Rome Giubileo


Papal Jubilee Mass
(Click for Large Image)

We left Deruta in the early November morning after warm good-bys to Alessandro and Anna who had fed us better and more generously than anyone could possibly imagine. We had been at their farm for a week with a bunch of our friend and had spent the entire rain-soaked week day-tripping all over Umbria and lower Tuscany. But today as we were headed off and the sun was shining. Leslie, Mike and Jim headed for Florence, Jim and Betsy were on their way back to Nebraska, Diane and Lenny were off to Venice and we were driving to Rome for something less than two days and one night to finish off our almost 3-weeks in Italy. Leslie told us there was a grand passeggiata in Florence. Ditto for Rome. I think all of Northern Italy was so hemmed-in from two weeks of rain that they couldn't resist the beautiful Saturday evening stroll. And beautiful it was. Rome was just glorious, making us wish we had booked longer. Never mind I got pick-pocketed of my cash on the subway (on Sunday in a dense crowd on the way back to the hotel to retrieve bags and head to the airport… so thankfully, the cash had been spent down to just a bit). Never mind that the computer just turned off in the middle of downloading the latest batch of pictures. (It is now in repair with instructions: "I don't ever care if I see this computer again, but the data on the disk better come back intact! There are several hundred pictures from the three week that only exist on that disk).

Alessandro and Anna with
Kris and Howard
Click to Read about their place in Deruta.

As we drove into Rome's centro, it became obvious I was not going to find the Excelsior without help. I yelled to a pedestrian in perfect Italian for the direction to the Via Veneto. He responded in perfect English: "Go straight to the end and turn right and then ask again. --- No wait. --- Follow me. It's complicated!," jumping into his beat-up early model extra-mini Fiat. Weaving through intersections, never mindful of other cars or pedestrians he stopped after traversing a quarter of the city, got out and told me to take the second-right, go through the tunnel and you will be in Piazza Barberini at the foot of the Via Veneto, familiar territory. So much for haughty, indifferent Romans. Hope lives.

I pulled into the portico of the Excelisor and told the doorman that we were here only for the night, and that I needed to go take care of returning the rental car. "No sir. Leave it to me. The receipt will be in your box at the concierge desk." The car disappeared, complete with the dent from the road sign that was too close to the road in Urbino. Now that is service. When we came out the next morning, he greeted us: "Good morning Mr. Case." His memory might have been linked to the 50,000 lire note of thanks, but, still impressive. The five star Excelsior was coming to us free - thanks to piles of points accumulated with all of our business travel. We were sure primed to enjoy this spot of luxury.

Cafe on roof of Campidoglio Museum

We arrived just before 2:00pm and headed for the Campidoglio Museuo because we had heard the café was special. Well. It has nothing to recommend it except the location. But, we all know where that ranks in the ratings. Tramanzini are dried out. The wine is lousy. Plastic plates. But who cares. Situated on the roof, on one side is the Forum on the other the domes of Rome. Stunning. Big umbrellas. Stylish people. Beautiful, sunny afternoon. Last week of November and too warm to leave your jacket on. Just lounge and muse.

Click for Large View

Refreshed, we strolled to the Pantheon, stopping at the Gesù to gawk at the over-the-top Baroque opulence of St. Ignatius's tomb and then S.M. Sopra Minerva to see Michelangelo's risen Christ, Filippino Lippi's frescos, and Fra Angelico's and St. Catherine of Siena's tombs. The latter was the namesake of my childhood church. This church is such an amazing wealth of the Florentine Renaissance - and strangely all in a single Gothic church in Rome. Most distressing: someone put a god-awful - pun intended - bronze loin cloth over Christ's privates on Michelangelo's previously nude Christ. Bronze no less, on his luminous marble body. Really stupid! He stood nude for 400 years. Who could have thought Christ now needs modesty? 

Enjoy this pictures (they're all clickable thumbnails) and then stroll on to the Pantheon with us.


The name of Michelangelo's Steps to the Campidoglio.
Campidoglio Pollux.
One of the 2 twins from Lida's lovemaking with the swan (Jupiter) guarding the Piazza.
Nicola di Rienzo.
Statue between the Codonato & S.M. d'Aracoeli.
Campidoglio arch mask
Campidoglio Polizia.
Italian beauty extends to designer uniforms on classical frames.
Palazzo Senatorio.
Michelangelo designed the facade.
Marcus Aurelius.
Michelangelo loved this oldest surviving bronze statue from Antiquity (2C).
The 122 Steps to S.M. d'Aracoeli.
Our great friends Win & Charles were lucky enough one Christmas eve to see the procession of the Santo Bambino to the presepio.
from the Campidoglio.  It looks elegant rather than bombastic from here.
Roman Steet Scene
The Forum through umbrella trees.
Corso Victoria Emmanuele
with the dome of Sant'Andrea della Valle (Tosca, Act I).
Gesu Dome.
This is the mother church for the Jesuits.
Gesu Dome Statue.
This church set the mark for all Baroque churches, defined the "Jesuit" style and defined the Counter Reformation in architecture.
Gesu Madona Icon.
Pius XII preyed here often when young. He didn't get the guidance he needed.
St. Ignatius Altar.
That blue stuff is lapis.
Jesuits have their way.
St. Ignatius's Tomb.
Carlo Fontana designed the beautiful bronze altar rail.
Piazza della Minerva.
Bernini's Whimsical elephant with an Egyptian obelisk on its back
St. Catherine of Siena's Tomb
in Santa Maria sopra Minerva. There is much more important art in this great church.
Trump l'oeil ceiling
in an unknown church that we just wandered into.
On to the Pantheon!