Rome Day Two, Part Three: The Quirinale, The Basilica Santa Maria, & The Lost Ticket

Author: , May 31st, 2012

Statue at the Quirinale

The Quirinale, RomeNext up, the Quirinale (the Italian White House, though it’s really kind of beige.

The Quirinale sits atop a hill in front of a broad plaza, with a fountain, two men with horses (the men are ivy leafed, alas) and a pylon covered in hieroglyphics, each added in a different era.

We actually saw the Prime Minister’s caravan go by a little later in the day.

The Quirinale, RomeThe Quirinale is really big – it stretches on for blocks. Partway down the street there was an entrance with a guard, who kindly let us take a photo.

Somewhere in here, I lost my metro pass (which cost 16 euro!). I know exactly how it happened but it didn’t stop me from feeling stupid.

Quirinale Fountain StatueWhen we bought the passes, we were in the metro station and I didn’t want to pull out my hidden wallet so I stuffed it into my right pocket with my iPhone. I planned to move it to my hidden wallet, but i forgot.

Somewhere along the way, I decided it would be better to move everything to one pocket, so I did, and it must have fallen out then.

Che dramma!

Fountain, RomeI don’t think of myself as a drama queen, but I was then. How stupid! I don’t deserve another ticket. You guys take the train and I’ll walk back.

In the end we scraped together the Euro and bought a new pass. I learned a lesson – don’t put things off while in Italy.

That lesson was brought home again when we were at a pharmacy in the afternoon in the Spagna and decided to wait to buy earplugs and antibacterial soap at the pharmacy near the B&B – so we didn’t have to carry it all day.

Of course, this being Italy, it was closed when we got there.

Piazza of the OperaWe took the Metro again, this time to the Piazza of the Opera, a grand open space framed by an elegant hotel on one side and the Basilica Santa Maria di Angeli on the other.

Basilica Santa Maria di AngeliOf all the grand churches we’ve seen, this one was my favorite ones – the colors were somehow lighter, not weighed down and oppressive with tons of gold.

The entry is a wonder in itself, apparently an old brick ruin fitted with huge bronze dors, with figures emerging from the doors in bas-relief.

The MeridianaThis church also hi-lights some of the scientific advances the Catholic Church once made, including the pendulum that allowed people to keep exact time, and the Meridiana here – a small hole in the church wall and a calendar laid out in marble along the floor that allowed its inventor, Francesco Bianchini, in 1702 to pinpoint the day of the year by observing where the sunlight fell at a certain time.

It was refreshing to see a church focused on scientific inquiry.

The church was also blessedly cool – Saturday was the warmest day since we arrived, probably in the mid eighties, and we walked for hours and hours – I hope to be a size or two thinner by the time we get home.

More to come in Rome Day 2, Part 4