Monday, February 25, 2008

Piazza di Spagna: Our Last BIG Adventure

Yesterday, Sister Veronica and I were invited to go into the city for brunch with three other Benedictine sisters. The restaurant we were to have brunch in, is in a hotel near the Spanish Steps - the major focal point of the Piaza di Spagna. This was my first visit to this lively neighborhood. (I missed a trip there when I was sick early on in our stay.))

The piazza is brimming with people on a Sunday afternoon - especially when the weather is pleasant. It was so warm yesterday that we elected to leave our jackets at home. Smart, because by the time we got from the bus to the Metro to the piazza, the temperature seemed to have risen ten degrees! We found half the city sunbathing on the steps and the other half window shopping (I assumed given the high-end designer shops in the vicinity.)

We had some time before the meal so we just walked to the Colonna dell'Immacolata - the statue of the Blessed Mother erected in 1857 - high above the piazza - in honor of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Pius IX's proclamation continues to be celebrated by the universal Church on December 8. Each year on that day, the Holy Father comes to the piazza and, with assistance from the fire department, brings Mary a beautiful wreath for her head.

Next, we climbed the Spanish Steps (not quite the work-out we got ascending the Cupola of Saint Peter's, but given the heat of the day and the challenge of dodging those camped out on the steps, my heart rate was up by the time we reached the summit.) Next, Trinita dei Monti - a 16th-century church that rises high above the steps to the left. We entered and I immediately noted the silence of those who were visiting the church. Even the smell of incense from the morning masses still hung in the air. Beautiful...
Then, the meal... Sister Veronica and I were guests at the beautiful table overlooking the city of Rome. The five of us shared an unforgettable meal in an unforgettable setting all through the kindness of a stranger - for whom we shall pray in gratitude for such generosity. It was a perfect afternoon and a truly magical way to end our time together in Rome.
Blessings and love to you all,
- Sister Vicki

PS - T-4 days and counting...