Today was my first day on sabbatical leave that was not in one way or another dedicated to my intended studies. For 17 straight days I have been walking, talking, listening, and taking in the sights, sounds, and conversations related to sacred art. If I have counted correctly I have visited 19 different churches, some of them multiple times; six different museums; innumerable historical sites; and eaten enough pasta and pizza to become a regional authority on southern Italian cuisine.
Today we took it easy, or at least easier than the past two and half weeks. The timing could not have been better because for some reason I have developed a painful blister on the ball of my right foot two days ago. Normally one gets blisters on the first few days which then become calluses. I am not sure how this one slipped by until now, but either way it is painful to walk.
People have asked me if we were planning to travel outside of Rome in our remaining few days in Italy. Originally that seemed to be a sensible plan, but truthfully we are all about spent and there are still some things we want to do and see while in Rome – like see the skulls and bones of the Capuchin friars!
In spite of an irritating blister, I swallowed my pride and wore “socks in my crocs” and walked a bit today, visiting a favorite market in the piazza Campo dei Fiori. There were a few items we needed for supper as well as just the need to leisurely browse without having to worry about schedules or museum times. Fresh basil, mozzarella, tomatoes, and spices were purchased for our “antipasti” dinner tonight. After shopping in the market we found a good pizzeria recommended by some locals and dined on fried zucchini flowers and brick oven pizza.
The rest of the afternoon I leisurely read, caught up on email, and tried to relax. More or less pitching in together we put together our antipasti spread and dove into our meal with the haze of garlic heavy in the air. It was by comparison to most evenings a quiet one, which we all needed.
Tomorrow we plan to join with the rest of the world celebrating the World Cup by attending the “FIFA Fan Fest” in the Borghese gardens. Rome was one of six cities in the world selected to play host to the Fan Fest where the public can gather and watch the games on a “jumbo-tron.” I confess that I watch about as much soccer as I do baseball, but I cannot help get a bit caught up in all of the excitement shared by my Italian neighbors of this event that comes around every four years. Italians are very engaged with this year’s World Cup because they are the defending world champs. Our final days will no doubt be surrounded by the noise and cacophony of exuberant fans.
Peace be with you,