Before we left, I was reading in the Statesman that the Harley riders were having their big reunion in Austin this weekend. Little did I suspect that they would also be converging on Rome. The good news is that they can’t ride their bikes through most of the old town center, which is pedonale (pedestrian) only, but they walk in large groups, and even though their jackets say they’re from Traviso, for instance, they still look just like Harley riders at home with the black leather jackets, tattoos, women with pink hair, all middle-aged or older, trying to recapture their youth. So, we’re not hearing a lot of backfiring from Harleys, but we are hearing the birds and the ringing of bells every quarter hour, each church being just a little bit off in its ringing so that the bells harmonize..
This morning we found our neighborhood bar for capuccini e brioche. It’s much cheaper and more interesting if you take your items al banco, or standing at the bar. It’s quiet in il centro because it’s a Sunday. We are going to Mass in a few minutes at the Pantheon. I love going to Mass in Italy because you get time to sit quietly in these beautiful, ancient buildings with no other tourists.
Pui tardi (later)…
Mass was beautiful in the Pantheon, and I could make out that the Gospel reading was about Mary Magdelene washing Jesus’ feet with perfume and her hair. Key words: piedi, profuma, capelli. And of course I picked out many Mass words: Il Signore for Our Lord, lots of Pace, Dios, Figlio, cielo (Pace, God, Son, heaven). I kept looking up at the oculus, the pick hole at the top of the dome where the natural light comes in. I read that it’s good luck to see it snow through the occula. The Pantheon was the first Roman temple converted to a Catholic Church.
Next Richard chose the agenda. We went to the Capuchin crypt. The Capuchin monks were a strict order of St. Francis, who lived with the poor and healed the sick. In the 1700s, someone (several theories) took the bones of all the dead monks, and make “mosaics” if you will, and created several rooms of them. The inscription reads, translated: “We were once like you all. You all will become like us.” I have to say, it was very creepy. One room was mainly skulls, the other was the room of the pelvis; the artist must have separated all the bones for different parts. One circular designs on one of the ceilings was made of jaw bones. I have no photos, but I’ll see if I can’t load one from the Internet.
We walked home via the Spanish Steps, refilled our water bottles at the sunken boat fountain and went on to the Trevi Fountain (so far the coins have worked!) and back by the Marcus Aurelius victory column. Now it’s pausa. It’s very hot in Rome, so we will venture out again in the early evening. The last photo is of our street, right when we walk out of our apartment.