I’m embarrassed to admit that, on our last trip to Rome, I didn’t know that the Pieta was in St. Peter’s Basilica. We’d spent a day in the Vatican, and when we got back the people we were staying with said, “So, did you see the Pieta?” I was dumbfounded -- here we’d gone all the way through the Vatican Museum, seen the Sistine Chapel, climbed the dome of St. Peter’s, gone into the Basilica -- and somehow we’d managed to miss the most famous sculpture in Western civilization.
I’m determined that that won’t happen this time, so we head out to St. Peter’s. The line for the Basilica stretches halfway around the piazza, though -- for some reason there are far more tourists here than the last time. (Because of the beatification? Because of Memorial Day weekend?) We go on to the Castel Sant’Angelo, hoping the line will go down in the meantime.
The thing I think is cool about the Castel is that there is a covered road leading from it to St. Peter’s, so the popes had somewhere to flee during, for example, the 1527 Sack of Rome. The covered road is still there, though you can’t go in. But the Castel turns out to have been a lot of other things: the tomb of some of the Roman emperors, a prison for Giordano Bruno and others, the living quarters of some of the popes, and finally a museum. The museum is pretty strange, a place where they seem to have put all the rejects from the Vatican. There’s a Japanese helmet, bronze age jewelry stolen by the Germans and then returned, Byzantine paintings, Greek vases.
We go back to St. Peter’s, and the line has indeed gone down. And yes, I do see the Pieta. I don’t have anything new to add to everything that’s been said about it, though, except that I’m glad I finally saw it.
We have a list of restaurants recommended by a Roman friend of a friend, and we go out to one of them that evening, Sgobbone. Doug has maialino, not really knowing what it is, only that maiale is pig. (I remember this by the phrase “maiale chauvinist pig” -- apologies to all non-chauvinist males out there.) It turns out to be suckling pig and Doug feels just a bit guilty -- but also, he says, it was very, very good. I have something pomodoro, also good.
The problem of the day is that my cell phone stopped working, fried by the heat probably. I’m so happy to get my purse back that I don’t even care -- and if someone wants to call me it would be an emergency anyway, so I’m probably better off. The clock function still works, though, so I carry it around as a heavy and strangely-shaped watch.( Collapse )