Sunday, December 23, 2012

Buon Natale and Mille grazie

This will be my closing blog post. I thought this was the best way to reach my family and friends. I have found out over the last couple of days just how many of you have been following and enjoying this blog of our Roman adventures. Now that I am back home, I want to take this opportunity to:
a) Thank you for sharing this amazing and pretty unbelievable chapter of our lives. It made it all the more fun to know that you were sharing it with us!

b) send our Christmas greetings.
        While in Rome, we visited a myriad of churches and museums which contained works by Carravaggio. He has now become a favorite of Pat and me and so I would like to send you one of his images. It is called "Rest on The Flight Into Egypt" and shows Joseph holding the sheet music for a violin- playing angel, while the donkey rests and Mary and the Babe sleep. The music of the angels unites heaven and earth. I love the idea that Joseph (a most neglected member of the Holy Family) makes the music possible by holding it for the angel to see and this comforts Mary and the Baby on their arduous trip. Of course, this speaks volumes to me as a musician and a believer!
     So I send this to you with our wishes for a most blessed Cristmas and New Year filled with the music of the angels!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

I got this today!

WAAAAAAHHHHH!! Pat is still over there and he went back to Assisi this week-end with our friend Rob! Actually, I am glad because they were able to see some of the parts of Assisi that I wasn't able to walk to because of my back.
    Here is what he wrote
"Of course Rob showed me places I had never seen: the cathedral with Clare's house; the square where Francis stripped with 4 high school kids enacting the scene in medieval costumes, Francis' house with his Dad's workshop, Clare's preserved body in the crypt of S. Chiara, and of course San Damiano

It is still the basic medieval Cloister where Chiara and the nuns lived.  Very primitive and lovely.  We went ther for vespers.  The underground chapel was packed with all ages including lots of teenagers.  The singing was incredible!  There is a community of about 20 friars. I think it is the novitiate for Italy.  There were several young friars."

     I am a leetle envious, but I am happy I made it back here for my friend's wake and funeral and to be with my kids and grandkids.
    This is Pat and the creche in front of the Basilica of San Francesco

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

As it is now..... life is pretty "un-blog-worthy"! Nobody really wants to read about my awakening at 5:30 AM, but falling asleep midday because I am still jet lagged.
Nobody cares that I picked up Pat's gasses and went to the bank and had a mani-pedi. The fact that I picked up a new recycle bin in thoroughly unexciting. Planning a wake service and funeral for my dear friend who passed yesterday has taken up a lot of my time that was formerly spent haunting museums and churches. Supremely boring is my unpacking of the box of goodies we sent home and sorting out what will go to whom! The fact that I hate taking out the garbage and recycling is of interest to no one!
      So, after my whirlwind life in Italy - Rome, Florence, Orvieto, Assisi, Bolsena, Viterbo - I am settling into my usual routine of week-end Masses, funerals, weddings, school masses, holy day masses, Advent Evening Prayer and anything else that arises.......and preparing the home and the church for the celebration of the Nativity! It is of little interest to anyone, but I love my life - what God has chosen me to do with my life - and I love being with my family here; I loved seeing my family in Italy.....and I look forward to the return of Il professore!! :-)
water lily in Bolsena
     It may be boring.....but God sees that it is very very good!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Jet lagged and freezing, but home

    The last photos taken in the rain and through the windshield of the car, as I was heading for the airport

The ruins of a Roman aqueduct (beyond the cycle -lol!)

