Rome update

I am in Rome, as some will recall.

Since the end of the pilgrimage I have been doing as much nothing as possible. Alas, a lot of nothing is not possible, so I do as much nothing as possible.

Here, of course, that involves lots of sleeping, Mass, and meeting friends for meals and talking about everything going on.

A couple shots.

Yesterday I went to the FSSP parish for Vespers. Not a bad view.


A shot from lunch today.



I said Mass for my benefactors today. I checked the updates. Though I haven’t updated the sidebar yet.


Mass for benefactors again on Wednesday, I hope.

A view across the wonderful Ponte Sisto toward the street wherein I stayed the first ever time I came to Rome in the early ’80’s.


The ancient Vatican pinecone which was once in front of of the old, Constantinian San Pietro. Dante mentioned it in the Divine Comedy.


Finally Sant’Ivo from a great angle.


I need to start getting some errands done soon. Among them find a cassock I can leave here so when I come over I don’t have to haul it and put it and me through all the wear and tear. (Just black.)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Lovely and I hope your weather is great. I am not too far away in Malta for another ten days. And, please say a prayer for those of us who can only be your benefactors in prayers….God bless your travels.

  2. pontiacprince says:

    Your reference to the Vatican pinecone sent me googling as I had never heard of this. Most interesting.Thank you…and I did not know that the Pope’s staff has a pinecone.
    I assume your trip is about to end and so prayers please if you will for me and I will pray for you this day.
    Do enjoy the food!Safe home!

  3. Charles E Flynn says:

    For Dante fans:

    Dante: The Most Vivid Version, by Robert Pogue Harrison.

    The review is linked from with this introduction:
    Three takes on the Inferno: Clive James sucks the life out of the text; Mary Jo Bang makes scholars squirm. Then there’s Dan Brown…

  4. SimonR says:

    I am traveling to Rome in November and will be staying very near the Vatican.

    I have previously visited the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and gone on the Scavi tour together with visiting the catacombs.

    I will be visiting Saint Mary Major and Saint John Lateran during my visit. And of course, I will be going to St. Peter’s often.

    This will be my third visit and I want as much as possible to visit the Churches nearby. TripAdvisor is not too useful in this regard.

    Would anyone have any suggestions of Churches close to the Vatican which I could visit?

    Or any general suggestions would be most welcome.

    The people I am traveling with cannot walk far at all. We are intending to use to the hop-on hop off buses which leave from the Via della Conciliazione.

  5. Sissy says:

    SimonR: the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo is within walking distance. It’s located in a beautiful piazza and is reputed to have the oldest stained-glass windows in Rome.

  6. mimicaterina says:

    SiminR: The Lenten Station churches are the best way to discover ancient Christian Rome. I am in Rome now and don’t have my book with me. But some of the ones I would recommend are:

    In Trastevere: Santa Maria in Trastevere (beautiful medieval mosaics. Check out the first century mosaics in the sacristy)
    San Crisogono – there are scavi underneath
    Santa Cecilia – built over her house which can be visited

    Piazza Venezia – San Marco (early mosaics)

    Near Termini train station and Santa Maria Maggiore: Santa Prassede (many early Christian mosaics and the column of the flagellation. Also this church housed the bones of the martyrs when the catacombs were enptied out during the barbarian invasions of the 9th century. The Church wanted to protect the martyrs’ remains from pilfering. There is an explanatory plaque in the confessio.)
    Santa Pudenziana (early Christian mosaics. This is the Filipino national church in Rome)

  7. mimicaterina says:

    SimonR: I should have mentioned two churches between the Lateran and the Coliseum.

    San Clemente – has been in the custody of the Irish Dominicans for about 400 years. It is built over layers of other structures going back over 2,000 yeas beginning with a Mithraic temple. The current church is medieval with 12th century mosaics and a later Renaissance ceiling. The scavi underneath can be visited. Here’s their website:

    The other church closeby is Santi Quattro Coronati.

    Have a blessed visit.

  8. StWinefride says:

    SimonR: another Church close to St Mary Major is St Alphonsus Liguori on Via Merulana – home to the original icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Enjoy your visit!

