ROME 22/6 – DAY 8: A Spanish Saint, Tomato & Pig Cheek Sauce, Brutal Self-Assessment

In Rome sunrise was at 5:32 and, though we may not see it for the clouds, sunset is scheduled for 20:47.   The Ave Maria bell ought to be a 21:00.

This is the splendidly illuminated S. Maria in Monserrato, named for the famous Spanish sanctuary near Barcelona.  It is one of the best illuminated interiors in Rome.  As the Spanish national church, they have taken great pride in it.

To the right, in the first chapel, is the tomb of the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI (+1503) and another Borgia, Rodrigo’s uncle, Callixtus III (+1458).

Apart from having a several children and couple of mistresses, Alexander was from all accounts, and from the assessment of a couple of his successors a highly successful Pope.  The fantastical, dramatized accounts of him have little or nothing to do with the man himself or his pontificate.   His life makes for fascinating reading.

Meanwhile, look at the beautiful, even illumination in this church.

What you see below might leave you slightly puzzled.

This is St. Raymond Penyafort (+1275), whose tomb you visit in Barcelona.  He was a great canonist and is patron of canon lawyers.  With St. Peter Nolasco he founded the Mercedarians.

St. Raymond had gone to Majora (lower left corner of the painting) to convert the Moors.  As it happened King James I of Aragon was hanging out there with his mistress… speaking of Spanish rulers and their extracurricular activities. Channeling his inner John the Baptist, St. Raymond demanded that King send her away.  The King refused and Raymond said that he would return to Barcelona.  However, the King blocked Raymond’s departure, forbidding any boat to bear him away.   In the presence of Dominican as a witness, Raymond went to the shore, took off his clock and put the end over his staff as a sail, stepped on to the trailing part and zoomed off 160 miles to Barcelona.  The King was impressed, it seems, and mended his ways.

Part of the Via Giulia.

This, on a porta-potty.  I thought the “heart” was rather clever.

There is now a great little shop in a side street close to Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini which has excellent cheeses and meats.

Last night I had a craving for bucatini all’amatriciana.  Hence, I got some guanciale – so easy to get here, so hard in the US. I already had pecorino and little tomatoes, very sweet, just enough of them.  As they were small, I didn’t bother with peeling them.

Out comes the guanciale and in go the fruit.

Some white wine to reduce.

Join in the guanciale.

Add the mostly cooked pasta and some starchy water and give it a little time.

With parsley and pecorino.  Alas, I don’t have nice dishes in this apartment.  It’s a lacuna.

Dessert: itty bitty strawberries “del bosco” from Nemi.  Just a touch of lemon.   Another classic way to dress them is with balsamic vinegar or a little white wine.

And so another day wound to a close.

During the unchronicled hours I played a little online chess, against the engine at about 1800 with the clock set for 10 minutes and mostly got my backside kicked all over the board by getting into time trouble and letting pieces hang. DANG! γνῶθι σεαυτόν! I’d like to join in for a occasional game with the guys at der Fico, but I need to scrape some barnacles and get used to playing rapid games.   And openings.  Sheesh.  I so regret having stopped playing in my 20s.  Chess is a wholly different pursuit now and I am woefully out of step.   It was on my bucket list to play again, and I am, sort of.  But I need a challenge.  Perhaps I should set myself the goal of regaining an rating and getting to 2000 before I die.   Gotta have goals.

BTW… in Italian, a bishop is an alfiere, which translates roughly as junior officer, like a US Navy Ensign or perhaps a “butter bar”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. VForr says:

    Wow! What a beautiful church. It still amazes me what beauty was once created especially compared to some of the churches built now. Thanks for the photos, Father Z. Looking at them and reading your thoughts are a daily part of my routine now. Enjoy Rome!

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