My umbrella pines that I like so well!!!                                   
      With the help of some wonderful porters, I was able to get to the right terminal, get my boarding passes and get my luggage checked! Then it was the 10 hour flight, during which I sat next to an aging hippie who is a physics professor at University of Delaware......and who liked to talk......once again, God was good - he gave me sleep and kept my motion sickness at bay!
     When we landed in Philly, we had to get passports stamped (45 minutes in line), pick up our checked luggage (another truly wonderful porter to my rescue), put it through a scanner and re-check it - walk a 1/2 mile to the customs area (another 40 minute wait) then go through security (another 20 minute wait!)
      NOW, I am finally cleared to go to my gate for the next leg of my journey home to Providence from Philly. Of course, my gate is in another terminal - grab my cane, carry-on and purse and board a shuttle which will take me to the F terminal. Upon arriving at the F terminal, I am informed that my gate is about a 1/2 mile away - enter the little electric cart!!!   YAY!!!
      The flight to Providence was uneventful - I was sitting next to a man from Saskatchewan who was traveling to Providence because his son, who is a Ph. D candidate at Brown, had fallen and was suffering a blood clot in the brain. How tragic - he was going to RI hospital right after he got off the plane. I listened to him talk for an hour.....about his son, his unemployment, his life in general..... and promised to pray for his son, Adam.
      My daughter picked me up from the airport and brought me home - I promptly fell asleep as it was getting close to 24 hours of being up!!
I awoke early....I guess.....I am not sure what time I am in.....and began unpacking and will be a long road.......
      My Julie is doing the 4 PM with me and we will begin Advent together - I have rehearsed nothing and we are beginning new acclamations with this liturgical season.......tonight.....hopefully.....the GRANDS!!!!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

penultimate day....

There have been so many times during this sojourn in Italy when I have felt the Providence of God with us......but NOT today!!  Lol!!
       It was my final Mass at the Lay Center - I had carefully prepared the liturgy and the worship aid and was looking forward to saying good-bye to Donna Orsuto and the lovely people with whom I had prayed for the last 6 weeks. We had said good-bye to Rob on Tuesday at a lovely dinner (GNOCCI BOLOGNESE yum and Pope Gregory the Great wine).

Pat, Linda and Rob

    We were going in later, so I didn't see the need for a taxi, just the buses. As we waited at the bus stop, a light drizzle began. The bus came and we boarded. As it approached our stop, the heavens opened and what seemed like a full blown monsoon began. Umbrellas were turned inside out and were flying everywhere and the rain was coming sideways. Now, we were toting a guitar (which does NOT like to walk in the rain!)
and so picture this; I was huddled in a doorway with my little Leonard da Vinci umbrella and my purse under my arm and the guitar case between my body and the door jamb. I am trying to position the umbrella as to protect my hair (lost cause), my blouse, my purse and the guitar. Pat was frantically looking for a taxi (another lost cause) or the bus. Lol!!
    Well, the bus came and we disembarked at the door of the Lay Center - we still had the long walk up the hill in the rain before we got to the building, but we made it - 2 drowned rats!! Fortunately, the room was over-heated and we dried out. The liturgy was beautiful (as it usually is when there is a small group who really wants to be there!) Fr. O'Neill is a very prayerful celebrant and we bid everyone a fond farewell.

Pat, Linda and Donna
     Graciously, they said I could print my boarding passes which usually take 2 minutes, right? wrong!!!!  There is a glitch in the system (the woman on the other end of the phone tells me) and I can try again later or check in at the airport! (SIGH)
    Checking in at the airport is not my favorite thing to do when everyone there speaks English!! Doing it in Italy seems even less attractive (with lots of baggage in hand). Doing all this abortive fol-de-rol, I missed my ride down the hil to the cab stand and so we trudged the 3/4 mile to the cab stand. My sciatic nerve is not liking any of this (double gabapentin tonight!!)
     We are home now, in dry clothes and shoes and hoping the rain goes away so I can see Christmas lights in Piazza Navona tonight. If not.....there's always next time......

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the final days....

