Madri Pie, 30 June 2010
Back at the hotel, and it's after midnight. We had a formal lunch at the Archbishop's hotel, and a very nice reception tonight at La Perla in Castel Gandolfo. It was a 6-course dinner, and several priests gave speeches. One of them did an absolutely hilarious impersonation standup of Harry Carey and Howard Cosell describing the Pallium Mass as a sporting event, and he was spot on for them, as well as the Holy Father, the Archbishop, and several presidents. The whole room was in stitches.
We also got served some nice wine, and prosecco - the rose processo was especially nice.
This was our fourth multicourse meal this trip - we had dinner at Cecilia Metella last night, and I learned a new card game from a couple of boys at my table - a pickup/match game called Scorvo (Ed: this turned out to be Scopa with an American deck...). It definitely passed the time between courses.
Madri Pie, 1 July 2010
This morning we had Mass at St.Peter-in-Chains (S. Pietro in Vincoli), built around the two sets of chains that held St. Peter in Jerusalem and in Rome. S. Pietro in Vincoli dates from the 5th century, but most of the interior is newer. This most famous art here is Michelangelo's "Moses", which was neat, but I found inspiration for future design work in the borders and mosaics. I'm finding a lot of inspiration as we visit old basilicas. Yesterday we had Mass at the cathedral in Albano, near Castel Gandolfo - there was some inspiration there as well, despite it being a somewhat more modern interior. There were some neat frescoes of St. Helen, and Constantine seeing the cross in the sky.
Today after St. Peter-in-Chains, we walked through the Colosseum and the Forum. I'd seen both before, but we had a wonderful tour guide, art historian Dr. Elizabeth Lev, and it was very cool seeing how these places intertwined with early Christianity. Liz also had an engaging speaking style and sense of humor.