Busy Sunday

Before my classes start, I had a number of places to go on Sunday. Borromini’s church of Sant Ivo alle Sapienza is only open Sundays from 9-12 and his church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is only open Saturday and Sunday. So I headed out before 9. It was “fa bello“ with the sunshine.

Promptness isn’t an Italian virtue. There were a number of people waiting for the doors to open, which didn’t happen until after 9:10. I’ll write more about Borromini later but this is a place, if you don’t know about it, you may never discover. And you would be missing something special.

After, I went to another Borromini church, San Carlino, as it is nicknamed because it is so tiny, it means little Charles, named for St. Carlo Borromeo. It’s about 1.5 miles away. The weather was good and I thought I knew my way. It’s on the Quirinale hill, near the presidential palace. I am sure I started out the right way and recognized where I was, but then I checked Google maps, and I must have read the map upside down or something because I headed the wrong way.

When I found myself staring at Santa Maria Maggiore, I knew I was not where I was supposed to be. If you Google map Palazzo del Quirinale and Santa Maria Maggiore, you can see how far off course I went.

In any event, I ended up at San Carlino about 30 minutes before the church closes. The priest started turning off the lights at closing time, although it was sunny enough it wasn’t making much difference. But I left before waiting to see if he was going to do more to make me and a few others leave.

Since I was so close, I went to the Palazzo Barberini. They had a special little exposition on some Michaelangelo drawings that had been reproduced by other artists because the drawings were so highly prized and because the reproductions would be used as devotional objects.

Checked out some favourites, including Caravaggio.

The Borromini staircase was being restored last time I was at the Barberini. It is now being used as an exit, although not many people seemed to be on it. Actually, not many people were at the museum.

After all that walking, it was time for gelato. Gelateria del Teatro features on many best gelato places in Rome. I knew vaguely where it was but checked Google maps. Again, I must have misread the map. I found it eventually and realized it is close to the north end of Piazza Navona so have never been far from the place. Definitely remembering it for next time.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva—when I was going the wrong way
Puro ciocolatto e nocciola—chocolate and hazelnut

I wandered for a while noticing churches in the Centro Storico that I had not noted before. I may put together a churches I saw in Rome post to add to the one I did in 2010.

I kind of love Italian scenes like below. The yellow police tape has numerous do not park signs hanging from it.

Since I’m on my own, I signed up for a tour from Roman Food Tours called Food and Wine Tour. We started next to the Pantheon at Antica Salumeria where we had a local wine with salumi, cheese and breads. We then moved on to a hotel (name I didn’t find out but can’t be hard to find) facing the Trevi Fountain where we had more cheese and wine but with a great upper level view of the fountain. That alone was worth the price of the tour.

We then moved on to Osteria Mercato where we had pasta. We were offered choices of Roman pasta dishes: amatriciana, carbonara, cacio e pepe and prima vera . I picked a prima vera ravioli.

From there we went to Pompi, near the Spanish Steps, a place famous for its tiramisu. It came home with me because I was so full.

The walk home was in the rain. But I had company as another person on the tour was staying near the Pantheon. Luckily, I wasn’t using Google maps.

The tour was a good opportunity to have some company and wine makes everyone more sociable. The group was a mix: a couple about my age from Vermont, two young women from Texas, two young sisters from Toronto, a family of four from the Netherlands and a young woman from Tokyo. The Dutch family were in Rome for the weekend—the rest of us were so envious of their ability to travel around Europe. The guide was also a very sociable guy who moved to Rome from the USA after deciding to explore his family. roots and didn’t want to leave.

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