    My Roman adventure is coming to a close - yesterday, at HUGE expense, we got a box mailed to the US with all the goodies we have purchased and collected (every program, ticket, brochure, note etc.) during our stay. We also got word that a dear friend of ours was very near near death and continues to hover between worlds, unwilling to let go. In your kindness, please pray for his peace and safe passing. Last night, we had a "farewell" dinner with Rob (at 8:30 PM!!! Poor guy had to teach until 8:00)
      Today, I am beginning to pack - a monumental job! When the rain lets up, I will visit  a new mercato just around the corner from the flat. I think it's a Christmas mercato and will not be there after Christmas. Tonight, hopefully, we will visit Piazza Navona as it is decorated for Christmas. Normally, I am an "Advent celebrator", but how often will I be able to see Christmas lights and mercatos in Rome?
will report more later.....ciao

Sunday, November 25, 2012


    I am still not out of the woods with whatever crud has invaded my body - still a cough with a low grade fever - am napping daily (which is very unusual for me) and feeling generally crappy. But today was to be my last day to cantor at Caravita, so I HAD to go. As I have written before, this community has meant a lot to Pat & I and Father Jim H. gave us a truly beautiful send -off! I will miss them very much and I feel so blest that they accepted me to minister among them!
     We had lunch at another one of the myriad little restaurants lining the small back streets, went home and took a nap (sigh), called the family and now we are contemplating dinner as we listen to the church bells ring 6:00PM.
      I guess I am getting nostalgic as I prepare to leave - my life will be so different and hardly "blog-worthy" when I get home!
I am posting this because one can never see too many angels!

from S. Paul outside the walls

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Enchantment.....and demonstrations

So I crawled out of my sickbed, because we had tickets to see/hear "Music of the time of Carravaggio" at the Galleria Doria-Pamphilij. It was done by Roma Opera Omnia, and it was a combination guided tour punctuated by musical selections from early Baroque. These were presented by a Baroque guitarist (a Baroque guitar has just 10 strings, but mine is not "baroque-n" - it has all 12 -HA HA), a soprano and a combination percussionist/"looks like a flute, sounds like a recorder -ist"!! Who knew that my ensemble back in Providence has it's roots in the early Baroque? :-)
      After that was over, we toured the rest of the museum - the picture I posted yesterday was one of the most lovely Carravaggios in the collection, "Rest on the Flight Into Egypt", showing the Holy Family in a moment of repose on the way to Egypt. I think it is just charming the way St. Joseph is holding the music so the angel can unite heaven and earth!!
     When we left the museum, the streets were ABSOLUTELY barren - no buses, no taxis, no cars even. Evidently, there was a huge demonstration going on at the Victor Emmanuel monument (the one all the Romans hate) and no traffic could get through - so Pat and I went to lunch. After lunch, we browsed an open-air mercato where I bought a very beautiful Michelangelo T-shirt and, from a small Oriental man sitting crossed-legged on the curb, an origami frog made fro PALM!
Not only shall every stone cry  on Palm Sunday, but evidently every frog shall croak! :-)

    Then we sort of stumbled on to the Trevi Fountain, so we sat for a while, threw in a coin and caught a taxi home. Then I crawled back into my bed for a nap.....still not completely well yet......ciao!

Friday, November 23, 2012

it blossomed.....

     Unfortunately, the cold which has been brewing for a week has now blossomed, full blown into "I am sick" - cold, cough, fever and complete with gastric distress (if you know what I mean - wink wink)
      It is my LAST WEEK in Rome and I am sick!! BOOOO!!!! HISS!!!!!!  I cannot leave the flat (gastric distress and all) and the cough is chest deep - ewwwwww!!!  So, I give in to it and  rest today because I have a neat week-end planned and I am cantoring at's a hint for tomorrow's excursion!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roman holiday (no, not the movie...)

We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at the Lay Center in Rome.  We were met by students at the gate and guided to the dining room with torches on the ground made of wax in pie tins with very thick wicks - very Easter vigil-y! The dining room was beautifully decorated
    and the food, while not tasting like Thanksgiving, was exquisite!!! Turkey and all the trimmings!!
       We sat with Rob, his friend Avery (who we had met in Orvieto), 2 more friends of his, Kelsey and Jacovo and Kyle, one of the students at the Center from Hershey, PA! While not family, they were delightful company and we were so happy to share Thanksgiving with them.

