Rome, 26 June 2010
Rome, the Eternal City. We're here for a week, on pilgrimage as much as vacation. Our bishop was named as Archbishop of Miami, so a pilgrimage was put together to accompany him to Rome to receive his pallium from Pope Benedict XVI in a few days. There are over 250 of us in all, between the dioceses of Orlando and Miami. We're the only family from our parish, as far as i can tell. So we'll be spending a fair bit of time in churches, but we'll have time to ourselves as well.
We flew out yesterday, with a mostly uneventful flight -- other than the Italian-speaking flight attendant dropping the comm after repeating instructions in Italian, uttering an English (if accented) profanity. It got a laugh from the cabin, though.
We're staying at Residenza Madri Pie, a religious guesthouse a few blocks from the Vatican. We arrived this morning too early to check in, so we visited the nearest gelateria and wandered around a bit through St. Peters Square and down to the Tiber across the Bridge of Angels. On the way back we picked up some fruit and bottled water at a fruitteria.
Our room is spartan by hotel standards in America, with three single beds and no TV or WiFi, but it is very clean, and air conditioned. Since we'll be busy this trip, we don't really need more than that anyway, especially since we're on pilgrimage.
We went to Mass at the nearby Maria delle Fornaci, a small church about 350 years old. The interior looks very ornate, primarily from the use of assorted colors of marbles in the carvings - green/black, brown, red/grey and white/grey. Archbishop Wenski officiated, along with 12 other priests, and other than the first reading in Spanish, Mass was in English. I'm sure we'll hear other languages more often during our trip.
We had dinner tonight at Lo Scarpone, travelling there by motorcoach. The food and wine were excellent, including a nice veal with cream sauce, and the company was pleasant as well. The restaurant had a terrace, and at night with the trees and lampposts, it looks a little like Narnia, or so DD claims.
We got to chat with the Archbishop for a little bit, and he was riding the same motorcoach as us.
With a transatlantic flight and too much good house wine, I think it may be good to retire early.