ROME DAY 5 Gelato: Bacio e pistaccio (chocolate with hazelnut – which might be baccio. One means ‘kiss’ and the other a gelato flavor. Also, pistachio)
Pasta: Nope! Veal sautéed with ham and sage.
By now, we needed to do laundry. Tom, not wanting to waste a moment of our dwindling time in Rome, suggested that we drop our laundry off and then return to St. Peter’s Basilica to climb the dome. We’d skipped it on the previous day because the lines were so long. Our older son was psyched about this. Our younger son would have preferred to stay in the room with his laptop.
The trip up to the dome is not for the faint of heart even if, like us, you elect to take the lazy man’s way and pay the extra euro for the elevator. Once on the roof of the basilica, where the elevator drops you off, it’s another 323 steps up to the dome. Three hundred twenty-three single file steps packed tight with strangers and the only air coming from the occasional slit in the wall offering a prisoner’s view of Rome. I was wishing fervently that the young man behind me hadn’t eaten so much garlic the night before. Whew! One woman bailed and I heard a word that sounded like the Italian version of ‘claustrophobic.’ BUT – if you hang in there, the view is tremendous.
After the amazing view and the clean laundry, we hoofed it back to the Metro in the rain and stopped for sandwiches on the way. I continued to be surprised by the difference in cost if you choose to sit in a restaurant and eat versus taking away. After a filling lunch of mozzarella and prosciutto sandwiches washed down with Coke, we were ready for our next journey. This was our last afternoon in Rome and Tom and I wanted to use every minute.
We jumped on the Metro and walked up the beautiful and upscale Via Veneto to the Capuccin Museum. I thought the kids would get a kick out of seeing the many ways that the monks arranged the bones of their dead brothers. Yeah, I knew it would be morbid, but also sort of cool. They were not as amused or intrigued as I was. Mostly, they were grossed out. Admittedly, seeing a chandelier made of knee joints is a bit off-putting. Not to mention the arch of hip bones. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on the ceiling decorations made of ribs and jaw bones. No photos were allowed (and you’re probably relieved!)
Onward from there, we hopped on the metro again (we had bought day passes because the weather was spotty and we’d walked miles and miles in the days previous) to the Borghese Gardens where we visited the museum there.This had been Pauline Bonaparte Borghese's (as in Napolean's sister) palace in Rome and the opulence was staggering, though no photos were allowed, so I cannot show you all that I saw. This is a photo of the outside, which denies the sense of the interior completely.
I admit it — I appreciate sculpture more than painting. Maybe it's a matter of education. When I look at ages old paintings, I appreciate the work, but I don’t know what went into it. When I look at Apollo and Daphne or the Rape of Persephone, I am struck by Bernini’s ability to coax movement, nuance and emotion from stone. I'm so sad that photos weren't allowed so that I could not share those statues with you.
After the Borghese, we made our way to Piazza del Popolo, a lovely piazza near where we were staying.
We had dinner at the nearby Gran Sasso, a restaurant where one of our younger son’s teachers worked when he lived in Rome. The owner was very excited that we knew Fio and he treated us to a delicious dessert, which was a lovely end to our trip to Rome.