A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Monday, June 14, 2004

There and back again (8/8)

The weekend was good - I got to read, I even got to stitch, and I finally made it to Curves this evening for the first time in seemingly forever.

But now....the part you've all been waiting for! The final installment of the now-infamous Italy trip journal!

<drum roll>

Italy - part 8 of 8
1 June 2004 - in flight(cont'd)

Monday we slept in pretty late, because we were all a bit exhausted. In the afternoon we went down into Trastevere, the southwestern part of Rome. We first went to St. Cecilia's, one of our must-see stops, but they didn't open until 4, so we went to St. Maria in Trastevere. It was a beautiful little church - outside were pieces of very early Church carvings. Inside, the area at the altar seemed to have a Byzantine feel to it, with gilt mosaics and iconography. One of the side chapels was very simple, with sparse decoration except for an icon of Christ. Another chapel had soem very nice frescoes on the walls and dome. At the back was a statue of St. Francis, and at his feet and in his arms with the Christ child were quote a lot of slips of paper on which people had written their petitions. That was rather touching.

From there we went to St. Cecilia. The church itself is small but lovely, and is part of a Benedictine conventcomplex. The exterior also has ancient inscriptions on some of the stonework. The interior had some frescoes and gilding, but was a lot simpler than many of the churches we've seen the past week. There is a statue of St. Cecilia at the altar, depicting the way her body was found when it was exhumed about 1400 years after her death. The sculpture was done by the person who had made the initial sketches of her body, so one presumes it to be fairly accurate. The whole church itself is graceful and serene, and apparently is a quite popular wedding spot in Rome. The side chapels were, unfortunately, closed so I couldn't see any of those. Underneath is a crypt with some early Christian/Roman ruins, and a small chapel richly decorated. This chapel was also locked, but inside under the altar are the remains of St.Cecilia and 5 of her sainted contemporaries, including her husband Valerian, and a friend of hers who became Pope Urban I.

The courtyard of the St. Cecilia convent had a fountain and some nice lawn areas, making a peaceful oasis in the bustle of the city. In general, Trastevere seemed a bit more calm than much of Rome. There was also a nice gelateria we found on the way to St. Maria. I had frutti di bosco (mixed berry) gelato, which was very good. The chocolate DH had was also intense and excellent. I should have thought of getting half and half with the chocolate and the fruitti di bosco.

We also stopped by a fine gifts store, where we got a nice fossilized marble port set.

From Trastevere we had rather a long walk along the Tiber, then to the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish steps). The Piazza was very crowded, and the Steps were full of people. I bet the steps look nice in the early morning, though. After a brief pursuit by a pushy rose vendor, we stopped for dinner at a nice place called Sant'Andrea. I had a very good cheese and onion soup, and a stewed rabbit dish with herbs and white wine. I'd never had rabbit before - it's a little like chicken but more flavorful. DH had an excellent young lamb dish, which he says is the best lamb he'd ever had. Then dessert - DD and I had a mixed berries dish, and Dh and DsD had pineapple. The restaurant was a little pricey, but I certainly recommend it.

From there we went back by the Trevi, tossed in coins over our shoulders in the hope of returning someday, then evaded a couple more pushy vendors and returned to the hotel to pack and sleep.

We got an early start this morning, took a somewhat daredevil cab ride to the airport, and are on our way home.

It's a long flight, and DD hasn't exactly been the quietest passenger although she does seem to be settling down.

This has been a good vacation overall. I'm a little sunburnt, a bit footsore, but happy. Although as with all vacations there is something to be said for going home again and sleeping in one's own bed.

Going back to work tomorrow will be tough, though!

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