  9. ClavesCoelorum says:


    Santissima Trinità dei Pelligrini, which is the church Fr Z. posted a picture of, is worth a visit. So is the Pantheon, I keep forgetting its actual name. You might also like Il Gesù and Sant’Ignazio, as well as Sant’Agnese on Piazza Navona.

    Wen I was there, I wanted to pop into every church I walked by. They are just so stunning. Unfortunately, my friends weren’t as enthusiastic as I was.

  10. FranzJosf says:


    If you are visiting the Pantheon and the Piazza Navona, between them is the French Natioinal Church: San Luigi dei Francesi. In the front, left chapel is a cycle of three paintings about St. Matthew by Caravaggio. Amazing! Don’t miss them, if possible.

    Someone above mentioned Santa Maria del Populo. Two more Caravaggio paintings, again in the front, left chapel: The Crucifixion of St. Peter and the Conversion of St. Paul. Plus, this is a really cool with church with a lot happening in sculpture all over the place. Lots of angels, as I recall.

  11. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Since the end of the pilgrimage I have been doing as much nothing as possible.”

    I try to do as much of that as possible, each day :)

    Some days, you have to do something
    Nothing days, you have to do nothing
    Unless you are Mary Tyler Moore,
    Whom I have heard can take a nothing day
    and make it all seem worthwhile.

    Older American readers will understand.

    The Chicken

  12. Aegidius says:

    Dear Father, I look forward to the day that you have a two-color cassock. In the meantime, wear tbe black, sew the red.

  13. MAJ Tony says:

    Fr. Z,

    I was blessed to be in attendance at Santissima Trinità dei Pelligrini for Spy Wed Tenebrae of Holy Thur in 2011 while on leave from Afghanistan. Got my cousin Fr. Paul Nord, OSB, a St. Meinrad monk and student at the Biblicum (now in DSS phase) to join, and he, of course, joined in choro. I was wondering if you had any comment on the progress on their renovation.

  14. rbbadger says:

    Apart from saying Mass in your home, have you had the experience of saying the forma extraordinaria outside of a church? Do you carry an altar stone with you?

  15. Michael_Thoma says:

    Don’t forget to take a picture under “Habemus Pizza”, maybe grab a quick slice to go as well!

  16. Michael_Thoma says:

    The Rick Steve’s ROME Guide is amazing, please pick up the full edition. Very very helpful

  17. smittyjr63 says:

    Father Z,
    I am green with envy (in a good way of course!). I have always wished that I was Italian, and of all the cultures in the world, I am very drawn to Italy, the Italians and their culture (maybe it has something to do with Italian being my favorite food), and I always thought the language was the most beautiful of all European dialects. I have never met an Italian I didn’t like! I have been praying that at some point the Lord will make it possible for me to visit Italy, and maybe spend a month there absorbing the beautiful churches, museums, shops, people, and of course the food, LOL. There are so many places in that country I’d like to experience, for spiritual reasons as well as temporal. Do me a favor and say a prayer for me that God makes this come true for me one day!!!

  18. Boniface says:

    Michael_Thoma, with respect, I made inquiry into this some time ago, and Rick Steves often says and writes many things that are subtly anti- Catholic. He is an unapologetic liberal Lutheran who uses his platform to evangelize for these views. I have found stark errors of fact throughout his writing and speaking.

  19. Boniface says:


    with respect, I made inquiry into this some time ago, and Rick Steves often says and writes many things that are subtly anti- Catholic. He is an unapologetic liberal Lutheran who uses his platform to evangelize for these views. I have found stark errors of fact throughout his writing and speaking.

  20. This is making me so excited about studying abroad in Rome next semester!

  21. SimonR says:

    I am just now able to read your comments about where to visit in Rome.

    Thanks so much to everyone:


    I will read in more detail later, but you have given me great suggestions for Churches to visit.

    Thank you :-)

  22. Rita_mar says:

    Father Z, Are you celebrating public masses in Rome? I’m a few hours away, and money is tight (I’m sure that you’re aware of the bad economic situation here…), but I would try my best to attend one of your masses if possible…

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