Pat, Avery, Rob, Kyle, Kelsey and Jacovo - I am taking the picture!

     As if I don't have enough for which to be thankful, another manifestation of God's providence occurred. It is a LONG walk from the Lay Center to the street and an even longer walk to the taxi stand. Pat & I left at 9 because we wanted to get home and SKYPE the children. I was fading because of my back (and fighting a cold) We made it to the street following the torches which were still burning) and began the long trek to the taxi stand when, lo and behold, a cab came up the street, stopped as he passed us, turned around in the middle of the street ( they do that here!) and pulled  up to us. I asked if he could take us to Via Torino and he said yes! Now, you don't "hail" cabs in Rome. You have to go to a stand where the cabs wait for fares. So this was literally a God-send! Thank you God, for the little things too!!

the good, the bad and the ugly.....

     There is an abundance in my life for which I am thankful.....for Pat, my incredibly supportive and dear husband......for my family, both my birth family and my family with Pat- children and grand children.....and Pat's birth family too!.....for my friends, proximate, sometimes proximate and mostly virtual :-) who truly keep me going on this journey......for the people in my life who have inspired me and who continue to inspire me to recognize what is sublime and to work for the coming of the Kingdom.......for the gift of faith and the talents with which the Lord has blest me.....for this unparalleled opportunity to live for a time in the land of my ancestors......for the freedoms afforded me in the land of my birth.....dear Lord, I will never be grateful enough for all you have given me! I am even grateful to the Villa Borghese museum which would not exchange our tickets to tomorrow.(I never heard of such a thing!!) It gave me a chance to write this entry!!
To all my musician friends - Happy feast of St. Cecelia, our patron!!
Ciao and grazie

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Everyday is an adventure in Italy, mainly because we are always wondering if we will end up where we set out to go! lol!
     Yesterday, we saw a wonderful exhibit on the Sistine ceiling complete with original sketches by my boy, Michelangelo (see Facebook). It was near the Oratory of S. Francis Xavier del Caravita where we attend liturgy. The people there - clergy and congregants - have been a wonderful faith community support for us. The clergy s so learned and kind and they have welcomed me as a cantor and have welcomed us as a part of their community. They were a lifesaver and They are cherished new friends! Michael J. - so grateful for your recommendation!
      Then we went to the Center - the people there have been so helpful and welcoming - they couldn't have been better new friends. Then we came home to our flat and the portiere and his wife have been wonderful new friends (she's the cleaning fairy!)
     Tomorrow, I will play and sing Mass at the Lay Center in the morning and have Thanksgiving dinner with them in the evening . Rob has been a steadfast friend and companion this whole time. Donna and her staff have been so welcoming that I almost forget about that L-O-N-G walk up the hill to get there -lol!! We have been SO BLEST and have felt the Hand of God in all of our endeavors(even the tumble down the Duomo steps in Orvieto!!)
     Feeling a cold brewing for the last 5 days, I took a nap.....the cold is still brewing and threatening to become full blown! :-( (cough - atchoo!) CR@P!!!
    Oh yes, there are 2 new angels in the firmament of heaven - here are some fun photos we took the last day my sister was here - there was a huge set of sculpted wings in the window and we couldn't resist! LOL!
my brother-in-law, Patriel (who looks more like Santa Claus with wings!)

....and Lindrael!
     musing......I am grateful for toilet seats - there are precious few of them here.....I am grateful for our elevator......I am grateful for the pastichierie across the street and the Tavola Calde next door. I am grateful for all too infrequent seats on the bus......I am grateful for all the incredibly neat shops that I have seen and in which I have bought wondrous things......I am grateful for all the art surrounding me....everywhere.....I am grateful for taxis when my back just can't walk anymore......I am grateful for how my cooking tastes over here - my husband says it's as good as any restaurant.......but mostly I am grateful for family, here and at home, and friends, old and new, here and at home, who have made this stay an amazing experience through their presence, help and concern, both in person and by Facebook and email.....there is more, but I am faint with hunger and will continue tomorrow....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bolsena - a family affair

