ROME – Day 2: Vestments edition

This morning the group went off to the Audience and some time in the Museum, both of which I passed.

On my way to meet a priest friend at Gammarelli I stopped at Sant’Eustachio.  Just a nice view, inside a Roman church.  Turning the pulpit into a bookstand was kinda dopey.


We hit some textile shops.  It is cheaper, sometimes at least, to get the fabric at a fabric place and then have the work done at Gammarelli.  I got some spectacular gold silk for a song.  This will save hundreds of euros off the price of the Pontifical set we are making.  I think it’ll be matched with blue trim, if I can find the right stuff.  Thanks to my friend for helping with the acquisition.


Largo Argentina has an archeological site, with Republican temples.  Spiffy.


Time for lunch!

We started with a bowl of ovoli (Amanita caesarea) with shavings of fennel and just a hint of cheese.


We chose a duetto of Rigatoni alls Norcina and Bombolotti all’Amatriciana.



I had to have my requisite saltimbocca.  That duty is now fulfilled.


On the other hand, there was this vestment option.


I am sorry to see the return of this garbage to Roman shops.  Francis Effect, perhaps.

I almost chose this option for the set.


Then there was the Bovine Option.  It is for Wisconsin, after all.


More later.


Today the group went to visit, in quite a private way, the barracks of the Swiss Guards.

Some armor.


Some uni’s, ready for consignment.  All the uniforms are tailor made.


Some historic uniforms.


The guys who make the uniforms.  Great guys!


Historic weapons.


Not so historic.  I would have liked a better view, but I didn’t want to freak people out.


These would be true pacifiers.


A rarely spotted coat-of-arms in Rome.

Can you make it out?  Have a try!


I met an old friend for supper.  We caught up on all manner of ecclesial… news… over pappardelle al ragù di cinghiale.


Then past the Pantheon on my way to find a Partagas.


Tomorrow, Mass with the group early at Ss Trinità and then to find the trim for the vestments.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    That purple vestment; did someone mug Katherine Jefferts-Schori?

  2. Mike says:

    Viewing those food photos well before U.S. lunch time (especially on a day chock-full of teleconferences) is a mortification.

    So, I suppose, is viewing that Obama-campaign choir robe.

  3. David says:

    Dear Fr. Z – Since you are lucky enough (note to self – must remember the 10th Commandment, lol) to be in Rome, and you clearly appreciate Roman food . . . . you should definitely make time to visit Ristorante Le Tavernelle, 48 Via Panisperna (00184 Roma). I had the good fortune to eat there while visiting Rome several times in recent years when my best friend was seconded to FAO and lived on Via Panisperna. It has exceptional food and delightful staff. And as a bonus, it’s only a short walk to Santa Maria Maggiore. Buon appetito! Best, David

  4. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr, do you know if the cat rescue center still operating under Largo di Argentina?

  5. VexillaRegis says:

    edit:still is op…

  6. votefassino24 says:


    Earlier in the pontificate of Pope Francis, you had a post (which I can’t seem to find right now) discussing what was for sale in bookstores, vestment houses, and shops for liturgical accouterments in Rome.

    The gist of your post was: “ You can guage the pulse of the Church by looking at what is trending and selling in these stores. Check out all of these beautiful vestments and traditional items and books! We didn’t see anything like this for sale during the pontificate of JPII… so, even though Pope Francis is an old-style Jesuit when it comes to liturgical sensibilities and rubrics, don’t worry too much. There has been a definite swing in the pendulum.”

    Do you still feel like that’s the case, or are some dolts bringing some garbage back in a big way?

  7. Southern Baron says:

    Is that leopard and zebra print combined in one bolt??

    I suspect that if you really look you can find a well-meaning parishioner in the farther suburbs of NYC who would donate a set of vestments with it. (I may even know a few.)

  8. Martlet says:

    Second from the bottom, in the “bovine option” … the Safari Choice. Pick that one!

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Methinks someone confused “smelling like the sheep” into “costume yourself as an animal”. Yikes.

  10. mysticalrose says:

    I’m going to ignore that vestment and just say — keep the food pics coming! They are divine.

