Personal stroll


This morning I decided to take a bit of a stroll rather than go out to Castel Gandolfo for the Audience and other events.  Instead, I went to look at a few places I hadn’t seen for a while and are of note in my life’s stroll.

Is it possible that I have developed a shred of sentimentality?

Breakfast was in the Borgo Pio, at a very good old fashioned bar.  My usual.

My stroll brought me past the shop where I had my chalice made.

The shop happens to share the palazzo where Pius XII was born and grew up.

Around the corner to the Chiesa Nuova.

To consult with Pipo Buono, St. Philip Neri, a patron.

Down the street to Sant’Andrea della Valle

After admiring Pius II, the great humanist, in the church which is the setting for Act I of Tosca…

… into a back chapel to consult with another saint, Giuseppe Maria Tomasi (di Lampedusa).

Around the corner, past where invader soldiers had carved their names into the bricks of the building during the Sack of Rome, to the street where my Roman seminary is and, beyond it, the place where Julius Caesar was killed.

Then I headed over to the Ghetto on my way to another church.

Here I had a great experience.  I was walking past the doorway to one of the synagogues (not the big one).  The synagogue was very busy today, as you can imagine, since it is Yom Kippur.   There was a bench full of old Jews outside.  Men were going in and out, with their shawls and tzitzit.  One of the old men on the bench hailed me, and we had a long cordial conversation about a variety of things, back and forth.  I asked some questions about Yom Kippur and their prayers.  I could see directly into the building, could see the ranks on ranks of men praying in their shawls, could hear the chanting of the prayers.  I listened for a while.  There was huge security in the area.  The police and other services were not letting people into the main street of the Ghetto but they had let me pass through.  Thus, I had this great experience.  I really couldn’t take photos, alas.

And so I continued on to San Nicola in carcere, where I was ordained to the diaconate and where I directed an all-female Gregorian chant schola.  They sang chant ethereally.

Off then to the Capitoline Museums.  Here is a view from the opening arches of the ancient Tabellarium.

The section of the museums where the paintings are is dreadfully behind the times, primitive compared to great museums of the world.  There are some interesting paintings, however.

Among the collected works, here are two by Guido Reni, a Lucretia and a Cleopatra.  I think I have mentioned before how during a certain period there Cleo, Lucretia and Mary Magdalene can often receive a similar treatment.  This is a good example: knife v asp.  You decide.

If memory serves, a nice Annunciation by Dosso Dossi.

A gallery.

By now I am hungry.  I went to another favorite old haunt, l’Angoletto.

Caprese.

Spaghetti alle vongole.

At this point a “certain Roman curial prelate” came by and we had a nice long talk about the inner workings of some places.  Nice to see him and catch up.

After lunch, I stopped at Sant’Agostino and had a chat with St. Monica, whose bones are interred here.  I have no doubt that she was remembered at the altar by her son.

Down the Via dei Coronari, my old neighborhood, I stopped to visit the great guys at the best bonsai shop you will ever see.  These men are experts.  They still have my bonsai, too!  I had a bonsai for years, perched high above the Piazza Navona, and it spent a lot of time in my window.  Whenever I left Rome, they would take it and give it TLC in my absence.  Very dedicated.  Truly nice men.  I hope all the seminarians from the NAC and any priests or religious living in Rome would stop by.  I used to give bonsai’s as gifts when I was here.

Via dei Coronari 16 – alberoantico.it

At San Salvatore in Lauro there was/is a display of relics of St. Pio.  A shot of his stole.

The Blessed Sacrament was exposed, and therefore I stayed to consult and adore for a bit.  Some neighborhood women had a litany going, but the point, the constant phrase after each invocation was “Send us more priests, send us holy priests”.  Humbling.  Inspiring.  I don’t doubt but that the Lord will reward them.


This evening I went to have some supper nearby at a favorite place.  I settled into a plate of bucatini and read some of a novel on my Kindle.  And before someone asks, yes, I have two mobile phones.  Actually, I have three.  I feel like a drug dealer.

At this point, three priests came in, two of whom I knew.  There was a priest from a big city on the East Coast, a fellow who works in Rome in a great role (which I rather envy) and a “certain highly placed Curial official”.  We got caught up and/or acquainted.   It was pleasant to hear their views and find out what they were up to and exchange some ideas.  Along the way I heard some things that actually left me feeling rather uplifted, which I did not expect.

My first full day back here was pretty good, all in all. It was full and it was fruitful.

In my prayers at the tombs of saints I did not forget to keep in mind Your Urgent Prayer Requests. I especially asked the saints to intercede for the special needs of those of you who have been benefactors along the way.

Since I am in Rome for a few more days, and since I will be saying Mass, and since I will be visiting the tombs of many saints, I will start another Urgent Prayer Request thread HERE. I’ll look at it as I am going about my day. I ask a prayer for myself.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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35 Responses to Personal stroll

  1. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “…into a back chapel to consult with another saint, Giuseppe Maria Tomasi (di Lampedusa).” Yes, I’ve seen it. Not nearly as well known as he should be. Pax et bonum. edp.

  2. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Wonderful, Father. I think you would be an amazing replacement for John Sonnen in giving tours of Rome.

    I was wondering, what equipment do you use to take these photos? Your iPhone? I’ve had great results from my iPhone 4S when travelling for discreet but quality photography. Your food shots look especially good. [I have a small digital camera. The camera in my iPhone is not working well. I think I dropped my phone one too many times.]

  3. acardnal says:

    Wonderful travelogue . . . especially the photos of the food!

    I really hope you get enough donations (mine included) to visit Rome again at the end of October/early November to attend the 5th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. I really look forward to your reports then. Come on readers, please donate!

  4. John Nelson says:

    Father, what a tour guide you would make!

  5. Joseph-Mary says:

    I am a little envious! I would love to be in these holy places you are describing. Yes, you would be a wonderful tour guide. Why not plan a pilgrimage for your readers!

  6. Horatius says:

    I am behind on your news. Where are you living now?

    Great post. I return to Rome, Deo volente, in March.

  7. benedetta says:

    What an excellent day, Fr. Z! It looks like you started your day with a sfogliatelle, si?

  8. frjim4321 says:

    Of all the art (which was beautful) my fave was the caprese.

    Too beautiful to eat . . . but I guess I could force myself.

    (Have never seen such a beautiful caprese.)

  9. PostCatholic says:

    How enjoyable! Even when I wander around downtown Boston, which is about every other month, I never seem to bump into “certain curial officials” of the UUA. Assuming we had a curia and not an association, that is. But nevertheless: I have to call, there are no such chance encounters.

    I hope you’re planning on a dish of bucatini all’amatriciana whilst in Rome?

  10. Angie Mcs says:

    It is wonderful to be in a place all by one’s self and yet never feel lonely, where any moment one can turn the corner and discover something so beautiful, it touches your heart deeply, or so delicious that it will never leave your memory, and best of all, to meet special people, good people who are open to interesting conversation, kindness and lively humor.

    Although you are undoubtedly familiar with Rome, Father, you sound as if everything is new and exciting to you, and your descriptions are delightful to read. I’m very glad you feel “uplifted”, wish you more joyful discoveries and will pray for your peace and safety as your travels continue.

  11. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    This brings back many of my own memories.

  12. Father K says:

    Hope while wandering around the Colle Albani you had a chance to say hello to the bishop of which diocese you purport to belong?

  13. Father K says:

    sorry – should be ‘colli’ – however question remains the same…velletri-segni I believe?

  14. friarpark says:

    I’m curious to know what Fr. Z. was eating in the first picture. With my limited imagination I thought something on the lines of a grilled cheese something or other. but I’m sure it was much tastier than that.

  15. UncleBlobb says:

    It looks like he’s eating breakfast at a cappuccino bar, so my guess is that it’s some kind of pastry.

  16. anna 6 says:

    It’s a cornetti…a delicious, sweet, croissant-like pastry…and I think I know the cafe in the Borgo Pio where Fr. Z got it, and I am swooning at the thought of being there!

    It’s a good thing Fr. Z that you didn’t traipse out to Castel Gandolfo because the Pope’s audience was in St. Peter’s today…have a beautiful, blessed time in that glorious city!

  17. PhilipNeri says:

    Ah, Fr. Z., you’re making me Rome-sick! I hope my dear patron, St. Philip Neri, gave you some good advice, or at least a good joke!

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  18. jameeka says:

    Thank you thank you..vicarious pleasure…to see the Saints, and the food, and the architecture…

  19. VexillaRegis says:

    I’m swooning too! Rome has the same effect on me as Jerusalem has on a jew; I long there all the time. Well you know what it’s like….

  20. Pax--tecum says:

    Wow, keep the pictures coming! I love to see photos of these holy places (and of the lovely food!). Please remember all WDTPRS’ers at the tombs of the saints as we will pray for you.

  21. fvhale says:

    Well, I will be back in Rome next week to rejoice and pray with the class of 2013 at the Pontifical North American College as they have their Diaconate Ordination at St. Peter’s on October 4, esecially seminarian from my diocese.
    http://www.pnac.org/dpc/
    The picture of spaghetti alle vongele caught my wife’s eye. I prefer Roman pasta dishes with more bite, like penne arrabiatta and bucatini all’ amartriciana, and no milk in my coffee.
    What, no gelato? [No gelato.]

  22. VexillaRegis says:

    Those food pictures are tempting indeed! I’m dreaming of Trippa alla Romana, my favourite italian dish. Yummy!

  23. Mariana says:

    Swoon, drool, drool, swoon! Thanks, Father!

  24. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    A walk around Rome – just what one needs in wet autumnal London!
    Hard to know if one envies you more the churches or the food; in Rome, both are food for the soul.

  25. Darren says:

    Now I know that when I eventually visit Rome, I must visit the birthplace of Papa Pacelli.

  26. irishgirl says:

    Yes, you would make a very cool guide in Rome, Father Z! Especially as you run into people you knew during your time there!
    The food looks delicious (I’m ‘figuratively salivating’ here) and the art looks divine.
    I haven’t been back to Rome since 1983 (I went to an ordination of a seminarian friend that time-he was ordained by John Paul II, just as you were). If I had the money, I’d be off in a trice!

  27. Mary Jane says:

    Brings back memories of my own trips! Wonderful.

  28. lucy says:

    One can only echo what others have said here. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us in photos. I can be fairly sure that I will never get to be there myself, so it’s wonderful to see it through another familiar person’s eyes. Keep the images coming, please!

  29. Laura98 says:

    It sounds like you are having a wonderful time, meeting new people as well as catching up with some old friends (who could ask for more in a trip?). Absolutely love the pictures – thank you for sharing them with your readers! I am sure I’m not alone in my continued prayers for your continued safe and successful journey. Blessings.

  30. Catholictothecore says:

    I concur with some of the readers – you take great photos and a pilgrimage to the Eternal City with you as our tour guide would truly be wonderful! I’ve been to the Eternal City only once (part of a pilgrimage to Italy and France back in 2009 with our parish). I would love to go back again and feel like you said in one of your posts, “it seemed like I never left.”

  31. SonofMonica says:

    Best pasta in Rome: rigatoni alla carbonara @ Abruzzi. I need to find a way to get back there…

  32. StJude says:

    WOW!!! Incredible pictures!
    and the food… oh my.. YUM.

  33. MargaretC says:

    When I was last in Rome, I had the good fortune to get a ticket to one of the tours of the Scavi, the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica. As we waited to start, our guide, a charming and scholarly young woman archaeologist, chatted with us and asked me where I was from. At that time I lived in Laramie, Wyoming (Diocese of Cheyenne). “Wonderful!” she exclaimed. “Do you know So-and-So?” The name was that of one of our seminarians, then studying in Rome.

    Rome really is Caput Mundi. Hang around there long enough, you’ll meet someone you know, or someone who knows someone you know.

    Great pictures, Father. As one of your other commenters said, I am now Rome-sick.

  34. Dorcas says:

    OK, these pictures have convinced me to go even though I am a homebody. I am gonna take the long way back to Seoul from Toronto and stop off in Italy for 2 weeks in Feb. This post led me to investigate and I found some really cheap airfares, thanks for posting Fr!

  35. Charles E Flynn says:

    Regarding Tosca:

    Puccini: Tosca (Royal Opera House 2011) (Blu-Ray) (2012), to be released October 22, 2012.