     Yesterday, my sister and I with our husbands took a trip to Bolsena to see our family. Our grandfather, Nazzareno, left 2 sisters in Italy (Anna and Concetta) when he immigrated to the US. This family in Bolsena are the progeny of Anna and Concetta.
     It took us 6 freakin' hours to get there, by Metro, commuter train, taxi and bus (with only 1 mishap- which cost us an hour)But it was so wonderful to see our family again and introduce them to my sister, Jean! From our mother's generation, there was TILDE AND LIVIO - from our generation, there was Cesaretta, Maria Vittoria and Antonella
Tilde, Livio and Antonella

Maria Vittoria, Jean, Cesaretta and Pat K.

the altar of the miracle
    After a sumptuous meal, we went to the church of Santa Christina, a 4th century virgin martyr. This was the church where my grandfather was baptized and attended until his immigration. It is also the church of the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena, which was the impetus for the declaration of the feast of Corpus Christi.
      My cousins have made the "infiorata", carpets of flowers over which the Blessed Sacrament is taken in procession, for over 50 years as they live along the route of the procession. Cesaretta has a website showing them:
     Then they took us to the train and showed us a MUCH shorter way to get home. We were a bit confused, but as we entered the train station in Montefiascone, we saw 3 seminarians that Pat had met at the North American College. They had spent the day there in search of a good meal. But really!!!!   What are the chances of 4 Americans meeting up with people they know from the States in the tiny town of Montefiascone!!!!
      So, we got home in 1 1/2 hours and slept VERY quickly and very well!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there are angels...

For those of you who read my blog but not on Facebook, here was yesterday.Another prayerful liturgy at the Lay Center/ a lovely lady gave me a ride down 2 long hills to the Taxi stand where I discovered that I had brought my music bag but had left my purse at the center. So I had to tromp back UP the one hill praying the whole way that the purse was there and not in the lady's car! Well, I rang the bell and the nice lady at the desk checked the dining room and, indeed,
I had left my purse. I was just about to march up the 2nd hill when another wonderful lady came down the hill and offered to walk up and get it for me (I think she had wings somewhere because she sure looked like an angel to me!) She did and I walked down the hill to the bus and got home. Then I enjoyed  a quiet afternoon because Pat took my sister and BIL to Assisi! I watched NCIS and Criminal Minds, prepared the psalm for next Thursday's liturgy and crocheted 3 necklaces and went to the Pastichierri and bought cake! It was heavenly!!
    So today, Pat had to go in to the Center and I took the gang to see S. Maria degli angeli e martiri. It is an amazing church witha beautiful blend of old and new art (I think I wrote about it in an earlier post). Then I introduced them to the wonders of the Italian grocery store and I got my BIL to pull the cart home!!
     After lunch, we went shopping and found this wonderful little mercato off the main drag. We made a few purchases, ate some gelato and began walking home. My husband spotted us walking and, for a joke, came up to me and started to take my shopping bag. I was so startled I nearly clocked him with my cane!!! We had a good laugh!!
     Tomorrow, we go to Viterbo and Bolsena!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I like playng tour guide!!

    I took  my sister and her husband to Mary Major and to John Lateran today. I had been to each church twice before, so I was able to tell them a good deal about the churches.
     We arrived at Mary Major and toured the church for about an hour. Here is an angel I missed the first 2 times.

When we left to go to the Lateran, we stood at the bus stop for ever. Not only did our bus not come by, but there were NO buses.....nor cars, for that matter. We were told that there were demonstrations blocking the roads. We could hear the shouting and the bullhorns and we could see the helicopters overhead. So we walked back to the piazza and enjoyed the beautiful day, had some gelato and began walking to the Lateran. We stopped for lunch and walked to within 2 stops of the Lateran before the buses could get through.
      We enjoyed the Lateran and I found this that I had missed the 1st 2 times.
     We were pretty pooped by then so we hopped the 2 buses back to the apartment and had some quiet time.
      Tomorrow, Pat will take them to Assisi and I will play my regular Thursday Mass at the Lay Center.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A day off!!

