Attention Biblical Scholars
I need an answer to a question. Last week we went to an exhibition titled Caravaggio to Bernini. It was a little bit of a disappointment because there was only on Caravaggio at the start and one Bernini at the end. One of the paintings was by Guercino and was done in 1617. It was titled Lot and his Daughters. This is part of the description of the painting:
Having fled with his family from the destruction of Sodom – a city punished by God for its inhabitants' vices – Lot the “only righteous man” the divine messengers found there, loses his wife, who is turned into a pillar of stone for stopping and looking back. He shelters in a cave with his daughters, who get him drunk in order to ensure the continuation of their lineage.
So the question is: Does this mean what I think it means?
Earth Shaking News
For those of you who read this website regularly you know about the Armani ad that we have been taking pictures of for 13 years. On this visit the huge space was taken over by Vodaphone - the first time in 13 years it was not Armani. That was a game changer and now we have witnessed another monumental event: In 13 years we have never seen the ad changed while we were here in Rome but this time we did!!!!
The Church of Madonna of the Well
There are many churches in Rome and some have a very interesting reason for being there. In the 13th century there was a well that overflowed and out of it appeared a painting of Mary. The Pope at the time decided to memorialize the location by building a church on top of the well. There is a chapel in the church where everyday at mass they uncover the painting that was found - it is uncovered in the center of the chapel in the photo. People come to drink from the well that still exists. We went one day thinking it was an actual well but it was just a faucet in the chapel and people either fill up cups at the chapel or take already filled up water bottles which we assume was filled from the well faucet.
Uber has arrived in Rome but not without a fight from the taxi companies. One method of fighting is visible on a signs that are located around Rome that advertise the fixed price to take a cab to the airport. As you can see from the pasted sign on the advertisement it claims that Uber is illegal which it is not and the fine if taking one is 6000 euros for the passenger. I went on the Uber website just to see how easy it would be to get an Uber to the airport when we leave. There are the usual Umeba (Uber Ameba) running around on the screen although in our neighborhood there was only four or five of them. The cost of the Uber was 72 euros. The price for a normal cab is 48 euros???
One of Our Neighbors
Do hope he finds what he is looking for in his pants.
An Old Friend in Rome
In the 1980s the King was a member of a single-parent beach house in Dewey Beach. One of the members had moved to St. Louis many years ago and I had lost track of him except for an occasional Facebook post. For the first time since I have been posting on Facebook our times in Rome and asking anyone to contact me if they are here - someone has done just that. Ted and Yona were going on a 21 day Mediterranean cruise with a three day stop in Rome before. We were lucky to connect with them over a nice dinner with another couple they cruise with. We had not seen Ted in over 20 years. Ted is on the left in the red shirt and Yona is in the back on the right.
The Plaque in Campo
As some of you know we clean a plaque on the ground in Campo di Fiori that commemorates the collection by the church and burning of all Jewish holy books located in Rome in 1553. Unfortunatley the plaque is located on the ground in an area where they set up the daily market so people walk all over it and it gets very dirty. It was put there in 2011 and we have been cleaning it whenever we come since then. This is the before and after picture.
This year on our first visit to clean it the owner of the stand almost right on top of it turned out to be Jewish. He saw us cleaning and offered us some water to help and because it was Passover at the time he wished up Chag Sameach or Happy Holdiay. He also offered us some lemoncello to take as we were cleaning. This is a photo of his stand which has thousands of bottles and this is only one of three sides. Imagine having to set this up six days a week and then packing them up at about 3 PM when the market closes.
This is one of the young men who works at the stand and who always gives me a sample of lemoncello after I finish cleaning the plaque. The blue bottle the Queen is holding is Viagracello. We bought two to take home as gifts.
At Campo this was this one stall that was selling leather pocketbooks. The only sign on the merchandise was in Hebrew.
Orte is a hilltop town about one hour by train north of Rome. It is another of the cities that we had not visited. One day when it was too cold to bike we decided to take the day and visit this city. It was supposed to have some interesting castles, churches, museums and underground tunnels similar to Orvieto. The town, like Orvieto and some others are a 'tufa' based outcropping in what otherwise would have been a fairly flat valley. Orte actually is located on the Tiber River upstream from Rome. You can just make out the river in this photo. At one point the river was navigable all the way to Rome and then to the sea.
The Queen under one of the many arches in the city. As you can see by her dress it was a cold day...
We can never understand how people still live in these hill towns. Of course the original reason for being here was for protection. That reason is no longer valid.
The streets were very narrow in places and cars could barely fit through.
One of the more interesting museums we visited had a number of photos from the annual Procession of the Dead Christ.
These are two photos of the annual procession.
It looked like a Klu Klux Klan rally.
There were very few places to eat and very few open. We found one restaurant open and we went for a late lunch to waste some time before an underground tour started. I am sure we were the only customers for the day.
Wasting some more time with hot tea from a bar in a pleasant piazza.
We had a long wait for our tour of the Sottotereanea - an underground series of cisterns and tunnels. The tour did not start until 3:15PM and we arrived in the city at 10:30AM. Since nothing was open we had a lot of time to waste.
It was a little scary since the tunnels were very tiny since they were not for living as in Orvieto but for water.
There was only six of us on the tour and they spoke only Italian including the guide. We tried to understand but the guide spoke only in Italian and very fast.
Part of the cave system was dedicated to a columbine or under ground pigeon coop. It was similar to the ones we toured in Orvieto and also outside of Jerusalem in Israel.
In one of the public bathrooms someone left behind a Harvard cap. We were tempted to bring it back for the Queen's father who graduated from Harvard.
Pro Loco Pinciano
(Via Bergamo 18)(06 8414136)(Trip Advisor: 987) This restaurant was recommended by one of our Italian neighbors. He named three restaurants in our neighborhood and we looked at the menus at all three before deciding that this was probably our type. We normally rely on trip advisor recommendations and the ranking of 987 was just within our top 10 percent criterion. It turned out to be very good. Everything about the place is very simple except for the food which was excellent. All ingredients are locally grown. They are known for their pizza which we did not have. We had the cacio e pepe and it was excellent and sardines wrapped around vegetables. The presentation was very interesting. The portions are a little on the small side. It is a little out of the way for most tourists and I would not venture there but do go if you are staying in the area or are close by.
This is Vasco, the almost two year old son of the neighbors who recommended the restaurant.