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Saturday, January 27, 2007



The Patriarchal Basilicas. If you had more time, I'd run through several dozen others, but the 4 big boys will cover the good stuff.

St. Paul Outside the Walls
St. Mary Major
St. John Lateran
St. Peter's

In San Pietro, keep an eye open for Blessed John XXIII, who is now in a glass coffin under one of the side altars.

If there is a saint to whom you are particularly attached, and their relics are in Rome, get in to see them, too.

Me, I always stop by Il Gesu, Chiesa Nuova, and San Ignazio. The first and last for my favorite Jesuit saints, and Chiesa Nuova because St. Philip Neri is there.

Otherwise, try to enjoy La Dolce Vita, and don't forget to plan your day around the fact that even many churches lock up for siesta.

Buon Viaggio!



I'm just learning about the closing during siesta! Do you have a sense for what time in the afternoon that is? (Good ol' American me isn't used to this notion.)

I should be staying just around the corner from San Ignazio, so I will definitely be stopping there as well as at Sopra Minerva.


Both San Ignazio & Santa Maria Sopra Minerva are lovely. Do window shop with the ecclesiastical tailors, all of whose shops are clustered around Piazza Minerva.

Regarding siesta, if memory serves me they'll close up around 12:30 or 1pm. Some will shut down as early as 11:30.

Reopening tends to happen between 2:30 (for those that shut down around 11:30 am) an 4pm (for those that shut down around 1pm). Some merchants will stay closed until 5 or 6, only to close again for the day at 7pm or so. Others will re-open at 4pm and stay open until 9pm.

My best summary would be that Italians, regardless of what they post on their doors, work what hours they feel like on any given day. They all have what we would consider an "independent contractor" mentality here in the states.

Most churches will have their hours posted, but that isn't much help when you've planned a trek across town only to find the place locked for the next three hours.

I'm pretty certain Basilica San Clemente (with one of the coolest archeological digs inside it) doesn't reopen before 4pm. Worth a look, if you have the time in your schedule, and just up the street from the Colosseum.

Which reminds me of another site...

If you want to do the Scavi under Saint Peters, plan on at least two hours for the tour, and get the tickets reserved in advance. There are rumors of the Scavi being closed permanently, so that may need to go on your "must-see" list. I know you can reserve tickets from here in the states, but I don't remember the website. If you have any priest friends (or friends of friends) in Rome, they may be of help there.

Feel free to email me if you have any other questions. flambeaux_bearer[at]yahoo[dot]com


Thanks, again!

I actually did apply for a ticket to the Scavi and was granted one, but the time slot they gave me is only a couple hours after an event in St. Peter's Square that I am attending. So I'm not sure I will be able to make it, but I will probably reserve the ticket anyway, seeing as it would be my one and only shot at seeing it.


I hope you do get to see it. For me, it was one of the most powerful experiences that led me to reconsider the claims of the Church. Something about looking at Peter's Bones.


Enjoy. I am convinced there is no better city in the world.

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