    Nothing special today - Pat left for class and I put Jean and Pat on a sight seeing bus so they could hit the high spots of Rome. A bus tour was perfect because Jean needs her other knee replaced, so she walks about as fast as I do.
     I stayed here and finished planning and executing the order of service for the Thursday Liturgy at The Lay Center, washed a load of clothes and hung them up to dry and made a trip to the market to get the finishing touches for dinner!!!
     Tomorrow, we are taking them to St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday on the Ponte Vecchio with Jean!

It's Sunday and it is cloudy and ominous, but we are determined to shop the Ponte Vecchio. So the 4 of us set out and arrive around 10. A kind fellow wayfarer took our picture
   I don't know why Pat and I look so windblown and Jean and Pat do not!!

      Pat and Pat take off for parts unknown and Jean and I spent the time admiring gold, and silver and rose gold and cameos.....we each bought ourselves a "remembrance " of Florence, a bracelet for me and earrings for Jean!        Then we walked to the piazza which runs beside the Uffizi where there are wonderful statues of the great men of Florence.


    There was even a statue that took a special interest in me!!! Such fun!!!

Me and my "statue"
    We boarded the train and were in Rome by 3:30 and back to the flat where we all collapsed and will remain collapsed until the morning!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Florence is wonderful the 2nd time around!

       The 4 of us (Pat Reid, Pat Kelley, my sister Jean and I) arrived in Florence yesterday, had lunch, did S. Maria Novella and got a cab to our apartment, a spacious 3 bedroom flat on the third floor of a building with no elevator. (sigh)
     The girls went shopping and the boys went on a recon mission to see what we would do the next day. We met up and had a wonderful dinner at "Il Gatto e il Volpe" and, climbing the 4 flights of stairs yet again, crashed for the night. I say crashed and not slept because our flat is right across the street from a bar popular with the American students in Florence, who like to party until 4 AM!!!!
      So, we decide that today would begin at S. Croce, which is a gorgeous Franciscan church which houses multiple works by Giotto as well as the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Rossini and a memorial to Dante. There was a special exhibit of marble samples on display in the piazza in front of the church. No, it has not been snowing.....the ground was covered with marble "gravel"
The memorial to Dante in Santa Croce

The tomb of Michelangelo in Santa Croce

    We went into a museum attached to the church and saw an artist who has done wonderful wood cut designs. I WANTED these carvings (NOT the prints but the actual carved block) that he had done, but they were not for sale :-(

    Then we saw a gorgeous painting of a crucifix by Cimabue. Although it was badly deteriorated, it was still powerful.

     Then we set off for the Accademie to see the David and the unfinished works of my boy, Michelangelo! There were no photos allowed, but I managed to get a quickie!

   It is so beyond breathtaking!!!!!  When you turn the corner and catch the first glimpse of this incredible figure, you just want to pass out with joy!!!
      Then we hiked to the Duomo and hung around in the piazza until 5 PM Mass in "english". I put English in quotes because in all of Florence, the only person they could find to say Mass in English was a Chinese priest!!! I don't think he even knew what he was saying most of the time and neither did we, but we fulfilled our "obligation". There was no music and very little participation in anything because none of us knew what he was saying - sigh. I trust that grace was given!
Then we had dinner at "Gusto Leo" and now, after climbing the dreaded 4 flights of stairs, I am blogging!!!
     Tomorrow......Ponte Vecchio and the square outside the Uffizzi  and then back to Rome!
Ciao darlings!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

another day....another church.....another museum

So, after the 2 falls and a day of complete rest, my battered body is feeling better. This is good because we have to vacate the apartment so the cleaning fairy can work her magic! I went to the Center with Pat (I think the folks there wanted to make sure I was till alive!! LOL!) and we worked in the morning- Pat prepping for class and me planning liturgies for the next 2 Thursdays at the Lay Center and Advent I at home!
      Then we decided to go to Piazza Navona. What a neat place!! There are 3 fountains. The center huge one is by Bernini and is the Fountain of the 4 rivers (as seen in the film Angels and Demons)The center is a huge obelisk and the base is four gorgeously sculpted figure representing 4 rivers!
The Piazza is filled with artists painting and selling their wares and surrounded by places to eat!

