Our common home is Creation and this common home is being ruined to everyone’s detriment but especially that of the poor. I therefore call for responsibility on the basis of the role God gave us when he created the earth – to preserve and cultivate its garden.
– Pope Francis, St. Peter’s Square, 17 June 15
We were told that Pope Francis comes out on Wednesday mornings and addresses pilgrims and the general audience, although we were slated to take a tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica the following day on Thursday. We missed his speech, a prelude to his upcoming encyclical, his first major teaching letter on climate change and its effect on the planet’s poor. But we did visit his home.
David’s brother Michael had taken a tour of Rome a few years back given by a local tour company called Enchanting Tours (561.401.0182 or locally +39 347 256 1664, email@example.com) and recommended them to us. There are several tours to choose from, but we decided on the Early Morning Vatican tour. We arrived across the street from the entrance to the Vatican at 7:30am after a brisk walk from our apartment, and were met by our incredibly knowledgeable and passionate tour guide Nicolas.
David and I had gone through the Vatican Museum on our first trip to Rome, but having a guide give backstory on the many things we saw enriched our visit. The tour lasted 3.5 hours, and there was so much information to process. One of the amazing things I learned is that the Vatican is the second smallest country and yet it is the fourth richest country. Ahem. Perhaps the progressive Pope Francis can do something about that. Politics aside, here are some photos of our tour.
Strolling the Trastevere neighborhood
We walked along the Tiber River to get to the Trastevere neighborhood, known for its bohemian and artsy shops. Along the way, we encountered colorful graffiti and a long line of white tents that looked to be the start of some summer celebration along the river that would be happening after our departure. While the neighborhood seemed a little rundown and not at all as I remembered it to be, David nonetheless took some great photographs.
Our last meals in Roma
The other day, our very nice jewelry shop clerk Alexandra at Achilli Gioielli recommended her husband’s restaurant La Zanzara (Via Crescenzio 84, 39 06 68392227) for dinner. We weren’t able to make a reservation in time, so we opted to go to this restaurant for lunch following our Vatican tour. It was close to the Vatican, although we took a circuitous route trying to find it on our way back to the apartment. What a beautiful and charming restaurant it is. It reminds me of a French bistro. We ate rather early for lunch, and David was able to snap some serene photographs, but by the time we left, the place was packed and boisterous.
What a delight! While I can’t remember the name of the dish I ordered, my pasta was fresh with strong, bold flavors. The dolci was amazing. I didn’t write the name down and the menu can’t be downloaded. Just trust the photographs to entice you. If I gain 10 pounds on this trip, it will be worth it for all the great food we are consuming.
For our late dinner in Roma, we walked three minutes from our great neighborhood to Il Belli (Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Bello 33, 06 3221031) and sat outdoors to enjoy the warm evening. My ravioli was flavorful, as was the escarole that we shared. After chocolate lava cake and perfetto dessert, our host poured everyone a shot of chocolate for the kids and a shot of chocolate and rum for us adults. Now that is a fitting way to say good-bye to Roma! If we must say good-bye to Roma….
I will definitely miss and already miss our spacious apartment in Roma. The next time I come back, I hope to be able to stay here again. The place itself and the neighborhood were ideal. I can’t imagine staying anyplace else in this beautiful city. But onwards we go to Naples.