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Italy: Day 1 – Rome

March 2, 2010

SATURDAY, April 12, Rome

We arrive in Rome around 11:30 a.m. A note about the flight times: on my previous trip to Italy, we arrived early in the morning, around 7:30, if I recall correctly. I found it much easier to adjust to the time change with the later flight. Our arrival time was 5:30 a.m. EST, which is our normal waking time, so we found it relatively easy to adapt.

Our driver from romeshuttlelimousine.com meets us at the airport. We stop at an ATM on the way out of the terminal, and are set to go.

The apartment in Palazzo Olivia (see separate review) is very well located. We’re met by Carla, and then rest for about an hour before heading out to explore. Our final destination is Santa Susanna, where we plan to go to Mass. We have about four hours for our explorations. We wander through the maze of streets and piazzas, and undoubtedly double our walking distance due to our ambling maze through the centro storico. We came upon the bustling Piazza Navona, complete with itinerant artists:

After circling Piazza Navona a few times, we make our way to Santa Maria sopra Minerva, where we see the tomb of St. Catherine of Siena (body pictured; head is in Siena; boy, early Catholic history can be gruesome!) and the statue of Christ the Redeemer by Michaelangelo.
Nearby is the Pantheon. The crowds there are unreal, and after fighting the crowd to get near the entrance, we quickly decide to come back some day early in the morning.

We finally find our way to a main street, Via del Corso, and stop at the tourist information point to be sure our directions to Santa Susanna were correct. While there, we buy two RomaPasses, which is good for buses and subways, as well as two museum entrance fees.

By the time we finally get to Santa Susanna, it feels as though we’ve walked hundreds of miles. There’s still a bit of time before Mass, so we head to a bar to grab a soda. I somehow manage to (violently!) smash my foot into an unseen step, resulting in me crying on the streets of Rome (and I cry ugly). Barely able to walk, I limp to the church, where thankfully it was time for Mass.

We enjoy the liturgy, and learning about the church and Saint Susanna. As cradle Catholics, Charlie and I consider ourselves pretty up on most things Catholic, but this is the first of many experiences of gaining a much deeper knowledge of our faith. Our overwhelming impression, though, is how cold it is inside due to the thick stone walls (to be expected, but we aren’t prepared).

Despite my initial thought that one or more toes are broken, I’m able to walk okay by the time we’re ready to leave, albeit slowly with a jarring limp. We stop for dinner at a little place one block off Via del Tritone.

On the way home, we walk by the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, and are struck by the majesty of both on the dim light of evening. Before we head into the apartment, Charlie stops for gelato. It’s been a really long first day in Rome!

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From → Italy

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