Sticky Top Post

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.

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:

No comments: