Friday, April 8, 2016

Day 11: Rome

We slept in a bit today -- it is so quiet at the Villa San Pio on Aventine Hill.  After a wonderful breakfast I took a picture out our window:

We jumped into a cab and arrived at St. Peter's Square by 9:45. The security is tight, so we ended up having to go through X-ray/security screening everywhere. 

Just shy of 10:00 we were through the Holy Door at St. Peter's. It was a humbling, heart-moving experience to go through the Holy Door there. There were few people around us. I'm still processing my feelings about the door -- what it means/meant to me, the history of it, etc. I believe that may be a separate blogpost in the future. I remember being there in October and seeng the same door -- sealed on the inside of the Basilica. What a profound difference -- the unsealing, the stepping through, the purpose or theme of the Jubilee Year. Here's the door from the inside of St. Peter's Basilica.

To our immediate right after entering the doors we saw the Pieta -- beautiful!

We were able to tour the inside of St. Peter's on our own. Seeing the body of Pope John XXIII always gives me pause -- he was my favorite Pope until Pope Francis came into office.

We walked around the Basilica. More prayers offered. More people thought of and prayed for.

Love the seal on the floor:

And as we were leaving the building, a last view of the Holy Door from the inside. When I took the picture when I first passed through the door, from the angle I took it from the light was streaming through it. The light was warm and inviting. I felt a great sense of peace walking through it. From this angle, I can see more the beauty of the door itself:

Walking through St. Peter's Square, I realized I wouldn't be seeing this historic, important place for Roman Catholics and Christendom, so I had to take pictures:

After we finished we went over to St. John Lateran and toured that Cathedral. We went through that Holy Door -- another moving experience. We saw the Cathedra of the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). I love the Madonna and Child in that space! More prayers offered. More candles lit:

And once again I love the floors:

We then went over to see the Holy Steps -- beautiful! Deb wanted to go up them (you have to go up on your knees). I told her it takes over an hour! She decided not to do it.

The sanctuary at the top of the stairs is beautiful:

We had lunch at a "local" place (there must have been 5 priests in their having lunch) -- Buoni Amici -- delicious!
Our bill:

We walked by St. Clement's Basilica on the way to the Forum, but it was closed for lunch.

We walked about 1/2 hour to the Coliseum and Forum. We walked around the outside of Coliseum but decided not to go in. 

We went over to the Forum. Unlike last year, we had to go through security (again) to enter the Forum. 

Donna got overheated and had to leave -- we sent her back to the hotel in a cab. Unfortunately the cab driver fleeced her -- 28 euros to go very close to the Forum!

We continued our walk around the Forum, and found the Ancient church of St. Mary:

I found myself praying in the church -- praying for all who had worshiped there. Praying for those who have, are and will be visiting it. 

Mike, Deb and I walked around the Forum and then up on Palentine Hill. We saw the ancient Basilica of Mary, and climbed and looked at the views. Beautiful!

And the views from the top of Palantine Hill were amazing:

Mike, Deb and I walked back to the hotel-- it was only a 15 minute walk from the exit by the Palentine Hill -- and it was a nice walk. 

We had a 7:30 dinner reservation at Apuleius -- a favorite restaurant of mine. Delicious dinner, great bread, and desserts to die for! And here's the pictures of our desserts:

It was a beautiful day!

It was off to bed about 10:00 for us all!

Total steps walked: 20,150 -- 7.76 miles -- whew!

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