Wow! So much happens every day, it’s hard to decide what’s important enough to write about. Of course everything is worth writing, the real question is how much you want to read... Business first: Let me update my list of gelato flavors.
Bacia -- rich chocolate, after an Italian brand of truffles. Baci is Italian for “kiss” and each candy comes with a love note (like Doves, I guess?). I think gelato IS a love note.
Caffe -- my favorite of the day
Ok, now some less fattening experiences.
We found out Saturday night that the Vatican Museum, which normally costs 18 Euro, is free on the last Sunday of the month. The catch is that it’s only open from 9-2 on the free days, and everybody and his mother wants to go see the Capella Sistine. We got on the Metro at 7:30, stepped in line at 8:30, went inside at 10:00, and finished around 1:30. Yep, it took us as long to get there as it did to go through the museum. What a huge place full of every kind of art imaginable! Some things I barely even glanced at, but I was quite taken with the works by Raphael. And of course, there was the Sistine Chapel with the famous creation painting, not quite as huge as you might imagine. After a long nap and family style pasta dinner in the apartment, we went for an evening walk at the north end of town, an essential part of the “dolce vita.”
Yesterday we got up early again to beat the crowds at Vatican City and St. Peter’s. Here we saw the famous cathedral built by profits from the sale of indulgences, which also launched the Protestant Reformation. This is where the Pope is when you see him on TV, but unfortunately he wasn’t out shaking hands. Some of the group walked the 320 steps to the top of the cupola, but the rest of us decided instead to go for “second breakfast.”
Every morning Italians stand at coffee “bars” for quick caffe and cornetti (croissants), and then at 11 they sit and have a sandwich for a morning snack, or second breakfast. Lunch comes mid-afternoon during the siesta time from 1-4, when all the shops are closed and the streets are empty. So, while I didn’t get the best view of Rome from the top of St. Peter’s, I think the second breakfast was a good substitute and even more Italian than climbing a bunch of stairs. In the words of a young Italian, “A roma, mangiare poco e spesso.”
In Rome, eat often and little.