Yesterday was intense in the world of bad news. I had been feeling mildly guilty that I was away in Naples on October 22 when the Polish Constitutional Tribunal made its historic decision, and I felt even worse when I read a plaintive, disappointed email on the worldwide Catholic media's lame reportage on the subject. To make up for Catholic journalism's insufficient coverage, I contacted a bunch of Poles and produced two articles on Poland's culture war--without an s key and therefore the cut and paste function having to do double-duty. Trying to remember what I was about to paste was hell. There were tears.
This morning I went on a sane-making walk around Rome. First I went with Benedict Ambrose to the caffe-bar closest to his language school with him and checked his homework while he stood at the bar drinking his breakfast cappuccino. Then I wandered off in the direction of Piazza Navona, which was all but empty. Next I cut through the streets to the Pantheon, went down the Via del Seminario, strode up the Via del Corso, got myself on the Via Condottti, and climbed up the Spanish Steps where I had a small rest. When I descended, I went on a semi-serious search for the Anglo-American Book shop, getting comfortably lost in the process, and wandered hither and thither on interesting streets back towards the Tiber, fetching up at the Ponte del'Angelo. At that point I was no longer lost, and dutifully went back to our rental flat.
|How do we feel about this hat?|
It was a relatively quiet walk, either because most shops don't open before 10 or because tourism is all but dead, or both. It was sunny and warm and odiferous with the mingled scent of rotting vegetation, fresh bread and fresh flowers. I was sorry to see that Dolce & Gabbana had taken the petit-point rose dresses and accessories out of their windows, for I really liked them.
But I enjoyed discovering a Sardinian bakery, contemplating the saint Maria di Novella parfumerie, listening to workmen shout their breakfast needs, and reading a poem by in the Piazza di Spagna. I even saw two Italian children, a big sister and her bespectacled little brother, running along the street, late for something. (It is sad how rarely I see children in the Roman streets; where are they?)
|It's a Gucci hat, though.|
I heard a snatch of music coming from the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia on the Via dei Greci, where the Anglo American Book shop is not. (That's on the Via delle Vite, the internet now tells me.) There were green vines embracing walls here and there. There were green plants in big pots. There were small purebred dogs--often French bulldogs--on leads held by well-dressed men in doorways.
Rome is a very good place to be. Not necessarily to DO, but certainly to BE.