    We had lunch and then we went to a Roman Antiquities museum. It was beautifully laid out with just 2 or 3 or 4 figures in each room of the ancient building. These are some of my favorite sculptures I saw there.
Apollo and his cithera (lyre)

the suicide of Glatea

Electra and Orestes (from the Oresteia by Aeschylus)

Nymph and satyr. Is that a dirty old man or what????
Even the rooms were decorated and some were named! Of course, Pat took my picture in the Duchess Salon
The "Duchess" with Venus and Cupid!
     I was pretty beat by this time (museums are tough on people with herniated discs and nerve pain!) so we just peeked in St. Agnese church - very Baroque - and came home.
     I sat with my friend the ice pack and made a frittata for dinner. We woke up this morning to find that Obama will be our leader for the next 4 years and hope that things will improve for our country and for the world!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday/Day 4

    It was a grey and rainy day. We began ( as we always begin Sunday) with Liturgy. Pat went to the North Am. College to have mass and brunch with the seminarians and our friend, David Gaffney. I went to Caravita as I was supposed to cantor there. Rob and his friends, Federico and Georgia, picked us up in the Mercedes (!) and we set off for Tivoli for lunch. We went to a fabulous place where everything is homemade! We got to know Federico and Georgia despite the language barrier. Poor Rob was the official translator. We were very curious to ask Federico about his job as he is a journalist for the Vatican radio station......interesting work.....
    Here are the 5 of us - photo taken by a helpful waiter!

Federico, Pat, moi, Georgia and Rob
     I was pretty beat by then and Pat had prep for class, so we ended our adventure last night at around 5!
     Today, I have not stirred from the apartment......I need 'alone' time! 3

So we begin the day at the Duomo again(trying to stay on our feet -lol!) and there is a gorgeous chapel in the duomo. The decoration was begun by Fra Angelico and completed by  Signorelli. I was particularly interested in one portion of the frescoes showing the angels praising God. Check out what the top angel is playing!!! If it's good enough for the angels, it's good enough for the church!!! :-)

     We hit two museums after that, housed in the Papal palace (the popes lived in Orvieto for a stretch) and I got nearly thrown out once again for taking pictures. But I got a few of the better stuff!

The Annunciation- 11th cent. - the angel was demolished
 We were allowed photos in this museum!
My boy, John XXIII visiting the prisoners with angels!
      We met Rob and his friend Avery (both are Ph.D candidates, Rob in theology and Avery in philosophy) for lunch, then we went our separate ways to do whatever we wanted. I found the most wonderful mercato of all local artisans who made jewelry, crafts, soap, woven scarves, even shoes and purses! I bought the most amazing necklace - a copy of an 11th century piece!!!
     Then we met another friend of Rob's for coffee - a lovely, humble and hard working priest - a canon of the Duomo - who tried to convince us that Orvieto was really the place of the Eucharistic miracle because the "proof" document came from there. I just smiled and kept silent......I know the truth! :-) As an side, no wonder Italians talk so much, so fast and so loudly - they are always stopping for expresso; there are coffee bars everywhere!!! There is one next door to us and also across the street!
      After a bit more exploration of the streets of Orvieto, the four of us set off for Viterbo for dinner, where we had the most amazing pizzas
arugula and mozzarella/ spinach and pecorino - YUM!!

