time how the world ran and the influence of this city is felt to this day in most everywhere. We enjoyed the cool spring weather as we tramped around, through and over all sorts of ancient sites. What we enjoyed most about Rome is that the city has found a harmony between its past and the future. Its not uncommon to find anicent ruins next door to a Apple Store or sitting on the Spanish steps watching people shop at Gucci.

Wednesday was spent at the Vatican and touring the many museum's and galleries that are housed on the grounds. A little known fact is that Vatican City is the world's smallest commonwealth. One would think that such a title means the place can be walked in total in a short time. That is not the case at all. We spent nearly 5 hours in the various museums, enjoying sculptures, paintings and religious relics and maybe saw ½ of all there is to see. St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Cathedral awe inspiring and we spent a few hours just enjoying the two places. Finishing our tour in the Sistine Chapel was the proverbial icing on the cake.

Our one goal for Thursday was to secure tickets to mass that evening with the Pope. We arrived at the US Bishops office for visitors to the Vatican around 9am to try and garner tickets from the friendly nun who was in charge of distribution. We were prepared to pull our all of our “Catholic Cards” (eg. Lifelong Catholics, graduates of Catholic Universities, employees of a Catholic organization, Catholic Sunday school teachers) in order to get tickets that were in short supply. The simple act of opening a door for a stranger as we entered the office was all we really needed to do. As Joe began the “we are Catholic and need tickets” sales pitch, the woman we opened the door for turned and offered us two extra tickets she had. Tickets acquired! We are pretty sure we could have got tickets without the stranger's kindness as it turned out the nun was from Minnesota!

Anyway, with tickets in hand we enjoyed a morning coffee at the Trevi Fountain (a coin was thrown into it to ensure our return to Rome), gelatto on the Spanish Steps and an afternoon snack at the Pantheon as well as a stroll around the Piazza Novanna. Around 2pm we headed to St. Peter's to get in line for mass, but quickly found out that mass as at St. John's in Laterno and raced to get in line there. As the mass hour drew near the crowds got bigger and we soon found ourselves in a sea of people. When the gates opened it was impossible for us to even walk, we just got carried by the current of bodies to the door. Thankfully, we got into the church, no seat, but we were able to enjoy the beautiful Holy Thursday mass with the Pope. Another delicious dinner ended a near perfect day in Rome.

We departed Rome on Friday morning for Florence. Rome was spectacular and our sore feet can attest to all there is to do and see in the city.

No comments:

Post a Comment