On my last day before travel I slept in my goal for the day was really just to explore without there being a point being to get lost and see what I could. This isn’t the wisest plan but it usually ends up being the plan that can lead to some good memories. Rough plans tend to allow me to improvise as I go! As with the other couple days I made my way to the local cafe and got my regular. The bar keepers recognized me and for the first time gave me a smile. It was a nice change to pause and let the world pass me by for a bit while I ate my humble little breakfast.
The bus journey to Roma Termini was peaceful and by the time I arrived I decided I would make my way to the Borghese Villa Museum It was a long walk but nonetheless I made it while it was still morning. To my dismay though this was one of the museums that happened to require booking days in advance and I wasn’t lucky enough to get in, the buildings and park where still beautiful and I decided to to walk through and head back to St Peters. My Brothers wife as well as my grandmother are very catholic and I wanted to get them some Prayer beads from the vatican. With St Peter’s dome as my guide I made my way to the precipice that led down to the Piazza del Popolo and the Basilica Parrocchiale Santa Maria del Popolo both classic and beautiful.
I didn’t stick around to long before continuing my one man crusade to St Peters. Thankfully it was literally straight ahead and I got there no problems. It was less busy and I got through the security in a third the time as before. After picking up some humble prayer beads I made my way back to the grand Basilica, I saw people dipping their prayer beads in the holy water so I followed suit. Michelangelo’s Pieta stole my attention once again and I gazed at its tragic beauty until I became lost in the story it told.
There was a crowd congregating near the end of the church and I went to see what was going on. It turned out that there was a mass taking place. The only access was given to people who could tell the guards that they were christian. After showing the prayer beads I was given a warning that one cannot leave until the service was over. I was happy to agree to the terms and conditions of the service. I walked the couple hundred feet to the separated pews near the front. I’ll be completely honest I’m not catholic, I’m actually agnostic but I tend to lean to believing in some higher power I was brought up Christian but decided somewhat early on I wanted to make my own decisions about religion. I think there is wisdom in most religion though. More than anything I went for the family that could not be there and I went with an open heart, so please don’t hate me Catholics!
The service started with hymns as well as some of the basic prayers all of which were incredibly powerful. The halls of Saint Peter’s magnified the giant sound of the Organ’s pipes so much that you can feel the music. With Saint Peter’s Chair as a backdrop the atmosphere truly takes you to a different place. After all of the initial service and prayers were completed the Cardinal came forth to deliver the sermon initially in latin and then he gave the short sweet version in english.
The message was about the saints and how they achieved their sainthood by pursuing the morals and standards set forth by christ, they were not perfect but always sought forgiveness and continued on their journey to become more like christ. The Cardinal asked that we consider what that meant not only for the saints but also for our own lives. This lead to more prayer and then communion. Which ended the service. What I can say is that it is a spiritual place. Something other exists there, full of grace and power. I feel truly lucky to have experienced it.
I made my way out dazed and just started walking to the city center with full plans of heading home to relax before the journey ahead of me the next day. On my way home though I felt the need to check out another museum. the nearest one happened to be the Capitoline museum. I stopped at a grocery store and picked up some lunch and then made my way up the flights of stairs to the old museum.
This museum was also designed by michelangelo in the late 15th century. It is devoted to all forms of art but is filled with marble sculpture and paintings as well. I wandered the halls with my audio guide doing my best to listening to the information of various sculpture and paintings. some parts of the museum where unfortunately under construction and there was a whole wings worth of pieces that were obscured.
There was also a small underground that lead to a balcony whose view of the Roman Forum is unmatched. There was a moment where I could imagine it all in its full glory full of senators and busy people working for the glory of Rome.
After some time I exited and decided to try to make my way into the forum. I went the long way around and had no luck at all finding an entrance. some of the views were beautiful though and that made the walk worth it.
At my point of exhaustion for the day I decided to head home and get packed. No fights on the bus this time, the rocking motion of the bus nearly put me to sleep before we made it to my stop.
Thanks for reading! I had a blast in Rome, the cities frantic and grand atmosphere left a lasting memory that will always stay with me. The next pieces will be on some of my favorite times in Florence.