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14.1.05

When in Rome

The Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will be making a recording this spring in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This means that I will be in Rome in March for a little over a week. This will be my second trip there, so I have seen many of the main attractions (San Pietro, the Vatican Museums, the Lateran, the Forum, etc.), but I would be happy to hear any ideas for things that I absolutely must see. (Please write in the comments section: that's what it's there for.) I've been reading up on the city and working on my Italian. I'm happy to say that throwing a coin in the Fontana di Trevi works: I am going back to Rome.

The only thing definitely on my list so far is to see the museums and gardens of the Villa Borghese (see my post from February 28, 2004). I don't think I will have enough time to see everything that Henry James saw and wrote about. Perhaps I will take his advice and simply wander around the city in my few moments of free time, taking in whatever presents itself:

The first day of my stay in Rome under the old dispensation I spent in wandering at random through the city, with accident for my valet-de-place. It served me to perfection and introduced me to the best things; among others to an immediate happy relation with Santa Maria Maggiore. First impressions, memorable impressions, are generally irrecoverable; they often leave one the wiser, but they rarely return in the same form. I remember, of my coming uninformed and unprepared into the place of worship and of curiosity that I have named, only that I sat for half an hour on the edge of the base of one of the marble columns of the beautiful nave and enjoyed a perfect revel of—what shall I call it?—taste, intelligence, fancy, perceptive emotion?
Hopefully, the James reference will entice OGIC to comment, if not about Rome, then about the false hopes for an NHL season the sports press keeps dangling in front of us.

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