Thursday, December 04, 2008

Around Rome

The Baldachino and mosaic dome in St. Cecilia's in Trastevere. Her feast is a huge deal in Trastevere, where the saint is still held in high regard by the descendants of the ancient Romans. It used to be that the neighbourhoods of Rome had their own distinct costumes, and even dialects. That of Trastevere is the closest to ancient spoken Latin and the people of that area are considered to be direct descendants of the real Romans who stayed through the barbarian invasions and the middle ages to the present day.

This is the feature of life in Rome that strikes me every day. It is not as if it is an ancient town with lots of ruins and old things. It is not even like a modern city building on its venerable and glorious past (like London). It is more as if all the eras of Rome are all here at the same time. All those times, all the ancient stuff, the medieval stuff, the Renaissance stuff, and 19th century stuff, all milling about together. The past does not leave here. It sticks around.

The bell tower.

Note the filled in arches in this house across the piazza from the entrance to St. Cecilia's. A lot of medieval Roman houses are built like this. In the old days, the columns acted as stilts, and the habitable parts of the house were all on the second floor. The area between the columns was empty and the houses were elevated to avoid the flooding of the Tiber, a common occurrence in the winter. They were filled in after the Evil Savoys built up their huge travertine banks, cutting the population off from their river.

Sonnen n' self in front of the fountain outside St. Cecilia's on her feast day. Bloggers! I arrived late with a friend and we were going to meet up with some others and go get some food. None of us was interested much in the Mass (concelebrated N.O. Masses...really really not my thing) but we all thought it worth while to go and have a look, "make a visit" as the Catholics say. When I got in there, surprise surprise, there was Sonnen, doing exactly what I was doing. Getting pics for his blog. (I did mention that I'm a rather bad Catholic, didn't I? It's why this blog is no longer called "The Devout Life". False advertising.)

The parish:

The Guido Reni at Ssa. Trinita dei Pellegrini

Fr. Lang preaching the homily at the ten o'clock high Mass. All lost on me, of course, since I don't know a word of Italian.

Fr. Gerard, acting as Deacon, singing the Gospel quite creditably.

These very annoying nuns pinched my seat when I got up to get a leaflet from the back of the church. Not one of them dared to look up when I came back to see them all crowded into the spot where I had been sitting. No wonder people don't like nuns.

There is always someone at Trinita in the Roman style boxes waiting to hear your confession around Mass times, just in case you have entertained uncharitable thoughts about nuns.

Baroque art everywhere. Fat flying babies and gold curliques until you're eyes hurt.

Exciting art-farty angled shot. Actually, it's pretty hard to get anything else from the front step of the church. (Note disembodied flying baby head.)

And really great domes. If you are, like me, a big fan of domes, Rome is the place to be.

Then of course, after Mass, there's the obligatory twenty-five (infuriating) minutes of standing around on the church steps "deciding" where to go for lunch...

which is always the same place: Chinese.

Catholics: the same in Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto, Rome.

More later.

1 comment:

Agellius said...

You write, "No wonder people don't like nuns."

That really did make me laugh out loud here at my desk.