Wrapping Rome

Perhaps we could have spent one less day in Rome, but it is really hard to know how many days to allow for a major city. It was very nice to be in one spot, fully unpacked, for a whole week.
After our late night at the museum on Friday, we opted for an easy start on Saturday. My mom wanted to attend Mass in Rome for All Saints Day–the problem was deciding where to go! We opted for a church on the busy Piazza del Popolo (there are three), the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo. The Basilica contains art by Raphael, Bernini, and Caravaggio, among others, and has many masses on holy days. Moving at less than warp speed, we made it there in time for a 12:00 service. {Maureen’s note: This church has a side chapel that was designed by Raphael for his buddy Agostino Chigi, who was a wealthy banker. Later on, Chigi’s great-grandson had my new hero Bernini sculpt two of the statues in the chapel. I enjoyed looking at them but didn’t get much of a look at the two Caravaggio paintings in one of the other chapels, since it had a huge crowd in front of it, plus I find his stuff really intense and less interesting. Angie and I didn’t know why fewer people were looking at the Chigi Chapel.} Maureen and I enjoyed a walk and local art show instead of staying for Mass, but our sources report that it was in Italian (selected Masses in selected churches in Rome are conducted in Latin) and that a baptism took place. Even so, it was over in about 40 minutes. (Thanks to Mom for all of today’s photos!)
The Square:IMG_0064.JPG
The Church:

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After church, we strolled down Via del Babuino, past the Spanish Steps, towards a restaurant recommended by cousin Jenni, Sacro e Profano. It’s set in a former church, but the frescoes have been “revised.” Lunch was pretty good and I think Janet made the best selection with her pumpkin and sausage ravioli (sadly, they lost me at sausage). The space was great, though the service was somewhat glacial (in the slow rather than cold sense).
The lunch spot:

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Post lunch, we entered the most tourist-filled and tacky part of Rome we had yet seen as we headed toward the Trevi Fountain. Mom and Janet were able to make some bargain souvenir purchases as we fought the crowds. I was glad that Exploramum warned us that the Trevi was under construction or it would have been an even greater disappointment. When I was last in Rome, it was a great delight to enter the square and nearly run into that fantastic fountain. This time, the entire structure was enrobed in scaffolding, with a “tourist bridge” allowing closer access to the statues. We skipped the tourist bridge and did some more souvenir shopping instead.
Our next stop was probably one of the highlights of the visit for me. Giolitti (on Via Uffici del Vicario) is loved or hated by Rome’s gelato “experts.” I will say that it’s by far the best gelato we have had in Italy. I would even say it was worth the ordeal to get it, which if you know me is saying quite a lot. Here’s the ordeal: Join a fast-moving pseudo-queue to pay for your cup or cone, then join the throng at the counter to try to get served. Flavors are listed on flat screens above the counter and you need to make your decisions before you get to the counter, as you push and elbow your way forward. I repeat, worth it.
After our treat, we walked back to the flat and enjoyed a great view of St. Peter’s from Ponte Umberto I as the afternoon faded to evening. We spent our last evening in Rome eating leftovers and getting packed so we could be ready to head to Orvieto on Sunday.
The view on our walk “home”:

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