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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Rome Trip - July 10: The Day of Seven Fountains

From our customary A Line stop [1] we rode up to the B Line, then down to St. Paul outside the walls. The guide books don’t seem to like this one much, calling it cold, etc. It has been my favorite so far; I’m attracted to the clean lines inside (not so many niches) and the beautiful front, especially the hooded, traveller statue of St. Paul.

Wide angle view of front of church (snapped in a rare non-tourist-filled moment)
Main altar, with recently excavated sarcophagus of St. Paul
Marble, may have been over grave early on
Classical lines

The Mass was in Italian, and the Eucharistic Prayer was ad orientem.

This picure taken of a different celebration, not the one we attended.

The famous medallions of the Popes were re-done after the 1823 fire. There are only seven more empty medallions for future popes, then—the end of the world. [2]

Paschal candle (one of few items that survived the fire), with medallion of B16.

The cloisters were similar to those at Laterano, but in much better repair.

12th C. cloisters
Back to the apartment for lunch and a nap (me) and laundry (Izzy). He went to an internet café during the wash (the attendant moves clothes from washer to dryer to basket) and discovered that the motu proprio on the Tridentine Mass had been released 07/07/07. There had been no word of this on the local news that night, just coverage of the demonstrations.

Out for a PM stroll — Seven Fountains.

1-4: the four corners of Via Quattro Fontane (Boromini's work)


5: the Trevi, where we tossed our coins (one each) [3]

Seen on the way to Trevi - good to know where these can be gotten

6: Bernini’s Bees (where a homeless guy was washing himself) [4]


7: the Triton


Pre-1: At the start of our walk, we walked from Piazza della Repubblica up to Santa Maria della Vittoria, home of Bernini’s St. Teresa (in Ecstasy).

Bernini's Ecstacy of St. Theresa, and the old men looking on

Between 4 & 5: San Carlo was closed, but after the four fountains we walkeddown to San Andrea al Quirinale, an oval church said to be Bernini’s favorite.


We souvenir shopped around the Trevi Fountain and selected a lot of scarves for family. (On the pretense of buying a tie, Izzy got scarf / shawl for me without me knowing -- fluffy, soft silk.)

We stopped for an impromptu pizza dinner when I spotted pizza with incredibly thinly sliced eggplant. Izzy got ’shrooms and tomatoes.

After the fountains, we rode the Metro back to our stop and went to an internet café for about an hour (only 1 €, which offset the place being a steam bath.) We refreshed ourselves with some gelato and strolled home to catch up on reading and writing.

The plan for the next day:

  • St. Lawrence outside the walls
  • the Roman Forum
  • Peter in Chains
  • Pack up
  • arrange a taxi to the airport

[1] We enter the subway from the Piazza Vittorio Emannuell II at staircase with a “NO REDS” graffito, but there are some other entrances to this same stop are down at Piazza Dante. We keep seeing signs that say “p’zza Dante,” and our eyes naturally fill in the space under the apostrophe to read “pizza Dante.” This would be a great name for a place specializing in spicy pies. “Pizza Dante — Little Circles of Hell.”

[2] Legend has it that when the last papal portrait is done, the world will end.

[3] One coin to return to Rome, two to fall in love with a Roman, three to marry a Roman. Another version says two to marry, three to divorce.

[4] (from Immediately after the erection of the Triton Fountain, Bernini was charged to plan a small drinking fountain for horses, usually to be found near all monumental fountains. This beautiful example of Roman baroque was demolished in 1867 and carried to one of the deposits of Testaccio. Thanks to the pressure made by students, the fountain was rebuilt in 1916 with some material of the previous one. But according to the design of the Dutchman Lievin Cruyl, of 1665, the result was not very faithful to the original. Who knew?

Today's Cool Bike sightings:

Outside Santa Maria della Vittoria
On the way home

Flickr sets for today:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rome Trip - July 9: The Day of Seven Miles

Up early for subway ride, transfer, & bus from Lateran out to the catacombs. We planned to start from San Sebastiano, but the signage was confusingto us & to others on the bus (this page might have been helpful.)

We got out at the San Callisto stop, walked up the hill to the catacomb entrance and then opted to walk the 500 meters down through the park to San Sebastiano. We figured we'd see San Sebastiano (church & catacombs) first, then head back up for San Calisto.

Helpful signage

We saw on the way down (and photographed on the way back up) fourteen Stations of the Resurrection, from leaving the tomb through Pentecost. It's called the Via Lucis (also here.) Neither of us had seen/heard of these before.

