Rome is a world,
and it would take years to become
a true citizen of it.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Letters from Italy, 1786
Anyway, for the most part, I was ready to move on and very excited to be back in Assisi. But, it was still difficult to leave Rome, my favorite city. There is always so much left to see! I guess that just means ... I have to go back? ;)
Basilica of Santa Croce in Via Flaminia
December 6th was a full day. I'd started that morning in the Capuchin Crypt, visited the Caravaggios and Berninis in Santa Maria del Popolo, I took a million photos in the ultra modern MAXXI museum and had lunch, and now it was time for me to head back to the tram, and make my way South to meet up with my new friend Dawn. She had invited me over, for a home cooked meal, with her family in Monteverde. (Southeast of Trastevere)
I mentioned in the previous post, that MAXXI museum is in a lovely neighborhood ...
You can see the potted Christmas trees, in the photos below. It was the 6th of December, after all. I decided to give them a little holiday color with a pot of bright red cyclamen, with red wrapping. (also below!)
Below, I am heading from Piazzale Flamino, through the old Porta del Popolo. That's Piazza del Popolo, through the gate, with it's 73 foot Egyptian obelisk. The obelisk was originally from the Sun Temple in Heliopolis, and built in 1300 BC. Emperor Augustus apparently thought it would be nice to have it in Rome, and had it brought to town in 10 AD.
Seriously, are there any obelisks left in Egypt?!
The twin churches you see on either side of the obelisk are Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto.
I headed through the gates and made my way over to to Piazza di Spagna where I was to meet Dawn. I walked around the neighboring Piazza de Mignanelli and the Colonna dell'Immacolata, just to the East of Spagna.
Virgin Mary by Giuseppe Obici
designed by Luigi Poletti
It was commission by Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies. It was dedicated in 1857.
David, by Tadoni
The big tree lighting in Piazza di Spagna would be the following day, so many more lights were going up that day.
I'm hoping that pile of lights was more organized than it looked!
One last view of the Piazza!
Dawn met me on the Spanish Steps. We got in her car and headed to pick up her kids.
This, below, is Giovanni, a total sweetheart, who warmed up to me very quickly and had a lot to say! So cute and about the same age as my nephew, Benjamin ... and a fellow fan of Lego Spinjitzu. Some things are universal!
They helped me find a striped neck warmer like Giovanni's, that evening, for Benjamin, for Christmas. Super cozy.
We went to the grocery store to pick some things up and the kids showed me this bag of cookies ... their favorite breakfast cookie. Don't you love the idea of a breakfast cookie?
I promised I'd buy a bag before leaving Italy, and give them a try. I did. I got a huge back and lugged it in my carry-on back to California. Yum! Like a very crunchy butter cookie. Perfect for dunking, but I learned that sweets for breakfast aren't the best idea, unless you are walking all over Italy all day long.
Anyway, the cookies were a great treat to have over Christmas, but now I'm obsessed. While putting this post together, I found them on Amazon. Danger!
Dawn and I met on this trip, through our mutual friend Mark Avery, who I've known since I was 21. She had me beat, though. I think they met in High School.
Here we are talking to him on the phone in New York State!
Dawn says I should get one of these. An Italian food mill.
She started up the veggies ...
Dawn and her darling daughter Elena. (Who is smart as a whip!)
For pasta al forno ...
Layers and layers of pasta, cheese, veggies and ...
bechamel ... mmmm
I had so much fun being with them and it felt so wonderful being around the warmth of a family.
I wish I'd payed better attention. She learned the recipe from her Italian mother-in-law. Maybe she'll email me the recipe!
Thanks Dawn for showing me around, taking me shopping, to the amazing mural at the monastery at Trinità dei Monti, the Protestant Cemetery and inviting me into your home!
I left Rome the next morning. After closing the door to Golden Rooms, I realized the shop next door was finally open! I had been spying charms for my sister's and my charm bracelets, in the window, but it was never open when I came "home" in the evenings.
I barely made it through the door with my huge bag and my carry on. I didn't want to be late to my train so I quickly asked to see the charms. The sweet older man and his granddaughter were very sweet.
For my sister, I got a tiny charm of a temple, at the Roman Forum, and gave it to her for Christmas. For myself, the Bernini Elephant and obelisk from Piazza Minerva, the first place I ever stayed in Rome. It now lives between a little blue and white Dutch charm, from my grandmother, and a silver feather my parents got me in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 6th grade.
I hope you enjoyed this very long journey through Rome! 29 posts, including this one! It took sure took awhile. I can't believe I left 7 months ago!
(Until we see each other again!)
There are many posts of Umbria, Liguria, Piedmont and Lombardy to come! (I got around!) Plus, an amazing dinner I helped cook with our friend from Afghanistan, and some recent Southern California day trips. It's been a busy summer! Hope yours is going great!
Goodbye, goodbye to Rome
City of a million moonlit faces
City of a million warm embraces
Where I found the one of all the faces
Far from home
~lyrics by Pietro Garinei and Sandro Giovannini
blessings and light!