Sunday Mass in St Peter”s Basilica at the Vatican gives us the opportunity to admire this wonderful edifice once again. At noon, we wait in the rain to see a cloth placed over the sill of a distant window, a sign the Pope is about to appear to recite the Angelus, and address the crowd. A rapturous crescendo of “Viva el Papa” goes up as His Holiness appears, on an outdoor screen!
|The spiral bronze columns derive their shapes from the columns of the baldacchino in the original St. Peter”s Basilica built by Constantine, which legend has it came from Solomon”s Temple in Jerusalem|
|One of the Papal Swiss Guards, founded in 1506, in the traditional colourful uniform|
Our long weekend in Rome is not off to a good start. The Hotel de la Ville (where I stayed on my first-ever visit to Europe with Alan and John in 1967) has only one instead of two rooms that were confirmed to us. A frustrated Edmundo tells an officious receptioniste, “stop talking like a broken record telling us over and over the hotel is full. Just do something and fix it!” The Duty Manager eventually found us a shoebox for the first night.
|After all that we need a drink and a bite of lunch but the restaurants closed at three!|
|It”s hard to believe that peace and tranquility can be found here in Via Margutta just five minutes walk from the bustling Spanish Steps|
I love the siena colours of rust on the walls of the buildings of Rome
. . . . and imposing statues at every turn
|On one corner of Piazza del Popolo|
I check out the old Piazza di Spagna American Express office that I spent so much time working on the internal layout more than 20 years ago. I can”t recognise it today
I have to pick my way through hordes of tourists sitting on the Spanish Steps to return to my hotel (and a new room!).
|A sunny day in Rome after being very overcast and dismal|
|Michael in “working times” of the 80″s – when the Spanish Steps had more azaleas than tourists|
A side trip to the flower markets in Campo di Fiori is very disappointing . . . but the traditional Italian radicchio and porcini mushrooms in the vegetable stalls save the day
|This is what I”ll use when I make the Stefano Torgiano radicchio and red wine risotto|
|I”ve had my fill of grilled porcini with rosemary and garlic on this trip!|
On my last day, I take advantage of a late check-out from my hotel and walk in the nearby Borghese Gardens. The views over the terracotta roofs of Rome from here are quite amazing.
|Victor Emmanuel Monument from the Villa Borghese Gardens on my morning walk|
|Tempio di Esculapio in the (English) Lake Garden in the Villa Borghese Park|
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