We went on our merry way to Santa Maria in Trastevere. It is a magnificent church from tiled/mosaic floor to gilded ceiling. And it’s quite old- it was finished in 1143. Mary hangs out outdoors on the pediment in golden mosaics and Byzantine style. The floor tiles were donated by one of the wealthy families; it was something they all did.
Down the way we resolved our lunch squabble by deciding on a restaurant. In a mighty display of acting skill I convinced Peg I would be quite happy about it and as it turns out I even convinced myself, that’s how well I performed. Peg ordered a mighty fine pizza for us to share. It came with bresciola, shaved parmigiano, and rucheta. It was fabulous! The wood oven does a mighty find job with a pizza crust. It is hotter than any home oven can get, up to 800F. The crust cooks very quickly and tends to puff up in spots, raising it off the floor of the oven, giving an uneven crustiness that actually is a major benefit. We had a half bottle of wine, a white from the Colli Albani, the hills just south of Rome. It went very well with the cicorria and brocoletti we ordered as contorni (side dishes served with the second plate normally- the second being the meat or fish). The former was quite spicy. You rarely find cicorria outside Italy, although I have grown it in the US. Brocoletti is very similar if not the same as what we call rapini in the US. In Italian it means ‘little broccoli’ although it is not a broccoli at all, but a Mediterranean herb.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at St. Peters. If you ignore the immense egos of the Popes and the horrors of Christianity at various periods, you can enjoy this immensely beautiful building. Mary’s face in Michaelangelo’s Pieta is way too young for a mother of a 33 year old, but I guess that really does not matter. The building’s proportions, the superb building materials and the high quality of the sculptures and other art work are all stunning. It is amazing what immense wealth can do- as well as a large supply of marble from the Coliseum and other Roman era buildings ravaged to decorate this structure. And never mind that all that marble was quarried with slave labor. Well, at least, put these thoughts aside for a moment to appreciate the great skill you see manifest before you.