Friday, September 21, 2007

My Italy Diary: Rome, Part 2

We slept until 12:30pm! We were both shocked when we woke up. After showering and dressing, we managed to get out the door by 1:45pm—just in time for lunch. We headed first to Santa Maria sopra Minerva. This magnificent Church contains many small chapels and today as we walked around we had the added benefit of listening to choir practice (beautiful), it lent an even greater sense of being in a holy place. When you enter the santuary, you are immediately struck by the beautiful blue central nave. To the left of the main altar is a statue of the “Redeemer” by Michelangelo, which was started in 1519, but was finished by another artisit. Interestingly, there is the addition of a bronze loincloth—we learned on our last visit that Pope Clement XIII ordered the covering of nudity on statues and some paintings.

After viewing the Church, we headed for Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, which we found after wandering around a few side streets. This Church too has several small chapels lining both sides of the main alter. Most striking was the gold ceiling and the gorgeous mosaics [click the picture for a closer look at the mosaics]. There is a feeling of peace and quiet here, and you feel you need to speak in whispers so as not to disturb the tranquility. We had the opportunity to go below the main floor to the excavated crypts, most of which was fairly nondecript until you get to the end and then suddenly behind a fense is the most beautiful chapel.

Next we headed for
Santa Maria di Trastevere, which is the oldest Church dedicated to the Virgin. Inside there is a statue upon which people have tucked notes/prayers to the Holy Mother. This Church too has beautiful mosaics, a central alter, and smaller chapels on each side. Unfortunately, they have already begun to blur together in my mind.

We walked up to Monte del Gianicolo, where you can see all of Rome. The view is breathtaking and well worth the climb. Unfortunately, I had exhausted my battery and only managed to take one picture. On the way back we looked for a restaurant,
Dar Poeta, recommended to us by some friends in Atlanta, but as they were not yet serving we moved on and ate at a little restaurant a few blocks off Piazza Navona, Osteria del Gallo. We shared a first and second course—gnocchi with pesto, clams and arugala, and roast pork, both delicious.

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