Friday, December 02, 2005

In Praise of Rome

I'm sitting in Rome at the Lot 87 Bar, drinking a shot of grappa and writing away. Rome may be the greatest city in the world. I was IMing a friend, and he said that some people have told him that they don't like Rome. You know who doesn't like Rome? Wussies! They say, "Rome is dirty and smelly and there's crazy traffic." Those people like clean, wimpy cities like Vienna and Salzburg and Munich and Florence.

Rome is a real city with real people. It's dirty and crazy and people eat real food that they buy that morning and cook that evening. Women in mini-skirts drive scooters too fast between busses. Men grow long hair and slick it back with oil. And the cappuccino is like drinking liquid gold. You can keep Vienna; leave me Roma.

Last night, for instance, we ate at Al Grappolo D'Oro. We started with an amazing onion flan as antipasto, then homemade ravioli with basil sauce, and then an insalata mista, all accompanied by the house white. Of course, the evening ended with a visit to Giolitti's, the single best ice cream cone on the planet.

I'm here with my friend, Jim Newberry, who won a pastor's sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute. We're spending every morning walking around, visiting churches and ancient ruins. Then we eat a little pizza, maybe take a short siesta, and head out to Lot 87 for a drink and several hours of writing and reading. Around 9, we'll head out to dinner and some amazingly and outrageously good restaraunt that is a tiny hole-in-the-wall in some back alley of Trastevere, the "uptown" type of neighborhood in Rome.

Today we hung out a bit with Annie Ojile, a friend from Solomon's Porch, who's making a go at being an independent film producer here (or else a tour guide). We also visited San Pietro and the Pantheon. Tomorrow the Vatican Museo, then a day-trip to Assisi. Monday and Tuesday will be more sites in Roma, and we head home on Wednesday.

Yesterday, we visited the Mamertine Prison, where Peter and Paul were supposedly chained together -- and converted their jailers -- before their respective executions.

La Dolce Vita!


Blogger Tom said...

hey! tell annie o. hi from me! i love roma! make sure she shows you the refugee highway while you're there too!

9:45 AM  
Blogger Chris McGregor said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Chris McGregor said...

that is a very accurate assessment of roma, that wonderfully passionate and noisy city.

my wife enjoyed walking its streets in september and wouldn't trade it for anything! (except for a good map that is)

soak in the pantheon for me...truly the most amazing building i've ever encountered!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous mary fran said...

i am sooo jealous!!!!!!! i hope you are having a wonderful and reflective time.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Peter and Paul are such amazing examples of unity and diversity - all the different polarities - within the Church. Though they had their different understandings and missions, I have a sneaking suspicion that their reconcilation was complete by time they were 'poured out,' as Paul so eloquently puts it. And, well, there's nothing like being chained to the same pillar to force two extremely forceful personalities to seek peace. The Orthodox icon for the Feast of Peter and Paul, depicts them in a brotherly embrace. That's exactly how it should be. Sometimes you have to "stand up to someone's face," but, in the fullness of time, in the fellowship of the gospel of peace, there is only a time to embrace.

1:42 PM  
Blogger EL MOL said...

this has got to be the most in your face post I have ever seen here. genius, have fun

2:02 PM  
Blogger -mike- said...

So you are coming to Louisville (Southern Seminary) on the 15th? I hope to be in the meeting, I am contacting Dr.Adams to see if I can get in. I hope it all goes well!
Mike Noakes

2:53 PM  
Blogger Friar Tuck said...

I am hoping to get to the East Coast someday. Maybe Rome after that.

4:07 PM  
Blogger Stephen Ingram said...

Hey Tony, I was in Rome earlier in the year, it is amazing! If you get a chance There is a great little restraunt called Gladiatore on the East side of the Colosseum. When you go ask for Roco, he is the owner and he will take care of you. They have excellent house red as well as spaghetti alla carbonara. The most beautiful church I saw was where St Ignatius was burried its called The Gesu church. Have a blast!

10:20 PM  
Blogger gavin richardson said...

fun description. reminds me of 'clowning in rome' by nouwen, at least the introduction.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of Europe is for pussies....go to Asia or Siberia if you a real're the one sitting in an internet cafe in Rome sipping on a fancy coffee and you're the one calling people wussies???

8:34 AM  
Blogger Don said...

Tony, I'm a little disappointed. I had hoped that you were about to espouse your love of the Holy Mother Church herself when I first read your title "In Praise of Rome". I guess we'll have to wait a little longer for Cardinal Jones...

5:01 PM  
Blogger CaptainRome said...

Give Ratz the finger for me.


1:01 PM  
Blogger onebadhobbit said...

Dude. I used to hang out at Lot 87 too. Awesome place. The simpatico nature of Phillipo and his brother who run the place. The wi-fi. The 5 euro happy hour. I wonder if I ever saw you there.

4:21 AM  

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