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Rome wasn't built in a day

We we're missing Rome and found a cheap flight on Ryanair from Bordeaux, where we left the car in the airport parking lot.

The return trip ticket for the three of us was about 250 euros. Also, it was November and hotels we're empty and much cheaper than usual.

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We stayed at this cozy place in my old part of town, Trastevere. The breakfast room overlooks the Vatican's legal affairs building.

Very friendly staff - but all the people we met in Rome were charming, in a simple, low-pressure way. Maybe it's because we we're almost the only tourists wandering about, off the usual beaten paths. I had been dreaming of visiting some of Rome's little known medieval churches, where mosaics similar to those in Ravenna can be found, and that meant poking around in a lot of obscure parts of town. The prime real estate locations we're all taken up by the big Renaissance churches and palaces, in the 16th century, but inthe east of the city there are lots of medieval remnants, giving us an idea of what the city looked like before the "Michelangelo Machine" hit it.

This is the Vatican's legal affairs office on Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. 50 years ago I got into conversation here with, and fell sort of in love with too, a liberated young romana who was trying to get her marriage annulled, and had to read a huge book to see how it was done. Our hotel is down the street, on the far side of the ministry.

The ancient piazza, where I met the lady at a caf table just about where I took this picture, is one of my favourite places in Rome. The church of Santa Maria in Trastevere is medieval, but has a Renaissance porch built in front, with the bishops lined up on the balustrade. The four bishops we're a 19th century addition, but they're still my favourite part of the church's exterior.

The first morning, I paid the ancient church a sentimental visit. The Roman columns we're taken from the ruins of the Caracalla Baths, and the walls are covered with beautiful 13th century mosaics.

Splendour of the Middle Ages!I never could understand why, in the year 1500 (the Renaissance, it is called) everyone had to start mass-producing impersonal Greek look-alikes,when the art of the preceding centuries was so rich and expressive. But what seems to attract most people in art is power rather than delicacy.

There is a funny story about these columns. In the 19th century, an archaeologist identified a carved face on one of the column heads as being an effigy of the Egyptian goddess Isis,about which there was nothing surprising since they came from an ancient Roman building.But the narrow-minded Bishop was so upset to learn that there was a pagan symbol in his church that he had it chopped out, leaving the gap.

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Posted in Health and Medical Post Date 05/17/2019






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