ROME 22/6 – DAY 7: Food for the journey

Sunrise in Rome today was at 5:33 and sunset will be at 20:46.   We are still lengthening in our days as we head toward ‘na ciumacata of the Feast of St. John the Baptist.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been in Rome at this time of year.   The Ave Maria is supposed to chime its 3-4-5-1 at 2100.   But it won’t… in the Roma Curia, at least.

I’ve been buying flowers for the apartment.  They make me happy.

I’ve written about the Vicolo del Bollo before.  This street, near the Roman Chancery and near where there were quite a few jewelers and smiths of precious metals, was where silver objects were stamped with the mark of the Papal States.  I have an old chalice from that time with just such a stamp.  I imagine it was once here in this street to received its mark.

There’s a phrase in Roman for “the genuine article”: “oro del bollo”

And… imagine… your baptism – confirmation – perhaps priesthood for those ordained reading this – is even more indelible than a silver stamp.   You can melt down the chalice and it is going.   But souls don’t melt… even in Hell.   You are marked for eternity.

I found my chess guys.  They’ve been gathering here for a long time at the Piazza der Fico.   

These fellows are very interactive with the board and commentary no matter which of them are playing.  In the past I’ve seen several boards out.  Don’t know why they had only one yesterday.  I’ll have to go for a game some time.  One guy I observed in a 10 min rapid, clearly has his openings well in hand and has developed a somewhat eccentric way of moving pieces.  He could be a challenge.

The mondazzaro signs are among my favorite daily sights in Rome.  Over the years I have developed a great affection for the “Illustrious Monsignor President of the Streets” with his various fines and threats of corporal punishment for people who dumped garbage.

This is still a problem in Rome: garbage and graffiti in spray paint.  It’s EVERYWHERE.   I would be very much in favor of corporal punishment in public for these selfish dog-piddling vandals.

Sant’ Andrea della Valle.  Think Tosca.

Piazza del Biscione.  The building in the center was once where a good-hearted 19th c. fellow – “Tata Giovanni” – took in urchins, abandoned children, callarelli, and made sure they learned a trade, making them less likely to be running about like dogs piddling their spray paint on the walls.  My guess is that he did this also as part of a confraternity.   In the day, people didn’t depend on the government. They organized and performed works of mercy.  These confraternities were comprised of nobility and ordinary folk alike.  An interesting point about the Roman nobility: they spoke the same style of Roman as those in streets, probably because they were in the streets too, doing things.

I mentioned that the nobility did their share of mixing with the “common” people.  In the time that “Pops” Giovanni was at work with abandoned kids, the Popes of the day could be seen strolling about or having a carriage ride.   A couple streets over, still near Campo de’ Fiori, you see a sign about how Bl. Pope Pius IX, wandering about, ran into a priest bringing Viaticum to a dying man.  The Pope followed and was at the dying man’s bedside in a little dwelling in the Via dei Giubbonari to give someone last rites.

On 28 March 1851
Pope Pius IX
meeting by chance the Viaticum
followed along.
He crossed this threshold
and the Family of Vincent Cacace
was visited and blessed by the Savior of the World
and by His Vicar on Earth.

Food for the journey and food for thought.

From Viaticum to victuals.

Sorry, if I am getting repetitive with caprese.  It has been too hot to eat much more than a cool repast in the evening.  And it is hard to beat.  I bought some nice porchetta last night, but in the end, it was too heavy in the heat.  It has been a real challenge to stay hydrated.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Most interesting, however, that your ‘piddler’ remains aware of certain bounds, and covers the tablet so that he only damages the wall with his paint, not the marble. Partly perhaps he knows that the penalty for vandalism would then be more serious, but maybe, just maybe, he still has a conscience and some residual respect for something both beautiful and historic.

    [“Damning with faint praise” comes to mind… or “with paint phrase”.]

  2. Julia_Augusta says:

    Father Z,
    Which one do you like more – burrata or mozzarella?


  3. pcg says:

    Flowers make me happy too Father- I sometimes buy them for my hotel room.
    Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina- Via dei Giubbonari; probably too warm for a small bowl of carbonara, but you might check this place out if you can. A glass of wine, a bowl of carbonara and a papal blessing before I take my trip- perfetto!

    [I find Roscioli overrated. I’m out of date now, of course, but once I knew the best places for carbonara and I learned from the cooks about how to do it. Today, in Rome, I suspect, the best carbonara might be … my apartment. Also…. while carbonara is great when it is cold out, and it isn’t cold out now, a really good caccio e pepe is even harder the make and more satisfying for the complicated simplicity. BTW… a connection for you Romans out there. One of the best places for carbonara but in the day was a restaurant owned by two retired Swiss Guards, il Mozzicone (Roman for cigarette butt). After assimilation I added their uniqueness to my own. However, the Via Giubbonari after WWII was also called the Via de’ ciche (another word for cigarette). With the influx of GI’s and cast away cigarette butts, there was a budding market here for new cigarettes reclaimed from the butts. Let’s try to put our minds into two things: post-WW2 Rome and what it was like economically and 2) the dynamism of Romanita.]

  4. Longinus says:

    For many years my favorite restaurant in Rome has been Hosteria Costanza on Piazza del Paradiso. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to travel to Rome since 2017. If you have been there yourself recently I would like to know if the food is as good as in the past.

    [I know the place very well.]

  5. excalibur says:

    Is that Hillary in the white pants suit?

  6. Julia_Augusta says:

    Father z,

    If you stay in Rome and open a trattoria, I will come by and dine frequently. Are priests allowed to open a trattoria and still do priest stuff?

  7. If anyone out there has a spare million dollars or euro or … two, I’d open up a chess cafe/osteria: tables for chess and maybe other games, with a small but very good, mostly changing menu. There’s a niche for this in Roma.

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