Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gods, Angels, and Demons: Il Centro di Roma, Roma, Italy

Lazio, Italy

Ahhhhh, the angelic sounds of snoring children at 9:30AM.  It is fair to say that I have never heard such beautiful music at this hour, ever.  It was almost worth the jet lag.  Finding the Metro station was infinitely easier in daylight this time, I didn’t even veer off onto the autopiste once.  The metro is clean and well run, sadly it’s really meant for commuters and hits only a few of the super-turista sites.  We got off at San Giovanno, and I think by the grace of St. John the Divine himself, we managed to find the #85 over to the Ghetto.

Long before the term Ghettofabulous was a hit, we Jews were living cloistered in small, crowded sections of western European cities like Rome, under the watchful eye of the Pope.  Sydney got his first mini-lecture on the rise of anti-semitism in the western world as we sprinted through the Museo Ebraico di Roma.  We made a play for the famous Roman-Jewish fried artichoke special down the street, but evidently every American Jew had the same idea.  We settled for a wonderful salami and mozzarella pannini, thank heavens we don’t keep kosher.

After chasing pigeons at Campo dei Fiori for at least an hour, (just like in the awesome book Rome Antics, by David Macauley), the boys were ready for more gelato.  Perhaps it was in my head, but I am pretty sure that as Sydney and I switched cups of caramel and café and I took a sumptuous bite, the clouds cleared and a soft beam of light shone down on our heads in front of the Pantheon.  But, Kami and I were quickly caught up in the irony that Hadrian’s monument to “All the Gods” was tattooed by crosses in the Middle Ages.  Sydney didn’t seem to mind though, as we marveled at the beautiful mix of colored marble on the floor, he was staring at a passing “gladiator,” adjusting the balloon dog crown on his head.  It could have easily been mistaken for a halo; he was a gift from above today.