  11. mysticalrose says:

    Ok, I can’t ignore the vestment — No man should every where hot pink. Seriously?!

  12. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    A treat for the eye, a treat for the tongue, and both traditional!

  13. The Bovine Option… I love it! Do you think that there is enough black in that bovine pattern to make vestments made from it qualify for use in a requiem mass? Better yet, since “white is the new black” for funerals, could those same vestments serve for both old and new rite masses? Kind of a bovine bi-ritual utility!

    Add to that the fact that one could put on the chasuble on the Chick-Fil-A “dress like a cow” promotional days and get a free chicken sandwich, and you’ve got a winner in all sorts of different ways.

  14. majuscule says:

    On seeing the Purple Vestment Option:

    A superhero cape!

    Suitable for something. But not Mass.

    Halloween perhaps…

  15. APX says:

    That isn’t hot pink. It’s fuchsia. This is hot pink:

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    I’m guessing it must be hard to fast in Rome.

    The Chicken

  17. Uxixu says:

    I so want to make one of these pilgrimages to Rome and pray in those magnificent churches.

  18. frjim4321 says:

    The leopard skin looked good too, better than the cow.

    Enjoy your time!

  19. Choirgirl says:

    1. Yes, the bovine option.

    2. The gold material is gorgeous.

    3. The purple is for worship services when Fr. Dave wants to coordinate with the liturgical dancers.

    4. Oh the PASTA!!!

  20. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    One of pleasures of travel to Italy in the autumn are ovoli.

  21. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    One of pleasures of travel to Italy in the autumn are ovoli.

  22. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Sorry for the double post.

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Fantastic material! And the food is making me hungry….did not get out to dinner because of sandstorm here.

    God bless your travels.

  24. Supertradmum says:

    I mean the more traddy flower material and the gold….not the retro 70s junk

  25. Jacob says:

    Father, remind us all again what the name of the church is that you would like as your titular church when you are eventually made a cardinal. I can never remember what it is! :)

  26. Jacob: I don’t recall. Did I ever express such a notion? Maybe in jest.

  27. mysticalrose says:

    APX: LOL!

  28. NBW says:

    The food pics are awesome! Some of the vestments however take away ones appetite!

  29. Jacob says:

    Father, it was some little hole-in-the-wall church where Cardinal Newman liked to pray when he was in Rome. Hope that helps. I’ve tried searching for that post where you mentioned it and can never find the right search terms to bring it up.

  30. jhayes says:

    Jacob wrote: Father, it was some little hole-in-the-wall church where Cardinal Newman liked to pray when he

    Newman’s titular church in Rome was St. Giorgio in Velabro. Would that be the one you are thinking of?

    It is now Cardinal Ravasi’s titular church.

  31. dominic1955 says:

    Were the wood stocked subguns in the first gun pic Suomis KP/31s? I think they are what the Swiss Guard had at one point as the peer Swiss subgun (MP41/44) had a pistol grip by the trigger guard and a folding front grip as well.

  32. dominic1955 says:

    I hear they also keep some k31 Schmidt-Rubin’s around in inventory. Father, if you get a chance, pick one up. The ammo isn’t extremely common or extremely cheap, but Swiss surplus I’ve seen go for as cheap as 48c a round recently. Hornady here in the States makes it in a hunting loading which is not at all cheap but of high quality. Not a horrible price considering the quality they made things. They are insanely accurate and of a very distinctive straight pull design. They can also be had for well under $500. Often times the plastic name tag of the person they were issued to in Switzerland is still under the buttplate.

  33. rodin says:

    All that food looks delicious, especially the saltimbocca. Eat it all in good health.

    Have you ever searched for silk fabric in Florence? If you have not been there you might enjoy the sales room (and a tour of the whole place) at Antico Seteficio in the Oltrarno. They still make some of the fabrics from the Renaissance period including those painted by Ghirlandaio in the frescoes at Santa Maria Novella. While you are at it you might stop by the Brandimarte silver workshop a few doors away (unless everything has been rearranged in the last ten years). The silk factory pretty much caters to interior design needs, I guess, but there might be something you could use for your project.

    Wish I could be there too. Please don’t catch cold again.

  34. q7swallows says:

    Gregg the Obscure: Your comment applies to not only the animal motifs but to the purple one as well! ROFL!!

  35. friarpark says:

    The bovine Option for the maniple perhaps.

  36. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The English Wikipedia article on him has three more depictions of the arms, one from Castel Sant’Angelo, and one from when he was his uncle was Cardinal and he was first Archbishop of Valencia ( and so, keeper of the Holy Grail!). But inscription-Latin cows me… (Even if I were wearing bovine-option material, I don’t think I’d be sufficiently uncowed to essay it!)

  37. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Oops!: “when his uncle was” (I have heard lots of odd and terrible things about him, but I never heard he was his own uncle)

  38. mburn16 says:

    Should have cropped the inscription for the coat-of-arms guessing game. Would have required a little more digging (unless you happened to have seen a certain television series that played upon the, er…less righteous aspects of a certain Papacy). Good stuff all around, however. I remember seeing something on Youtube about how the chief tailor for the Swiss Guards actually had to deconstruct one of the existing uniforms in order to assemble patterns – he wasn’t provided with any upon taking the job.

  39. stephen c says:

    Alexander VI Pont Max (Alexander the Sixth, Pontifex Maximus)
    Callisto III Pont. Max. Nepotis (Grandchild of Callisto III, Pontifex Maximus)
    Natione Hispanicus Patria (a double ablative absolute – “as to his nation and his fatherland, a Spaniard”)
    Valentinus Gente Borgia (another double ablative absolute – “a man of Valencia, a Borgian as to his ‘gens'”)
    Portas et Propugnacula (the end of the next sentence, but this is Latin – these are in accusative – something happened to the “gates and military walls”
    A Vaticano ad Hadriana (“from the Vatican to” – what we call the “Castel Sant;Angelo”, in Latin it begins with the word “Adrian’s)
    Molem vetustate confect (Hadriana Molem – Castel Sant’Angelo, in two different grammatical cases, vetustate – as of old, as in the phrase “ancient glory” – “Gloria vetustate” with the ‘Gloria’ being left out)
    cta tutiora restituit (the phrase is confecta tutiora restituit – an echo of the biblical phrase “made (or restored) all things (as) new)
    An Salutis MLLLLCCXXXXII) (in the year of grace 1492).
    Got some help on this from an Italian article by Antonio Martini. The phrase “tutiora restituit” (made safer) may have been an allusion to Alexander VI having commissioned a wonderful statue of the Archangel Michael to stand on top of the Castel Sant’Angelo, or to something less obvious to me, but probably super obvious to a Roman historian . So the last five lines – the hardest to translate – might read “(he) reassured (or established anew) the safe protection, as of old, of the gates and walls [reaching] from the Vatican to the Castel Sant’Angelo, in the year of our salvation 1492”. A nice epitaph, all in all.

  40. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    “Can you make it out? Have a try!” Meh. I’ve seen harder. ps: the Argentina is perhaps my favorite just-walk-up-and-look-spot in Rome.

  41. stephen c says:

    “Alexander the Sixth,Pontifex Maximus, Nepos (grandchild) of Callisto the Third, Pontifex Maximus – as to his Nation and Fatherland – a Spaniard – a Valencian of the Borgian family – [who] restored to their ancient God-given protection (vetustate confecta tutiora restituit) the gates (portae) and battle-ready walls (propugnacula) from the Vatican to the Castel Sant’Angelo (AN SALUTIS MCCCCLLLLXXXXII) (IN 1492)”. (the reference to the restoration of tutiora at Sant’Angelo is possibly a reference to his sponsorship of a wonderful statue of the Chief of Angels – Michael – on top of Sant’Angelo, and probably to other inspired improvements – a Roman historian would know this for sure, but I am not one). To be clear, if this wonderful epitaph had been carved in English, it might read – “Alexander the Sixth, Grandson of Callisto the Third, both Popes; by nation and fatherland, a Spaniard, by citizenship, a Valencian, a son of the Borgias, Who Helped Restore to their Ancient Steadfastness, from the Vatican Hill to the Castle of the Sainted Angels, the Holy Gates and Walls, in the Year of Our Salvation 1492.”

  42. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    I read the inscription as:
    “Alexander VI, Supreme Pontiff, nephew of Calixtus III, Supreme Pontiff, by nation Hispanic, by fatherland Valentine, by family Borgia, restored the gates and the defensive wall from the Vatican to the tomb of Hadrian, having been made more secure from antiquity[?], in the year of salvation 1492.”

    But while we dither over old inscriptions, Bishop Tobin of Providence has used Fr. Z’s position as an end point on the spectrum of the possible, the other end being the Fishwrap! Here’s the URL:

  43. stephen c says:

    “vetustate tutiore restituit” ablative, ablative, perfective “the ancient guardianship reinstated” – that is, by commissioning a spectacular statue of St Michael the Archangel on the roof of Hadrian’s Tomb, now called the Sant’Angelo, Alexander the Sixth reinstated the ancient ancient angelic guardianship (let’s not forget the angels in Rome in the New Testament) over those parts of Rome between the Vatican and Hadrian’s Tomb. Or not, I am not an expert. Also, I liked your comment – but neither you are I were “dithering” – ancient truths are today’s truth, and you cannot dither over truth. We may be bad translators, but that is not “dithering” that is just being wrong…

  44. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    Yes, I was taking “vetustate confecta tutiora” as an ablative absolute. I’m not exactly sure how to translate it. I used “restituit” as the perfect tense verb for the sentence, subject Alexander, objects the gates and walls.

    Well, nice chatting with you, stephen c. No doubt someone will straighten this out.

  45. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    There used to be a pretty good gelato shop on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele facing the Argentina. Is it still there?

  46. JonPatrick says:

    RE Grateful to be Catholic’s 11:37 PM post – I guess Bp. Tobin has never read Rorate Caeli or Mundabor’s blog etc. if he thinks Fr Z represents the extreme end of the traditionalist spectrum. I’m not sure what the “middle ground” is between the 2 positions – either you follow the teachings of the Church (Fr. Z) or you don’t (Fishwrap).

    I have to say though the rest of his points were good.

  47. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A footnote to the inscription:

    ‘Nepos’ in this case does mean ‘nephew’ in the usual Englsih sense: “Rodrigo Borgia, born at Xativa, near Valencia, in Spain, 1 January, 1431; died in Rome, 18 August, 1503. His parents were Jofre Lançol and Isabella Borja, sister of Cardinal Alfonso Borja, later Pope Callixtus III” writes James Loughlin in his 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia article. He also says, at the beginning of his fifth paragraph, “Alexander next turned his attention to the defence and embellishment of the Eternal City. He changed the Mausoleum of Adrian into a veritable fortress capable of sustaining a siege. By the fortification of Torre di Nona, he secured the city from naval attacks.”

  48. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    Father, for real Cuban cigars in Rome, go to Fincato La Casa del Habano di Emiliano Fincato,
    Via Colonna Antonina 34 (Near the Parliament building)
    00186 Roma
    Tel. 06 6785508 / Fax 06 6793996

    Go upstairs to the huge humidor room.

    [I know the place well.]

  49. LarryW2LJ says:

    That one Swiss Guard historic uniform (the one in the plastic wrap) looks like it’s from the Maryland barracks. :-)

  50. Jacob says:

    jhayes at 22 October 2014 at 4:22 pm,
    No, that’s not it. When I say it is a hole-in-the-wall, it really is that. I think Father has posted pictures even. From the outside, it’s just this little alleyway back from some major street that leads to a gated door. From what I remember of Father’s post, you’d never know it was a church back there behind the door.

  51. Grateful to be Catholic says:

    JonPatrick, to be fair to Bishop Tobin, he was talking about the range of possible outcomes, not what’s out there. I am glad that Fr. Z made it, but it is worrying that he thinks Fishwrap is on the chart. Otherwise, I agree he made excellent points.

  52. Jacob says:

    Father Z, one church like these — — is what you had in mind during your bit of fancy. Maybe you will be reminded of it? I looked at that website and a few of those churches looked familiar, but none of them stood out as the one you mentioned before.

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