Thursday, March 28, 2013

Italy 2013

Ron and I stayed at the same place we've always stayed in Rome: Albergo Santa Chiara, right next to Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  We're located directly behind the Pantheon, and on this trip we confirmed what we suspected on past trips: We're also right next to the only place in Rome that makes official vestiments for the Pope (Gammarelli).  Here's the catch: While we were in Rome, there was no Pope.  With the conclave fast approaching, news reporters swarmed this little store all week.  When conclave ends with white smoke, it means a Cardinal has accepted his colleagues' nomination for the Papacy.  When he is offered three differently sized white outfits to wear moments later for his introduction to the world on San Pietro's balcony, those outfits are from Gammarelli.  This little store was directly below our hotel window.

We slept with the window open each night (thank God I remembered ear plugs due to rowdy drunk people and noisy Vespas).  These reporters woke us (ie, Ron) up on Monday morning.

See the red Prada shoes (that Francis refuses to wear)? The guy in the purple vest is the store owner we think.
Our window is above the "S."  Note the apricot color.
Another view from our window--that's Santa Maria sopra Minerva and Piazza Minerva.

Piazza Minerva with Bernini's elephant.  (btw ... apricot)

Each morning, we walked a block over to Tazza d'Oro ("golden cup") for cappuccino.  Americans drink "cappuccini" all day, but it's considered a morning drink for Italians.  These little gems were so delicious.  Nothing else like it.  (Also, couldn't avoid blur in this place.)  We stood at the bar, downed them real quick (well, Ron did anyway), and then we were off.

This particular day, we crossed the river to the Vatican.
Enormous press boxes lined the boulevard that leads right into Vatican City.  If you stood in this press box ...

... here's the view you would have while doing your news report.

More press boxes on the perimeter of the central square.

Literally, the first person we saw on St. Peter's Square was our local news guy from Philly.  He was interviewing John Thavis about conclave.  Thavis has been all over TV and radio this month.

The Papal apartments were sealed off a few days before we arrived (second row of windows).  I think they were officially reopened two days ago, but Pope Francis isn't interested in living here.

When Cardinals crossed the square, photographers would descend on them like vultures.  Some of the Cardinals (like this guy) would laugh and joke with them.  Others would give them dirty looks and shove right through them.

The opulence of this place never ceases to shock me.

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been ... [hang on ... one, two, three ...] ... seventeen years since my last confession."  (No, I did not actually go to confession.  But, many people do here.)
I had no idea that these shabby doors led into a church--I never thought to look up.

A few nights later on Wednesday, we saw a bride leaving the church with her groom.  She was gorgeous--so were all of her guests who were mingling in formal dress outside.  (Love this contrast of worn/old vs. sleek/modern.)

Ron and I both picked out treats that day.  Weirdly, we reversed preferences. He picked gelato (dark chocolate and pistachio) ...

I picked pizza rossa at FORNO--Forno Forno Forno!!! Ti voglio bene!!!
Pearl would TOTALLY fit in that basket.  Right?

Setting sun

Along the Tiber.  If I had to pick one shot to show the essence of the city, I think this is it.  I can hear and smell the traffic, the visual whir of headlights, the ghostly yellow light from the city lamps, a church with a large shrine on the corner, and if you listen beyond the traffic you can hear the Tiber too.

A chandelier shop!!  The ultimate candy store.  I would die for the big pink one.
Our strategy for dinners? Anthony Bourdain's website.  Be warned: You NEED reservations for all of the teeny tiny family run places he recommends.  We got lucky at da Enzo.

So pleased with himself.  You are literally piled on top of the other patrons here, but it didn't bother us. We talked to the couple from Mexico next to us.

Shrine time (what the hell--here are all eight):

Center of Piazza del'Orologio

Piazza Santa Chiara, next to our hotel.  Sadly, la chiesa di Santa Chiara never appeared to be open.  I really wanted to go in.

Love the flaky paint. Would love to know the symbolism of the sea shell.

This took twenty tries to get right. Located in a little tunnel that allows neighbors to pass between buildings.

Also took twenty tries.  On the Trastevere side of Ponte Cestio.  "The Madonna of the Tiber lamp."

Definitely a photo overload today. Can't tell if people like that or not. Should I edit more?  I'll wait two or three days to post more.

1 comment:

Laurie said...

I love seeing lots of photos!!! They are all beautiful by the way.