Stations II, X, & XIII of the Via Lucis. Click to be able to appreciate the amazing detail.

We took a quick tour of St. Sebastian, then paid for an English tour of the catacombs there. The tour was to start “in twenty minutes.” About seventy minutes later we finally got started. It became funny to those of us waiting as we watched the Italian staff chatting, then arguing, and finally closing the ticket window while carefully avoiding eye contact with us.

Basilica of St. Sebastian, 17th C. rebuilt section.
St. Sebastian w/arrows
Ceiling painting of Martyrdom of St. Sebastian

The tour was of two levels of the catacombs at the basilica, including St. Sebastian’s original burial site, Christian catacombs, slit tombs, & pagan mausoleums that had been covered up (and thus preserved) while the cathedral was being built. The remains of both Peter and Paul are said to have been brought here during one of the persecutions, and there are preserved terra cotta requests to them for intercession. This might conflict with the St. Peter’s scavi tour information (which, as I recall, assumes that Peter stayed put until being put into vault in wall...?) but I see clear evidence that people very early on turned to Peter and Paul as intercessors.

Picked up four postcards, as no pictures are allowed in the catacombs. (We took a few when the guide wasn't looking.)

Altar over original grave of St. Sebastian
Roman family tomb
Inside Roman family tomb, San Sebastiano catacombs

After the tour we headed back up to San Callisto.


We arrived just before noon. The ticket and souvenir office was closing and would re-open at 2:30 (not 2:00, as the signs said). We ate our sandwiches and opted for a walk across the top of the catacombs to Quo Vadis?, a very pastoral kilometer away. It was closed, but we got some nice pictures of the outside. I figured that if Jesus and Peter could do the hike, so could I.

More helpful sartorial advice.
Fortifications viewed on the way to Quo Vadis?
Roman Rooflines
Quo Vadis?
Outside Quo Vadis? Appian way goes off to left.

Caught the bus back to Lateran and the metro “home.”

World's least useful tourist office? Across from Laterano.

I napped while Izzy looked for a laundry. He got poor directions, wandered around several blocks with the clothes, and came back tired, frustrated, and hungry. He had a snack and a nap.

We got up and cleaned up, took the metro, a bus, and caught the number 8 tram across the Tiber into Trastevere. Narrow, ancient streets with lots of people and cafes. Great energy!


We checked the schedule at Santa Maria in Trastevere and found no Vespers, but community prayers (sung) at 8:30.

Piazza & Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere

We hiked to an Indian restaurant called Jaipur. They started us with free glasses of champagne (“a welcome gift”) and three great sauces with “crackers” (I especially liked the chunky apple and fennel; there was also a thin, green mint & curd sauce, and a sweet tamarind). Izzy had tandori lamb & rice. I had cheese naan and an eggplant dish.

The long-awaited samosa
No, I don't know why Gary Coleman's picture is on this wall.

Back to S. Maria. The entire congregation sang the evening prayers using prayer books with no musical notation. There was call & response and 3 & 4 part harmonies resonating. It was gorgeous.


Afterwards, the people did not rush out but stayed around to talk, hug, etc. There was a very vibrant spirit in the room and among the people. Noticing that made me tear up. The Church had info out about San Egidio movement - I noted to myself that I need to look up this group. They look like a pretty neat community.

Back out & wandering in Trastevere. We headed east to the Ponte Palatino and crossed the river south of Tiber Island—our official “walk across the Tiber.”

One of my favorite pics from the trip. We're just glowing!

We walked past historical temple sites, past the arch of Janus to the Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The gate was closed, but we managed to got a few shots of the Bocca della Vertia.


It was pretty dark as we headed up a back street, many, many steps, (clivo di
Rocca) to the Keyhole at the Knights of Malta.

The actual keyhole at the Priory, through which you can see St. Peter's

We got a look at St. Peter’s, but the pictures would be better in daylight; maybe next visit.

Back down side streets past another statue of V. Emmanuel II to the Circus Maximus. No pix, but a nice breezy walk. We saw the watermelon stand Izzy remembered from Jubilee but were too full from dinner to get any.

Took a graffiti-ed B train to Termini and made several unfruitful attempts to transfer to the A line. We were finally told by a guard that the A line had closed at 9 PM “for the work.”


We wandered a bit to get our bearings (aided by a circling flock of sea birds) and then hiked back to the apartment from Termini. Sunday was the Day of Seven Churches. This felt like the Day of Seven Miles.

Flickr sets for today: