ROME DAY 11: Butchers, Roman Rosary, and an Odd Dessert

Today’s Roman Sunrise 17:19, Sunset 18:33.  The Ave Maria is fixed these days at 18:45.

Yesterday was about as perfect a Sunday as one could desire.  Not only was John Henry Newman canonized, but the weather was magnificent, everything one wants from an October day in Rome.  Mass was said, prayers recited, lunch obtained, time shared with a friend, an evening stroll was had, really bad sketches were attempted.

The only fly in the ointment was a laundry glitch.   I have no idea how this happened.  An enemy, perhaps, hath done it.   I washed my white beneath cassock shirts together with an entirely incompatible black ink pen.   Think 101 Dalmatians.   So, the next day I am still into spot treating and more washings.   I have almost every damned spot out.   How that pen came to be in that washing machine I cannot fathom.

Some sights from the day.  The Great Roman™ leading the congregation in the Rosary and Litany.

This is what it sounds like in this Roman church.  Let’s hear the 5th Glorious Mystery and the Litany of Loreto.  It is the custom in Italy to say the Marian Litany after the Rosary.   It was mostly men, and young men too, saying the Rosary.   None of this weak-ass mealy-mouthed, cringe-worthy “pious voice”.   And note the pace of the Litany.

Let’s go straight to lunch.   Here are some fettucine with guanciale, artichoke, pecorino and mint.  Wow.

Ricciola (a fish) in cartoccio.

With both of these we had a wine I’d never experienced.  A dry Moscato di Terracina.  The Roman perked up when he saw it on the list, so it was a must try.

And for dessert… no, really, it was on the dessert menu … ajo e ojo!

Believe me, aglio olio e pepperoncino is not easy to make.   Usually something is out of balance.  Otherwise, you wind up with a lake of oil in the bowl, which is just plain sloppy cooking.   True ajo e ojo should have slightly creamy finish, which is tricky to attain, almost as if butter was involved… but it isn’t.  It comes from handling the dry pasta properly and… a secret.

I asked the chef (an instructor for Gambero Rosso) what he did and he revealed his technique.

Moving on, I saw a couple churches which are usually closed.  The first opens one day a month.  It is a little church dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria on the Piazza di Santa Caterina della Rota, and is the seat of a confraternity of men who once carried the sedia gestatoria of the Popes, the Palafrenieri.

This was originally called Santa Maria in Catarina and variations of that last, perhaps riffing on the word for “chain” since there were prisons nearby and, connected, there was a hospital for those who were ransomed from Islamic slavery.   They would leave their chains as ex voto offerings. It’s an old parish, dating back to Urban III in 1186.    The present structure is baroque.

Some of the confrat gear.

Next, on the way to Mass, the little church of the Confraternity of the Butchers was open at the Piazza della Quercia (Oak Tree – to the left).

It’s a little jewel, well maintained.

The TMSM must get a real faldstool.

Beautiful reliquaries.

The standard the butchers would carry in procession.  This is a Roman word, Beccai, for Macellai.

These guys were quite prestigious back in the day.  There were various “universities”, like guilds, which participated in the governance of the City.  They also developed confraternities, which still exist, though the old guilds are long done away with.   The Butchers were famed for their surrounding and defense of an important image of Mary which was carried in processions.  Such was their service that Sixtus V gave them the privilege of freeing a prisoner condemned to death once a year, on 15 August.  Among those freed was certified wild child artist Benvenuto Cellini.

Here is the stone.  You should be able to right-click it for a larger version.

Some relics.

Some very fine intercessors.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    If you run into stubborn ink stains, brake cleaner takes them out. It also works to clean the ink out of the machine so it doesn’t transfer to other clothes.

  2. mysticalrose says:

    Soak the ink in milk, then wash. Alternately, rubbing alcohol or ammonia poured into the stain also works.

  3. mo7 says:

    Carbona makes several stain removers each for specific types of stains, they come in small yellow triangle shaped bottles. The ink and pencil stain remover works exceptionally well. [Back when the kiddies were in catholic school I was constantly getting these marks out of uniform shirts].

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    Sabotage! Well, I don’t know but the timing is odd.
    Boy that pace of the Rosary would really keep you on your toes. And I love the masculine voices. The church needs more men to take the lead. Enough of the ladies brigades. Men who actually sound as if they have healthy levels of testosterone.

  5. FrAnt says:

    Is it possible that the smoke of Satan has entered your washer? You know his smoke is everywhere in Rome these days.

  6. UncleBlobb says:

    Thank you, Father Z., for sharing so much of your days in Rome. It’s wonderful.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for these travel logs, and well done to The Great Roman.

    As for pasta for dessert that must be Romanitas on full parade. My guess is that pepperoni oatmeal and a spaghetti smoothie for breakfast would be a Breakfast fit for Caesar.

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