More Rome

18 Feb

My last two days in Rome brought some incredible experiences. I spent Tuesday with Roman locals, the parents of a friend from Austin. Giovanna picked me up Tuesday morning and we did a whirlwind tour around Rome. We began the day at The Church of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill in Rome, the oldest surviving Roman basilica.



It is famous for its cypress doors, which may date to the early 5th century when the church was built, and are said to contain the first depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus.


From there we drove to the Villa del Priorato di Malta, home to the Grand Priory in Rome of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which remains a sovereign entity. IMG_1528

The Villa may be best known for a keyhole in the door


through which you can clearly see Saint Peter’s Basilica, far across the city. The first photo is from my phone; the second shows exactly what you see through the keyhole.



wiki photo

From there, we saw part of the original Roman Wall called the Servian Wall, sections of which are still visible in various locations around Rome. The Servian Wall was a defensive barrier constructed around the city of Rome  in the early 4th century BC.


Next on to lunch at my “guide’s” home. What a thrill it is for me to be invited into the home of local Romans and share in their passion for all things Italian. I was introduced to Giovanna’s husband and together we shared wonderful conversation and the most delicious lunch, beginning with Champaign in the drawing-room.


From there, we moved to the dining room and were treated to Spaghetti con vongole



Sicilian artichokes and a rolled meat and cheese dish (sorry I don’t know the name!)


IMG_1542A beautiful vegetable terrine


Fennel saladIMG_1544

and homemade apple torta!



We conversed easily in both Italian and English and spent a great deal of time talking about places and treasures to visit in Italy.

After lunch, more of my tour. First up was a ride along Appia Antica, or as you may know it, the Appian Way. IMG_1550


From there we drove to the Pyramid of Cestius, built around 18BC-12BC as a tomb for magistrate Gaius Cestius. At the time it was built, it lay in the open countryside as tombs were not permitted within the city walls.

IMG_1557The pyramid was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls, close to Porta San Paolo.


Up next, La Bocca della Verità, aka The Mouth of Truth. This ancient Roman marble disc displays a carving of a man-like face and is thought to have been part of a first century fountain or even a manhole cover. Legend has it that if you tell a lie, and put your hand in the mouth, it will be bitten off. So be warned! During the 17th century, it was placed in the portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, the church which is home to relics of St. Valentine.


And finally, on to ancient temples before heading home.IMG_1563


What an amazing day I had, with my ever hospitable and knowledgeable private tour guide and now new friend.

And to think we did all that in this:


Giovanna, grazie per una giornata meravigliosa e una ricorderò sempre!

That was Tuesday, and I still had one day left in Rome. What better thing to do than attend a Papal audience.  So that I did, Wednesday morning, along with about 12,000 others, but who’s counting!





Arrivederci Roma once again. You never fail to amaze. Till next time.



14 Responses to “More Rome”

  1. Charles February 18, 2014 at 3:58 PM #

    Aloha Judy,
    Mahalo Nui Loa (Thank you very much) for sharing your enchanting and fun filled sojourn to Italy. I know the extra bonus was seeing and being with Banita and we all were able to feel the joy and genuine and first hand experiences. May you return soon and often and please keep posting in your blog.

    Safe Travels,
    Charles on Oahu


  2. Anna G. February 18, 2014 at 4:08 PM #

    Hi Judy! You ate crepes at my parents’ house…and the only thing wrong with the description is that my mom is definitely NOT Roman!! She is still a Tuscan (Fiorentina)! Still, she has become “insabbiata” (run aground) in Rome as we moved there a while back (Ok, over 40 years ago!). Thanks for posting this on a day when I was feeling incredibly homesick–made me smile! Never a bad meal at my parents’ house, and I see you got treated to the same experience.


    • blogginginitaly February 18, 2014 at 5:44 PM #

      I knew you’d edit any of my errors…but as you said, since your parents have lived there over 40 years, I thought I could refer to them as Roman locals…much more than anyone else I know! Glad the post made you smile and look forward to all being together. Truly a wonderful experience for me.


  3. Nikitaland February 18, 2014 at 4:47 PM #

    WOW! Beautiful photographs!


  4. florence Connelly February 18, 2014 at 5:20 PM #

    Really Fabulous Juju !!!


  5. IntrovertlyBubbly February 18, 2014 at 7:23 PM #

    I adore Rome, reading this was such a pleasure


  6. Barbara February 18, 2014 at 8:23 PM #

    What a perfect day! And made extra special with a Roman guide.
    Love their “roller skate” cars. Good thing you are petite.
    I call later this week.


  7. Gloria Barr February 24, 2014 at 8:09 AM #

    Love the way you bring Rome to life. I did not know about the keyhole…..very interesting. Great photos.


    • blogginginitaly February 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM #

      Gloria, thanks for your nice comment. I don’t think I knew of the keyhole either, and if I had seen it when I was a student so many years ago, I had forgotten, so it was a wonderful new experience for me.


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