Rob and Avery
    After dinner (it was dark by then) we went to the place of the "con clave" The cardinals could not (or would not) elect a pope so the town locked them in the room, (con clave means with a key) took off the roof and stopped feeding them. With these incentives,they finally elected a pope!!  LOL!! It has been called a conclave ever since!
     Then we went back to Rome - arrived around 9 - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Our Mercedes vacation/Day 2

     Our travel companion, Rob, has graciously agreed to drive me to see my relatives in Bolsena. It is my Nonno's paese and 2 sisters stayed in Italy when he immigrated to America. I have met these cousins before, but I hoped to find them again. (despite the fact that there seems to be a family feud going on over there!)
     While we waited for Rob, I decided to take some photos are the gorgeous bas-reliefs on the front of the Duomo. I stepped back to get a better shot and fell down the 7 marble step, with Pat close behind me trying to stop my fall. (Grace is NOT my middle name!!!!) I bruised my left hip and ankle and Pat cut his head. While I was trying to clean up the blood, 4 girls came over and asked if they could help (they had witnessed the fiasco) It turns out they were Catholic Studies majors from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota! They gave Pat a muli-hued teddy bear bandaid to cover the cut! LOL!
     We got on the road - a VERY winding road full of hairpin turns - around 11 and arrived in Bolsena in 40 minutes! We found the Town church dedicated to S. Christina, a very popular 4th century young martyr (11 yrs old). It is an 11th century basilica which houses the altar and blood stained altar stones of the Eucharistic miracle of 1263, which gave rise to the feast of Corpus Christi! 
The reliquary holding the blood stained altar stone and a painting of the miracle above it!

     This is the church where my grandfather was baptized and where he worshipped!

     Then we set out to find my cousins. I remembered where they lived and we rang the bell - no answer, but we saw their surname (Ovidi) on the mailbox. We did a little shopping and tried again. This time, my cousin Cesaretta came to the balcony above and nearly fell off when she saw me! We came in a had a nice visit, but she had to get back to work. We promised to get in touch so that we could get together when my sister arrives    
      Bolsena is on a huge volcanic lake and so we drove around the lake and stopped to eat. I had absolutely divine ravioli stuffed with pears and percorino romano cheese, layered with mozzarella and drizzled with aged balsamic comes this week.
    It turns out that the owner is friends with my cousin, Marie-Vittoria and her son Angelo had his wedding reception there!!
(another small world moment!)
       I am a freak for olive trees and there were wondeful ones growing around the lake.

    We shopped along the small streets of Bolsena and drove home to have dinner in Orvieto. I was so tired and a bit sore from the fall, that I fell asleep at 7 and slept right through dinner until 8 the next morning!
ciao until tomorrow!!

Our Mercedes Vacation/day 1

We set off around noon for Orvieto. We abandoned Siena and decided to just do Orvieto and Bolsena. Before we even left the city, we passed by Santa Croce and went in since we never been in before. There was a strict "no photo" policy so Rob took our photo outside

     Then we set out for Orvieto along with every other Roman in the city taking off for a 4 day vacation. Traffic was awful, but we passed the time chatting about this and that and how lucky we were to be in the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz!!  Lol!
      We arrived in Orvieto and checked into our hotel. It was within steps of the Duomo and we could see it from the window of our room!

    It's an amazing sight to wake up to in the morning. The staff couldn't do enough for you and were so nice!! As we had already been to Mass for All Saint's Day, we went to see the wonders of the Duomo. Now Orvieto seems to think that THEY own the Eucharistic Miracle which took place in BOLSENA in 1263. They have finagled the corporal of the miracle so that it resides in their Duomo - I finagled a photo!

the small square in the center is the actual corporal, encased in a glass reliquary.

    We strolled the streets of Orvieto and stopped for a snack - as you can see, Pat thoroughly enjoyed his "macedonia" (fruit salad)

    Then we browsed the shops and had dinner at a marvelous place ( It seems, Rob knows restauranteurs all over Italy)next to the duomo and then we fell into bed with visions of Orvieto dancing in our heads!