Monday, October 16, 2017

A Shocking Score, a Papal Mass, Visits to St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum and, Finally, Dinner with Good Friends


Sunday, October 15, 2017:

Wow! What a busy last full day in Roma!

Unfortunately, an otherwise glorious day began with sadness.

The Huskies lost
NUTS!

After getting over the initial shock, we all regrouped and headed down the street to St. Peter's Basilica so that Sandy and Loren could both get there first peek at the world's largest church.

We hurried along so as to be in time to go through the Vatican Security system before the start of the 10:30 a.m. Mass began.  

Wait, what was this?

We made it on time but because eight new saints were being canonized today, the 10:30 a.m. Mass was being held al fresco in St. Peter's Square not in the Basilica.

As a matter of fact, St. Peter's Basilica would not open until after the Mass ended in the Square.

On a scorching October morning the fact that it was also to be a Solemn High Mass for our new saints did not bode well.

On the plus side Pope Francis was saying the Mass so we were all a little giddy as this most non-Trump of world leaders was in our presence.

The 10:30 a.m. Solemn High Mass did not end until 12:15 p.m.

While the crowd, when we arrived, was large but manageable, by the time that Mass was over St Peter's Square was PACKED!

My mind and cellphone camera
wandered a bit during this long Mass

Still strong after all of these years

Who are all of these saints?

Crowd Control
courtesy of the Swiss Guards

Loren and I found a shady spot
to worship from afar

The columns fascinated me

After the Mass, Pope Francis hopped
on a large, Segway type scooter
to high five the assembled multitudes

Finally, with Pope Francis safely in his Vatican apartment, the doors of St. Peter's Basilica were opened to the public at 1:00 p.m.

The Entry Portico ceiling beckoned

St. Peter's Basilica was consecrated on November 18, 1626.

But this photo-op beckoned more with
St. Peter's Square in the background 

Immediately Sandy was in awe
of her first sighting of . . .

. . . Michelangelo's Pieta

DON'T PULL ON MY BEARD!

We said our final goodbyes to Sandy
in the main hallway fully knowing
that at any second she would 
indeed blissfully ascend into Heaven

Those are two BIG angels

Bernini's Main Altar

Bernini's Canopy is over the
Main Altar while St. Peter's
tomb lies below it

Pope Gregory XIII

Marvelous Marble Floor

Air vent for the basement of
St. Peter's Basilica

Pope Pius VII

Jesus Christ
and friends

Another Mass in progress
it was both shorter and cooler
than the one we attended outdoors

On the other hand, it was not Pope Francis leading the faithful.

Can't get enough of
Bernini's Canopy

Swiss Guards on duty

St. Peter and the
Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven

The façade of St. Peter's Basilica

Our final photo op on
St. Peter's Square

We sat on a nearby sidewalk to share sandwiches and beverages while debriefing each other on the wonders of our visit to St. Peter's Basilica and Square.

There was a lot to consider.

And then we taxied . . . 

To Rome's iconic Colosseum

An amazing structure
built between 70 and 80 A.D.

The Arch of Constantine

The view through the
Arch of Constantine

The Roman Forum
in the distance

With the Arch of Titus
as a backdrop

And then we taxied . . .

We were all a tad haggard by this point and opted to head back to our AirBnB apartment to rest up before dinner.

And then we taxied . . . 

We were off for some Roman Cuisine
with more American Football friends
both old and new

We have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people over the past decade while getting involved in EuroBall coaching.

Tonight we would be joined for dinner with one of Europe's very best coaches, Bart Iaccarino, his wife Chiara, their son Bart, Bart's assistant coach Mattias Giovagnoli and his friend Carlotta Vallecoccia who is a sommelier.

Her choice of red wine with dinner was amazing! 

The two Barts

Talk about a cute baby!

This is what a GREAT Roman
Cuisine dinner looks like

Team Photo at Ristorante Pecorino

What a great way to end our last full day in Roma with good friends both old and new, amazing food and drink and, of course, some American football talk!

And then we taxied . . . 

The Adventure continues tomorrow as we fly to Paris in the afternoon to rejoin Mark and Susie Johnson and a few other couples.

Stay tuned . . .

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