Saturday, 31 May 2014

Madonna del Parto

The day starts in our usual Roman fashion, enjoying strong espresso on the roof terrace whilst watching the swallows swooping over terracotta roof tiles in the morning sunlight.

Today there is a city wide transport strike so we plan to stay close to home this morning.

Er Baretto for coffee and cornetti. As the WiFi in our apartment is poor we take advantage of the free WiFi here and enjoy a leisurely cappuccino at the same time.

We walk through the market on Cesare Balbo to our first church – San Paolo inside the Walls. The apse contains stunning mosaics by Burne-Jones including a beautiful set of Pre-Raphaelite archangels. In a nod to the Renaissance tradition portraits of real people of the time are depicted including Garibaldi & Abraham Lincoln.

Next is San Carlo alle Quattro Fontaine. This exquisite church, flooded with light is a masterpiece of the architect Borromini who cleverly made the most of a tiny space.

In total contrast is San Andrea al Qurinale designed by Bernini for Cardinal Pamphilj whose family emblem of a dove can be seen as well as angels, cherubs and the figure of St Andrew.


Three churches equals lunch. Today we  are sampling the €13 set lunch at L’Asino D’Oro. For the quality of food and service this has to be the best value in the city.


After a visit to one of our favourite shops in Monti, Podere Vecciano where we stock up on wine & olive oil from their own vineyards.
Then back to the apartment where we plan our late afternoon/aperitivo walk.

As yesterday, we cross Piazza Quirinale and head to the Trevi which is mobbed by several cruise tours. Fortunately we threw our coins in yesterday so make our way through the crowds to Piazza Colonna, Piazza Montecitorio and finally Piazza Sant’Agostino. The church here contains a Caravaggio (Madonna of the Pilgrims), a Raphael (Isaiah) and the Madonna del Parto (birth) which is of great significance to us as our daughter is to become a mother in December, making us grandparents for the first time.

Piazza Navona too is very busy but we escape the masses to the underground remains of the Stadium of Domitian which have recently opened to the public. The ruins are made understandable with 3D reconstructions.

We celebrate the results of our daughter’s 12 week scan at a favourite bar near the Pantheon with views of ancient columns covered in ivy and the stag of Sant’Eustachio.

We are a little peckish so we pick up fried baccala from Il Filetti and eat it under the brooding gaze of Giordano Bruno in Campo di Fiori accompanied by saxophone music (‘Summertime’ by Gershwin – perfect)

We have booked tickets to see ‘Augustus 2000’ in the Forum of Augustus. The presentation turns out to be very good but was marred by the fact there were technical problems and was an hour late.
Fortunately La Carrette are happy to provide a ‘pizza to go’ at this late hour so we end the day on a happy note.




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