ROMA. We have returned, on the last evening of our trip. Travel day: from Amalfi to Salerno on an air conditioned bus, smoothly navigating all those hairpin turns along the bay, sometimes looking hundreds of feet straight down into the water.


Goodbye Amalfi – I really want to remember all those dramatic vistas on the paths and staircases high above the town.


First class Eurostar train from Salerno through Napoli to Roma. We met our landlady Laura at the Termini, who gave us back B.’s camera that we accidentally left in the apartment. Then came the hotel search -  I watched the bags on a street corner while M. & B. scored the Hotel Positano on the Via Palestro for 100 Euros, a no-frills, small air conditioned room with its own bathroom: no complaints!


Then a long walk to the Trevi Fountain,


which we hadn’t seen before, the Piazza Colonna (this time during daylight) followed by several more exquisite Roman churches.


It’s really unbelievable how every church you walk into instantly overwhelms the senses with the beauty and sublimity of its artwork. Huxley made that point in The Doors of Perception – entering the hush of these sacred spaces, one is almost intimidated by the presentation. You must believe! And then inside the Pantheon


 – followed by a long walk back on the Via Nazionale. Soon we will share our last meal of the trip.






So that was our 2-week trip to Italy. I did the best I could, keeping a journal and taking hundreds of photos – but a lot was left out, and maybe I utterly failed to capture the actual experience of walking around the city: the heat, the traffic, the sidewalk cafes everywhere.


I loved Roma – far more than I did on my brief visit in 1984. I was ‘just passing through’ back then, on my grand tour from London to Athens and back, viscerally experiencing the zeitgeist of being a  20-something, transitioning to the next phase of my life.


In 2007 we were on the longest vacation since our honeymoon, and our first trip to Europe in 23 years, and our teenage son was actively engaged as the third member of our expedition – helping us to navigate, communicate and cope with the unexpected.


I just wanted to amplify on a few points, like the books we were reading. The Yiddish Policeman really made a big impression because of our visits to the ghetto across the river, and the tragic history of the Jews in Roma that we read about in the museum there. I certainly had a strong reaction when I heard about the Torah scrolls the Pope burned in Campo de’ Fiori. That hooded statue of Giordano Bruno there is chilling,


and we read a lot about Il Papa in the IHT, going back to the Latin Mass (which still calls for the conversion of the Jews) and now his criticism of ecumenicism. (I.e. ‘It’s my way to the heavenly highway.’)

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